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

2576. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 18 March 1815 ⁠* 

Keswick. 18 March 1815

My dear G.

I have taken time enough to correct this Inscription; & if ever it can be made better it will not be by working doggedly at it. [1]  The main fault which you felt just as I did is removed; & the panegyric (l 15) is brought down to the right mark, tho I could not get rid of a cacophony between no & low without incurring the worse fault of having three nows in the course of two lines. – But enough of this – say something which may excuse me for not having written a letter of thanks, – if I had so done & inclosed these lines, instead of sending them thro you Mr R. might have thought it required a reply, – & I am so awkward myself at things of this kind that I am apt to suppose others are as well pleased as I am to escape from them.

So the Devil is broke loose again! [2]  Here is no room for speculation, – but my view of the moral government of things would lead to this semi-expectation, – that a civil war would cut off the miscreants of the French army, – & possibly take vengeance for the rest of the world upon Paris. At any rate the sword will not again be sheathed till the last roots of this military empire are tyranny are cut up.

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsement: 18 March 1815
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The letter replies to Bedford’s response to Southey’s inscription ‘Written in the Volume of Letters & Miscellaneous papers by Barrè Charles Roberts’; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 March 1815, Letter 2563. The poem was prompted by Grosvenor Bedford’s Letters and Miscellaneous Papers … With a Memoir of His Life (1814) of his cousin Barré Charles Roberts, who had died in 1810 aged 21. However, Southey’s poem not published until it appeared as ‘Written in an unpublished Volume of Letters, and Miscellaneous Papers, by Barré Charles Roberts’, Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), III, pp. 157–159, where it is mis-dated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

[2] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), who had left Elba on 26 February 1815 and returned to France. BACK

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August 2013