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Lloyd and Burnett, his own position in the world was quite uncertain-his means were very narrow, and his health feeble and vacillating. In March, 1799, Taylor writes


'My dear Friend,-Is all that Burnett writes me true?-that your health declines alarminglythat you are apprehensive of an ossification of the heart? no, no, I will neither believe nor contemplate such possibility. You have a mimosasensibility, which agonizes in so slight a blast; an imagination excessively accustomed to summon trains of melancholy ideas, and marshal funeral processions; a mind too fond by half, for its own comfort, of sighs and sadness, of pathetic emotions and heart-rending woe. You missee the dangers in expectation through the lens of a tear. It cannot be that the laws of nature interrupt with equal indifference the career of the valuable and of the useless part of her off spring, that no preserving spirit watches


'If health, like the good works of the monks, were a transferable commodity, I would give you some of mine, and incur for your sake many weeks of confinement. As things are, I can only wish you well, and add that I have no confidence in your system of extreme temperance, which produces a valetudinarian, disagreeable health, and by never calling into full action the vessels which secrete sensorial power, occasions their shrivelling into impotence before the natural period.'

The poet answers thus he had, we find, been thinking seriously of the bar, and meant to practice at Calcutta :

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collection edited by Southey at Bristol, which contained, besides his own Abel Shufflebottom,' &c., some remarkable verses by a miraculous young man, by name Davy.' Mr. Taylor says:

"Norwich, 18th Oct., 1799. 'Dear Friend,-The "Annual Anthology" was duly received. There is barely cork enough to float the lead, or barely lead enough to make the scum and scoria saleable. I have been less pleased than you with the verses signed D. Except the "Song of Pleasure," which is brilliant, and a passage here and there, I have not enjoyed them. I discover not those powers of fancy, those inventive capacities, those creative energies, those almightinesses of plastic genius, which because you know the man, and because every body knows him for a first-rate philosopher, you are unavoidably led to associate even with his poetical exertions. I did not recognize you in "Abel Shufflebottom." Many of the comic pieces are comical. I rejoice, however, that you adopt the method of publishing anonymously your smaller effusions, as it is certainly most for your reputation to associate your name only with the selecter compositions, and to let those of uncertain value be afterwards concentrated, rendered stimulant by withdrawing the water of deliquescence, be alcoholized, and have their aroma distilled into a quintessential drop of otr. If there be a poetical sin in which you are apt to indulge, it is expatiation, an Odyssey garrulity, as if you were ambitious of exhausting outlines only. In a metrical romance this is a topic, instead of selecting its more impressive probably no evil-some feeble intervals increase the effect of the interstitial splendor; but in the poemets of an Anthology there is no space for oscillation, no leisure to flag.'

Southey answers thus gently :

Friday, March 12, 1799. 'My dear Friend,-Burnett has mistaken my complaint, and you have mistaken my disposition: at one time I was apprehensive of some local complaint of the heart: but there is no danger 'In Davy's verses I see aspirations after of its growing too hard, and the affection is merely genius and powers of language, all that can be nervous. The only consequence which there is expected in so young a writer. Did I promise any reason to dread is, that it may totally unfit me more? But it is my common fault usually to for the confinement of London and a lawyer's of- overrate whatever I am newly acquainted with. fice. I shall make the attempt somewhat heart- Towards the close of the "Sons of Genius" lessly, and discouraged by the prognostics of there are some fine stanzas, but as a whole it is my medical advisers: if my health suffers, I tedious and feeble-but it was the production of will abandon it at once. At the age of twenty-eighteen. Davy is a surprising young man, five there is little leisure for writing. The world and one who, by his unassumingness, his open will be again before me, and the prospect suffi- warmth of character, and his all-promising talciently comfortable. I have no wants, and few ents, soon conciliates our affections. He writes wishes. Literary exertion is almost as neces-me that two paralytic patients have been cured sary to me as meat and drink, and with an undivided attention I could do much. Once, indeed, I had a mimosa-sensibility, but it has long been rooted out: five years ago I counteracted Rousseau by dieting upon Godwin and Epictetus: they did me some good, but time has done more. I have a dislike to all strong emotion, and avoid whatever could excite it; a book like "Werter" gives me now unmingled pain. In my own writings you may observe that I rather dwell upon what affects than what agitates.'

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by the gaseous oxyd of azote-the beatific gas, for discovering which, if he had lived in the time of the old Persian kings, he would have received the reward proposed for the inventing a new pleasure.

'Perhaps it is the consciousness of a garrulous tendency in writing that impels me with such decided and almost exclusive choice to narrative poetry. The books of the Italia Liberata, which I read at Norwich, did me more service towards correcting this fault than any other lesson could have done. In Madoc I think I have

avoided it. Sometimes, too, it is serviceable, wherever there are passages of prominent merit.

There should be a plain around the pyramids. | but whenever we meet accost him as usual, and As a poet, I consider myself as out of my ap- think that the fit is past.' prenticeship, and having learnt the command of my tools. If I live, I may, and believe I shall, make a good workman; but at present I am only a promising one. It is an unfavorable circumstance that my writings are only subjected to the criticisms of those persons whose tastes are in a great measure formed upon mine, and who are prepared to admire whatever I may


We hear by and bye that Madoc is finished, but that the poet designs to keep it by him for a. time, and proceed instantly with his Kehama, which he thinks he can have ready for the press in six months. Taylor on this says:—

I think you would do well to give your Madoc now to Longman and Rees, and to build your edifice of immortal name on the Hindoo ground.

Tasso will lose a little, Milton more, and Klopstock most, of his celebrity, if Christianity should sink from an European religion to an European sect; but those actions which are not stimulated by opinions, such as Homer's, &c., retain an interest coeval with the human phenomena they describe, commensurate with the fidelity and importance of the delineation, coextensive with the memory of the event, and conspicuous with the fashion of the language. Ready for the press in six months, is not the condition for everlasting productions. I admit that the outline, the sketch, cannot be too soon made; but the finishing, the pruning, the bring ing out of the better figures,-the condensation of prate into oratory, the concatenation of incident into event, the obumbration of description into appendage, is not the work of half a year. My ideas of perfection desperate attempt, but your ardor of execution endangers completeness.' In 1802 Taylor paid a short visit to Paris, and on his return found the liberals of Norwich busy with a scheme of a new weekly paper. Taylor recommended Southey for the editorship, and urged him to accept it. The poet declined; he had now given up all thoughts of the law, fixed his heart on residing in the country, and was in treaty for a house in Wales. He mentions, casually, that Burnett had lately passed through Bristol without calling on him that a common friend asked Burnett why, and that he made an impertinent answer. Southey adds:

'Poor fellow! he is too vain to know that the feeling which has been rankling in him is envy, and it is now ripening into hatred. He is now in London, waiting for a situation. A tutorship here, and that a very desirable one, was offered him, but he refused it as beneath him. I am vexed and provoked whenever I think of his unhappy folly: that a man should be at once so very proud and so utterly helpless, so proud of what he will be, and so ignorant of what he is. As to his quarrel with me, I shall not notice it:


Both as to the Welsh cottage and the insanity of poor Burnett, Taylor's reply is most Taylorean-in cleverness, in perversity of thought, and in pedantry of diction the former part-in manly and gentlemanly feeling the latter :—

'How can you delight in mountain scenery? The eye walks on broken flints; not a hill tolerant of the plough, not a stream that will float a canoe; in the roads every ascent is the toil of Sisyphus, every descent the punishment of Vulcan: barrenness with her lichens cowers on the mountain-top, yawning among mists that irrigate in vain; the cottage of a man, like the eyrie of an eagle, is the home of a savage subsisting by rapacity in stink and intemperance: the village is but a coalition of pig-sties; where there might be pasture, glares a lake; the very cataract falls in vain,-there are not customers enough for a water-mill. Give me the spot where victories have been won over the inutilities of nature by the efforts of human art,— where mind has moved the massy, everlasting rock, and arrayed it into convenient dwellings and stately palaces, into theatres and cathedrals, and quays and docks and warehouses, wherein the primeval troglodyte has learned to convoke the productions of the antipodes.

'Whether Burnett envies you or not, I envy wealth, and beneficence enough to deserve all you with philosophy enough to despise all wealth,-with talent that can, and application that will, get fame,—with a wife, with a child, -how should Burnett not think you an object of envy? I hope neither he nor I should wish to withdraw the smallest atom of a happiness which we have not the spirit to emulate; and I cannot believe that either he or I could view it without complacence, or without the entire wish, were it in our power, to increase it.'

Taylor himself undertook the care of the Norwich Iris;' and Southey says (January, 1803):—

'Your prospectus has the mark of the beast. I should have known it to be yours had it been for a York or an Exeter paper; and excellently good it is. Success to you! 'I wish I had advertisements to send you, or any thing else. I am reviewing for Longman,-reviewing for Hamilton,-translating; perhaps about again to versify for the Morning Post-drudge, drudge, drudge. Do you know Quarle's emblem of the soul that tries to fly, but is chained by the leg to earth? For myself I could do easily, but not easily for others; and there are more claims than one upon me. But in spite of your prospectus, and all the possible advantages of a nearly equal, I cannot be satisfied that William party newspaper in a county where parties are

*Both Coleridge and Southey had labored for this paper at the time when Canning sung:Couriers and Stars, Sedition's Evening host! Thou Morning Chronicle and Morning Post!' &c.

Taylor replies:

Taylor should be a newspaper editor. Few for a like remedy. You taught me to write men have his talents, fewer still his learning, English by what you said of Bürger's language and perhaps no other his leisure joined to these and by what I felt from your translations,-one advantages. From him an opus magnum might of the eras in my intellectual history; would -ought to be expected. Coleridge and I must that I could now in my turn impress you with drudge for newpapers from necessity, but it the same conviction! Crowd your ideas as you should not be your choice.'-vol. i. p. 445. will, your images can never be too many; give them the stamp and autograph of William Taylor, but let us have them in English-plain, 'I am reviewing for Longman as well as you; perspicuous English-such as mere English but I find myself tempted to steal from my arti-readers can understand. Ours is a noble lancles for Longman for the "Iris." What is my Germanism for family's sake; but he who uses guage, a beautiful language. I can tolerate a literary conscience to do,-to use the same periods in both capacities? that at least will be a Latin or a French phrase where a pure old the determination of my indolence. I hate to English word does as well, ought to be hung, re-compose, although I cannot transcribe with-drawn and quartered for high-treason against out insertion. I never seem to myself to have his mother-tongue. said enough about any thing, and could always 'I am grieved that you never met Coleridge ; prate, prate, prate at twice the length upon a all other men whom I have ever known are topic. And yet my theory of good writing is, to mere children to him, and yet all is palsied by a total want of moral strength. He will leave condense every thing into a nut-shell: I grow and clip with rival rage, and produce a sort of nothing behind him to justify the opinion of his yew-hedge, tangled with luxuriance and sheared friends to the world; yet many of his scattered into spruceness. The desire of being neat pre-poems are such, that a man of feeling will see cludes ease, of being strong precludes grace, of that the author was capable of executing the being armed at all points the being impervious greatest works. at any. If it be more satisfactory to compress à la Bacon, it is more taking to expand à la Burke; and I manage to combine the harshness of the one with the profusion of the other, omitting of course of both the far-darting sagacity and omnipresent research.'

'I begin to hunger and thirst after Borrodale and Derwentwater. You undervalue lakes and mountains; they make me happier and wiser and better, and enable me to think and feel with a quicker and healthier intellect. Cities are as poisonous to genius and virtue in their best sense, as to the flower of the valley or the oak of the forest. Southey received the foregoing while for Men of talent may and will be gregarious, men the first time visiting Coleridge at Keswick. of genius will not; handicraft-men work toThe sight of the lake country, and the en-individuals. Neither are men to be studied in gether, but discoveries must be the work of joyment of Coleridge's talk, made him give cities, except indeed, as students walk the hosup the Welsh scheme, and he settled, as all pitals, you go to see all the modifications of dismen know, for life on the shores of Derwent-ease.' On coming back to Bristol he writes


thus to Taylor:—

February 14, 1803.

Taylor replies:

Norwich, June 21st, 1803. 'Dear Friend,-I THANK you for your abuse, -the more of it the better; were it more specific it would be still more instructive; for do often to think that easy and natural in style you know, I am so accustomed to myself, as which appears to another macaronic, affected, harsh, and unclear?

'I am busied now in theology, and have actu

ally drawn up for the Monthly Magazine a


"Who wrote the Wisdom of Solomon ?"

'My dear Friend,-I was thinking over the "Iris," and whether or no I was not bound in conscience to the effort of a letter upon the subject, when yours arrived and turned the scale, the matter so pleased me, and the manner so offended me. There,-the murder is out, and now I will say what for a long while I have thought,-that you have ruined your style by , Germanisms, Latinisms and Greekisms, that you are sick of a surfeit of knowledge, that your which has for its object to prove that Jesus learning breaks out like scabs and blotches upon Christ wrote it; partly from the internal evia beautiful face. I am led by indolence and by dence of passages descriptive of him, partly good-nature always rather to feel dislike than to from the external evidence of the extreme veneexpress it; and if another finds the same faults ration in which the book was held by all the that have displeased me in your writings, I have always defended them more zealously than if they had been my own: but faults they are, faults any where, and tenfold aggravated in a newspaper. How are plain Norfolk farmersand such will read the Iris-to understand

words which they never heard before, and

which are so foreign as not to be even in Johnson's farrago of a dictionary? I have read Cowper's Odyssey and Trissino, to cure my poetry of its wheyishness; let me prescribe the Vulgar Errors of Sir Thomas Browne to you

apostolic characters. I have endeavored to keep aloof from the question of miracles.'

In Southey's next letter we see that by June, 1803, the poet was fast throwing off all sympathy with the Norwich heresies:


'Bristol, 23rd June, 1803.

'Dear William Taylor,-YOUR theology does nothing but mischief; it serves only to thin the miserable ranks of Unitarianism. The regular troops of infidelity do little harm; and their

trumpeters, such as Voltaire and Paine, not | success,-that Malta was a bad ground for much more. But it is such pioneers as Middle- quarrel, the worst that could have been selected, ton, and you, and your German friends, that because of least general or national concern, but work underground and sap the very citadel. that there was cause enough for war. My beThat "Monthly Magazine" is read by all the lief is that invasion will be attempted, but that Dissenters, I call it the Dissenters' Obituary," the Christ of the Lord" (oh, curse his blaspheand here are you eternally mining, mining, mous soul!) will not adventure himself: my under the shallow faith of their half-learned, hope is that he may. The landing is a chance, half-witted, half-paid, half-starved pastors. We and the chances are against it: if they land must not give strong meats to weak stomachs. they will perhaps reach London, but not a man I have qualms of conscience about it myself. of them will return to France, and we shall have There is poor Burnett gone stark foolish, be- such a monument as the Swiss reared to cause he has been made the friend of the wise, Charles of Burgundy. One victory by land or -diseased at once with a plethora of vanity and sea turns the scale, and the northern powers, an inanition of knowledge; with all the dispo- who have more reason to hate France than sition to destroy himself, only that he cannot England, will then join us: then Holland will be muster up courage, and that I suppose he will free, and Switzerland and Italy made indedo at last, in the hope of being talked of as an pendent of France, and the peace of Europe instance of neglected genius. Oh, that proverb established for a century to come. But first about the pearls and the swine has a great deal Buonaparte must go to the devil, and perhaps more in it than I once imagined! I, who am a our national debt too; but I have not a fear for believer, were I now at three-and-twenty, with England, the country was never so united, the opinions that I hold at nine-and-twenty, and therefore never so strong.' would choose the church for my profession; but then I have a deep and silent and poet-feeling connected with these things, which has grown with me and will grow.

'Among the odd revolutions of the world you may reckon this, that my politics come nearer Mr. Windham's than they do William Taylor's. God bless you!

'R. S.'

Mr. Taylor thus responds :'My dear Friend,—I am very glad you are a believer. I think you will desert your low Arian for pure Socinian ground. When you have read my paper about the "Wisdom," you will admit I must be right about the author.

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Perhaps our readers may thank us for some specimen of Taylor's leaders' in the Iris' of 1803 :


'Twas well in the Attorney-General to banter the Grenville party for talking with so much emphasis of the critical posture and unexampled danger of our situation. Mr. Fox's stately calm is alone at par with the mediocrity of the difficulty. This hysterical apprehensiveness of the anti-jacobins is mere affectation; in office they would leave it off, and then boast they had cured the disease they had invented. England, as their church, is always in danger. Mesmers in oratory, they convulse us with imYou make me curious about your politics. aginary effluvia in order to make us call in their In what points do you agree with Mr. Wind-medicinal help; but it is surely the very quackham? In any thing beside his nationality, his spirit, his desire of seeing a courageous example of self-denying patriotism set by the higher classes of the people? The time is not come to be patriotic. The best thing ministers can do is to patch up a peace through the mediation of Russia; and to this, torpor, slugglishness, indifference, apathy in the people tend to predispose them. When it is once clear that the third Punic war is come, energy must be put into power; whether that can be done without some popularization of the representation, may be questioned. I believe that we must take up "See appall'd the unreal scene," all the jacobin opinions, keep our anti-jacobins, and discover a shadowy hand mapping the parlike Bajazets, in cages to show them about, and tition of the empire and announcing the plunder point atas samples of the continental monsters we have to combat; and that we should so reverse of a commercial metropolis. Or are they doomthe destiny of Carthage, and triumph with the usual fortune of liberty.'

In reply thus Southey avows in detail his great change of opinion as to the question of war with France:

'My politics are, that France calculated upon the weakness of our most miserable ministers, and was carrying on a system of insult and injury to which it would have been utter ruin to have submitted,-that Buonaparte is drunk with

ery of alarmism thus to give drams against popof one's country. Like their models, the exorular ennui and administer cantharides to the love cists, they infuse the only blue-devil they can banish. Were all these men put at nurse to Mrs. Radcliffe? Their tongues falter with the phrase blanches the cheek and demands an very drunkenness of intimidation; their every aghast attitude. They hear a voice in every wind, they are electrified with incessant ter


Let us humanely hope it is only within the walls of the House of Commons that they

ed every where to snatch a fearful joy, to eat their very dinners with a hair-suspended sword above the table, and start at empty elbow-chairs, in which their fancy places the blood-boltered form of Jacobinism studying her English grammar? They merit crowns of mimosa; they claim confidence for professing cowardice, and like the mariner's needle would tremble into place,'

These excellent epigrams were penned in February; yet by November how had Taylor changed his views as to the reality of the

national danger! That he expressed his altered sentiments so openly is greatly to his honor. But we again quote, chiefly for the curious crabbed artificiality of the Taylorese preachment to the Norwich weavers and the farmers of Partridgeshire :'

'The hostile government of France, to which we vow coeval aversion, ought to learn that the plunder it has exhausted on its accoutred slaves is no earnest of future pillage. We will keep our harvest, starvelings, from your hunger; our households, robbers, from your rapacity; our women, ravishers, from your lust. The invaders must be attacked in every direction by day and by night; we must avail ourselves of the natural advantages of a country known well to us and little to them; where we cannot oppose them in full force we must constantly harass their rear and their flanks, remove the means of their subsistence, cut off their provisions and magazines, and prevent them, as much as possible, from uniting and concentering their forces.

'War must now be our business-war our

amusement: it must occupy, early and late, every hand and every mind. The gun-lock must twinkle at every wrist, the bayonet bristle from every shoulder; the goad must be shapen into a pike, and we must have shafts for shuttles, dipt in gore. The rural grove, the well-built street, must learn to echo with the din of war; every parish will seem a camp, every town a garrison. Let the moments spared from toil be passed in learning to fight for the country; let the moments spent in toil be passed in preparing for its defence. The forge should hammer only weapons, the temple become an arsenal of armor; Religion must lend her precincts to Patriotism, and we must firmly trample on the grave and the fear of it. To arms! the priest-to arms! the mother must summon. No, let her sit still; her tears shall be secure: the foe shall never cross her threshold.

preceded and prepared the way for the grand experiment of Pennsylvania. The losses thus occasioned rendered a stricter economy necessary in the household of the Taylors; and William was determined that henceforth his pen should be wielded pro virili, to sustain the tottering fortunes of his family.

As yet, however, no external appearances indicated to kindly or to envious neighbors that those fortunes were at all embarrassed; and we shall give place to the picture which our biographer affords of his friend's usual course of life from this time forth, during several years-in fact, throughout the fifth decade, which a high authority, rejoicing in his own vigor and prosperity, has lately pronounced to be the best :'

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'He rose early, and his 'studies usually engaged his undivided attention till noon, when it was his almost daily practice at all seasons to bathe in the river, at a subscription bath-house constructed on the bank of the stream near its entrance into the city. After this he invariably exercised himself by walking, for which purpose he always selected a road on the western side of Norwich, leading to the bridge over the Wensum at Hellesdon. . . . . On this road he was the hours of one and three. Professing to be no seen almost every day for many years, between admirer of natural scenery, and to take his chief delight in "towered cities and the busy hum of men," he was once asked why he always made quaint reason which he assigned for his preferchoice of so secluded and solitary a walk. The ence was, that on this road no fit of indolence could at any time shorten his allotted term of exercise, as there were no means of crossing the river at any nearer point, and he was therefore compelled miles distant from his residence in Surrey Street. to go round by the bridge, which was about three Indeed it must be owned that he never seemed to regard the objects around him, but pursued his course in deep mental abstraction, conversing the while most animatedly with himself. There was something singular too in his appearance: his dress was a complete suit of brown, with silk stockings of the same color. In this Quakerhis waistcoat, and armed with a most capacious like attire, with a full cambric frill protruding from umbrella in defiance of the storm, "muttering his wayward fancies he would rove," and fixed the astonished gaze and curious attention of the few passengers whom he met.

It is pleasant to know that Taylor once again took a patriotic instead of a liberal part in the politics of his time. He was from first to last as strenuous in the cause of Spain and Wellington as Southey himself-but he had at that period no newspaper at his command. He continued the 'Iris' for two years. When the original subscriptions expired, it died a natural death. He then once more devoted himself entirely to his reviews, and labored for these with an industry which 'From these rambles he always returned was no longer so purely voluntary as in former punctually at three o'clock, and devoted the remainder of the day to the pleasures of society. days. His father's fortune depended, to a con- He rarely dined alone, either entertaining a siderable extent, on the good faith of Ameri- small company at his own table, or "sharing the can merchants, with whom he had had large feast" at that of one of his friends. His convertransactions in the more active period of his sational powers were now in their fullest vigor; life. They had put off from year to year the the diffidence of youth was past, and the prolixday of reckoning. The old man at last ity of age was not come on; no pedantic atcrossed the seas to bring the matter to aed their brightness; their course was free and tempts at studied eloquence dimmed or deflectpoint. The result was that he came home natural, their flow lively and sparkling, and the with nothing in his pocket. It was one of motes of fancy that fluttered in the beam threw the many cases of private repudiation which a prismatic halo round the sober form on which

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