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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

949. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 7 June 1804 ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

Safe & sound, & if you had ever accomplished a journey of three hundred & fifty miles you would understand with what a full sincerity comes the aspiration, thank God!

I will inclose to Wynn by tomorrows post – or rather by the next post, there being none tomorrow, a letter introductory for you to Heber. the process advisable is this – first to carry the list of desiderata to Hill, & let him hunt them out by his catalogue. to seek what are still wanting in Hookhams Catalogue, [1]  which Horace as a subscriber, has, – or at the Museum, [2]  which last has the inconvenience of imposing upon yourself the trouble of transcription [3]  – but so few will remain that this is no serious matter if after all any be still wanting – send the list in a note to Heber, after by the help of Wynn or Elmsley you have seen him, if you will digest an alphabetical list of the whole, marking those you want, he will very likely supply several which have escaped my memory or research. Of those whose works are still on sale Longman can probably provide you with – that is those who occur in the last ten years. I will send you from hence several of these, & one or two of an earlier date – Mrs Cockburne – Relph a Cumberland poet – Isaac Ritson – LovellAmos Cottle – [illegible word] – Hucks & Mrs Robinson. [4]  if you examine the index to the Monthly Review few names, or none, will have eluded us. The sooner it goes to press the better, for it of material advantage to a book to appear shortly after Xmas. Winter  [5]  may be directed to copy the earlier extracts first by marking them on his instructions. to use his own joke he must not let his namesake out-run him.

xxxxx xxx xxxx

Horace should let me know something of his movements – when he starts – when he calculates to arrive that I may engage a lodging for him as there may be else some difficulty. his trunk should be directed here (to me Keswick Cumberland –) & do not let him forget fishing tackle of all kinds, for this is the land of fishing. Books he will find here, but if he will take the surest way to certain celebrity by useful labour & in the fittest way possible, he should bring with him his Persian & Arabic Grammars. A version of Ferdusi [6]  would make him such a fame as would make a fortune. Other men can do what he could do with European languages, but Oriental scholars are very few, & there is a world of work to be done. I will write to him upon this subject which is to me a very interesting & important one.

Farewell. I have yet to recover {from} some fatigue, & to interpose some little flesh between the periosteon [7]  & cellular membrane – for I was worn to the very bone in London. Ediths remembrance.

God bless you

RS.

Thursday June 7. 1804.

Zounds I have mistaken the day! no post to London.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Endorsement: 7 June 1804
Postmark: E/ JUN11/ 1804
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Thomas Hookham (dates unknown) was a bookseller, stationer and book binder and owner of a famous circulating library, who produced A New Catalogue of Hookham’s Circulating Library, on a New and More Extensive Plan ... Consisting of Near Forty Thousand Volumes in English, French, and Italian, in History, Antiquities, Voyages, Travels, Lives, Memoirs (1785). BACK

[2] The British Museum. BACK

[3] Southey is advising Bedford here on the collection and transcription of texts for inclusion in the jointly edited volume that he and Southey were compiling, which was published as Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). BACK

[4] Extracts from the poetry of Catherine Cockburne (1679–1749) appear in Southey’s Specimens of the Later English poets, 3 vols (London, 1807), II, pp. 119–123. Josiah Relph (1712–1743; DNB), a Cumberland poet who published A Miscellany of Poems (1747) also features in Southey’s Specimens, I, pp. 369–375. Isaac Ritson (1761–1789; DNB), schoolmaster and classical scholar, does not feature in the Specimens, and nor do Robert Lovell or Amos Cottle. Joseph Hucks was the Cambridge undergraduate companion of Coleridge on their walking tour of 1794, who published a collection of Poems in 1798. He does not appear in the Specimens, though Southey had included verse by him in the Annual Anthology, 2 (1800), p. 50. Mary Robinson (1757–1800; DNB): poet, novelist, woman of fashion, courtesan, who contributed poetry to the Morning Post, is not included in the Specimens. BACK

[5] John Winter (dates unknown), a printer who frequently worked on books published by Longman. BACK

[6] Hakī m Abu’l-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī (Farsi: حکیم ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی ) (940–1020): an Iranian poet renowned for his epic, the Shāhnāmeh. This was one of Southey’s many book-making schemes designed to bring his friends and relatives renown and money. Horace Bedford did not publish a translation of Firdawsī. BACK

[7] A membrane that lines the outer surface of bones. BACK

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August 2013