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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 30 April 1816

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“April 30. 1816.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Time passes on. I employ myself, and have recovered strength; but in point of spirits, I rather lose ground. The cause, perhaps, is obvious. At first, we make great efforts to force the mind from thoughts which are intolerably painful; but as, from time, they become endurable, less effort is made to avoid them, and the poignancy of grief settles into melancholy. Both with Edith and myself, this seems to be the case. Certain I am that nothing but the full assurance of immortality could prevent me from sinking under an affliction which is greater than any stranger could possibly believe; and thankful I am that my feelings have been so long and so habitually directed toward this point. You probably know my poems better than most people, and may perceive how strongly my mind has been impressed upon this most consoling subject.

“Yesterday I finished the main part of the Lay. There remain only six or eight stanzas as a L’Envoy,
which I may, perhaps, complete this night; then I shall send you the whole in one packet through
Gifford. I have said nothing about it to Longman, for I think it very probable that you may advise me not to publish the poem now it is written, lest it should give offence; and having satisfied myself by writing it, it is quite indifferent to me whether it appears now or after my decease. The emolument to be derived from it is too insignificant to be thought of, and the credit which I should gain, I can very well do without. So take counsel with any body you please, and remember that I, who am easily enough persuaded in any case, am in this perfectly unconcerned; for were it a thing of course that I should produce a poem on this occasion, there is at this time, God knows, sufficient reason why I might stand excused.

“Do not imagine that the poem has derived the slightest cast of colouring from my present state of mind. The plan is precisely what was originally formed. William Nichol is likely to judge as well as any man whether there be any unfitness in publishing it. You are quite aware that I neither wish to court favour nor to give offence, and that the absurdity of taking offence (if it were taken) would excite in me more pity than resentment.

“Good night! I am going to the poem in hope of completing it. I cannot yet bear to be unemployed, and this I feel severely. You know how much I used to unbend, and play with the children, in frequent intervals of study, as though I were an idle man. Of this I am quite incapable, and shall long
Ætat. 42. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 175
continue so. No circumstance of my former life ever brought with it so great a change as that which I daily and hourly feel, and perhaps shall never cease to feel. Yet I am thankful for having possessed this child so long; for worlds I would not but have been his father. Of all the blessings which it has pleased God to vouchsafe me, this was and is the greatest.

R. S.”