Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/531

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511
SOUTHEY

underplot. It was frequently revived, and in 1757 was altered by David Garrick and produced at Drury Lane. It was known later as Isabella, or The Fatal Marriage. The general spirit of his comedies is well exemplified by a line from Sir Anthony Love (1691)—"every day a new mistress and a new quarrel." This comedy, in which the part of the heroine, disguised as Sir Anthony Love, was excellently played by Mrs Mountfort, was his best. He scored another conspicuous success in Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave (1696). For the plot of this he was again indebted to the novel by Mrs Behn. In his later pieces "Honest Tom Southerne" did not secure any great successes, but he contrived to gain better returns from his plays than Dryden did, and he remained a favourite with his contemporaries and with the next literary generation. He died on the 22nd of May 1746.

His other plays are: The Disappointment, or the Mother in Fashion (1684), founded in part on the Curioso Impertinente in Don Quixote; The Wives’ Excuse, or Cuckolds make themselves (1692); The Maid's Last Prayer; or Any, rather than fail (1692); The Fate of Capua (1700); The Spartan Dame (1719), taken from Plutarch's Life of Aegis; and Money the Mistress (1729).

See Plays written by Thomas Southerne, with an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author (1774).

SOUTHEY, ROBERT (1774–1843), English poet and man of letters, was born at Bristol on the 12th of August 1774. His father, Robert Southey, an unsuccessful linen draper, married a Miss Margaret Hill in 1772. When he was three, Southey passed into the care of Miss Elizabeth Tyler, his mother's half-sister, at Bath, where most of his childhood was spent. She was a whimsical and despotic person, of whose household he has left an amusing account in the fragment of autobiography written in a series of letters to his friend John May. Before Southey was eight years old he had read Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher, while his love of romance was fostered by the reading of Hoole's translations of Tasso and Ariosto, and of the Faerie Queene. In 1788 he was entered at Westminster school. After four years there he was privately expelled by Dr William Vincent (1739-1815), for an essay against flogging which he contributed to a school magazine called The Flagellant. At Westminster he made friends with two boys who proved faithful and helpful to him through life; these were Charles Watkyn Williams Wynn and Grosvenor Bedford. Southey's uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill, chaplain of the British factory at Lisbon, who had paid for his education at Westminster, determined to send him to Oxford with a view to his taking holy orders, but the news of his escapade at Westminster had preceded him, and he was refused at Christ Church. Finally he was admitted at Balliol, where he matriculated on the 3rd of November 1792, and took up his residence in the following January. His father had died soon after his matriculation.

At Oxford he lived a life apart, and gained little or nothing from the university, except a liking for swimming and a knowledge of Epictetus. In the vacation of 1793 Southey's enthusiasm for the French Revolution found vent in the writing of an epic poem, Joan of Arc, published in 1796 by Joseph Cottle, the Bristol bookseller. In 1794 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, then on a visit to Oxford, was introduced to Southey, and filled his head with dreams of an American Utopia on the banks of the Susquehanna. The members of the " pantisocracy " were to earn their living by tilling the soil, while their wives cared for the house and children. Coleridge and Southey soon met again at Bristol, and with Robert Lovell developed the emigration scheme. Lovell had married Mary Fricker, whose sister Sara married Coleridge, and Southey now became engaged to a third sister, Edith. Miss Tyler, however, would have none of " pantisocracy " and " aspheterism,"and drove Southey from her house. To raise the necessary funds for the enterprise Coleridge and he turned to lecturing and journalism. Cottle generously gave Southey £50 for Joan of Arc; and, with Coleridge and Lovell, Southey had dashed off the drama, printed as the work of Coleridge, on The Fall of Robespierre. A volume of Poems by R. Southey and R. Lovell was also published by Cottle in 1795. Southey's uncle, Mr Hill, now desired him to go with him to Portugal. Before he started for Corunna he was married secretly, on the 14th of November 1795, to Edith Fricker. On his return to England his marriage was acknowledged, and he and his wife had lodgings for some time at Bristol. He was urged to undertake a profession, but the Church was closed to him by the Unitarian views he then held, and medicine was distasteful to him. He was entered at Gray's Inn in February 1797, and made a serious attempt at legal study, but with small results. At the end of 1797 his friend Wynn began an allowance of £160 a year, which was continued until 1806, when Southey relinquished it on Wynn's marriage. His Letters written during a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal were printed by Cottle in 1797, and in 1 797-1 799 appeared two volumes of Minor Poems from the same press. In 1798 he paid a visit to Norwich, where he met Frank Sayers and William Taylor, with whose translations from the German he was already acquainted. He then took a cottage for himself and his wife at Westbury near Bristol, and afterwards at Burton in Hampshire. At Burton he was seized with a nervous fever which had been threatening for some time. He moved to Bristol, and after preparing for the press his edition of the works of Thomas Chatterton, undertaken for the relief of the poet's sister and her child, he sailed in r8oo for Portugal, where he began to accumulate materials for his history of Portugal. He also had brought with him the first six books of Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), and the remaining six were completed at Cintra. The unrhymed, irregular metre of the poem was borrowed from Sayers.

In 1801 the Southeys returned to England, and at the invitation of Coleridge, who held out as an inducement the society of Wordsworth, they visited Keswick. After a short experience as private secretary to Isaac Corry, chancellor of the exchequer for Ireland, Southey in 1803 took up his residence at Greta Hall, Keswick, which he and his family shared thenceforward with the Coleridges and Mrs Lovell. His love of books filled Greta Hall with a library of over r4,ooo volumes. He possessed many valuable MSS., and a collection of Portuguese authorities probably unique in England. After 1809, when Coleridge left his family, the whole household was dependent on Southey's exertions. His nervous temperament suffered under the strain, and he found relief in keeping different kinds of work on hand at the same time, in turning from the History of Portugal to poetry. Madoc and Metrical Tales and Other Poems appeared in 1805, The Curse of Kehama in 1810, Roderick, the last of the Goths, in 1814. This constant application was lightened by a happy family life. Southey was devoted to his children, and was hospitable to the many friends and even strangers who found their . way to Keswick. His friendship for Coleridge was qualified by a natural appreciation of his failings, the results of which fell heavily on his own shoulders, and he had a great admiration for Wordsworth, although their relations were never intimate. He met Walter Savage Landor in 1808, and their mutual admiration and affection lasted until Southey's death.

From the establishment of the Tory Quarterly Review Southey, whose revolutionary opinions had changed, was one of its most regular and useful writers. He supported Church and State, opposed parliamentary reform, Roman Catholic emancipation, and free trade. He did not cease, however, to advocate measures for the immediate amelioration of the condition of the poor. With William Gifford, his editor, he was never on very good terms, and would have nothing to do with his harsh criticisms on living authors. His relations with Gifford's successors, Sir J. T. Coleridge and Lockhart, were not much better. In 1813 the laureateship became vacant on the death of Pye. The post was offered to Scott, who refused'it and secured it for Southey. A government pension of some £160 had been secured for him, through Wynn, in 1807, increased to £300 in 1835. In 1817 the unauthorized publication of an early poem on Wat Tyler, full of his youthful republican enthusiasm, brought many attacks on Southey. He was also engaged in a bitter controversy with Byron, whose first attack on the " ballad-monger " Southey in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers nevertheless did not prevent them from meeting on friendly terms. Southey makes little reference