163. Robert Southey to the Editor of the Monthly Magazine, 28 June 1796 *
THE story of the Mysterious Mother is of an earlier date than the noble author  imagined: it may be found in a work of bishop Hall,  entitled Resolutions and Decisions of divers Practical Cases of Conscience, in continual Use amongst Men; of which the second edition, dated 1650, is now lying before me. The bishop says, he had it long ago from the relation of Mr. Perkins,  and since that, met with it in the report of two several German authors. 
Fuller  , in his Holy State, says of this Perkins, that “he was an excellent chirurgeon at joynting of a broken soul; and would pronounce the word ‘Damn’ with such an emphasis, as left a doleful echo in his auditors’ ears a good while after.” He was lame of the right hand; and Hugh Holland, in his Icones, saith of him:
The same story is told by Julian de Medrano, of whose Common-place Book an edition was published, 1608, by Cesar Oudin, secretary and interpreter to Henry IV, of France.  The Spanish writer says, he heard the story in the Bourbonois, where the people showed him the house the parties had lived in, and the place where they were buried, and repeated to him the epitaph:
The author of the Mysterious Mother adds, in his preface, that there is a similar story in the Tales of the Queen of Navarre.  It may be worth remarking, that Julian Medrano was a cavalier of her court, and dedicated his book to that princess; he, of course, would never have taken the story from a book of tales, and given it as a fact that he had learned in his travels.
June 28, 1796.
* MS: MS has not survived
Previously published: Monthly Magazine, 1 (July 1796), 447 [from where the text is taken] under the pseudonym ‘B.’. A new attribution to Southey, it repeats information found in his letter to Grosvenor Charles Bedford [started before and continued on] 23 October  (Letter 137). BACK
 Julian de Medrano (fl. 1608), La Silva Curiosa, en que se Tratan Diversas Cosas Sotillisimas, y Curiosas, muy Convenientes para Damas y Cavalleros, en Toda Conversacion Virtuousa y Honesta (Paris, 1608). Southey owned a copy of this edition, see A. N. L. Munby (gen. ed.), Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons, vol. 9 Poets and Men of Letters, ed. Roy Park (London, 1974), pp. 75–288; p. 259. BACK
 The French can be translated as: ‘Here lies the daughter, here lies the father,/ Here lies the sister, here lies the brother;/ Here lies the woman and the husband,/ And yet there are only two bodies here’. BACK