17. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 9 July 1792]
17. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 9 July 1792] *
so much my dear Bedford for the Drs tail. & now in plain sober prose I am much obliged to you for your ode which I like very much. but why will you translate? it is a servile employment & not worthy of you. you want a metre you say for your next. you know Parnells Fairy tale?  but I am the worst person to apply to as all my odes are irregular except Ignorance  which you have. Grays Spring & drownd cat  are pretty I think — but I am not regular myself & detest regularity.
I hope all your friends are well. make my compliments & thank Mr Reed.  remember <me> to little Joseph. I wrote him a serious epistle the other day & desir’d an English answer — do make him write — I fear after all he will sink into an editor like Brunck  unless you can find some means to rowse him — is it not horrible that such a Genius should do nothing but write Latin? if you see Lamb remember me to him & his Majesty I shall write them soon. but my time is much taken up. since ten this morning I have never laid the pen down & it is now past one. this is not idle — but Vincent would say so as all my writings are English. write soon.
* Address: G C Bedford Esqr/ Old Palace Yard/
Postmark: BJY/ 9/ 92
Watermark: [Obscured by MS binding; possibly W S]
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22. AL; 4p.
 The artist and caricaturist Henry William Bunbury (1750–1811; DNB), father of Southey’s school friend Charles John Bunbury. BACK
 Joseph Boruwlaski (styled Count Boruwlaski) (1739–1837; DNB), travelling performer and memoirist. He was 3 feet 3 inches tall. BACK
 Daniel 4: 32 relates how Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon 605–562 BC, received the prophecy that his kingdom would fall and he would ‘eat grass as oxen’. BACK
 Southey’s authorship of the fifth issue of The Flagellant (29 March 1792), which claimed flogging was an invention of the devil and parodied the Athanasian creed, caused a scandal and led ultimately to his expulsion from Westminster School. BACK
 Tippu Sultan (1750–1799), Sultan of Mysore 1782–1799, defeated by the East India Company and killed at the battle of Seringapatam, 1799. BACK
 Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville (1742–1811; DNB), Home Secretary 1791–1794, and political ally of the Prime Minister, William Pitt, the Younger (1759–1806; DNB). BACK
 Robert Merry (1755–1798; DNB), poet whose work had been parodied by Southey in a letter to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 31 May 1792] (see Letter 11). BACK
 The house, laboratory and library of the scientist and philosopher Joseph Priestley (1733–1804; DNB) were destroyed during the Birmingham riots, July 1791. BACK
 Thomas Paine (1737–1809; DNB), Common Sense (1776), a key tract in support of the American Revolution. BACK
 In 1788, Samuel Horsley (1733–1806; DNB) was appointed Bishop of St David’s. The theologian Samuel Badcock (1747–1788; DNB) had not been paid to write for Horsley, but was reputed to have accepted £500 from Joseph White (c. 1746–1814; DNB) for writing White’s Bampton lectures on Christianity and Islam. BACK
 Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791–1792), had been suppressed by the government earlier in 1792. BACK
 Edmund Burke (1729/30–1797; DNB), politician and author of Reflections Upon the Revolution in France (1790) which had lamented the passing of the age of chivalry. BACK
 Thomas Parnell (1679–1718; DNB), ‘A Fairy Tale, in the Ancient English Style’ (1722). It is written in sestets of iambic tetrameter and trimeter. BACK
 Thomas Gray (1716–1771; DNB), ‘Ode on the Spring’ (1748) and ‘Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes’ (1748). BACK
 Isaac Reed (1742–1807; DNB), literary scholar and editor of Shakespeare, tried — and failed — to prevent Egerton, the printer of The Flagellant, from revealing Southey’s name to the Westminster School authorities. BACK