273. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 November 1797 *
Sunday. 19 Nov. 97.
Grosvenor I have found out a better fence for our Eutopia than Carlisles plantation of vipers & rattle snakes. it is to surround it with a Vacuum. for you know Grosvenor this would so puzzle the philosophers on the other side; & we might see them making experiments upon the atmosphere — to the great annoyance of dogs whom they would scientifically torture. besides — if we had any refractory inmate we might push him into the void.
But how could you blunder about Tuesday so egregiously. did not I say expressly dine at Grays Inn with me? look you. I am John Mays guest for some 24 hours. now in common civility I must dine one day with him; & we hope to be lodged on the Wednesday. so I hold myself engaged to the blackguard mess on Tuesday & the next day to him. you do not know him — but he is one whom I greatly respect — & I should like to have him on the right side of the vacuum. I have written to Wynn to explain this & call you an ideot. & now remember to meet me at his rooms on Tuesday as soon after three as you please.
I hate the journey — & yet going to London I may say with Quarles
My journey’s better than my journeys end.  a little home — Grosvenor — near the sea — or in any quiet country where there is water to bathe in — & what should I wish for in this life? & how could I be so honourably or happily employed as in writing?
If Buonaparte should come before I look like Sir John Comyns  — oh that fine chuckle head was made for the law. I am too old to have my skull moulded.
Charles Lloyd is coming to London with me — & means to lodge in the same house. how all this chanced is a long & odd story. I could wish you to know him well — but it would be an effort to give his character — & I love not exertion. thus much however I will say — his feelings are too susceptible of neglect or kindness. they are not so blunt as we could wish them or as they should be for his own happiness. & a little attention to him in conversation, will & any trifling mark of kindness will highly gratify him.
Your letter is arrived. why not trust the settled quietness to which my mind has arrived? it is wisdom to avoid all violent emotions. I would not annihilate my feelings — but I would have them under a most Spartan despotism. Grosvenor Inveni portum. spes & fortuna valete. 
I have laid up the advice of Boethius in my heart — & prescribe it to you — so fare you well
* Address: To/ Grosvenor Charles Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster./ Single
Postmark: NO/ 20/ 97
Watermark: J Smyth/ 1796
Endorsement: 19 Novr 1797
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), I, pp. 323–324 [in part]. BACK
 The Latin can be translated as ‘I have reached the port, hope and fortune farewell.’ It is a Latin version of a Greek original and in this form was used in Alain-Rene Lesage’s (1668–1747), Gil Blas (1715–35), Book 9, as the inscription over the hero’s door on his retirement. BACK
 A paraphrase of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (c. 475–525), De Consolatione Philosophiæ. The passage is translated in Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. Victor Watts (Harmondsworth, 1969; rev. edn 1999), p. 21, as: ‘If you desire/ To look on truth/ And follow the path/ With unswerving course,/ Rid yourself/ Of joy and fear,/ Put hope to flight,/ And banish grief.’ BACK