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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 25 July 1802

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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“Kingsdown, July 25. 1802.

Grosvenor, I do not like the accounts which reach me of your health. Elmsley says you look ill; your friend Smith tells me the same tale; and I know you are not going the way to amendment. Instead of that office and regular business, you ought to be in the country, with no other business than to amuse yourself: a longer stay at Bath would have benefited you; if the waters were really of use to you, you ought to give them a longer trial. . . . . As for ‘It can’t be,’ and ‘I must be at the office,’ and such-like phrases, when a man is seriously ill they mean nothing.*

Tom is with me, and has been here about a fortnight, and kept me in as wholesome a state of idleness as I wish you to enjoy.

“Since the last semi-letter I wrote, my state affairs have been settled, and my unsecretaryfication completed,—a good sinecure gone; but, instead of thinking the loss unlucky, I only think how lucky it was I ever had it. A light heart and a thin pair of breeches,—you know the song; and it applies, for, breeches being the generic name, pantaloons are included in all their modifications, and I sit at the

* “Have you time to die, sir?” was the home question of a London physician to a patient, a lawyer in full practice, who was making similar excuses for not taking his prescription of rest and freedom from anxious thought; and it admitted but of one reply.

present writing in a pair of loose jean trowsers without lining.

“So many virtues were discovered in me when I was Mr. Secretary, that I suppose nothing short of sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion, will be found possible reasons for my loss of office. The old devil will be said to have entered, having taken with him seven other evil spirits, and the last state of that man (meaning me) will be worse than the first.

“But I hope I am coming to live near London: not in its filth; if John May can find me a good snug house about Richmond, there I will go, and write my History, and work away merrily; and I will drink wine when I can afford it, and when I cannot, strong beer shall be the nectar—nothing like stingo! and if that were to fail too, laudanum is cheap; the Turks have found that out; and while there are poppies, no man need go to bed sober for want of his most gracious Majesty’s picture. And there will be a spare bed at my Domus,—mark you that, Grosvenor Bedford! and Tom’s cot into the bargain; and, from June till October, always a cold pie in the cupboard; and I have already got a kitten and a dog in remainder,—but that is a contingency; and you know there is the contingency of another house-animal, whom I already feel disposed to call whelp and dog, and all those vocables of vituperation by which a man loves to call those he loves best.

“Eblis’s angels sometimes go up to peep at the table of fate, and then get knocked on the head with stars, as we see; only foolish people such as we are mistake them for shooting stars. I should like one
Ætat. 28. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 189
look at the table, just to see what will happen before the end of the year,—not to the world in general, nor to Europe, nor to
Napoleon, nor to King George, but to the centre to which these great men and these great things are very remote radii,—to my own microcosm;—hang the impudence of that mock-modesty phrase!—’tis a megalocosm, and a megistocosm, and a megistatocosm too to me; and I care more about it than about all the old universe, with Mr. Herschell’s new little planets to boot.

Vale, vale, mi sodales,
R. S.”