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...
289. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 4 June 1814*
June 4. 1814
My dear Girl
I am going to relate to you a very extraordinary dream from which I am yet scarcely awake, and which fills my mind with unspeakable delight. Methought that I was hurried away to London which I had so lately left, and told to sleep in an attick story in Fleet Street, and to visit half the Sugar Warehouses in Town, climbing up slimy stairs amidst treacle, Figgs, and Barrels of Raisins. Soon after I thought I was whirl'd away 'in the Spirit' to Rochester, and had to gaze from the top of the old Castle, and tried in vain to encompass the works at Chatham amidst a pouring rain! From hence I was compeld to ride or fly through a fog as blue as the smoke of Gunpowder, and was surrounded by tongues speaking every thing but what I understood. Nothing ran in my head but French prisoners, and that I was going with them to Dover! Cossacks in bearskings help'd to fill the crowded road before us, and I once for a moment, which is the case with other dreams, saw as plainly as I ever did awake, the tower of Canterbury Cathedral. After this, night seem'd to close in fast, and with my whole company I was destined to descend steep chalk hills, and go headlong into the Sea. It was in vain to expostulate with the palefaced Spectre who directed our course, I found myself surrounded by a hubbub of voices, and trunks of old clothes, (you know I am always busy in that way in my sleep) and the roar of the Sea-beach, mingled with loud discharges of immense Artillery place'd on Cliffs over our heads. I saw Queen Ann's pocket piece  as plain as I ever shall, unless I see it when I am awake. My head soon after was full of Music, and I plainly and distinctly heard a band of Angels in Red coats on a Mountain in the Clouds, play on trumpets, the well-known tune 'All's Well'.  I then saw the flash of Cannon from Ships of War in the Harbour, which were answerd from Stupendous heights by the thunder of Thirty two pounders, and a tripple fire of an Army placed on the beach, whose guns were all directed towards France!!! In short, nothing could excedd the strange scenes and feelings in my dream except the astonishment I felt when I awoke and actualy found myself alive and well at the King's head Inn, at Dover, where I am now writing with one hand and smoking with the other.! If I dare be certain that I am now awake, Mr Weston is now in the room with me, writing to his sister.
We hope to see Ramsgate and Margate, and to be home by next Thursday, but we expect to see the great visitors land here on Monday, when all the bustle will be renewd. Yon cannot write to me because after Monday we shall fly round the Coast like Sea-Gulls in search of what we can catch. Pray do not mention my Dream in your letters home, untill I can see you, or pass by you to Shefford.—
God bless you, my dear life untill good fortune sends me to you again. These glorious scenes I wish to Heaven you could see, but it cannot be now.—
Yours, with a Father's feelings
Dorrevin's French Hotel
& King's Head Inn.