1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elijah Waring

Robert Southey to Elijah Waring, 14 March, 1827; in Waring, Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams (1850) 157.



Keswick, 14th March, 1827.

SIR,

I am very much obliged to you for sending me your Recollections of my old acquaintance Edward Williams, a man whom I most highly esteemed, both for his moral and intellectual worth; so much do I value these Recollections, that when they are completed, I shall cut them out of the newspaper, and have them bound in a volume to accompany my set of the good old Bard's poems. I should rejoice to hear that there was an intention of collecting and publishing all he has left.

Perhaps he never knew that — with that sort of license which allows the introduction of a living portrait in an historical picture relating to other times — Some lines of Madoc were intended as a memorial of my respect for him. They are in the eighth section of the first part where Iolo is mentioned—

— Iolo, Old Iolo, he who knows,
The virtues of all herbs of mount or vale,
Or greenwood shade, or quiet brooklet's bed;
Whatever lore of science, or of song,
Sages and Bards of old have handed down.

Some of your anecdotes I have heard from his own lips. This, which has reached me to-day concerning Richard Brothers, is new to me, and has interested me much, because I have no doubt that a system of such delusion, in furtherance of revolutionary designs, was carried on, and that it had wide ramifications.

These ramifications extended to England. What I have collected upon this subject is in the 28th volume of the Quarterly Review, pp. 36-42. But I have not been able to pursue it farther, for the papers published at Rome, by the Commissioners of the Inquisition, who inquired officially into the society at Avignon, are not to be procured, after great inquiry in Rome itself. Your anecdote is quite in the spirit of the intrigues in which that society was engaged.

The only paper of his which I possess, is A Popular Tale in Glamorgan, of which Craig-y-Dinas is the scene, and King Arthur, with his sleeping knights, the subject. If a transcript of this will be of any use to you, I shall have great pleasure in sending it: it is but short, filling only with his comments upon it, three parts of a sheet of letter paper.

I remain, Sir, with many thanks, yours obediently,

ROBERT SOUTHEY.

E. Waring, Esq., Plas-y-Felin, Neath.