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

2420. Robert Southey to Joseph Cottle, 13 May 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. May 13. 1814

My dear Cottle

I have seen so dreadful a case of haemorrhage from the lungs terminate favourably that your letter alarms me less than it would otherwise have done. [1]  Basil Montagu, the younger [2]  continued to bleed at intervals for six weeks in January & February last: – & he has this day left Keswick without any dangerous symptom remaining upon him. Two other instances ha of the same kind have occurred within my knowledge. I will therefore hope for a favourable termination. – Your letter comes upon me when I am like a broken reed – so deeply has the loss of Danvers wounded me. Were I to lose you also I should never have heart to enter Bristol again.

Write to me, upon {when} you can without effort, to say how you go on; – meantime xx x your sister I dare say will have the goodness to let me know.

What answer shall I make to your exhortations? We differ perhaps (if indeed there be a difference) more in appearances, than in realities, – more in {the} forms than in {the} substance of our belief. I have already so many friends on the other side of the grave, that a large portion of my thoughts & affections are in another world, & it is only the certainty of another life which could make the changes & insecurity of this endurable.

May God bless you & restore you my dear old friend is the sincere prayer of

your affectionate

R Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ Mr Cottle/ Brunswick Square/ Bristol
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 82; 229
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public Library
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Cottle had been ‘afflicted with the bursting of a blood vessel, occasioned, probably, by present agitations of mind, which reduced … [him] to the point of death’, Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey (London, 1847), p, 379. BACK

[2] Basil Montagu (1793–1830), eldest son of the author and legal reformer Basil Montagu. After the death of his mother, young Basil had been cared for by William and Dorothy Wordsworth. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013