2357. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 28 December 1813

2357. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 28 December 1813 ⁠* 

Keswick. Dec. 28 1813.

My dear Harry

Can you prescribe any thing which may be likely to relieve the gravel, [1]  with which poor Mrs Wilson is tormented? And will you also send me the prescription for the sulphur pills for the Amsterdammers. [2] 

I will look for Lord William, [3]  – but as for seeing him that is another part of speech: for he is always “somewhere about the grounds,” & as those grounds are not only tolerably extensive, but of merryandrewing paths, it is very uncertain cruising there.

Your friend the fidler has neither made his appearance, nor preferred his request by the easier means of the post. [4]  – As for this Carmen it i[MS torn] converted into Carmen Castratum, & if you consign x your copy to the same use as the medical journal, you will do it no wrong. [5] 

Oh the Dutchmen! [6]  I am very sorry I did not see the book binder, for I do not understand how any book should ever be given up as incurable. However I suppose the best thing that can be done is to send them to me, & I will get the Senhora to take them in hand. Let William [7]  pack them up in a parcel & consign them to the waggon. And if William would also have compassion upon my shoes, boots & stockings, I think he might be prevailed upon if not to impart the secret of his blacking, – which like that of projection may perhaps be sacred to the Adepts, [8]  – at least to tell me how to make a blacking which will not come off on my fingers or stockings, – for I am grievously annoyed at present.

I must have more passages about consumption marked if I knew where to find them. – Tell Gooch that I wrote to Murray about the life of Schiller. [9]  M. had not been able to procure it, – but was very desirous of obtaining WTs assistance in the review. [10]  I would gladly review the Synonimes [11]  if I knew how to do it, – but it is altogether out of my way, – nor do I know any person whose way it is in.

Should you see Bedford within this day or two, will you tell him that one of the copies of the Carmen which I have directed Longman to send him is for Atra Nox, [12]  – if he will be so good as to consign it to him.

I am daily expecting the first proof of Roderick. [13]  – I have written to Edward, & hope that his reply when it arrives sh will enable me to ascertain that he is not married. [14]  – It will be easier to get him into the Sp: service than to procure a decent engagement for him. I incline to think the latter would be best, but Wynn seems to think otherwise.

God bless you


I have written to Standert, & asked for his case. [15] 


* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ 28. Q. Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London.
Stamped: KESWICK / 298
Postmark: E / 31 DE 31/ 1813
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 3. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Kidney stones. BACK

[2] A Southey family name for haemorrhoids. BACK

[3] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), son of Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752). He owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater. BACK

[4] The Master of the King’s Music, Sir William Parsons, who was required to set part of Southey’s Laureate ode to music. BACK

[5] Southey’s first official poem as Poet Laureate was extremely controversial and much altered prior to publication. Five stanzas were considered by Croker and Rickman to be inflammatory. Southey bowed to pressure and deleted them from the version published as Carmen Triumphale in a quarto of 30 pages on 1 January 1814. He incorporated the deleted stanzas into an ‘Ode Written During the Negotiations with Bonaparte’, published in the Courier, 3 February 1814. Southey suggests that his brother use the Carmen for lavatory paper. BACK

[6] An unidentified book or books in Dutch that Southey had attempted to get rebound. BACK

[7] A servant employed by Henry Herbert Southey. BACK

[8] Members of occult organisations who possess advanced, esoteric knowledge. BACK

[9] Southey had written to John Murray on 27 November 1813 (Letter 2336), supporting Gooch’s request that William Taylor be permitted to review the life of the German writer, Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805), for the Quarterly Review. BACK

[10] Taylor did not become a contributor to the Quarterly. BACK

[11] Taylor’s English Synonimes Discriminated (1813). BACK

[12] John William Knox (1784–1862), clergyman, scholar and usher at Westminster School 1806–1821. BACK

[13] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[14] Edward Southey had a female companion (a Miss Lack) who it was believed he had married, but on making further enquiries into her background and visiting her uncle, Southey discovered that no marriage had taken place; see Southey to Edith Southey, 5 November [1813], Letter 2324. Southey had written to Edward via Wynn; see Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 18 December 1813, Letter 2352. His letter to Edward does not survive. BACK

[15] See Southey to Hugh Chudleigh Standert, 21 December 1813, Letter 2353. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)