2565. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [4–]5 March 1815 

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 4: 1810-1815

2565. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [4–]5 March 1815 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

I suppose I meant to have substituted for ‘deposed’ the more explicit words ‘defeated, made prisoner & blinded. [1]  – In the last interview between Rusilla & Roderick do you perceive her hope that Roderick will make himself known & obtain a reputation as a Penitent & Saint, in those days more extensive & more lasting than that of conqueror? [2] 

This is Saturday night. I hope to send off the review of your book tomorrow, & as it will occupy but a few pages Gifford may perhaps find room for it in this number. [3]  You can supply a copy for the extracts. You will I am sure believe that I have neither in prose nor in verse said a word more on this subject than I feel in perfect truth. As the insertion has a motive of civility which G. will feel himself, you may remind him of the Greek epigram Ὠκεῖαι χάριτες γλυκερώτεραι. [4]  The extracts are so well chosen as to make a pleasing article. If I were Lord & Master of the Review I should perhaps insert the verses xxxxx at the end. I have made these corrections in them, [5] 

line 12 – Of Knowledge – instead of learning – because of

living on the next line.

16 –– –– Nor were the seeds
Of excellence thus largely given, & left
To struggle &c.
36 – By that unhappy father when he saw
This child of hope –
41 – Nor deem that such long anguish – & the grief
Which in the inmost soul doth strike &c
44 – The blessing which have been
this generalizes the application.

With regard to my coming to town, I know not what to say. It would be more easy to find reasons for it it, than to afford the time & the expence. There is neither corn nor grass growing for me while I take my pleasure, – there are no incomings if the grey goose quill suspends its pace, & the outgoings are as regular as time & tide.


Sunday. 5. March

I inclose this to Gifford, [6]  – you will find at the end of the reviewal some Greek from the Epigrams which I quote from memory, & am not Elmsley enough to accentuate. If you have the book you can do it for me. [7] 

I will make farther inquiry of Ballantyne. And you will please to take notice than when I growled at the cost of the parcel, it was an honest growl at an impudent imposition, & not a hint that you were to pay it; which you are not to do – on pain of my displeasure.

Have you ever observed a sort of family resemblance in Barre’s portrait to the Magister Rotulorum? – I wish I had suggested to you in time the fitness of having the name under it a fac-simile of his own hand-writing.

It is a shameful time since Ix have written to Wynn

God bless you


You will see that I have made some use of Rickmans observations.

The Deus Lunus will not suffer me to send you the Ode to Lodore which he has composed this evening, & which makes Mrs Wilson say ‘he’ll beat all you poets”. You have a great loss I assure you. The Lu Deus’s notion of an Ode is about as correct as it is of the Milky Way.


* Endorsement: Saturday 4 March 1815.
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814), the description of Witiza in the List of Characters, as ‘dethroned and blinded by Roderick’. BACK

[2] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814), Book 19, lines 102–106. BACK

[3] Southey’s review of Grosvenor Bedford’s Letters and Miscellaneous Papers … With a Memoir of His Life (1814), Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 509–519. This issue of the Quarterly was published in 23 March 1815, so Southey was just in time. BACK

[4] Palatine Anthology, x. 30: ‘swift favours are sweeter’. BACK

[5] i.e. Southey’s inscription to Barré Charles Roberts; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 March 1815, Letter 2563. The verses were not inserted in the article in the Quarterly Review. In fact, the poem was not published until it appeared as ‘Written in an unpublished Volume of Letters, and Miscellaneous Papers, by Barré Charles Roberts’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 157–159, where it is mis-dated ‘Keswick, 1814’. BACK

[6] The inclosure was Southey to William Gifford, 5 March 1815, Letter 2566. BACK

[7] Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 519. Callimachus (310/305–240 BC), Epigram 8: ‘ἱερὸν ὕπνον/ κοιμᾶται θνῄσκειν μὴ λέγε τοὺς ἀγαθούς’; ‘He sleeps a sacred sleep; do not say that good men die’. Southey translated this epigram in Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, p. 73, where it is dated 14 January 1798. The translation appeared unsigned in the Morning Post, 6 April 1798. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013