441. Robert Southey to John May, 5 October 1799

441. Robert Southey to John May, 5 October 1799 ⁠* 

My dear friend

Yours inclosing the 20£ bill arrived yesterday, & I acknowledge it by the first post. we set out on Monday next for Burton, whither I shall be obliged to you to remit the remainder. I hope your brother [1]  may not have left Christ Church before I have an opportunity of seeing him.

The circumstance of the Kiss Poem [2]  took place previous to my having any acquaintance <with> or ever having seen Coleridge. at Cambridge he had fallen into the common vices of young men, he found me holding a moral system of Stoical severity & adopted it. the origin of that poem he told me himself, speaking of it in becoming terms.

We are busy in packing − & I have to take leave of many persons from whom I have received much attention & kindness. from strangers I have never experienced more, than at Exeter. one of these new acquaintance has often seen my Uncle at Porto, & at Lisbon – his name is Banfill. [3]  he is an accomplished & sensible man.

God bless you.

affectionately yours

Robert Southey.

<I will write as soon as we are housed at Burton.>

Exeter. Oct 5. 1799.


* Watermark: [partial] top part of shield
Endorsement: No. 43 1799/ Robert Southey/ Exeter 5 October/ recd: 7 do/ ansd. 18 do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 1p.
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 49. BACK

[1] Possibly May’s eldest brother Joseph (1767–1830). BACK

[2] Coleridge’s ‘Effusion 26, On a Kiss’ was first published in his Poems On Various Subjects (Bristol and London, 1796), pp. 93–94. It was possibly written in the autumn of 1794 and addressed to Sarah Fricker, despite Southey’s denials. BACK

[3] Probably Samuel Banfill (fl. 1790s–1830s). He was a partner in a woollen mill at Exwick, near Exeter, which made a determined effort to sell its products in Spain and Portugal. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Burton (mentioned 2 times)