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THE VISION OF THE MAID OF ORLEANS . . 79
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A true Ballad of St Antidius, the Pope, and The Filbert . - - - - ib.
Henry the Hermit . . . . . 665 The Knell . . . . . . . . . ib.
To a Friend, inquiring if I would live over my Lines to the Memory of a young Officer, mor- -
| M. Roaf RT Southey is descended, both on his father's and on his mother's side, from respectable families in the county of Somerset; and at : the time the subject of the present Memoir was born, on the 12th of August, 1774, his father was a linen-draper in the city of Bristol; but though a man of great integrity and habitual punc|tuality, he did not succeed in business. Young Southey was brought up by his mother's maiden aunt, Miss Tyler, a lady of superior mind, and great personal attractions, who lived in CollegeGreen, Bristol. She first placed her nephew under the care of a Mr Foote, who kept a small school in Bristol; from whence, before he had reached his | seventh year, he was removed to a seminary at Carston, near Bath. After continuing there about two years, he returned to his native place, where he was put under the care of a clergyman, who taught a select number of pupils for a few hours in the morning. At a very early age his friends discovered in him talents that deserved to be placed in a higher sphere than that in which his father had moved: they therefore designed him for the | church. with a view to give him every advantage, Robert Southey, in the year 1787, was sent to Westminster School, having already attained, under his former instructors, such an acquaintance with the Latin and Greek languages as exempted him from the drudgery of the lower forms. As in the infancy of nations, so in the infancy
of individuals, a taste for poetry is the first fruit We speak of the taste for poetry as distinct from the mere sensual love of poetry, : produced by the rise and fall of verse upon the ear, which can be enjoyed even by barbarians, because, as Ben Jonson says, a Nature is more at school there, a rebellion took place, in which According to the he was compelled to join. Soon after, he was
strong in then than study.” depth or slightness of the impression made by | poetry in childhood, the tone and colour is generally given to the future life.
time only augments its strength, and it can never be defaced or obliterated. There are, however, few, or perhaps none, who in early youth do not exhibit, more or less, an affection for the , nurse of all knowledge and virtue." Upon a mind like Southey's, tenderly sensible of the slightest touch of beauty, this impression could not fail to be deep, aided as it was by the individuals by whom he was surrounded, while he remained at Bristol. Miss Tyler took great pains with his education, and, by encouraging him in reading some of our best writers of the old school, converted his youthful and transitory passion into a fixed and enthusiastic attachment to the Muses. We have been told that, long before he left Carston, his productions in verse had received great applause in the little domestic circle to which his ambition was then confined; but that circle was soon enlarged, his ambition expanded in proportion, and by the time he had been only a few months at Westminster School, he became, as Randolph expresses it, an actual a graduate in the thread-bare mystery... We have been shown two copies of verses said to have been written by Southey, when he was about fourteen years old. Deep thought, which is the offspring of experience, could not of course be expected in them; but they may be justly admired for the very easy and musical flow of the numbers: indeed they prove, from internal evidence, that the author must have been some time addicted to the a Sisters Nine to have already attained such excellence in versification. His correct habits and amiable manners attracted the love of his companions, and by one of the Westminster masters he was treated as his own son. It happened, however, that, while he was
surprised by one of his friends, in tears; and upon being asked the reason, he replied, that his
If it be only su- conscience had smote him for his ingratitude to
his inaster, and that he could not refrain from At the age of little more than eighteen, in November, 1792, Mr Southey entered at Baliol College, Oxford, where he was admired for his fine poetical countenance, his good nature, his singular phraseology, and the extreme punctuality with which he kept his appointments. His father was at this time in no condition, from losses in trade, to defray his expenses, which were paid, we believe, in a great measure, by his maternal uncle, the Rev. Mr Hill, and by his aunt Miss Tyler. At Easter, in 1794, Mr S. T. Coleridge, who had just abandoned Cambridge, came (with his fellow cantab Hucks) on a visit to Oxford. His fame for extraordinary powers of conversation, his stupendous talents, and eccentric manners had preceded him. He was hailed by the young Oxonians, and particularly by those who were admirers of all the extravagances of the French revolution, and of the sophisms contained in Godwin's Political Justice, which had just appeared, at that time forming a numerous and a separate class, mutually addressing each other by the title of citizens. A debating club upon questions of this nature was instituted: the members met in each others' rooms. Among them were the present Sir John Stoddart, then a student of Christ Church; the Rev. Dr T. F. Dibdin, then a commoner at St John's; the Rev. J. Horseman, now Rector of Heyden, then of Corpus; R. Allen, a servitor of University College, who died in Portugal, etc. etc. This jacobinical assembly created great alarm among the heads of the University, and the more so, as the exemplary moral conduct in other respects of the members prevented their taking any notice of them; so that none were or could be expelled, as has been said: two, however, were rusticated for a very trifling fault. Southey was soon induced to forsake his studies and the University, and to set off for Bristol, where he joined Coleridge, and they,
in conjunction with Lovel, George Burnet, Robert Allen, and a few others, formed a plan to establish a Pantisocratical Society on the banks of the Ohio. Lovel was to supply the principal part of the funds for the infant colony, in which they were to have every thing in common, and, as the title they gave their Society implies, all were to have the same share in the administration of the public affairs of their new government. Mr Wordsworth had recently become known to Southey, through the medium of their common friend, Coleridge; but Wordsworth, though deeply infected with the same political enthusiasm, had good sense enough to decline joining in their scheme of emigration. The excessive extravagance of their views at this distance of time, and when so many events have intervened, can scarcely be believed; and its exist
ence is rendered certain almost solely to those who have had an opportunity of seeing the animated letters, and the high-wrought poems, of the several parties upon the subject. When the three friends quitted college, and repaired to Bristol, for the purpose of carrying their design into execution, Mr Southey's father was dead of a broken heart, in consequence of his embarrassments. It has been related by one who certainly had the best means of knowing him, that he was - a man who had been so accustomed to regulate his motions by the neighbouring clock, that the clock might at length (so punctual were his movements) have been regulated by him." He was, aiso, extremely fond of the country and its employments. Robert Southey had for some time been acquainted with a family of the name of Fricker, in which there were four daughters, three of whom were at that time of a marriageable age. To one of these young ladies (Edith) Mr Southey formed an attachment; and, as female society was necessary, in order to render the colony more extensive and flourishing, it was proposed that Mr Coleridge and Mr Lovel should marry the other two, and that the mother and her youngest daughter should accompany the expedition. In consequence of this arrangement, Lovel espoused Miss Fricker, an actress of Bristol, and Coleridge and Southey agreed to unite their destinies with her sisters, Sarah and Edith, the former being a mantua-maker, and the latter (who was very beautiful), with her youngest sister, keeping a little day-school near the church of St Mary, Radcliff. Lovel died shortly after, much regretted. Coleridge, Southey, and Burnet lived together, with great simplicity, in Collegestreet,” Bristol, during 1795; but the characters of Coleridge and Southey were found to be uncongenial for so close an intimacy. Southey— all truth, sincerity, and obligingness; with (at that time) little belief in revealed religion, and affecting still less; with order in all his dealings, uprightness in all his conduct, was but ill suited to the wild, unsettled enthusiasm, negligence, and wayward manners of Coleridge; yet admiration for his amazing powers of mind kept them together for some time. Burnet was endowed with a