And who was Mrs. Southey?--who but she who was so long known, and so
great a favourite, as Caroline Bowles; transformed by the gallantry of
the laureate, and the grace of the parson, into her matrimonial
appellation. Southey, so long ago as the 21st of February, 1829,
prefaced his most amatory poem of All for Love, with a tender address,
that is now, perhaps, worth reprinting:--
"TO CAROLINE BOWLES.
"Could I look forward to a distant day,
With hope of building some elaborate lay,
Then would I wait till worthier strains of mine,
Might have inscribed thy name, O Caroline!
For I would, while my voice is heard on earth,
Bear witness to thy genius and thy worth.
But we have been both taught to feel with fear,
How frail the tenure of existence here;
What unforeseen calamities prevent,
Alas! how oft, the best resolved intent;
And, therefore, this poor volume I address
To thee, dear friend, and sister poetess!
"Keswick, Feb. 21, 1829. "ROBERT SOUTHEY."
The laureate had his wish; for in duty, he was bound to say, that
worthier strains than his bore inscribed the name of Caroline connected
with his own--and, moreover, she was something more than a dear friend
and sister poetess.
"The laureate," observes a writer in Fraser's Magazine, "is a
fortunate man; his queen supplies him with butts (alluding to the
laureateship), and his lady with Bowls: then may his cup of good fortune
* * * * *