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The Collected Letters of Robert Southey Part 3

994. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 1 December 1804 ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

Thomas Shipman [1] 
You may skip man
If you can’t find him
Never mind him

The specimen of Shadwell [2]  is one of the very few which I left with you. you will find it on a separate leaf the size of all the rest – a song from one of his plays in Ediths handwriting.

Ld Lauderdale [3]  may be struck off the muster roll, for he will not furnish any fit extract.

The alteration about Sir Charles Sedley is good, tho the sentence however puritanical as it originally stood was true. the domestic evil being strictly a punishment – i.e. the consequence of his own vices. his daughter only following the example of her fathers morals. [4] 

Sir Roger L’Estrange [5]  is said in Cibbers Lives to have written a great number of poetical works, which are highly praised in an extract from Winstanley. [6]  Ubi sunt [7]  God knows: among all the titles to his works I do not see one which looks as if it belongs to a poem. perhaps Hill or Heber may help you out – but the verse store house in all desperate cases will be the Museum. [8]  He has the credit of having written the famous song Cease rude Boreas [9]  when in prison, this however is only a tradition & wants evidence sufficient for our purpose. – There Sir is a Pussagorical answer to your Pussechism. One thing is well thought of in time – Charles Lamb has I know made some very delightful extracts from Cotton [10]  – a poet of whom I know nothing, tho I have xxx a volume of his works. Do apply to him meo nomine [11]  via Rickmanni to point them out, that if they be not the same as Ellis  [12]  has selected – which I will wager my life they are not – we may have them.

Gook luck to Horace! I wrote about Parkinson at Roughs request [13]  – in what terms you have seen, & you & Rickman judged very rightly in supposing that I should not have written about him at all had I known what you now tell me. [14]  xxx I am afraid his chance is better than you are aware of as he has secured the Archbishops interest. [15]  The number of candidates is surprisingly great. It amused me to see how every avenue to interest is hunted out. Rough – a man who never answered the only letter I ever wrote him – eleven years ago – now writes – on behalf of one whom I never saw – to me here among the mountains, that I may get Rickman whom he never saw to speak to the Speaker who it seems is the Speaker upon the occasion.

If you are in the habit of calling on Vincent you may do me a service by enquiring whether a MSS. of Giraldus Cambrensis [15]  designated by Cave in his Historia Litteraria [16]  as the Codex-Westmonast, be in the Dean & Chapter Library. for this MSS. contains a map of Wales as xxx subsisting in his time, & that being the time in which Madoc lived such a map would form a very fit & very singular addition to the book: & if it be then I would wish you to make a formal application to him on my part for permission to have it copied & engraved. [17]  These bodies corporate are never very liberal: but Vincent is bound to be civil on such an occasion, if he can, lest his refusal should seem to proceed from personal dislike towards one whom he must be conscious that he has used unhandsomely, & to the utmost of his power attempted to injure. God knows I forgive him – ex imo corde. [18]  I am too well satisfied with my own lot, with my present pursuits, & the sure & certain hopes which they present, not to feel thankful to all those whom have in any way contributed to make me what I am. If he & I had been upon friendly terms, it might have interested him who has touched upon Portugueze history himself to hear of my progress, & my knowledge might possibly have been of some assistance to him. I have no kindly feelings towards him. he made a merit of having never struck me – whereas that merit was mine for never having given him occasion so to do. It is my nature to be sufficiently susceptible of kindness, & I remember none from him – there is a long rigmarole about nothing. the remembrance of old times always makes me garrulous, & the failing is common to all men.

farewell – it is time to send this to the post. the Edithling as yet is doing well. & the man who for his preponderance of gut I call the Bellygerent [19]  & liken therefore to Bonaparte is off his bargain about the house – so that we shall not be unkennelled

God bless you.

RS.

Saturday. Dec 1. 1804.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster/ Single
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [partial] E/ DEC 4
Endorsement: 1 Dec 1804
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), II, pp. 307–309 [in part]. BACK

[1] Thomas Shipman (1632–1680; DNB): poet and author of the play Henry the Third of France (1678). Southey and Bedford are discussing entries for their collaborative work, Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807). Shipman was not included in this publication. BACK

[2] Thomas Shadwell (c.1640–1692; DNB) appears in Southey’s and Bedford’s Specimens of the Later English Poets, 3 vols (London, 1807), I, pp. 62–64. BACK

[3] Richard Maitland, 4th Earl of Lauderdale (1653–1695; DNB), Jacobite nobleman and translator of Virgil. BACK

[4] Sir Charles Sedley (1639–1701; DNB). The entry for him reads: ‘In an age of wit, courtesy, and vice, Sedley was pre-eminent for debauchery, politeness and talents, he had his reward, or his punishment, in seeing his daughter promoted to the rank of a Royal Concubine’, Specimens of the Later English Poets, I, pp. 86–90 (p. 86). BACK

[5] Sir Roger L’Estrange (1616–1704; DNB): royalist politician, pamphleteer and translator of Cicero, Seneca and Aesop. His poetry does not feature in the Specimens of the Later English Poets. BACK

[6] William Winstanley (1628?–1698; DNB), is quoted as saying of L’Estrange, ‘Nor is he less happy in verse than in prose, which for elegance of language and quickness of invention, deservedly entitles him to the honour of a poet’, in Colley Cibber’s (1671–1757; DNB), The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland, to the time of Dean Swift, 4 vols (London, 1753), IV, p. 301. Numerous works by L’Estrange are listed in Cibber’s edition, but none of them are poems. BACK

[7] Meaning ‘where they are’. BACK

[8] The British Museum. BACK

[9] A popular song, also known as ‘The Storm’, identified by the collector of folk song Joseph Ritson (1752–1803; DNB) as having been written by the actor, songwriter and playwright George Alexander Stevens (1710–1780; DNB). BACK

[10] Charles Cotton (1630–1687; DNB): poet and translator of Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592). Charles Lamb quoted from his poem ‘The New Year’ in his 1821 Elia essay, ‘New Year’s Eve’. Poems by Cotton appear in Specimens of the Later English Poets, I, pp. 35–47. BACK

[11] Meaning ‘in my name’. BACK

[12] George Ellis compiled the anthology on which Southey’s was modelled, Specimens of the Early English Poets (1790, 2nd edn 1801, 3rd edn 1803). BACK

[13] James Parkinson (1730–1813): land agent, proprietor from 1786 of the museum of natural and ethnological specimens assembled by Sir Ashton Lever (1729–1788). Southey was attempting to further Parkinson’s application for a post at the British Museum at the behest of Sir William Rough. BACK

[14] Unbeknown to Southey, Horace Bedford was seeking the same position at the British Museum as James Parkinson. BACK

[15] John Moore (1730–1805; Archbishop of Canterbury 1783–1805; DNB). BACK

[15] Giraldus Cambrensis, Gerald of Wales (c. 1146–c. 1223; DNB): chronicler and author of Itinerarium Cambriae (Journey through Wales, 1191) and Descriptio Cambriae (Description of Wales, 1194). BACK

[16] William Cave (1637–1713: DNB), Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Historia Literaria, a Christo Nato usque ad Sæculum XIV, 2 vols (1740). BACK

[17] According to the National Library of Wales, Gerald’s was the earliest recorded map specifically of Wales. It was produced circa 1205 and titled ‘Totius Kambriae Mappa’. This map is referred to in a letter of Gerald’s and several seventeenth-century century sources state that it was held at Westminster Abbey. The map is said to have shown no less than 43 towns and villages in Wales. By 1780 the map’s location was unknown, and had probably been destroyed in a fire at the abbey’s library in 1695. BACK

[18] Meaning ‘from the bottom of my heart’. BACK

[19] Mr White (dates unknown), a local man who negotiated to buy Greta Hall from the builder and owner of the house, William Jackson. BACK

Published @ RC

August 2013