Part Four, covering the period 1810-1815, was a crucial one for Southey’s career and reputation. It has, however, never before been fully documented or fully understood. By 1810 he was established in Keswick...
129. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [14 June 1795] *
Bedford — he is dead. my dear Edmund Seward. after 6 weeks suffering.
these Grosvenor are the losses that gradually wean us from life. may that man want consolation in his last hour who would rob the survivor of the belief that he shall again behold his friend.
When I went with him into Worcestershire I was astonished at the general joy his return occasioned. the very dogs ran out to him. Good God in that room where I have so often seen him — he now lies in his coffin.
it is like a dream. the idea that he is dead. that his heart is cold — that he whom but yesterday morning I thought & talked of — as alive — as the friend I knew & loved — dead. when these things come home to the heart they palsy it. I am sick at heart. & if I feel thus acutely what must his sisters feel — what his poor old mother — whose life was wrapt up in Edmund. Good God I have seen her look at him till the tears ran down her cheek.
there is a strange vacancy in my heart. the sun shines as usual — but there is a blank in existence to me. I have lost a friend — & such a one! —
God bless you my dear dear Grosvenor. write to me immediately. I will try by assiduous employment to get rid of very melancholy thoughts — I am continually dwelling on the days when we were together. there was a time when the sun never rose that I did not see Seward. it is very wrong to feel thus — it is unmanly.
God bless you.
Write to me immediately.
I wrote to Edmund on receiving your last. my letter arrived the hour of his death 4 o clock on Wednesday last. perhaps he remembered me at that hour.
Grosvenor I am a child. & all are children who fix their happiness on such a reptile as man. this great this self-ennobled being called man! the next change of weather may blast him.
there is another world. where these things will be am[MS torn]ded.
God help the man who survives all his friends.
* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Postmark: AJU/ 15/ 95
Watermark: Crown and anchor with G R underneath
Endorsement: Recd. June 15. 1795 Ansd same day
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, pp. 240–241 [where it is dated 15 June 1795]. BACK