1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Alaric Alexander Watts

William Lisle Bowles to Alaric Alexander Watts; 18 September 1824; Alaric Alfred Watts, Alaric Watts, a Narrative of his Life, by his Son (1884) 1:192-93.



Bremhill, Sept. 18, 1824.

MY DEAR SIR,

As to the proposed volume of selections there was an assignment to the publishers of the copyright of the two first volumes. There would be no difficulty with Crutwell, bu there might, he thinks, be some with Mawman and Cadell. The bargain was a gross imposition; for my poems, though I did not know it at the time, were the most saleable and popular productions of the day, in defiance of critics who did not spare them. The booksellers were proprietors, and published them almost in successive years six, eight, nine, ten, and eleven editions. With little knowledge of the world, without a single literary advisor, and ignorant, above all things, of such transactions, and the market value of such commodities, I received from them altogether only sixty pounds.

Moore thinks that if they offer an opposition to the selection, the whole circumstances should be brought before the public for the good of poor authors; and as I am not a poor author, it should be "marte meo." Before I take any step, let me know your opinion.

Believe me, ever most sincerely yours,

W. L. BOWLES.

P. S. Whatever I have said about the sale of my poems, the cause of their success was that they had something of nature, and nothing in common with Hayley and Seward, the objects of my early scorn.