Robert Southey (August 12, 1774 to March 21, 1843) was poet laureate of England from 1813 to 1843. This financially comfortable position was not always typical of the poet's life. Although born to middle class affluence, his personal generosity (he took under his roof the family Coleridge abandoned) and commitment to the writer's life, meant that he must write a lot to support his family. And he did that: biographies (Joan of Arc, and John Wesley, among others, were subjects) and histories in addition to essays and poetry.
Though his political sympathies shifted, Southey's compassion for other people was always a cardinal feature. His English Eclogues contain several portraits of elderly poor women living a marginal existence in the English countryside. It is not surprising that such a heart loved cats, and once said, a “kitten is in the animal world what the rosebud is in the garden.”