3493. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 16 June 
3493. Robert Southey to Edith Southey, 16 June *
Friday Noon. 16 June.
My dear Edith
If I had time I would write an amusing letter to the children to tell them how I was ushered into the Theatre at Oxford  (which they must not suppose to be a play house) in a gown of scarlet cloth with rose coloured silk sleeves, & a black velvet cap (like a beef eaters) in my hand; & how the Theatre above & below was crowded as full as it could hold; & we who were to receive our honorary degrees were introduced in a line into the middle of the arena. & Dr Phillimore introduced us one by one with a Latin speech. & the Vice Chancellor then, one by one created us L.L.Ds, & the xxxx xxxx xx assembly applauded as they thought good, & the bar was lifted up & we were admitted to our seats among the Doctors.  – I wish you had been there. the sight is one of the finest that can be imagined of its kind: & you would have been pleased to hear how the place rung & thundered with applause & acclamation when my name was pronounced. – I xxxxx went from the Theatre to a splendid cold collation at Brazen Nose  given by the Vice Chancellor: – & at ten o clock, by invitation from the Master  & Fellows sat down to dinner in the hall at Balliol.
It was on Tuesday that I went to Oxford. Hartley met me at the coach, we dined at the Inn, & Chantry Chauntry (the sculptor)  & Collins (Sara’s painter)  happening to pass the window, we called them in to join us, & had I dare say the pleasantest dinner as far as conversation goes, of any men in the city that day. They went away after dinner for London, & I adjourned to Oriel, where Wm Heathcoate gave me a bed. Wednesday was the ceremony, & yesterday I returned to town.
This visit to Oxford, tho it brought with it many melancholy thoughts, was on the whole very gratifying to me. – The whole expences were under 18 pounds. – A good many persons claimed acquaintance with me, & a great many more were introduced.
This morning I breakfasted at Ch. Lambs. & poor Miss Betham, by accident was there: perfectly sane in her conversation & manner, tho she has written me the maddest letter I ever saw.
Love to all, I will write again soon.
God bless you
* Endorsement: [1820?]
MS: British Library, Add MS 47888. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 214–215. BACK
 The Sheldonian Theatre (built 1664–1668), the main centre for ceremonies at the University of Oxford. BACK
 Southey had been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law at the University of Oxford on 14 June 1820. The Vice-Chancellor at the ceremony was Frodsham Hodson (1770–1822; DNB), Principal of Brasenose College 1809–1822, Vice-Chancellor 1818–1820, Regius Professor of Divinity 1820–1822. BACK
 Richard Jenkyns (1782–1854; DNB), Master of Balliol College, Oxford (1819–1854), where Southey had been an undergraduate 1792–1794. Southey had never completed his studies and left without a degree. BACK
 Francis Leggatt Chantrey (1781–1841; DNB), sculptor. He was later (1828) to produce a bust of Southey. BACK