263. Robert Southey to [Charles Biddlecombe], 16 October 1797?

263. Robert Southey to [Charles Biddlecombe], 16 October 1797 ⁠* 

Bath. Oct. 16. 1797.

My dear Sir

I have at last seen Warner, [1]  tho somewhat ashamed to call upon him after so long a delay. the first time that I set out with that intent a previous call delayed me till too late an hour. the second time I found he had changed his quarters — & it was not till Thursday last that I made a third & successful attempt. they tell me he has made some curious discoveries among the records of Bath, & I likewise hear that he calculates upon the certain sale of a number of copies to Libraries & the purchasers of topographical history, a branch of literature which certainly has its use, but which no human genius can make tolerably agreable. I hope some day to find him at his books & get among his old chronicles.

Will you be good enough at your leisure to extract for me two passages from your old Edmond Howes. [2]  the one an anecdote of La Hire Page 352. the other the only instance I have met with of throwing the spear in the Greek manner. Page 383.

I have laboured much at Joan of Arc since I left Burton. every thing palpably miraculous is omitted. of course the beginning is altered, & you will find the first 350 lines new. my new lines amount to about a thousand. the book is in the press.

Amos Cottle has translated the Edda of Sæmund which will speedily be published. I am now writing a poem which he means to prefix to his book [3]  — the first part is description of Burton scenery — & I have not forgotten my old friend St Catherines Hill.

My brother is now with Lord Bridport [4]  on board the Mars. Lloyd & Edith are well, & join me in remembrances to you & Mrs Biddlecombe, & Rickman. how is the gout?

God bless you.

yrs truly

Robert Southey.


* Endorsement: 16. Octr 1797
MS: Columbia University Library. ALS; 2p. (c).
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Richard Warner (1763–1857; DNB), antiquary, who became Minister of St James’s, Bath, in 1795. He was a frequent contributor to the Bath Journal and his numerous publications included Illustrations of the Roman Antiquities at Bath (1797) and a History of Bath (1801). BACK

[2] Edmund Howes (fl. 1602–1631; DNB), The Annales, or Generalle Chronicle of England, Begun First by Maister John Stow, and After Him Continued and Augmented with Matters Forreine and Domesticall unto the End of Yeare 1610, by E. H. (1611). BACK

[3] Southey’s ‘To A. S. Cottle’ appeared in Amos Simon Cottle, Icelandic Poetry, or the Edda of Saemund Translated into English Verse (Bristol, 1797), pp. xxxi–xlii. BACK

[4] Alexander Hood, Viscount Bridport (1726–1814; DNB), naval officer and politician. Southey has confused Bridport with his cousin (and namesake) Alexander Hood (1758–1798; DNB), Captain of the Mars. The latter was killed in action between the Mars and the French ship L’Hercule on 21 April 1798. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Burton (mentioned 2 times)