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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 29 December 1828

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. 29. 1828.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“I have two things to tell you, each good in its kind,—the first relating to the moon, the second to myself.

Ætat. 53. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 341

“It is not likely that you should recollect a poor, harmless, honest old man, who used to deliver the letters when you were at Keswick; Joseph Littledale is his name, and, if you remember him, it will be by a chronic, husky cough, which generally announced his approach. Poor Littledale has this day explained the cause of our late rains, which have prevailed for the last five weeks, by a theory which will probably be as new to you as it is to me. ‘I have observed,’ he says, ‘that, when the moon is turned upward, we have fine weather after it; but, if it is turned down, then we have a wet season; and the reason I think is, that when it is turned down, it holds no water, like a bason, you know, and then down it all comes.’ There, Grosvenor, it will be a long while before the march of intellect shall produce a theory as original as this, which I find, upon inquiry, to be the popular opinion here.

“Next concerning myself. A relation of my friend Miss Bowles heard at a dinner-party lately that Mr. Southey had become a decided Methodist, and was about to make a full avowal of his sentiments in a poem called the Sinner well saved.* ‘The title,’ said the speaker, ‘shows plainly what it is. But I have seen it; I have had a peep at it at the publisher’s, and such a rant!!’

“I am about to begin a paper upon SurteesHistory of the County of Durham for the next Quarterly Review, a subject which requires no more labour than

* A Roman Catholic legend, taken from the “Acta Sanctorum,” versified, and published in the collected edition of his poems, under the title of “All for Love; or a Sinner well saved.”

that of looking through the three folios, and arranging what matter of general interest they contain in an amusing form; and this is comparatively easy work. Moreover, I am about a
Life of Ignatius Loyola for the Foreign Review. My books having nearly come to a dead stand-still in their sale, it becomes necessary for me to raise my supplies by present labour, which, thank God, I am at present very well able to do. I shall work hard to make provision for a six weeks’ holiday, commencing early in May, when I mean (if we all live and do well, and alas! Grosvenor, how little is this to be depended upon!), to remove my women-kind to the Isle of Man for sea air and bathing if they like it. The island is worth seeing, and there is no place where we could get at so little expense, or live so cheaply when there. We are but two stages from Whitehaven, and from thence there is a steam-packet. There I shall go over the whole island, and write verses when it rains.

Wednesday, 31.— . . . . . I did not know that there was a folio edition of South. Six octavo volumes of his sermons were published during his life, five more after his death, from his manuscripts which had not been corrected for the press. The Oxford Edition comprises the whole in seven octavos. One sermon among the posthumous ones is remarkable, because it was evidently written (probably in his younger days) as a trial of skill, in imitation of Sir Thomas Brown. . . . .

“God bless you, my dear Grosvenor!

R. S.”