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...
276. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, 19 May 1812*
Shefford, Beds. May 19. 1812
I have this moment finishd an epistle to your Cousin Catherine, and I must here repeat the same story and the same information. Suffice it to say in short, that I live here for £15 per year rent, and paid in London £40. The present Duke of Grafton continues his fathers donation, so that I live rent free. We have a good House, a midling Garden, and a rich country on all sides every charm of spring surrounds us, and I am better in health, and my Daughter Mary who was drooping into a dangerous imbicility is gaining strength. we are all well besides, and convinced that the change is for the best. I have had much responsibility, and much anxiety too, for the last year, but hope that the storm is blown over, and that less interruption will be given in this my retirement than in the City Road. When I have taken some sketches of the objects around us I will, I hope, some day submit them to your inspection accompanied by some written description of this Town and vicinity. Pray let me hear from you, for I long to know the state of your health, and how Mr Baker does, and the Children.
The late cold winds gave us all colds and I was allmost blind for some days, but have now taken up my skewer to address most of my friends, and if you find this too short, you must remember that I shall again have the pleasure of writing if my health continues, and hope to say much more. If you should ever come to Clare-Hall —I have engaged to meet you. Thank you for your Devonshire invitation, but you see I am too far North for you. We ride to London in 7 hours. A poetical revolution has taken place there, my whole concern is got into new hands from the death of Mr Hood, and the relinquishment of the trade of the other partner. This happen'd just as I was busy with my domestic migration and harrassd my mind, and strength to the there utmost pitch of safety. I am now, thank God, settled in great measure, and at leisure to wait my coming fortune. A Robin is building at our back door, the Blackbird sings in the meadow behind, the Nightingale is heard even to the doors, the Cuckow plies his two notes all day, and a colony of frogs their one by twilight.
best love to All,
Yours, with delightful Remembrances, and respects