1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Mary Russell Mitford

Richard Alfred Davenport to Mary Russell Mitford, 8 January 1813; L'Estrange, Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford (1882) 46-47.



I am busily employed in preparing for my eighth volume [of the Poetical Register], which is to be published in May. You laugh! Yes, by heavens you do! In my mind's eye I see you laughing outright, and I think I hear you exclaim, "Ay, my good friend, two years ago you told us the same kind of story with respect to the seventh volume, and lo! the seventh volume is, even now, but just published! Well, all this is true — "'tis pity 'tis true, and 'tis true 'tis pity." But now I shall do better. Fortunately sinning once does not imply sinning always. I will publish in May; that is to say, if I have "all appliances and means." As to means, I must humbly crave you to furnish me with as large a portion of them as you can. Indeed I can prove it, under you own hand, in black and white, as the vulgar beautifully express it, that you gave me an authority, which has not been revoked, to draw upon the poetical bank of Mitford and Russell. I know the firm to be a rich one, and, therefore, the world ought to "set me down an ass" if I neglected to avail myself of my credit. Really and truly, I speak it with perfect seriousness, you will confer a great obligation upon me by your early aid. My interest and my pleasure both prompt me to a speedy publication of the next volume, and when interest and pleasure combine to stimulate exertion the power must be great.