1774 – 1843
Who was Robert Southey?
Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets", and Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 to his death in 1843. Although his fame has been long eclipsed by that of his contemporaries and friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Southey's verse still enjoys some popularity.
Southey was also a prolific letter writer, literary scholar, essay writer, historian and biographer. His biographies include the life and works of John Bunyan, John Wesley, William Cowper, Oliver Cromwell and Horatio Nelson. The last has rarely been out of print since its publication in 1813 and was adapted for the screen in the 1926 British film, Nelson. He was also a renowned Portuguese and Spanish scholar, translating a number of works of those two countries into English and writing a History of Brazil and a History of the Peninsular War. Perhaps his most enduring contribution to literary history is the children's classic The Story of the Three Bears, the original Goldilocks story, first published in Southey's prose collection The Doctor.
- Ambition is an idol, on whose wings great minds are carried only to extreme; to be sublimely great or to be nothing.
- I have told you of the Spaniard who always put on his spectacles when about to eat cherries, that they might look bigger and more attempting. In like manner I made the most of my enjoyment s: and through I do not cast my cares away, I pack them in as little compass as I can, and carry them as conveniently as I can for myself, and never let them annoy others.
- Affliction is not sent in vain, young man, from that good God, who chastens whom he loves.
- How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems.
- What will not woman, gentle woman dare; when strong affection stirs her spirit up?
- No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.
- Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live; Not where I love, but where I am, I die.
- All deception in the course of life is indeed nothing else but a lie reduced to practice, and falsehood passing from words into things.
- Order is the sanity of the mind, the health of the body, the peace of the city, the security of the state. Like beams in a house or bones to a body, so is order to all things.
- It is not for man to rest in absolute contentment. He is born to hopes and aspirations as the sparks fly upward, unless he has brutalized his nature and quenched the spirit of immortality which is his portion.
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