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[285]

March 18. . . . . Early the next morning I set off for Keswick, and in about twelve miles found myself already in the broken mountainous country that prepares an approach to the lakes. . . . . My drive, though through a country so interesting, had been sad, for I have now little that will cheer me when I am left in solitude, and I know not when I have been more deserted by all decent courage, than I was at the moment I entered Mr. Southey's door. The kindness of his reception gave me the first glad feeling I had had, from the time I left Cogswell at Selkirk.

Mr. Southey introduced me to Mrs. Coleridge, a good respectable-looking lady of five-and-forty, her daughter,1 a sweet creature of uncommon beauty and gentleness, not quite sixteen, and his own family of daughters, the eldest of whom, Edith, has some of his own peculiar rapidity of mind, and Isabella, the fourth, only six years old, who has a bewitching mischievous beauty, which came from I know not where. After dinner he carried me into his study, and spread out a quantity of his literary projects before me,—his ‘Life of Wesley,’ which is in the press, his ‘Brazil,’ to be finished in a month, his ‘Spanish War,’ to which he has prefixed an interesting preface on the moral state of England, France, and Spain, between 1789 and 1808; and, finally, a poem on the War of Philip,— not him of Macedon, but our own particular Philip, recorded by Hubbard and Church,—and as this is more interesting to an American than any other of the works, it is the one I most carefully followed, as he read me all he has written of it.2 He has, however, finished only six hundred of the six thousand lines that are to compose it, rhymed, and in various measure, but not so elaborately irregular as the versification of ‘Kehama,’ though the same principle is adopted of addressing the metre to the ear rather than to the eye. . . . . We sat up very late, and talked a great deal upon all sorts of subjects, especially America, Spain, and Portugal, for these, and particularly the last, are his favorite topics and studies.

The next morning he carried me to see the principal beauties of the neighborhood, and, among other things, the point where Gray stood when he enjoyed the prospect described in one of his letters, and the


1 Afterwards Mrs. Henry Nelson Coleridge.

2Oliver Newman’ was left unfinished. Mr. Southey promised Mr. Ticknor the autograph manuscript of this poem when it should have been published, and this promise was remembered and redeemed, after the poet's death, by his children. Mr. Ticknor had a pleasant correspondence with him for some years, and some of the letters from Southey appear in his Memoirs.

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