66. Robert Southey to Horace Walpole Bedford, 3[-4] November 1793
66. Robert Southey to Horace Walpole Bedford, 3[–4] November 1793 *
Sunday. November 3rd. 1793. ½ past seven. College Green Bristol. a wet cold evening & an excellent fire.
Monday night. seven o clock
Ecce iterum — not Crispinus  my friend — no nor Juvenal neither, but RS descended from Pegasus mounted on a great chair & writing prose.
you say in your letter, you was on the point of requesting what would be too much for you to ask. my dear friend ask freely — if I have ability to perform it you know I have will & if I have neither I will freely say so. that you have relinquishd our plan does not surprize me — for myself I have employment enough with Joan & the Library. how your employments should take up so much time I know not — I read & write till my eyes ache & still have Time hanging as heavy as a stone round the neck of a drowning dog. probably I may visit Devonshire soon & see Lightfoot. he is a good fellow & will be without the Pot — this place strange as it may sound is to me most unpleasant — omne solum forti &c  — I think of the sentiment & America obtrudes itself forcibly on my melancholy hours.
We live in a vile world — the good things are so badly distributed that Frederics  & fools have crowns, boobies large estates & good fortunes — perhaps Nature thought good sense a handsome dower — but good sense in dependance is like a chef d oeuvres of Raffaelle  in a bog house. if the savages of America have fewer luxuries than the slaves of Europe they have fewer miseries — the artificial distinctions of birth & fortune are unknown — distinctions which though the Philosopher must despise, he must want. on the banks of the Oronoko when the young savages is born — his infancy is neither embitterd by fashionable nursing his puberty by absurd education or his life by the anxieties so frequent & indeed unavoidable in civilized society. his bow & arrows furnish him with food — he gives the pipe of peace to the stranger & lives free as the game he pursues — teach him the value of money & the no-value of every thing else & he becomes miserable
perhaps ten years hence I may laugh at my rhapsodies — when time has annihilated my feelings & hardend my heart. they wish me at home to be like other young men — whilst I am ready in the words of the Pharisee to exclaim ‘I thank thee o God that I am not as other men are.  to please the million I should dress my hair & fall into the fashionable follies of youth. two bottles a day — a tail — a pudding — & a quarterly surgeons bill would fit me for society — if ever I was allowed to write — it must be a loyal song or one in humble imitation of Captain Morris & Jack the second  — so when I was grown compleatly contemptible — I might be fit for genteel company! were society what it ought beings like this (& such there are) would be hooted from all sides — if the Fox was contemptible without his tail what should man be without his reasons!
nineteen years have elapsed since I set sail upon the ocean of life — in an ill provided boat — the vessel weatherd many a storm & I took every distant cloud for land — still pushing forward for the Fortunate Islands till I discoverd that they existed not for me & that like many others wiser xxx better than myself I must be content to wander about & never gain the port. nineteen years — certainly a fourth part of my life — perhaps how great a part! & yet I have been of no service to society — why the clown who scares crows for two pence a day is a more useful member of society — he preserves the corn which I eat in indolence —
these damned dumps will one day drive me mad & draw the trigger — I have done. send me an account of Hyders  death write soon & tell me you are going to enter at Balliol. it depends upon yourself — & delicacy would be criminal. all happiness is comparative — I would gladly change my future prospects for yours — I hope to hear congratulate you as a fellow collegian very shortly. yesterday is just one year since I enterd my name in the Vice Chancellors book — it is a year of which I would wish to forget <the> transactions could I only remember their effect. my mind has been very much expanded — my hopes I trust extinguishd — so adieu to Hope Fear but not to Folly — I must trifle away time.
I shall soon write to Grosvenor. remember me to Harry when you see him & to Kate — never tell me that Man is naturally vicious look at children & see how easily kindness begets esteem & love — but — why will it not when the child is grown up — God bless you.
I have half a letter written to C Collins.
I am reading Adam Smith on the Wealth of Nations. 
* Address: Horace Walpole Bedford Esqr/ Old Palace Yard/
Postmark: NO/ 7/ 93
Seal: Red wax; design illegible
Endorsement: Recd. Nov. 7th. 1793 BC
MS: Bristol Reference Library, B28505. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 190–191 [in part; 1 paragraph].
Dating note: The letter is possibly written over several days from 3–7 November. BACK
 The manuscript of the first version of his epic Joan of Arc, now in the Houghton Library, MS Eng 265. BACK
 Allied forces had defeated France at the battle of Valenciennes, 23 May 1793, but subsequent French victories had forced the allies to lift the sieges of Dunkirk in September 1793 and Maubeuge in October 1793. BACK
 Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763–1827; DNB), son of George III (1738–1820; reigned 1760–1820; DNB) and commander of the allied forces in the Low Countries. BACK
 A jokey paraphrase of Juvenal’s (fl. AD late C1 and early C2), ‘Ecce iterum Crispinus’ (‘Here’s Crispinus again’), Satire 4, line 1. Rufrius Crispinus (d. AD 66) was also the butt of Juvenal’s Satire 1. BACK
 A paraphrase of Ovid (43 BC–AD 17), Fasti, line 493, ‘Omne solum forti patria est’, ‘Every land is a homeland for the brave’. A favourite quotation, it formed the epigraph to Southey’s Madoc, first published in 1805. BACK
 Works by either of the popular satirical song-writers and army officers, Charles Morris (1745–1838; DNB) and his brother Thomas Morris (c. 1732–1818). Johannes Secundus (1511–1536), poet. BACK