3713. Robert Southey to [Bernard Barton], 18 August 1821

3713. Robert Southey to [Bernard Barton], 18 August 1821⁠* 

My dear Sir

Your first letter reached me last night, having followed me to Netherhall, near Maryport, on our sea coast. Your second I found this evening on my return home.

There is no necessity for asking permission to dedicate a book to the King, & that he will be gratified by your so-doing, I make no doubt. [1]  You must have a copy splendidly bound as soon as the book is ready for publication (your publisher will take care that this is properly done) & consign it to some person who will present it for you. Your friend Major Moor (to whom I am under great obligations for the papers with which he has entrusted me) [2]  will doubtless perform this service for you, if he happens to be in town at the time. But if xxxx would not xxxxx xxxxxx the xxxxxxxx both xxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxxxxx xxxx your xxxxx that xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxx xxxxxxx xx xx xxxxxxx.

The Dedication itself is unexceptionable; it will gratify the King, who is very sensible of any mark of respect, – perhaps the more so for the beastly insolence & atrocious calumnies with which he has been assailed. There is only one sentence which I could wish you to reconsider; – instead of saying “not impertinently”, it would be better in my judgement to say “with due (or with dutiful) respect, – & I would leave out what is said of servility, because the days of servile dedications are gone by, & it is better not to seem thus to reflect upon a vicious fashion which has become obsolete. [3] 

I like your intended subject. You will probably pursue it, & indeed I should be sorry if you did not; – but remember, I pray you, that health is the first thing to be attended to, & that air, exercise, relaxation, & due sleep are necessary for health.

I have been absent from home nearly a fortnight & am returned to a heavy accumulation of business.

Farewell & believe me

Yrs with much esteem

Robert Southey

Keswick. 18 Aug. 1821.


* MS: Bristol Reference Library, SR4 pb Southey MSS, B20866. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Barton’s Napoleon and Other Poems (London, 1822) was dedicated to George IV, ‘AS THE MONARCH OF A NATION/ EMINENTLY DISTINGUISHED/ BY ITS HIGH PROFESSION OF CHRISTIANITY,/ AND ITS ZEALOUS EFFORTS TO EXTEND THE GOSPEL’ (p. [v]). Although the subject might have seemed an unusual one for a Quaker, Barton made it clear that his poem was ‘INTENDED TO ADVOCATE THE CAUSE OF PEACE’ (p. [v]). BACK

[2] Moor had lent Southey the papers of his brother-in-law, Sir Augustus Simon Frazer (1776–1835; DNB), to help with Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832). BACK

[3] Barton took Southey’s advice, dedicating his poem to the King ‘WITH ALL DUE RESPECT’, Napoleon and Other Poems (London, 1822), p. [v]. BACK

People mentioned

George IV (1762–1830) (mentioned 2 times)
Moor, Edward (1771–1848) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)
Keswick (mentioned 1 time)