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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 1: 1791-1797, Edited By Lynda Pratt

108. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [before 15 October 1794] ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

Friar Bacons brazen head had more brains than all the Doctors at present in Oxford. what have you to do with Friar Bacons brazen head [1]  say you? simply this — it would answer all questions — even so tho by no art magic may you learn all you can wish of me by the mouth of Robert Lovell.

let me once more beg you to send the Minstrel & Sayers. [2]  I have promised to lend them — & wearied of making excuses. do send them to Bath by Lovell.

Would that March were over! Affection has one or two strong cords round my heart, & will tug painfully. you & Wynn! a little net work must be broken here — that I mind not. but my Mother does!

my mind is full of Futurity — & lovely is the prospect. I am now like a traveller crossing precipices to get home. but my foot shall not slip.

two sheets more & then you have our volume.

Write to me. since the 11th I have not heard of you. I shall expect you to write very long letters when ocean rolls between us. you know not what I feel at having fixd my resolution — I am exalted in my own eyes — I am of consequence to others — Life is desireable to me.

God bless you Grosvenor — be as happy as me — I wish I could say with me. you have parents, or you would join us I know — our system is so just & yet so lovely!

visit us at least in Pantisocrateia at some future day. tis but 6 weeks voyage & you may steal half a year for travel — & where else could you travel more agreably — or where could you see a society more worthy consideration?

fare thee well.

Robert Southey.

respectfully remember me to your friends. to Duppa if you see him my civic remembrances. ask him if he saw a Sonnet to the Nettle [3]  in the Mor. Chronicle of Wednesday or Thursday last: it is a delicate morceau of sedition — & inserted without my knowledge (I believe by Coleridge).

do send the Minstrel & Sayers.

will you favor me with your Witch of Endor.


Notes

* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Watermark: G R in a circle
Endorsement: Recd. Oct. 15 1794/ by Lovell
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, p. 226 [in part, where it is misdated 19 October 1794]. BACK

[1] According to legend, the philosopher Roger Bacon (c. 1214–1292?; DNB) created a talking brazen head which could answer any question. Southey later incorporated this information into Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), Book 10, lines 281–284n. BACK

[2] James Beattie (1735–1803; DNB), The Minstrel (1771–1774) and Frank Sayers (1763–1817; DNB), Poems (1792). BACK

[3] Southey’s sonnet ‘To the Nettle’ had appeared anonymously in the Morning Chronicle on 17 September 1794. BACK

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Published @ RC

March 2009