1737. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 29 January 1810 *
My dear Grosvenor
The halves  are arrived, – moon-bending is bending like the moon – but may as well be struck out altogether. I do not admit the validity of your other objections.  The rhymes are purposely reiterated in the one instance, & the redundant syllable <in the other> justified by the action which it describes. As for the Criticks – there are so many Camels for them in this poem, that a few gnats more or less will make no difference.  This I can tell you that in transcribing for the press I correct it with infinite care, – over & over & over again. Still it will be condemned as careless – because ordinary readers do not understand what carelessness is. I know very few persons will like it, & that there will be a great outcry against it. Had I in fact predetermined to write something which should be as offensive to common taste as possible I could not have succeeded better. Yet God knows this was not my intention.
The first proof is now before me, & I am very happy over it. How it will astonish you by & by to find Kehama in eight places at once.  I pride myself upon having (in this portion) managed the thousand and one arms of the Hindoo Gods skilfully. 
God bless you
Jany 29. 1810.
 Southey is replying to Bedford’s critique of a MS of The Curse of Kehama, published later in 1810. ‘Moon-bending’ did not appear in the final version of the book. It was originally intended for a deleted passage in Book 16, describing Ladurlad’s battle with a serpent. BACK