3561. Robert Southey to John May, 18 November [1820]

3561. Robert Southey to John May, 18 November [1820] ⁠* 

My dear friend

I send you a very ragged letter, [1]  made the more so for the corrections which (in the way of conversation) I obtained from my Aunt Mary, – & for the alterations which arise in the course of transcribing it into that copy which will be found among my papers whenever it shall be wanted for its post-obit value, – & which if I were to make <insert> them <all> in the prototype would render the letter xx even less legible than it is. When I write rapidly my xx-graphy is abominable bad, & yet when I am writing from the head alone (as always in letters) the pen must travel as fast as it can to keep pace with the thought & then if it happens to be a bad pen – ecce signum [2] 

I shall endeavour to be born in the next letter.

God bless you


Never must we laugh <again> at the credulity & xxx xxx stultification of other nations! What are any of the Franciscan legends & mysteries, to the mystery of our Immaculate Adultery, & the spotlessness of our Carolina purissima, sin pecado concebida! [3] 

Nov 18th. Anno Reimobbicæ primo. [4] 


* Address: To/ John May Esqre/ Richmond
Stamped: [illegible] Post/ Unpaid [illegible]
Postmark: [illegible] o’Clock/ NO. 21/ 1820 E.V.n
Endorsement: No. 216 1820/ Robert Southey/ – 18th November/ recd. 22d do./ ansd. 23d December
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 2pp.
Previously published: Charles Ramos (ed.), The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 190.
Dating note: Year from endorsement and postmark; Southey dates ‘Anno Reimobbicae primo’. BACK

[1] The third of the autobiographical letters Southey was writing for May; see Southey to John May, 16 August–18 November 1820, Letter 3526. BACK

[2] ‘Look at the proof’. BACK

[3] ‘Purest Caroline, conceived without sin’; a parody of the prayer of intercession ‘Ave Maria’ and thus an ironic comment on the moral character of Caroline of Brunswick (1768–1821; DNB), the estranged wife of George IV. Under extreme pressure from George IV, the Cabinet had reluctantly agreed to introduce a Bill of Pains and Penalties into the House of Lords to deprive Caroline of the title of Queen and to dissolve her marriage to the King. On the Third Reading of the Bill on 10 November 1820, the government majority was only nine votes and it seemed very unlikely the Bill could pass the House of Commons. Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, therefore announced the Bill would be withdrawn. BACK

[4] ‘In the first year of the reign of the mob’. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Mary (1750–1838) (mentioned 1 time)