1834 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges

Robert Southey to C. W. W. Wynn, 23 August 1834; Selections from the Letters, ed. Warter (1856) 4:383-84.



In all you say about Sir E. Brydges you are right, except I think in rating him as a man of intellectual powers so low. All his books are bad, and yet there are marks of genius in very many of them, and most in his later ones; — some fine sonnets in this mass of biography, and some passages in other of his late works, of great beauty and feeling. He printed my letters without asking my leave, except for that which relates to Bampfylde, many years ago. The publisher had more sense of propriety, and sent them to me for revision. The opinion of him held by the better part of his own family, is, I know, that he is hardly to be looked upon as an accountable agent; and this is the only excuse they can make to themselves for the reckless manner in which he has dissipated not only his own fortune, but much of theirs. I never saw him, but if I could have afforded time to correspond with a person, who always replied instanter to my letters (the letters moreover costing half-a-crown, whether I received or sent them), I should most willingly have continued so to do, for there was no subject, literary, biographical, or historical, on which he was not ready to pour forth a stream of knowledge. To one employed as I am, he would be, if within reach, and on reasonable terms, the most useful of correspondents.