Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/64

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

superfluous. That partly explains Southey's amazing habits of business-like composition. He divides his time with the absolute punctuality of a city clerk between his various employments: writing Kehama before breakfast to earn 'immortality,' and dividing the rest of the day between reviews, histories, and the exposition of sound moral and political philosophy. His friend, Landor, to whom, by his own account, poetical composition meant nights broken by tears and days of absorption, wondered at Southey's facility, and, we must suppose, contrived to avoid the reflection that the wonder would be diminished when the value of the results was taken into account. People like Dante and Milton supposed that a whole life must be devoted to a great poem; Wordsworth felt at least that it would require an abundant allowance of 'wise passiveness.' Southey had the pleasant illusion that the only relaxation needed was a change of labour, and that the fertility of the mind could be preserved, not by lying fallow, but by a rotation of crops, poetical, political, historical, to say nothing of the multitudinous varieties of hackwork which filled up the interstices. It is odd, though characteristic, that so devoted a student of literature should never