2794. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 May 1816
2794. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 20 May 1816*
My dear G
Guardant is having his face turned toward the spectator, – whether a Lion may or may not be Guardant without being Rampant G, as the Leopard may, is a question for the Heralds; – & whether my Lion, or more properly, the Arch-Coachmans Lion be simply Guardant, or Rampant Guardant I care not, Guardant in one way or other he is, & that suffices for me. The word will imply that I have made inquiry about the arms.  The half title may be altered if you like it.
What am I to say in a letter, & in what form must it be written??? Xxxx the quid? & the quomodo???  – I would rather write another poem of double the length – See if you can shape this into any suitable form –
Mr S has the honour in of presenting to his R H. a poem on his R. Nuptials. It has been his earnest endeavour to produce something upon this happy occasion which should evince his sense of the honour x conferred upon him in the office which he holds, & prove hereafter as well as now the sincerity & respect with which he is his R Hs most dutiful & devoted servant.
The shorter the better. There is nothing asked here, – I do not care about the Dedication, – & you may determine whether it shall be asked or not.  Do you put this into court dress, – I hope Keswick will afford a sheet of gilt paper to write it upon, – tell me how to direct the cover, & I will seal it with Pegasus. 
I certainly think Wynns objection exceedingly frivolous, – the passage entirely in keeping with the whole of the proem, – & with the strain which I have always maintained.  I am not at all afraid of such objections. Several persons have seen the first half of the poem, – & without one exception they all agreed with you that it was the best of all my minor poems. I am very sure that the latter half has not fallen off from the beginning.
John, I am sure John May, I am sure, will be glad to become acquainted with you, – & there is a reason why you should be acquainted. I have named him x Neville White & my brother Henry to act as Guardians &c in case of my death, – & the care of my papers & literary concerns is entrusted to you. J. May & Neville are both men of business, both have the sincerest affection for me, & I have the most perfect confidence in them. About my papers I shall very shortly draw up such hints & directions as may be useful, – & when you come here next we will look over some letters together as the Curate & the Barber did the Romances,  – for I have an immense accumulation. With good carving, I shall cut up to great advantage. And there is a great deal which may be done while it can be done chearfully, & while I can lend a hand.
Be assured that I wish to live to long as I can, as chearfully as I can, & as actively as I can, – & that in self management whether of body or mind you may be perfectly satisfied with me.
God bless you
20 May. 1816.
* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ 9 Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate
Endorsements: 20 May 1816; 20 May 1816./ Recd 24 May
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
 The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), ‘The Dream’, stanza 19, line 1: ‘Guerdant before his feet a Lion lay’, referring to the coat of arms of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865), who had married Princess Charlotte, only child of the Prince Regent, on 2 May 1816. The poem was written to celebrate the marriage. ‘Guerdant’ replaced ‘Guardant’ in the manuscript, but this was a mistake; the lion on the Prince’s coat of arms was indeed ‘guardant’ and Southey here correctly describes the meaning of this term in heraldry. Lions could be depicted as guardant in a number of postures, including (but not exclusively) ‘rampant guardant’ which means standing erect, with one forepaw raised; lions ‘passant guardant’ i.e. depicted walking, with one forepaw raised, are usually known as leopards in heraldry, as in the arms of England. ‘Guerdant’ is not a word in heraldry (or English). In Southey’s Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), X, pp. –132, the error was silently corrected and ‘guardant’ reappeared. BACK
 ‘The what and the how’. Southey was agonising over how to ask for permission to dedicate his poem to Princess Charlotte. BACK
 The Lay of the Laureate as published contained a dedication, ‘TO/ HER ROYAL HIGHNESS/ THE/ PRINCESS CHARLOTTE/ THE FOLLOWING POEM/ IS DEDICATED/ WITH PROFOUND RESPECT/ BY HER ROYAL HIGHNESS’S/ MOST DUTIFUL/ AND/ MOST DEVOTED SERVANT/ ROBERT SOUTHEY/ POET LAUREATE’. BACK
 Pegasus was a winged horse in Greek mythology and in the common proverb, money ‘makes the mare to go’: Southey means he will pay postage to expedite the letter’s passage from Keswick to London. BACK
 Wynn had criticised The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), ‘Proem’, stanza 3, on the grounds of its egotism and vanity. BACK