190. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 December [1796] 

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

190. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 8 December [1796] ⁠* 

December 8th. Bath.

I was at Bristol when your letter arrived — the inclosed was immediately written, I have spoken of Robert Haynes [1]  as your character of him taught me he deserved to be spoken of — he will need no other introduction. if my friend Thomas revisits Lisbon & I shall by this post assure him there is no danger in so doing — you may send any thing by him to introduce him to Haynes — who may then supply my place to Thomas.

you mistook me about Madoc. I had neither the intention or wish of immediate publication. twas a forlorn hope for the future. I wrote to Wynn about five days ago — & told him the only remora that would detain me here after Christmas. I am as little content with the world as you are, but I do not like Allens gunpowder plot. the world must be mended by the total reorganization of society. & as a Christian I believe this must take place. if I did not — I should join the Atheism of Allen — without embracing his plans for the improvement of a rascally public. you call yourself an aristocrat — & before God I know no man whose opinions & feelings are more anti-aristocratical!

I shall probably visit London a week before Edith — to look about me & fix. will you house me for that time? your plan makes some alteration in mine — I meant to live about Newington to be in the road between Brixton & the Exchequer — now the nearer we are to Lincolns Inn the better — & the nearer to each other.

But why so anxious Grosvenor as to injure your health? a little stoicism amalgamates well with human affections & virtues & methinks you are too anxious: you have already enough for all wants — & all necessary comforts — & your heart is now your own. a single man needs only good raiment & shelter. if his affections be not engaged & these fail to make him happy — nothing can. that man should ever want these!

Do you expect to find me altered much? I feel myself the same now as when I first began to feel: & can trace the developement of my character thro every stage. it is tranquilized — not changed. remember you the first of March 1792? [2]  how we stalked thro London streets — higher than all we met — I was then not quite eighteen when I begun the career of an author running plenum sed [3]  against a great block with a wig on it —. five years produce strange changes in the little world of our own affairs!

fare you well! the day is short. the work is long [4]  — said Ali.

I have just read Carlyles Arabic Translations [5]  — Zounds what stuff is called Poetry!

Yrs

R Southey.

My Uncle lives next door to the only English Hotel where Haynes will go upon landing. he has only to give him the letter.


Notes

* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: BATH
Postmark: [partial] 96
Watermark: [Obscured by MS binding]
Endorsement: Recd. Decr. 9. 1796
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Unidentified; a friend of the Bedford family who was going to Lisbon. BACK

[2] The first issue of The Flagellant, a collaboration between Southey and schoolfellows, including Grosvenor Charles Bedford, appeared on 1 March 1792. BACK

[3] The Latin translates as ‘full butt’. BACK

[4] An adaptation of ‘The Tale of Beryn’ (present in some variants of The Canterbury Tales), line 3631. BACK

[5] Joseph Dacre Carlyle (1758–1804; DNB), Specimens of Arabian Poetry, From the Earliest Time to the Extinction of the Kaliphat, with some Account of the Authors (1796). BACK

Published @ RC

March 2009