Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
127. Robert Bloomfield to Joseph Banfield, 1 May 1804*
Shepherd & Shepherdess, City Road, London. May 1, 1804
I feel very much relieved myself since receiving your kind and sensible letter. I had formed to myself a picture of the party who wrote under the signiture of B. C. which I am very agreeably surprised to find wrong. I had conceived the writer to be perhaps himself in search of preferment in the Navy, and having probably no very honourable intentions as to the family of the officer lately deceased; and I wrote in the moment of irritation what perhaps more sober reflection would have condemn'd; I wrote as I felt. After this apology on my part, I beg you will assure the young man that I send back his letter with much pleasure to myself, and an high opinion of your candour and interest in his behalf. Tell him by no means to despair of success in the persuit of poetry; but let him exert his faculties under the guardianship of moral Truth, and a conscientious regard for his own character, and then there is no great fear of offending, but certainly great hopes of the contrary. Tell him Sir, that I can have no possible claim whatever on the present he encloses. I would much rather give him my hand if I could reach him. I have five young children of my own, and I trust I have a Father's feelings too.
I am much pleased with so fair an understanding in this little business, and certainly shall not by any means give an unpleasant sensation to your young friend by making mention of what I am sure he will hereafter see to have been improper as to himself, and rather hard of digestion on my part.
With many thanks Sir, for your letter, and Respects to both, I of course return the Note; which you will not understand but with the sincerest regard to justice and the most obvious fulfillment of common civility. I have no claim on your friend; but feel gratified and entirely at ease from your communication.
Remaining, sir, your Obed, Humble Servant,