3599. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford [fragment], 31 December 1820

3599. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford [fragment], 31 December 1820 ⁠* 

Keswick. 31 Dec. 1820

My dear G.

The half-bills are safe. – While that word serves as a catch-word for my recollection, let me say that poor Hyde’s bill [1]  has been sent to me, – by mistake perhaps for you, – the amount is 15.13–6. When you pay it, enquire if the business is to be carried on. If it is not I shall be at a loss how to get a new coat in the spring.

I am very glad you like the last part of the Vision best, [2]  – because being better pleased with the first part itself <myself>, [3]  we like the whole between us, which is a good Hibernian conclusion. As for the metre it has been tried upon ears enough to convince me that it will have its admirers, & if the Gods would but allow, might excite a wholesome controversy concerning its merits. The question of dedicating it is of no consequence, – unless it be necessary to ask permission, which I suppose is not the case. If I can strike off a few sentences to my own satisfaction, well & good: – if not, why it may go without them. Your hit about the life guardsmen is a very good one.

Concerning the Ode [4]  my intention is to print it with others of the same family, as seasoning to the Dialogues, or Colloquies, (as I rather incline to call them) [5]  – which with the local descriptions, – the sort of Montaigne-ishness, [6]  the fine prints from Westalls drawings, [7]  & the good solid matter for which these things are to serve as garnish, will I hope make a very attractive book. – If however you would rather see the said Ode come forth while it is in full season (tho I fear the season will last quite long enough!) – it may be printed with the Vision, & help to stuff the book. It gratifies me that you like it.

The word to which you object is quite scriptural. Your objection however has led me to improve the second line by substituting xxx xxxx xx relenting instead of uplifted.  [8]  If you advise it to be printed with the Vision, let me know in your next, & I will make a transcript for the press, a process which generally produces some corrections, xxxxx <that> fully repay the trouble. I might insert also the last years ode – tho sans doubt the Whore would be interpreted to mean Queen Caroline. [9] But As the two together would make twenty pages, they may perhaps be more advantageously employed in swelling the quarto publication, than in the Colloquies

Your weather is colder than ours. The frost has not yet committed burglary here, & my chin is unscarified. On Tuesday I go to fetch Shedaw from Wordsworths, meaning to return on Thursday. – The fells are just frosted, but there are [MS missing] that tomorrow I expect xxxx to see a la But[MS missing] God, – & Cha-Cupn up to the eyes in Taffy[MS missing] composition is. By the bye do not let Gifford [MS missing] of my last paper. [10]  I learnt what it was from B[MS missing] made some one night for the Ladies when Nash wa[MS missing] amusement of all parties. – The best news I [MS missing] John May has sent me a cask of his mother’s [11]  [MS missing] as much exceeds Welsh ale as an Englishma[MS missing] Rejoice in the thoughts thereof [MS missing] You shall toast cheese in your own fashion (in spite of Mrs C.) & we will enjoy it properly, when you come next, which is to be remem[MS missing] as early as you can in the season.

God bless you


Have you seen Nash, & your Godsons picture [MS missing]


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: [illegible]
Endorsement: 31. Decr. 1820
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. d. 47. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Hyde (d. 1820) was Southey’s London tailor. BACK

[2] A Vision of Judgement (1821); a poem in hexameters, dedicated to George IV. BACK

[3] itself <myself>,: deletion and insertion possibly in another hand. BACK

[4] Southey’s duty as Poet Laureate was to produce a New Year’s Ode for 1821; his ode was later published as ‘The Warning Voice. Ode II’ in The Englishman’s Library: Comprising a Series of Historical, Biographical and National Information (London, 1824), pp. 384–389. BACK

[5] Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829). BACK

[6] Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), Essais (1580), also a series of short treatments of various subjects, derived from a classical model, and with a strong element of personal reflection. BACK

[7] Six prints from Westall’s drawings were included in Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829). BACK

[8] In ‘The Warning Voice. Ode II’, line 181, Southey did change ‘uplifted’ to ‘relenting’. The poem was not printed with A Vision of Judgement (1821). BACK

[9] ‘The Warning Voice. Ode I’, unpublished until it appeared in The Englishman’s Library: Comprising a Series of Historical, Biographical and National Information (London, 1824), pp. 381–383. The ‘Harlot’ (line 29) was the sin of blasphemy, not Queen Caroline (1769–1821; DNB). BACK

[10] The most recent review that Southey had submitted to the Quarterly Review was that of The Works of the Reverend William Huntington, S. S. Minister of the Gospel, at Providence Chapel, Gray’s Inn Lane, Completed to the Close of the Year 1806 (1811). It appeared in Quarterly Review, 24 (January 1821), 462–510. Southey was anxious that his original draft should be returned to him, so he could preserve a copy without any editorial changes. BACK

[11] Mary May, née Coppendale (1745–1824), had sent Southey a cask of ale. BACK

People mentioned

Nash, Edward (1778–1821) (mentioned 2 times)
Fricker, Sarah (1770–1845) (mentioned 1 time)
Gifford, William (1756–1826) (mentioned 1 time)
Westall, William (1781–1850) (mentioned 1 time)
May, John (1775–1856) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)