his life continued to be that of his friendships and publications. He saw much of Wordsworth, but, although they respected each other, there was, according to De Quincey, little cordiality between them. De Quincey found Southey serene and scholarly, but reserved and academic (cf. De Quincey, Autobiogr. chap. vi.) Henry Taylor visited him in 1823, and wrote that he was as personally attractive as he was intellectually eminent. His correspondence with Landor, Bilderdijk, and Caroline Bowles was a great resource. Characteristically in the case of one who lived so entirely for books, all his friendships were of the nature of literary alliances. The mutual admiration of him and Landor, men who differed on every conceivable subject except the merits of each other's writings, was almost ludicrous. In 1820 the university of Oxford created Southey D.C.L. (14 June), and in June 1826 he was elected M.P. for Downton in Wiltshire, but was disqualified in the following December as not possessing the necessary estate (Members of Parl. ii. 308). He seems indeed to have had no desire whatever to embark on a parliamentary career, and his election was effected without his knowledge by the influence of the Earl of Radnor, who admired his principles (cf. Noctes Ambros. ed. Mackenzie, ii. 255). He was offered at different times the editorship of the ‘Times’ (with 2,000l. a year) and the librarianship of the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, but declined both.
The admirable ‘Life of Wesley,’ Coleridge's ‘favourite among favourite books,’ appeared in 1820 (London, 2 vols. 8vo; 3rd edit. with notes by Coleridge and Alexander Knox, 1846, 8vo) (cf. Notes and Queries, 9th ser. i. 323). ‘The History of the Peninsular War’ (in three volumes), extending from 1823 to 1832, was a failure, being entirely superseded by Napier's. Southey had made the great mistake of neglecting the military part of the story, which, when the Duke of Wellington refused to entrust him with documents, he persuaded himself to think of little importance. He would have been better employed in writing those histories of Portugal and of the monastic orders which he sometimes meditated. Much that might have entered into these unwritten books adorns ‘Omniana’ (1812, 2 vols. 12mo), or its better-known successor, that glorified commonplace book ‘The Doctor’ (1834–7, London, 7 vols. 8vo, published anonymously; to the one-volume edition of 1848 was prefixed a portrait of ‘The Author,’ with his back turned squarely to the reader). The first two volumes of a copy of ‘The Doctor,’ in the British Museum, have manuscript notes by Coleridge. The nursery classic—‘The Three Bears’—is embedded in chap. 129. Southey's actual ‘Commonplace Book’ (London, 1849–1851, 4 vols. 8vo) was edited by his son-in-law, the Rev. J. Wood Warter, after his death. Between 1820 and 1828 much of Southey's attention was absorbed by the Roman catholic controversy, which the agitation for Roman catholic emancipation provoked. In 1824 he published ‘The Book of the Church’ (London, 2 vols. 8vo; very numerous editions), a narrative of striking episodes in English ecclesiastical history, delightfully written, but superficial and prejudiced. Charles Butler's reply produced Southey's ‘Vindiciæ Anglicanæ’ in 1826.
In 1825, returning to more purely literary work, Southey published ‘A Tale of Paraguay’ (London, 12mo), a poem on which, ‘impeded by the difficulties of Spenser's stanza,’ he had laboured at intervals for several years. The result, however, justified the exertion; the piece is among the most elegant and finished of his works. It is founded on an incident related in Dobrizhoffer's Latin ‘History of the Abipones,’ translated about the same time, and no doubt at his suggestion, by Sara Coleridge, still an inmate of his house. The long narrative ballads, ‘All for Love’ and ‘The Pilgrim of Compostella’ (1829), added little to his reputation; nor would much have been gained had he completed ‘Oliver Newman,’ designed to have been ‘an Anglo-American Iliad of King Philip's war,’ in the metre of ‘Kehama,’ on which he worked at intervals from 1815 to 1829. The fragment was included among his ‘Poetical Works’ (10 vols. 1837, 8vo). In 1829 appeared his ‘Sir Thomas More, or Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society’ (London, 1829, 2 vols. 8vo), a series of interviews between himself and the ghost of Sir Thomas More. The machinery excited the scathing ridicule of Macaulay. But the view of social evils to which Southey there gave expression, often in anticipation of Mr. Ruskin, was in many respects deeper and truer than that of his optimistic critic.
In 1830 Southey wrote a life of Bunyan for a new edition of the ‘Pilgrim's Progress.’ In 1831, to the ‘Attempts in Verse of John Jones, a servant,’ he prefixed an interesting ‘Introductory Essay on the Lives and Works of our Uneducated Poets.’ Besides an edition of Dr. Watts's ‘Poems,’ with memoir (1834, 12mo), and an edition of his own ‘Poetical Works, collected by himself’ (London, 10 vols. 8vo, 1837–8, 1841, 1843, 1850, and many one-volume editions), two more literary labours of importance remained for him to accomplish. One was the excellent life of Cowper prefixed to his standard edition of Cowper's