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

2433. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 5 June 1814 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Another homo cui nomen [1]  Colburn, Lord of the New Monthly Magazine, – has written for my portrait. [2]  Now according to all rules of arithmetic (of which I know little), & algebra (of which I know nothing) – if one {a} portrait in one magazine be to do me yeoman service, portraits in two will do the service of two yeomen. So do you answer for me to the European, either by note or better thro Mr Braithwaite, [3]  offering your drawing, [4]  – & I will send the alter homo [5]  to the Doctor for to make use of the bust. [6]  Quoad [7]  the biographical sketch; nothing more need be pr mentioned than that I was born at Bristol Aug 12. 1812 1774, Prince & Poet having the same birth day, – was of Westminster & afterwards of Balliol College Oxford. & that my maternal Uncle being Chaplain at to the British Factory at Lisbon, my attention studies were by that circumstance led towards the literature & history of Portugal & Spain. This is what I shall tell Colburn & his merry man may dress it up as he pleases.

But O Grosvenor I have this day thought of a third “portrait of the author” – to be prefixed to the delectable history of Dr D. D. [8]  – to which history I yesterday wrote the preface with a peacocks pen. [9]  – It is to be the back of the writer, sitting at his desk & with his peacock-pen in his hand. [10]  – As soon as Roderick [11]  is finished, – which it will very soon be, I think the spirit will move me to spur myself on with his delicious book by sending it piecemeal to you. Will you enter into a commercial treaty with me, – & send Butler in return? [12] 

I should yo like you soon to make your communication to Asperne [13]  that he may not think me uncivil in giving another man the preference.

I am transcribing the 20th book for you. Two more will compleat it. [14]  And I have begun an ode (unrhymed) to the Emperor of R., meaning to do the same devoir to the K of Prussia & the Prince Regent, & publish the three together instanter, [15]  – in a very few days I shall expect to send them to your Overseership –

So God bless you

RS.

June 5. 1814


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ 9. Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 8 JU 8/ 1814
Endorsement: 5 June 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 77–78 [in part]. BACK

[1] ‘Man who is called’. BACK

[2] Colburn had asked to borrow a portrait of Southey, in order to produce an engraving for the New Monthly Magazine. Not entirely satisfied with Southey’s response, he borrowed the bust sculpted by James Smith (1775–1815) in October 1813 and ‘got someone to attempt the impossible task of making a portrait from it, which he engraved as an original picture: – a miserable looking wretch it is – something in physiognomy between assassin & hangman’ (see Southey to Anne Grant, 24 July 1824). The offending engraving, accompanied by a ‘long Memoir’, appeared in the New Monthly Magazine, 1 (January-July 1814), Frontispiece; 566–571. BACK

[3] Daniel Braithwaite (d. 1817), co-owner of the European Magazine 1782–1807. BACK

[4] A ‘Memoir of Robert Southey, Esq.’ and a portrait ‘Engraved by Blood, from an Original Drawing by Edridge [Henry Edridge 1768–1821; DNB], in the Possession of G.C. Bedford, Esq.’, appeared in European Magazine, 66 (July 1814), [3]–5. BACK

[5] ‘Other man’. BACK

[6] Robert and Edith May Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 5 June 1814, Letter 2435. BACK

[7] ‘About’. BACK

[8] Dr Daniel Dove, the hero of Southey’s Shandyesque novel The Doctor (1834–1847). BACK

[9] The Doctor, 7 vols (London, 1834–1847), I. p. 39. BACK

[10] Edward Nash later drew such a view of Southey and it was added to the one volume edition of The Doctor (1848). BACK

[11] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[12] Material on ‘the Butler’, a comic hero invented by Southey and Bedford. BACK

[13] James Asperne (1757–1820), bookseller and proprietor of the European Magazine. BACK

[14] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) ran to 25 books. BACK

[15] Alexander I (1777–1825; Emperor of Russia 1801–1825); Frederick William III (1770–1840; King of Prussia 1797–1840) and the Prince Regent. The poems were published in book form as Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness The Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty The Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (1814). BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013