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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1527. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 November 1808 ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

Did you ever eat a soup in the first course so highly seasoned as to destroy your palate for the venison in the second? – xxx just so has the first section of Kehama [1]  served you. – If any thing good has been left out, your worship has only to show cause why it should be put in again & put in it shall be; – when the whole is compleated you will see that none of its parts can possibly change place, (it must be wretchedly constrained if they could) – & then the more closely he find fault the better, – for tho I will for no mans pleasure change a syllable or measure [2]  – yet I will make huge alterations for my own, if but once convinced that they ought to be made.

There is nothing false in the Cid except the miracle, – the story of the Emperor, – all that relate to his death & burial, – & some exaggeration of numbers in the battles. – That translation of Freres instead of deserving your turn up of the nose, is the admiration of every body who has seen it. [3] 

The book of Kehama brings the poem half as far as it is written. Take care of yourself.

God bless you

RS.

Friday Nov. 4. 1808


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr
Endorsement: 4 Novr 1808
MS: Bodleian Library, Eng. Lett. c. 24
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Curse of Kehama (1810). BACK

[2] Southey quotes from ‘Faire-Virtue, The Mistresse of Philarete’, a poem by George Wither (1588–1667; DNB). He used the lines as an epigraph to the published Curse of Kehama (London, 1810). BACK

[3] Three of Frere’s translations from the Poema del Cid were appended to Southey’s edition of the Chronicle of the Cid (1808). BACK

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August 2013