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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 19 August 1801

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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“August 19. 1801.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“The tone and temper of your letter left me in an uncomfortable mood;—certainly I deserved it—as far as negligence deserves reproof so harsh;—but indeed, Grosvenor, you have been somewhat like the Scotch judge, who included all rape, robbery, murder, and horse-stealing under the head of sedition; so have you suspected negligence of cloaking a cold, and fickle, and insincere heart. Dear, dear Grosvenor, if by any magic of ear you could hear how often your name passes my lips! or could you see how often I see your figure in my walks—the recollections—and the wishes—but what are these? A hundred times should I have begun a letter if there had been enough to fill it,—if I could have sent you the
exquisite laugh when I again saw St. Augustine and his load,—or the smile when I read Saunders’ death in the newspaper;—but these are unwriteable things—the gossip, and the playfulness, and the boyishness, and the happiness:—I was about to write, however,—in conscience and truth I was—and for an odd reason. I heard a gentleman imitate
Henderson; and there was in that imitation a decisiveness of pronunciation, a rolling every syllable over the tongue, a force and pressure of lip and of palate, that had my eyes been shut I could have half believed you had been reading Shakspeare to me,—and I was about to tell you so, because the impression was so strong.

“With Drummond it seems I go not, but he and Wynn design to get for me—or try to get—a better berth;—that of Secretary to some Italian Legation, which is permanent, and not personally attached to the minister. Amen. I love the south, and the possibility highly pleases me, and the prospect of advancing my fortunes. To England I have no strong tie; the friends whom I love live so widely apart that I never see two in a place; and for acquaintance, they are to be found everywhere. Thus much for the future; for the present I am about to move to Coleridge, who is at the Lakes;—and I am labouring, somewhat blindly indeed, but all to some purpose, about my ways and means; for the foreign expedition that has restored my health, has at the same time picked my pocket; and if I had not good spirits and cheerful industry, I should be somewhat surly
Ætat. 27. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 159
and sad. So I am—I hope most truly and ardently for the last time—pen-and-inking for supplies, not from pure inclination. I am rather heaping bricks and mortar than building; hesitating between this plan and that plan, and preparing for both. I rather think it will end in a romance, in metre Thalabian—in mythology Hindoo,—by name the
Curse of Kehama, on which name you may speculate; and if you have any curiosity to see a crude outline, the undeveloped life-germ of the egg, say so, and you shall see the story as it is, and the poem as it is to be, written piece-meal.

“Thus, then, is my time employed, or thus it ought to be; for how much is dissipated by going here and there,—dinnering, and tea-taking, and suppering, traying, or eveninging, take which phrase of fashion pleases you,—you may guess.

“Grosvenor, I perceive no change in myself, nor any symptoms of change; I differ only in years from what I was, and years make less difference in me than in most men. All things considered, I feel myself a fortunate and happy man; the future wears a better face than it has ever done, and I have no reason to regret that indifference to fortune which has marked the past. By the by, it is unfortunate that you cannot come to the sacrifice of one law book—my whole proper stock—whom I design to take up to the top of Mount Etna, for the express purpose of throwing him down straight to the devil. Huzza, Grosvenor! I was once afraid that I should have a deadly deal of law to forget whenever I had
done with it; but my brains, God bless them, never received any, and I am as ignorant as heart could wish. The tares would not grow.

“You will direct to Keswick, Cumberland. I set off on Saturday next, and shall be there about Tuesday; and if you could contrive to steal time for a visit to the Lakes, you would find me a rare guide.

“If you have not seen the second volume of Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads, I counsel you to buy them, and read aloud the poems entitled The Brothers, and Michael; which, especially the first, are, to my taste, excellent. I have never been so much affected, and so well, as by some passages there.

“God bless you. Edith’s remembrance.

Yours as ever,
Robert Southey.”