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

252. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 September 1797 ⁠* 

Sunday. Sept. 3. 1797.

My dear Grosvenor

It is a huge while since I have written to you. I have been an immensity of way since — even to the middle of Warwickshire, the quares why & the propter becauses of which, must be learnt hereafter. the result is that Charles Lloyd is with us at Burton. whose poetry if you have not seen you ought to see, & if you do not like you ought to be — in my scale of crimes & punishments I have not affixed the quantum due to so grievous an enormity.

My Mother is here — in a state of melioration. eke also my brother Tom, who would request to be remembered to you & Miles, [1]  were he not now perambulating the Isle of Wight with Lloyd.

Wynn says you are to send me my meat & drink — i-e- Coke upon Lyttleton. [2]  why delay it? for I am in a state of starvation for Law. by the by if you were to put a copy of Musæus [3]  into the parcel for my brother, you would give me more pleasure than your book has ever perhaps produced — for Tom is little used to marks of attentive kindness. perhaps I have done wrong in saying this — you are not an easy man to understand, & tho I have the best grammar of you of anyone living, I sometime think I shall {never} learn all your moods.

Your birth day is coming on. I shall assumes the old Poetical privilege & give you some good advice in some good blank verse, God willing.

for the lodgings. my mother will not live with me. she will however so often visit me as to make a second bedroom necessary wherever we lodge. I should add that I cannot furnish my own bed room, it were useless to add why — therefore we must be in furnished lodgings — therefore you see we cannot be with you — which I regret — & should still more so, if you did not seem already induced by circumstances to find town lodgings more burthensome than convenient.

As for the Law I will give you my advice fairly in few words — give it up. you never will make any thing of it. you want resolution, & you do not want support. a half-hearted man can never succeed in any-thing. whatever we would do well, we must do with all our hearts & with all our strength. the study of law you would also find irksome. you would xxx have little time & less inclination, & no compulsive necessity to make you swallow the dose patiently. give it up at once. shew Wynn this. I know he wishes you to persevere — but you may convince him that you have no perseverance.

God bless you Grosvenor. I expect my large paper copies daily — & shall ship off a cargo consigned to you.

Remember me to Horace. I will write to him soon — & ought to have done so before.

yrs affectionately

R Southey.

Remember me to Carlisle. does he know that crabs have the power of throwing off their claws when so broken as to be unmendable?


Notes

* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster/ Single
Stamped: RINGWOOD
Postmark: [partial] BSE/ 97
Watermark: Crown and anchor with 1796 beneath
Endorsement: 3 Septr 1797
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 142–143. BACK

[1] A friend of the Bedford family, he lived at Vanbrugh Fields, Greenwich. His first name is not recorded. BACK

[2] Edward Coke’s (1552–1643; DNB) Commentarie upon Littleton (1628) was the first part of his four part Institutes of the Laws of England (1628–1644). BACK

[3] Grosvenor Charles Bedford’s translation of Musæus (fl. c. early 6th century), The Loves of Hero and Leander, was published in 1797. BACK

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March 2009