326. Robert Southey to Thomas Phillipps Lamb, 13 June 1798

326. Robert Southey to Thomas Phillipps Lamb, 13 June 1798 ⁠* 

Bath. June 13th. 98.

My dear Sir

I thought I recognized your seal – & it gave me very great pleasure to find myself not forgotten by persons who I often recollect with pleasure & gratitude. Six years have elapsed since I left school, & since last I saw you. All my views in life & many of my opinions have been changed more than once during that period; the result is – that at twenty four I am married, without a want, almost without a wish unsatisfied. Time & Experience have done me much good, & somewhat tamed me: imagine me taller & still thinner than in 1792, & with even spirits which nothing either elevates or depresses, & you will have most of the alterations that the interval has produced.

I have been married two years, according to the Gipsey prophecy at Norwood, [1]  which Tom may recollect – but alas of the promised five children & good fortune I have as yet no appearance. the first however Time may give me, & the Law, my present study, may possibly one day accomplish the rest of the prediction. be that as it may I am happy.

hitherto we have been obliged to live in lodgings. I have now the prospect of soon enjoying the comforts of a house. at present I am employed in settling my mother, & with her we shall pass the Autumn, for I am sorry to add that my wifes health has obliged us to quit London for the present, & thus interrupted my professional pursuits. I have been alarmed by her indisposition, but she is now better, & indeed my prospects are in every direction brightening. I have had some difficulties, but they are over. necessity joined with inclination to make me an author, & now only the pleasant motive remains. I acquired some money & more reputation. the one soon went, but it supported me when I had no other support. the other I trust will not be lost. I have many plans & great ones to execute should it please God to allow me life & leisure.

The second edition of my best work is lately published. [2]  I have one large copy remaining, & am glad of this opportunity of disposing of it. [3]  it shall be sent by the first coach. you will find the poem much altered, & bearing little resemblance to the rhymes which you may remember of the school boy.

I beg my remembrances to all your family. I have often thought of them, & recollected Rye with pleasure. the newspapers have [MS torn] given me some [MS torn] of my old acquaintance in that part of the world. [MS torn] shall hope sometimes to hear of them by a [MS torn] channel.

God bless you.

yours as ever

Robert Southey


* Address: To/ Thomas P. Lamb Esqr/ Mountsfield Lodge/ Rye/ Sussex
Stamped: BATH
Endorsement: Southey
MS: Duke University Library. ALS; 4p. (c).
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 56–57. BACK

[1] Norwood Common in Surrey was a popular destination for Londoners on a day out and home to a number of well-known gipsy fortune-tellers. BACK

[2] The second edition of Joan of Arc, published in 1798. BACK

[3] Joseph Cottle struck off special large copies of Southey’s works to be given as presentation volumes. BACK

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