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

2449. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 22 June 1814 ⁠* 

22 June 1814.

My dear Grosvenor

I expected the termination which your letter communicates. [1]  A prolongation of life could only have been feebleness & pain to himself, & fear & suffering to all around him. The passage now has been short & easy, – & what more could xxxxx have {be} prayed for than thus to fall asleep in ripe old age?

If I were to look round the world & ask myself what man there is in it whom I should miss the most if he were removed, – you would be the man. Excepting Wynn you are the oldest friend I have, & with no one has by my communication been so uninterruptedly frequent. For many very many years there has never occurred a day in which some circumstance or other has not brought you to my mind. Brixton is perhaps the most important scene of my literary life, – x whenever I arrive at that sort of canonization which Poets as well as Saints must die before they can attain, y the summer house there (if it be standing) will be given as a vignette to one of the chapters of my life Memoirs – With the recollections of that time, [2]  – & of many others, your fathers memory is blended, – & among all your friends I venture to say that none knew him better, or xxxxx him or valued him more. The only mistake which Nature made was in not making him a Prince. But his elements were happily mixt, & when a tale touched him there was a look in his eye which I shall never forget.

Remember me most kindly to your mother & Henry & believe me

ever most affectionately yours

Robert Southey.

A momentary recollection has just brought an April smile [3]  upon my cheek, – the letter which you wrote to Wynn upon an occasion like this, & the use to which the Welsh God Almighty in reversion applied it.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ 9. Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 25 JU 25/ 1814
Endorsement: 22 June 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 354–355 [in part]. BACK

[1] The death of Bedford’s father. BACK

[2] Southey had completed the first draft of Joan of Arc, the poem that made his name, in 1793 at the Bedfords’ house at Brixton. BACK

[3] A smile that comes after great distress, like sunshine after a storm. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013