2469. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 August 1814 

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

2469. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 August 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick 19 Aug. 1814

My dear G.

Still you misunderstand either my meaning, or the nature of blank verse, & conceive cadences & contractions to be irregularities, which are perfectly regular; & employed ad libitum, [1]  without being intended to produce any particular beauty of effect, by Milton & the Elizabethan Dramatists, – as any page of any one of them will abundantly prove. [2] 

I have added about 30 lines at the close of the 21st section [3]  with the best effect. This section having no action of its own (thoughx necessary to prepare & render probable the temper of Julian at his death) could only be made to finish well by what a common place critic would pronounce a bathos, – by passing from passion to repose: & this by the use of description made subservient to moral feeling, is I think well effected

Knox [4]  is pickling himself in the sea, but returns to Keswick in a few days. He improves upon acquaintance – & we like him well. – He prays for an English dedication, – & as the only two persons who have seen the intended one agree in this, I suppose they fairly represent the general opinion. So English let it be. [5]  – I had nearly forgot to thank you for the European [6]  & your good offices therein. There are two {is one} inaccuraciesy – I did not go to Westminster till 1788. – & my engagement with Corry is represented a little too complaisantly to the Irish Chancellor, whose real tho secret intention was to convert me into a tutor for his son.

God bless you – I have a table covered with proof sheet, & letters to be answered



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre
Endorsement: 19. Augt. 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘at will’. BACK

[2] Southey here responds to Bedford’s critique of MS versions of Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[3] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814), Book 21, lines 435–469. BACK

[4] John William Knox (1784–1862), clergyman, scholar and usher at Westminster School 1806–1821. BACK

[5] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814) was to be dedicated to Bedford. Southey had vacillated between writing a Latin or English dedication. Although he preferred the former, Bedford, to whom a Latin version had been sent, wished for the latter; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 17 July 1814 (Letter 2461) and 7 August 1814 (Letter 2467). BACK

[6] 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.’, European Magazine, 66 (July 1814), [3]-5. Southey’s date of entry at Westminster was mistakenly given as 1787. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013