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...
82. Robert Bloomfield to Capel Lofft, [? April/May 1802]*
—Mr Swan has printed the 6th Edition of the Farmer's Boy so as to give much satisfaction to those who pretend to understand printing of which number I am not one. He has fitted up a new place for his business and has an order from Mr Hood and Longman & Rees to print 5000 of the small 'Rural Tales', and after what I apprized you of, or, rather would have apprized you of, in regard to the nature and extent of the objection raised against the short notes of approbation, you will not be surprised that their resolution to omit them and then make this 2nd Edition exactly like the larger copies of the first is again urged, and Mr Swan is acting accordingly. As I had the misfortune to incur your high displeasure when the subject was agitated before, and as I then declared against ever mentioning it again, it is with unspeakable feelings that I thus forfeit my resolution and inform you now, rather than be silent until it be done.
You Sir, I remember, said of these notes that 'publication would be the best proof'. They are published Sir! and I can neither shut my ears against a company, nor stop the postman from bringing me public opinions.—I am not permitted to particularize, and may only say that the dislike of readers is just as I said it would be, and that dislike expresst without reserve to me, and of course to those who own the other half of the property.  —I am persuaded that if you would have heard me 4 months ago on this subject that I should not now have to write thus, but as it is, I feel myself to be performing a Duty, and cannot forbear.—With prayers that you, Sir, and Mrs Lofft may pass a long life together without pain or vexation, and that you will both withhold your censures where you have not full information, I remain