137. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [started before
and continued on] 23 October 
My dear Grosvenor mark the ludicrous association of words I have
just discovered in Joan
now they reachd
The house of PENITENCE. CREDULITY
Stood at the gate, stretching her eager head
As tho to listen; on her face
A smile that promisd premature assent.
Tho her behind, Regret a meagre fiend
what a curious double-meaning by placing behind before. I have placed it after
Friday. Oct. 23d
And where Grosvenor do you suppose the Fates have condemned me for six months?
to Spain & Portugal! — indeed my heart is very heavy — I would have
refused but I was wearied of everlastingly refusing all my mothers wishes —
& & it is only one mode of
wearing out a period that must be unpleasant to me any where. Edith is to be with my Mother during my absence. on
this condition only would I go.
I now know neither when I go nor where. except that we cross to
Corunā & thence by land to Lisbon. Cottle is delighted with the idea of
a volume of travels — my Edith
persuades me to go & then weeps that I am going tho she would not permit
my <me to> stay — tis well
that my mind is never unemployed — I have about 900 lines & half a
preface yet to compose & this I am resolved to finishd by Wednesday
night next. it is more than probable that I shall go in a fortnight.
then the advantageous possibility of being captured by the French
— or the still more agreable chance of going to Algiers — with perhaps the
pleasant alternative of circumcision — or another operation which qualifies for
high office. then to give my inside to the fishes on the road, & carry
my outsides to the bugs on my arrival — the luxury of sleeping with the mules —
& if they should kick in the night — & to travel Grosvenor with a lonely
heart — & to know that hers is as lonely!
when I am returned I shall be glad that I have been. the
knowledge of two languages is worth acquiring — & perhaps the climate
may agree with me & counteract a certain habit of skeletonization, that
tho I do not apprehend it will hasten me to the worms — will if it continue
certainly cheat them of their supper.
Warm with desire & eager for delight 
They chid the lingering day & prayd for night
And whilst they loathd the day stars envious light
They chid the slow approach of lingering night
that is the idea. your other four lines are better compressd in two — for the
second “that oer the wave in widestretchd ruin past” is expletive &
Sing now the blast that joind with furious breath
The light & lover &c.
Can you spare time to send me the MSS before it be printed. if you can I have the
Greek, & will peruse it with a fault-finding eye
concerning the moral tendency of the poem we differ. — I should
like to find all the faults I can in its execution — this is a friends duty
before printing. afterwards he will look for beauties.
You are all mystery. God bless & prosper you.
We will write a good opera. my expedition will teach me the
costume of Spain. by the by I have made a discovery respecting the story of the
Mysterious Mother. Ld O— tells it of Tillotson. the story is printed in a work
of Bp. Halls 1652.  he heard
Perkins  (the clergyman whom Fuller calls an excellent Chirurgeon
at joynting of a broken soul  — he would pronounce the word Damn with such an
emphasis as left a dolefull echo in his auditors ears a good while after.
Warton-like  I must go on with Perkins & give you an
epigram — he was lame of the right hand — the Latin is as blunt as a good
humourd joke need be
Dextera quantum vis fuerat tibi manea, docendi
Pollebas mira dexteritate tamen. 
Tho Nature thee of thy right hand
Right well thou writest with thy hand thats left.
now all this in a parenthesis!) Hall adds that he afterwards discoverd the story
in two German authors, & that it really happened in Germany. if you have
not had your transcription of the Tragedy bound there is a curious piece of
information to annex <to> it — & I believe unknown to any
person except myself.
you must write to me often at Lisbon. with the Rev. Herbert Hill Lisbon is direction
enough. your letters will lie there till my arrival — by the by — number them on
the outside 1 — 2 &c that I may read them chronologically. you will of
course often hear from me.
I have journal books getting ready at Cottles for me. if I next I hope to become master of the two
languages — & to procure some of the choicest authors. from their
miscellanies & collections that I cannot purchase — I shall transcribe
the best or favourite pieces & translate — for we have little literature
of those parts. & these I shall request some person fond of poetry to
point out — if I am fortunate enough to find out
<one>. mais — helas! J en doute as well as you. & fear me
I shall be friendless for six months.
Grosvenor I am not
happy. when I get to bed — reflection comes with solitude & I think of
all the objections to the journey. tis right however to look at the white side
of the shield —
the damned Algerines. if they should take me — it might make a
very pretty subject for a chapter in my memoirs, but of this I am very sure that
my Biographer would like it better than I should.
I sit for my picture  by Cottles
particular desire on Monday
preface-writing is an unpleasant job.
have you seen the Mæviad?  the poem is not equal to the former production of the same
author — but the spirit of panegyric is more agreable than that of satire
& I love the man for his lines to his own friends. there is an imitation
of Otium Divos  very
eminently beautiful. Merry  has been satyrized enough too much & praised too much — his taste is debauched
but he is a man of Genius.
I am in hopes that the absurd fashion of wearing powder has
received its death-blow. the scarcity we are threatened with (& of which
we have as yet experienced a very slight earnest) renders it now highly
criminal. I am glad you are without it.
where is Horace & what is he doing or thinking of? is it not
that the best years of life should be spent in anxiety!
is Cadman  with you? that man deserves ten years more
Tippooing  for not writing his life. tell him
& now God bless you. write to me & send me your
MSS directly. to all your friends my affectionate remembrances.
* Address: Grosvenor Charles Bedford Esqr/
New Palace Yard/ Westminster./ Single Sheet
Postmark: AOC/ 24/
Watermarks: Figure of Britannia; COLES/ 1794
Endorsements: Recd. Octr. 24. 1795; Ansd. Octr. 29. sent copy of/ Hero &
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22
published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and
Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I,
pp. 251–254 [in part, where it is dated 23 October 1795]. BACK
 A revised version of these lines appeared in
Southey’s Joan of Arc, An Epic Poem (Bristol
and London, 1796), p. 344. BACK
 A quotation from Grosvenor Charles Bedford’s
translation of Musæus (fl. c. early 6th century), published as The Loves of Hero and Leander (1797). BACK
 Horace Walpole, 4th
Earl of Orford (1717–1797; DNB), The Mysterious Mother. A Tragedy (1768), a play dealing with
incest; John Tillotson (1630–1694; DNB), Archbishop
of Canterbury; Joseph Hall (1574–1656; DNB), Bishop
of Norwich, religious writer, and satirist. Southey is citing Hall’s Resolutions and Decisions of Divers Practicall Cases of
Conscience, 2nd edn (London, 1650), pp. 412–415. BACK
 William Perkins
(1558–1602; DNB), theologian and Church of England
 Southey had
borrowed Thomas Fuller (1607/8–1661; DNB), The History of the Worthies of England (1662) from the
Bristol Library Society between 4 May and 1 June 1795. His quotation,
however, is from Fuller, The Holy State (Cambridge,
1642), p. 90. BACK
 A comparison with the
poet and historian Thomas Warton (1728–1790; DNB). BACK
 Thomas Fuller, The Holy State
(Cambridge, 1642), p. 92. BACK
1795, Southey was painted by Peter Vandyke (1729–1799; DNB). The portrait is now in the National Portrait Gallery,
 William Gifford (1756–1826; DNB), The Mæviad (1795). His previous poem was The
Baviad, a Paraphrastic Imitation of the First Satire of Persius
 Horace (65–8 BC), Odes, Book 2, no. 16. Gifford’s version appeared in
The Mæviad (London, 1795), p. 55. BACK
 Robert Merry
(1755–1798; DNB), who wrote under the pseudonym
‘Della Crusca’. BACK
 Unidentified; a
friend of the Bedfords. BACK
 A reference to Tippu
Sultan (1750–1799), Sultan of Mysore (from 1782), who was defeated and
killed at Seringapatam in 1799. BACK