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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

1717. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [November/December 1809] ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Have you perchance met a Lion with a crown on his head, & a red flag in his paw, bearing these words & symbols in white characters, – 2 of £40,000, 2 of £30,000, 2 of £10,000 &c.? This said Lion has been to Keswick, – (Satan you know goeth about as a roaring Lion) – & xx has tempted my Governess. My Governess therefore requests that you will be pleased to purchase the eighth of a ticket for her, for the lawful sum of £ 3.3.6. – for which price she modestly hopes to receive in return 150£ per year, being an eighth part of {the} 40,000 3 per cent prize. And I considering that we shall be the richer if her reasonable hope should be accomplished, & not the poorer if my more probable expectation be realized instead, have assented to her desire.  [1] 

Hazlitt is a man of great abilities & thoroughly corrupt heart. This is his history. About the year 1798 his father sent (a dissenter) sent him to Coleridge to be cured of atheism. His manners were the most ungracious & his mind the most ungenial that can be imagined: he was an object of much dislike, but of some compassion, because as he knew that he deserved to be disliked he [MS missing]

I pray you my dear Grosvenor when you set yon Εις γ Αγαθος [2]  about doing your business for you, just give him a commission to do some of mine also, – for if I had as many hands as one of my own Hindoo Gods, they would all be full. [3] 

The University cannot directly chuse Lord G. for their Chancellor [4]  – after having declared so strongly against him, certainly in comformity with their own principles, & at I think upon good grounds, I wonder he hazards the contest. Grosvenor you & I were sixteen years younger at the last Installation, & a terrible sweating we got then.

You did not pay for the frames [5]  from this quarter – deduct it from the next.

God bless you

RS.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 27
Unpublished.
Dating note: From internal evidence that mentions the contest for the position of Chancellor of Oxford University. This position was held by William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (1738–1809; DNB) until he died on 30 October 1809. BACK

[1] The joky reference is to the buying of a lottery ticket. BACK

[2] Meaning ‘good man’ BACK

[3] In Southey’s The Curse of Kehama (1810) which characterises the Hindu gods. BACK

[4] The service of installation of Lord Grenville as Chancellor of Oxford University took place in 1810. Southey was asked by Grenville’s nephew, Wynn, to write a poem commemorating the event. It was published as ‘Verses. Spoken in the Theatre at Oxford Upon the Installation of Lord Grenville’, Edinburgh Annual Register for 1809, 2.2 (1811), 641–643. BACK

[5] Southey had instructed Grosvenor Bedford to have some picture frames made for him for a print he owned of the sea-battle in 1798 between HMS Mars and the French ship Hercule, as well as miniature portraits of his family and friends; see Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 12 August 1809, Letter 1669. Matilda Betham had painted portraits of Southey, Edith, Edith May, Herbert, Sarah Coleridge and Sara Coleridge, Mary Lovell and George Dyer; see Southey to Charles Danvers, 14 October [1809], Letter 1693. BACK

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Published @ RC

August 2013