690. Robert Southey to John Rickman, 4 July  *
I received yours & its contents duly, & consider myself paid off. at last I have found out the riddle  – the tutor was to be called private secretary, & then the Treasury paid him. I am dull at these solutions – George Dyers two last poems  passed me for pure nonsense. twas all dark to my owl eyes till blind Tobin saw the meaning.
So now if I can get an appointment abroad I shall be thankful – if not – I shall be contented. a light heart & a thin pair of breeches  – you know the song & my nankin trousers  may be included under the generic name. I have invested John May with full powers to procure me a house about Richmond – not without certain fears that xx what I require will not easily be found. rent & taxes not to exceed £40. a small garden. near a market but not in a town – & not so close to a turnpike as to annoy either me or my cabbages.
God bless you –
Sunday July 4. Kingsdown .
 Southey is quoting the popular song ‘How pleasant a Sailor’s life passes’, much reprinted in publications such as The Myrtle and Vine; Or, Complete Vocal Library, 4 vols (London, 1800), IV, pp. 53-54. BACK