2977. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 18-[19] April 1817

2977. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 18-[19] April 1817⁠* 

Warcop. 18 April 1817.

My dear Grosvenor

Your letter reached me yesterday, – on the it was Herberts death day, the reflections to which this circumstance might give rise need not be pointed out. – You have been above all persons whom I have ever known, fortunate in your parents, in possessing them so long, – & in losing them so easily, – both having lived out their days & then fallen asleep in a manner xx <more> nearly resembling what the Greeks called ενδαυασια [1]  than is often vouchsafed to the members of a society so artificial, & in many respects so unfavourable to animal existence as ours. – What has happened was inevitable, [2]  an evil which was daily to be apprehended, – & every day more than the last. It is in the course of nature, & has been just what in all things you would have wished it to be.

I am now very anxious to see you, – & most unfortunately very doubtful when that will be. I came here on Monday with the two Ediths [3]  & Bertha, & xx Senhouse has taken my place as well as his own in the mail of Tuesday next. But on Tuesday last I walked about two miles in the face of a bitter North wind, without a great coat, – not having intended to go beyond the garden & orchard when I left the house. The wind struck into my intestines, – & from that time I have had just so much inflammation of the bowels as to make me perfectly aware of the necessity of great attention to a complaint which any moment might render very seriously alarming. Certainly I must not venture upon a mail coaching of 42 hours till some days after it has been entirely removed.

I return the proofs to you, [4]  – because any thing which takes you out of yourself will be salutary at this time. You will see that I have struck out every thing which you & Harry have objected to, – & added three paragraphs, two of which are from the castrations of the Q R. [5]  I do not by any means agree with Turners remarks upon the fitness of expressing no resentment.


I have had no return of pain during the last 24 hours, – & if I continue well, shall pursue my course on Monday.

I think you will find nothing left in the proofs which can be exceptionable to any person except Mr Smith himself; & as for him, the proverb says as he has brewed he must bake. Quisque suae fortunae Faber. [6] 

God bless you my dear Grosvenor. Give my love to your brother & Miss Page.



* MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] i.e. ‘euthanasia’, literally ‘a good death’. BACK

[2] Bedford’s mother had just died. BACK

[4] Proofs of Southey’s A Letter to William Smith, Esq., M.P. (1817). BACK

[5] Passages cut by Gifford from Southey’s ‘Parliamentary Reform’, Quarterly Review, 16 (October 1816), 225–278 (published 11 February 1817). BACK

[6] ’Every man is the architect of his own fortune’, from a speech of 279 BC by the Roman politician, Appius Claudius Caecus (c. 340–273 BC). BACK

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