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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 8 February 1795

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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“Bristol, Feb. 8. 1795.

“I have been reading the four first numbers of ‘The Flagellant:’ they are all I possess. My dearest Grosvenor, they have recalled past times forcibly to my mind, and I could almost weep at the retrospect. Why have I not written to you before? Because I could only have told you of uncertainty and suspense. There is nothing more to say now. The next six months will afford more variety of incidents. But, my dear Bedford, though you will not love me the less, you will shake your head, and lament the effects of what you call enthusiasm. Would to God that we agreed in sentiment! for then you could enter
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 231
into the feelings of my heart, and hold me still dearer in your own.

“There is the strangest mixture of cloud and of sunshine! an outcast in the world! an adventurer I living by his wits! yet happy in the full conviction of rectitude, in integrity, and in the affection of a mild and lovely woman: at once the object of hatred and admiration: wondered at by all; hated by the aristocrats; the very oracle of my own party. Bedford! Bedford! mine are the principles of peace, of non-resistance; you cannot burst our bonds of affection. Do not grieve that circumstances have made me thus; you ought to rejoice that your friend acts up to his principles, though you think them wrong.

Coleridge is writing at the same table; our names are written in the book of destiny, on the same page.

Grosvenor, I must put your brains in requisition. We are about to publish a magazine on a new plan. One of the prospectuses, when printed, shall be forwarded to you. ’Tis our intention to say in the titlepage, S. T. C. and R. S., Editors; and to admit nothing but what is good. A work of the kind must not be undertaken without a certainty of indemnification, and then it bids very fair to be lucrative, so the booksellers here tell us. To be called The Provincial Magazine, and published at Bristol if we settle here. We mean to make it the vehicle of all our poetry: will you not give us some essays, &c. &c.? We can undoubtedly make it the best thing of the kind ever published; so, Bedford, be very wise and very witty. Send us whole essays, hints, good things,
&c. &c., and they shall cut a most respectable figure. The poetry will be printed so as to make a separate volume at the end of the year.

“What think you of this? I should say that the work will certainly express our sentiments, so expressed as never to offend; but, if truth spoken in the words of meekness be offence, we may not avoid it.

“I am in treaty with The Telegraph, and hope to be their correspondent. Hireling writer to a newspaper! ’Sdeath! ’tis an ugly title: but, n’importe, I shall write truth, and only truth. Have you seen, in Friday’s Telegraph, a letter to Canning, signed Harrington? ’Twas the specimen of my prose.

“You will be melancholy at all this, Bedford; I am so at times, but what can I do? I could not enter the Church; nor had I finances to study physic; for public offices I am too notorious. I have not the gift of making shoes, nor the happy art of mending them. Education has unfitted me for trade, and I must, perforce, enter the muster roll of authors.”

“Monday morning.

“My days are disquieted, and the dreams of the night only retrace the past to bewilder me in vague visions of the future. America is still the place to which our ultimate views tend; but it will be years before we can go. As for Wales, it is not practicable. The point is, where can I best subsist? . . . . London is certainly the place for all who, like me, are on the world. . . . . London must be the place: if I and Coleridge can only get a fixed salary of 100l. a-year
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 233
between us, our own industry shall supply the rest. I will write up to ‘
The Telegraph:’ they offered me a reporter’s place, but nightly employments are out of the question. My troublesome guest, called honesty, prevents my writing in The True Briton. God knows I want not to thrust myself forward as a partisan: peace and domestic life are the highest blessings I could implore. Enough! this state of suspense must soon be over: I am worn and wasted with anxiety; and, if not at rest in a short time, shall be disabled from exertion, and sink to a long repose. Poor Edith! Almighty God protect her!

“You can give me no advice, nor point out any line to pursue; but you can write to me, and tell me how you are, and of your friends. Let me hear from you as soon as possible: moralise, metaphysicise, pun, say good things, promise me some aid in the magazine, and shake hands with me as cordially by letter, as when we parted in the Strand. I look over your letters, and find but little alteration of sentiment from the beginning of ’92 to the end of ’94. What a strange mass of matter is in mine during those periods! I mean to write my own life, and a most useful book it will be. You shall write the Paraleipomena; but do not condole too much over my mistaken principles, for such pity will create a mutiny in my sepulchred bones, and I shall break prison to argue with you, even from the grave. God love you! I think soon to be in London, if I can get a situation there: sometimes the prospect smiles upon me. I want but fifty pounds a-year certain, and can trust myself for enough beyond that. . . . .
Fare you well, my dear
Grosvenor! Have you been to Court? quid Romæ facias? O thou republican aristocrat! thou man most worthy of republicanism! what hast thou to do with a laced coat, and a chapeau, and a bag wig, and a sword?
Ah spirit pure
That error’s mist had left thy purged eye!
. . . . . . .

“Peace be with you, and with all mankind, is the earnest hope of your

R. S.”