229. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 30 June 1797]

229. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 30 June 1797] ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Will you be good enough to buy for me the two three following books at Whites — Fleet Street. [1]  they are in his catalogue for 1796 — & probably still unsold as not being in general requisition.

No. 1930. St Louis & Oeuvres Poetiques de la Moyne. [2]  s7 — 6
9908. Il Conquisto di Granata, di Graziani. [3]  s2 — 6
4325. Guerra de Granada contra los Moriscos. por D. Diego de Mendoza. [4]  s10 — d6.

you or your brother have my direction — & if you will send them by the Poole Mail which goes from the Bell & Crown — Holborn — near Grays Inn — they will reach me safely. & you & your brother may write by the parcel. when the Member for Old Sarum takes his seat we shall a different mode of franking.

It is no small proof of self denial Grosvenor that I am now writing to you. I received yesterday Chapelains Pucelle from John May — & have as yet read only five books of the twelve. I will not make any remarks upon it. I shall draw out such an account of it as I have done of La Hermosura de Angelica [5]  & prefix to the next edition of my Joan of Arc,  [6]  for which I shall now prepare without farther delay. I would not begin before I had read Chapelain. it was probable that many historical facts might be found in him which had escaped me, born 150 years after the publication of his book in a foreign country. this I do not find the case. but you shall see my Analysis & extracts & judge for yourself of the merits of Chapelain. he has no x notes. an inexcusable fault.

I called on the old Lady Strathmore [7]  Tuesday last. the old woman is not that learned lady she is imagined. she sets up for a good Spanish & Italian scholar, & has gained credit for it — I am told she speaks both languages fluently — but of the literature of either people she knows very little indeed — your boarding school picks up as much from her Italian Master. her house is finely situated & looks over a fine sweep of land & water richly intermingled.

I slept little in the Mail — tis too rough a cradle to be rocked in. my walk from Ringwood was 8 miles — a long way for one with stiff knees swoln feet & blistered heels. every thing here is very quiet — I am very happy — & want only time. if I could but study Law while I am asleep now — oh for some blessed Mail Coach way of travelling that blackguard road! — however I know something about it now — & perhaps ten years hence Grosvenor — we may throw some little light upon the Law. — you know how we will officiate in our robes at the sacrifice — & then burn them too.

Still foul weather — I love England daily less & less. Eutopia must have a better climate Grosvenor — & we must drink Claret from our own vineyards in our own orange gardens. but when! —

I thought to have written to Horace this morning but Biddlecombe has been with me thi delayed yours & left no time. I shall write to him tomorrow. tell him this & tell him likewise to write that his letter may come with the books.

Danvers has seen Kosciusko. [8]  he called upon him — & Kosciusko appeared highly gratified with the visit — he was drawing & observed “you spend time & I endeavour to kill it!” Sam Reed [9]  went with Danvers. when they took leave of him he seemd affected & loth to part with them pressing them by the hand with no common earnestness. you know not how I envy them this.

God bless you Grosvenor.

Yrs affectionately

Robert Southey.


* Address: Grosvenor Charles Bedford/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster
Postmark: AJU/ 30/ 97
Watermark: Crown and anchor with G R underneath
Endorsements: 29 June 1797; Recd June 30. 1797
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Probably the London booksellers B. and J. White, who had a shop in Fleet Street. BACK

[2] Pierre Le Moyne (1602–1672), author of the epic poem St Louis (1653) and Les Oeuvres Poetiques (1671). Southey owned a copy of the latter; see A. N. L. Munby (gen. ed.), Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons, vol. 9 Poets and Men of Letters, ed. Roy Park (London, 1974), p. 178. BACK

[3] An unidentified edition of Girolamo Graziani (1604–1675), Il Conquisto di Granata (1650). BACK

[4] Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (1503–1575), Guerra de Granada: Hecha por El Rey de España Don Felipe II, Nuestro Señor, Contra los Moriscos de Aguel Reyno, Sus Rebeldes ; Historia Escrita en Quatro Libros (1674). Southey owned a copy; see A. N. L. Munby (gen. ed.), Sale Catalogues of Libraries of Eminent Persons, vol. 9 Poets and Men of Letters, ed. Roy Park (London, 1974), p. 266. BACK

[5] Southey’s analysis of Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (1562–1635), La Hermosura de Angelica (1602) was published in Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (Bristol, 1797), pp. 131–66. BACK

[6] Southey’s analysis of Jean Chapelain (1595–1674), La Pucelle ou la France Délivrée (1656) was published in Joan of Arc, 2nd edn, 2 vols (Bristol, 1798), I, pp. 23–79. BACK

[7] Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749–1800; DNB), heiress, botanist and author of a five act play, The Siege of Jerusalem (1769). Her first husband was John Lyon (1737–1776), 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, her second the fortune-hunter Andrew Robinson Stoney (1747–1810). In 1789, her abusive marriage to Stoney ended in an acrimonious and scandalous divorce. BACK

[8] The Polish patriot Thaddeus Kosciusko (1746–1817), who visited Bristol on 13 June 1797 on his way to America. He was greeted by local dignitaries and his departure from the port was a great public event. BACK

[9] Sam Reed (dates unknown), a Bristol bookseller. BACK