Printer-friendly versionSend by email

650. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 9 January 1802 ⁠* 

Saturday. Jany. 9. 1802.

My dear Wynn

You will not be surprized to learn that I have lost my Mother. early on Tuesday morning there came on that difficulty of breathing which betokened death. till then all had been easy – for the most part she had slept – & when waking underwent no pain but that wretched sense of utter weakness. but then – the struggle & sound in the throat & the deadly appearance of the eyes that had lost all their tranquillity – she asked for laudanum – I dropt some but with so unsteady a hand that I knew not how much – she saw the colour of the water & cried with a stronger voice than I had heard during her illness – thats nothing Robert! thirty drops – six & thirty – it relieved her. she would not suffer me to remain by her bed side. that fearful kindness towards me had throughout distinguished her. ‘go down my dear – I shall sleep presently.’ – she knew & I knew what that sleep would be – however I bless God the last minutes were as easy as death can be. she breathed without effort – breath after breath weaker till all was over. I was not then in the room – but going up to bring down Edith – I could not but look at her to see if she was indeed gone. it was against my wish & will – but I did look –.

We had been suffering for twelve hours – & the moment of her release was welcome. like one whose limbs had just been amputated. he feels the immediate ceasing of acute suffering, – the pain of the wound soon begins – & the sense of the loss continues through life. I calmed & curbed myself – & forced myself to employment – but at night there was no sound of feet in her bedroom – to which I had been used to listen – & in the morning it was not my first business to see her – I had used to carry her her food for I could persuade her better than any one else to the effort of swallowing it. xxx xxxx xxxxxx of all then xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxxxx

Thank God it is all over. Elmsley called on me & offered me money if I needed it. it was a kindness that I shall remember. Corry had paid me a second quarter however.

I have now lost all the friends of my infancy & childhood. the whole recollections of my first ten years are connected with the dead. there lives no one who can share them with me. it is losing so much of ones own existence. – I have not been yielding to – or rather indulging grief. that would have been folly. I have read – written – talked – Bedford has been often with me & kindly.

When I saw her after death Wynn – the whole appearance was so much that of utter death – that the first feeling was as if there could have been no world for the dead. the feeling was very strong, & it required thought & reasoning to recover my former state certainty that as surely we must live hereafter – as all here is not the creation of folly, or of chance.

God bless you –

yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.


Notes

* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr M.P./ Wynnstay/ Wrexham
Endorsement: Jan. 9 1802
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849-1850), II, pp. 179-181. BACK

About this Page

Published @ RC

August 2011