400. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 19 April 1799]

400. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [c. 19 April 1799] ⁠* 

Grosvenor I beseech you go to Covent Garden Market & buy a Magpye. you may consult Carlisle upon the propriety of slitting his tongue – however teach him distinctly to pronounce Southey, & keep the Magpye in your sitting parlour by day, & in your bed room by night, & then perhaps your mag<mag>pye may supply the place of your conscience or place the bust you have where it may most frequently meet your eyes. O thou idler than idleness.

In May I shall see you, probably on May-day, or before if I go to London with Tom whose passing day is the first of next month. Grosvenor I have the middle fortnight of May to dispose of, & I want to ramble somewhere if I can get a companion, to walk round Kent, of which county I know little, or Surry of which I know less – or to the Devil in Derbyshire of which I know nothing. you I fear are tied by the leg. is Horace inclined to pedestrianize? or has he an objection to a knapsack tho of the most fashionable cut, & occasionally a bread & cheese dinner at a village alehouse?

Tom has been laid up with an abscess which is getting well rapidly. his stay in town will be very short – merely to pass & join his own ship, or any other to which he may be appointed. I come leave home neither well nor willingly. more willingly I shall certainly return, but whether better or not it is not in my power to decide. in the meantime I expect to hear from you because if you write before we meet you will not be quite so much ashamed to see me.

God bless you.

yrs affectionately

R Southey

This is abominably brief – but unless I conclude the letter must lie till tomorrow, & tomorrow is Saturday & therefore it would not go then – & on the Sunday I do not go to the Post-Office. so a piece now is better than waiting for me till Tuesday.

Shall I put your name to the Barbers??? [1]  – or will you be – The Tr. of Musæus? [2]  – did you see yourself quoted in the Critical Review of Goodwins Poems last month? [3] 


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ London/ Single
Postmarks: [partial] STOL/ APR 19 99; AP /20 /99
Endorsement: 19 April 1799
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Bedford’s ‘The Rhedycinian Barbers’, published in Southey’s Annual Anthology (Bristol, 1799), pp. 44–47. It was signed ‘G.C.B.’. BACK

[2] Bedford’s translation of The Loves of Hero and Leander appeared in 1797. BACK

[3] Southey quoted Bedford’s translation in his review of George Goodwin (dates unknown), Rising Castle, With Other Poems (1798), Critical Review, 25 (March 1799), 316. BACK