May 13th, 2014



I tracked down a poem by Southey last night. I needed it to bolster an argument I was having with myself about living too much in the past. I had thought the first line was "I have lived too much among the dead"; but it turned out to be "My days among the dead are passed"- and that instead of beating himself up for being unable to cope with modern life he's patting himself on the back for having his nose stuck in his Cicero.

It ends with him hoping- no false modesty about our Bob- that his own name will live for ever. When Shakespeare does that sort of thing he gets away with it. When Southey does it, well....

Poor Southey; he is remembered,  but it's mainly as the first generation romantic poet it's safe to disregard- or- in other words as the chap who isn't as good as Wordsworth and Coleridge. Byron took a terrific swipe at him for greasing up to royalty. Flytings are terrible things. The poet who loses is stuck in the shit forever.

He wasn't a bad poet, just a moderately decent one.  There's a poem about the Battle of Blenheim which- though rather heavy-handed- deserves to be read.