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

2476. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [2 September 1814]⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Recepi. [1]  – I thought I had told you of the March to Moscow. Are you aware that the copy in the Courier was castrated of a rare stanza, in which Roscoe was the rhyme to Moscow. [2]  I did not like to publish any thing which would make a man laughed at for his vile politics, who is a thoroughly worthy man in all other points, & for whom I really feel much personal respect. Some day, if you are disposed to have a perfect copy, I will send it you; another stanza was added while I was dressing the other morning, in which the Edinburgh Prophet was {is} brought in. [3] 

By this time doubtless you know that both Knox [4]  & Herries were called back sooner than they expected. Of the latter in consequence I saw very little, merely a call on his part, & another on mine just before his departure. I directed him to Waswater the right way, & he let Hutton [5]  take him the wrong. I have had a volunteer guest since whom I was not sorry to get rid of. Fredk. Eden, Lord Henleys son, – a well-informed man, – but who does not improve upon farther acquaintance. [6] 

I shall be anxious to hear the success of your memorial to the Treasury – Where there is any disposition to do a good thing, the equity of the claim is a powerful plea – Here again there is reason to regret Perceval – who seems as much out of remembrance as if he had died before the flood.

There are three more proofs of Roderick [7]  still due. I am less hopeful about its reception than you appear to be, & between ourselves, have a strong indisposition to begin another poem, which looks very much like the feeling of a man whose prime is past. However when once the sea is broken all will go on well.

God bless you. Remember me to the Mag-rot – to your Mother & Miss Page

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 5 SE 5/ 1814
Endorsement: 2 Septr 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Unpublished. BACK

[1] ‘Go back’, ‘retreat’. BACK

[2] ‘The March to Moscow’, a ‘droll ballad’, published in the Courier, 23 June 1814. For the suppressed stanza see Southey to John Rickman, 15 June 1814, Letter 2442. BACK

[3] As published in Southey’s final collected edition, the stanza also took a swipe at Brougham. It read: ‘And Counsellor Brougham was all in a fume/ At the thought of the march to Moscow:/ The Russians, he said, they were undone,/ And the great Fee-Faw-Fum/ Would presently come/ With a hop, step, and jump unto London./ For as for his conquering Russia,/ However some persons might scoff it,/ Do it he could, and do it he would,/ And from doing it nothing would come but good,/ And nothing could call him off it./ Mr. Jeffrey said so, who must certainly know,/ For he was the Edinburgh Prophet./ They all of them knew Mr. Jeffrey’s Review,/ Which with Holy Writ ought to be reckon’d:/ It was through think and thin to its party true;/ Its back was buff, and its sides were blue/ Morbleu! Parbleu!/ It served them for Law and for Gospel too’; see Poetical Works, 10 vols (1837–1838), VI, pp. 218–219. BACK

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

[5] Thomas Hutton (1745–1831) acted as a guide to visitors to Keswick and owned his own natural history Museum in the town. BACK

[6] Frederick Eden (d. 1823), barrister and writer on international relations, was the eldest son of Morton Eden, 1st Baron Henley (1752–1830; DNB). BACK

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

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Published @ RC

August 2013