1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Jones

Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 23 July 1800; Life and Correspondence (1849-50) 96-97.



Of the East Indies I know not enough to estimate the reason and reasonableness of his dislike. Were I single, it is a country which would tempt me, as offering the shortest and most certain way to wealth, and many curious subjects of literary pursuit. About the language, — is right; it is a baboon jargon not worth learning; but were I there, I would get the Vedams and get them translated. It is rather disgraceful that the most important acquisition of Oriental learning should have been given us by a Frenchman; but Anquetil du Perron was certainly a far more useful and meritorious orientalist than Sir. Wm. Jones, who disgraced himself by enviously abusing him. Latterly, Sir William's works are the dreams of dotage. I have some distant view of manufacturing a Hindoo romance, wild as Thalaba; and a nearer one of a Persian story....