3269. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 21 March 1819

3269. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 21 March 1819 ⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

The Academy at Stockholm have offered a prize for an ode in praise of King Bernadotte, [1]  – & Landor has sent me one from Italy, desiring that I will forward it on its destination, if I can. [2]  The best thing I can think of is to send it to you, in hope that Herries may be acquainted with the Swedish Ambassador, [3]  – which would seem to be the regular course of transmitting it. If you can get rid of it in this way, direct it to the Academy (for I never trust myself to write even a superscription in French) – & seal it. – I send it open that you may read it if you like, & construe it if you can, – for Landor who is an absolute master of the Latin language, writes nevertheless the hardest Latin I ever read. – The sealed paper contains his name, in case of the odes success, & directs that the premium be given to the poor. – If you cannot find means of forwarding it, lay it by, – & I shall be able to say truly that I have used my best endeavours in Spain. – But if Riehausen [4]  should happen still to the Ambassador, I have means of getting at him.

We are going on tolerably. – I have had a very interesting New Englander here, – whom I met at Paris: One of the best informed men in fine literature that I have ever known. I have given him a letter to Elmsley upon the chance of his finding him at Oxford. [5]  – I am going to be very popular in New England by virtue of xxx Oliver Newman. [6] 

I am afraid that I must deliver myself up to the Surgeons in London both head & tail. For these excrescences upon my caput are becoming inconvenient. & rectum which is right in Latin, is certainly wrong with me. I have a growing infirmity there which if it be not remedied, will disable me from walking ere long. [7] 

God bless you


21 March. 1819


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsements: 21 March 1819; 21 March 1819
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The French Marshal, Jean Bernadotte (1763–1844), had just become King of Sweden, 1818–1844, as Charles XIV John. He had been de facto ruler of the country since 1810. The prize was offered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (founded 1786). BACK

[2] Landor’s Latin ode, ‘Ad Gustavum Regem Suedorum’ (1819), unpublished until it appeared in Poemata et Inscriptiones (London, 1847), pp. 219–220. It did not win the prize from the Swedish Academy. BACK

[3] Gustaf Algernon Stierneld (1791–1868), Swedish Ambassador to the United Kingdom 1818–1828. BACK

[4] Unidentified. BACK

[5] See Southey to George Ticknor, [21 March 1819], Letter 3272; and Robert Southey to Peter Elmsley, 21 March [1819], Letter 3270. BACK

[6] Southey’s unfinished epic, set in New England. The completed sections were published after Southey’s death in Oliver Newman: A New-England Tale (Unfinished): With Other Poetical Remains (London, 1845), pp. 1–90. BACK

[7] Southey was suffering from a rectal prolapse; see Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 3 October 1819, Letter 3356. BACK

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