19. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 31 July 1792]

19. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 31 July 1792] ⁠* 

To St Peter the Hermit [1] 

the humble petition of the books of Gualbertus [2] 

Shewing that after having been long from post to pillar tost
Your poor petitioners are in great danger of being lost
Left alone among wicked men & great wigs — without a master
For he poor soul ran a race with reason & unfortunately ran faster —
But alas needs that wretch must go whom the Devil or the Doctor drives
And he would have been killed if like a cat he had had nine lives
But we beg that out of pity & of charity dear Peter you would look
And consider Gibbon [3]  & your old friend the flogging book [4] 
And afford us a sheltering place to rest our wearied head
Till he in a short time shall rise again from the dead
For in two months time his mortal part will repair as you know to Oxon
And then you may send us to him & put a direction the box on
And we beg desire & intreat you will receive us without delay
And your poor petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.


& more over

seriously Bedford my poor books are grievously distressed as Lamb who took care of them leaves school next Thursday. presuming that you will offer them an asylum till they can immediately be sent to me at Oxford I have wrote by this post to desire he will deliver them up to you. as Gibbon is of the number I hope the pleasure you will receive in reading it will amply recompense the trouble.

they would cost a great deal in carriage first to Bath then to Bristol & then to Oxford & I am certain you will give them houseroom.

now then I must say your neglect is very unpardonable. a whole month has elapsed since I have heard from you & I verily believe that if I did not occasionally rub up your memory you would forget that such a person ever existed as

Robert Southey.

when I hear from you again I will write & if I can trust myself not till then for your laziness is too bad. remember me to your brother.


* Address: Grosvenor Charles Bedford Esqr/ Old Palace Yard/ Westminster
Stamped: BATH
Postmark: OJY/ 31/ 92
Watermark: [obscured by MS binding; possibly W S]
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Peter the Hermit (d. 1115), religious fanatic, instrumental in preaching the First Crusade. ‘Peter’ and ‘P.H.’ were pseudonyms used by Southey’s friend Grosvenor Charles Bedford. BACK

[2] John Gualbert (c. 995–1073), founder of the Vallombrosian order. The pseudonym ‘Gualbertus’ was used by Southey for his controversial attack on flogging as an invention of the devil in the fifth issue of The Flagellant (29 March 1792). BACK

[3] A book by Edward Gibbon (1737–1794; DNB), possibly The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–1788). BACK

[4] Possibly a book Southey used in writing his diatribe against corporal punishment in the fifth issue of The Flagellant (29 March 1792). BACK

People mentioned