111. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 24 [October] 1794

111. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 24 [October] 1794 ⁠* 

Friday. 24. <October> [1]  1794

My dear Grosvenor.

Your parcel with the laconic note in the direction, & your letter urging Wynns invitation have reachd me. I wish I could be at Oxford — but it cannot be.

It is an important period of my life. events of magnitude to me & mine are agitating nor can I steal myself from the scene of action. spare one day Grosvenor & come to Bath. in a humble situation you will find a good reception — you will see me — & her who will one day be mine.

Last Friday I was turned out of doors by my Aunt — & left in a wet night to walk back to Bath without one penny in my pocket — because my resolution was fixed on going to America & marrying one to whom Fortune had allotted a doom very similar to my own. I attempted to reason — but in vain. I listened patiently to invective reproach & abuse not only lavished upon me but upon one for whom I felt more agitated. every pulse swelld with emotion & indignation. yet was I calm in appearance — & on that moment one of the most trying I ever experienced I can look back with self approbation.

God bless you Grosvenor. the anxieties & care I have known you never can know. may you experience the same happiness.

tis a long time to March.

I am in a situation which calls forth all the energy of my character. soothing my Mother — reasoning with her & endeavouring to lessen her regret for my Aunt. I pardon her. but echo — We will never meet again. she should have spared my feelings for I pitied hers.

my marriage will hardly take place in England for obvious reasons. Edith Fricker is of my own age. her face expresses the mildness of her disposition — & if her calm affection cannot render me happy I deserve to be wretched. she is mild & affectionate. you know me.

I send you a sonnet. tho but indifferent it is better than my prose. my heart is heavy.

I will not quit thy charms sweet Poesy
Friend of my lonelier hours! nor shall my lute
Inglorious in the myrtle slumber mute,
For many a wintry moment cheerd by thee
Has lightly fled along on rapid wing,
Else heavily lingering when Despairs chill power
Froze up the stream of Time. the joyous hour
Still will I pass with thee, & gayly sing
Waking the lute to Love. no fabled Muse
Then needing to inspire the ardent strain
Where many an angel form glides oer the plain
In jocund dance printing the evening dews.
Illy they judge who would presage of me
That I should quit thy charms sweet Poesy!

fare thee well Grosvenor. to quit you will be the severest & the last I shall ever endure.

Robert Southey.

τομορρο ι αμ το βε ιντροδυσεδ το α προφετ!!! [2] 


* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: BATH
Postmark: [partial] O
Endorsement: 24 Octr. 1794
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 82–83. BACK

[1] Inserted in another hand. BACK

[2] A transliteration of the English, ‘Tomorrow I am to be introduced to a prophet!!!’, into Greek. BACK

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