1843 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Southey

Mary Russell Mitford to Miss Jephson, April 1843; L'Estrange, Life of Mary Russell Mitford (1870) 2:267.



Have I told you that Wordsworth wrote an interesting letter to Mr. Crabb Robinson on the death of Southey? He said that, in spite of the curtain that had dropped between him and the world, he had felt most acutely the death of the friend of his youth. This for Wordsworth, so cold in manner, is much. For men so united in pursuits and tastes, and only twenty or thirty miles apart, they saw little of each other; and that may perhaps be a reason for Wordsworth's feeling the total separation the more. Southey died of typhus fever, having had some weeks ago an apoplectic fit, so that he suffered many forms of death before the great change. It is the extinction of a great light, perhaps — prose and poetry considered, and the extent and variety of his learning — the greatest since Scott.