1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Jackson of Exeter

Robert Southey to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 3 October 1799; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 2:26-27.



Jackson has taste to a certain extent.... His music I take for granted: his pictures are always well conceived, the creations of a man of genius; his trees are like the rustic work in a porter's lodge, sea-weed landscapes, cavern drippings chiselled into ramifications — cold, cramp, stiff, stony. I thank him for his Four Ages. A man with a name may publish a book; but when a book is merely a lounging collection of scraps, the common-place book printed, one wishes it to hold more than an hour's turning over, a little turtle soup and a little pine-apple; but one wants a huge basin of broth and plenty of filberts.... I soon talked of Bampfylde, and Jackson rose in my esteem, for he talked of him till I saw the tears. I have copied one ode, in imitation of Gray's Alcaic, and nineteen sonnets. After I had done, Jackson required a promise that I would communicate no copy, as he was going to publish them. He read me the preface; it will tell you what a miraculous musician Bampfylde was, and that he died insane; but will not tell you Bampfylde's history.