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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2358. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [late December 1813] ⁠* 

My dear R.

I send two packets which in reference to their contents may be called Odious. [1]  My Carmen Annuale has extended to such a length that four stanzas out of 17 will suffice for Sir Wm Parsons.

Mrs S. thanks Mrs R. for her note, & will be obliged to her for 8 packs. They may come either by the Paternoster Road, or the Via Murrayana. [2]  My Exchequer is the same as the Kings, & Bedford will answer all demands upon me. there.

I bought the Leviathan [3]  in London, & am reading it. For a book of close reasoning it is remarkably entertaining. But how often is Hobbes the dupe of words, & how often may his conclusions be confuted upon his own premises! He is however well worth reading, & well deserves the reputation which he holds in the world.

The effect of Orange Bowen  [4]  is that – cheese has fallen 1d/ in the pound at Keswick.

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ J Rickman Esqre
Endorsement: RS./ Decr. 1813
MS: Huntington Library, RS 218
Unpublished.
Dating note: dating from content. BACK

[1] i.e. relating to Southey’s at this time still unpublished Laureate ode Carmen Triumphale (originally titled ‘Carmen Annuum’). BACK

[2] i.e. via Longman or Murray. BACK

[3] Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679; DNB), Leviathan (1651). Southey’s copy was no. 1423 in the sale catalogue of his library. BACK

[4] The two main contenders for the hand of Princess Charlotte (1796–1817; DNB), only child of the Prince Regent, were: William, Hereditary Prince of Orange (1792–1849, King of the Netherlands 1840–1849); and Charlotte’s cousin, William, Duke of Gloucester (1776–1834; DNB). There was a spate of jokes about whether the Princess would prefer the ‘Dutch Orange’ or the ‘Gloucester cheese’. Clearly, Southey felt matters were tending towards the Dutchman, hence the fall in the price of cheese as an effect of the traditional Dutch cry of ‘Orange Bowen’ (literally ‘Orange First’). BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013