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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 5 December 1818

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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“Keswick, Dec. 5. 1818.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“It is, between ourselves, a matter of surprise to me that this bodily machine of mine should have continued its operations with so few derangements, knowing, as I well do, its excessive susceptibility to many deranging causes. The nitrous oxyde approaches nearer to the notion of a neurometer than anything which perhaps could be devised; and I was acted upon by a far smaller dose than any person upon whom it had ever been tried, when I was in the habit of taking it. If I did not vary my pursuits and carry on many works of a totally different kind at once, I should soon be incapable of proceeding with any, so surely does it disturb my sleep and affect my dreams if I dwell upon one with any continuous attention. The truth is, that though some persons, whose knowledge of me is scarcely skin-deep, suppose I have no nerves, because I have great self-

* Vision of Judgment.

control as far as regards the surface; if it were not for great self-management, and what may be called a strict intellectual regimen, I should very soon be in a deplorable state of what is called nervous disease, and this would have been the case any time during the last twenty years.

“Thank God I am well at present, and well employed: Brazil and Wesley both at the press; a paper for the Quarterly Review in hand, and Oliver Newman now seriously resumed; while for light reading I am going through South’s Sermons and the whole British and Irish part of the Acta Sanctorum.

“In the MSS. of Wesley, which passed through Gifford’s hands while you were absent, there was a chapter which I wished you to have seen, because both in matter and manner it is among the best things I have written. It contained a view of our religious history down to the accession of the present family; not the facts but the spirit of the history. You will be pleased to see how I have relieved and diversified this book, which will be as elaborate as a Dutchman’s work and as entertaining as a Frenchman’s.

“I want now to provide against that inability which may any day or any moment overtake me. You are not mistaken in thinking that the last three years have considerably changed me; the outside remains pretty much the same, but it is far otherwise within. If hitherto the day has been sufficient for the labour, as well as the labour for the day, I now feel that it cannot always, and possibly may not
Ætat. 45. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 329
long be so. Were I dead there would be a provision for my family, which though not such as I yet hope to make it, would yet be a respectable one. But if I were unable to work, half my ways and means would instantly be cut off, and the whole of them are needed. Such thoughts did not use to visit me. My spirits retain their strength, but they have lost their buoyancy, and that for ever. I should be the better for travelling, but that is not in my power. At present the press fetters me, and if it did not, I could not afford to be spending money when I ought to be earning it. But I shall work the harder to enable me so to do.

“God bless you!

R. S.