453. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [10-13 November 1799]

453. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [10–13 November 1799] ⁠* 


Tom is safe – & so I suppose you know. [1]  your last crossed mine upon my <the> road – I should have written since, but the business of settling first interrupted me, & illness afterwards. I am miserably unwell – in pain in every possible part – from my head to the very termination of the rectum, sore all the way. a bowel-complaint has in three days reduced me to almost a palsied debility – & this is not the worst – for I had before & still have certain achings, physical ones – at the heart, that puzzle me to account for them. a settled dull obtuse aching just enough to attract continual attention – & show that all is not as it should be. If this continues I shall take advice of Beddoes or go to him.

Think Grosvenor – a poor fellow who does not know the first elements of Euclid kept all day & night at fluxions! [2] 


Thank God Nature has stopt the sluices. but I am weaker than bad swipes. [3]  & so sore! & so exhausted with sleeplessness & head ache! & fever! & want of appetite! & then this clinging heart complaint – do you wonder that I should be hipped? Write me a letter Grosvenor give me some matter to interest me & snatch the ten minutes employed in reading it from the tedious uniformity of a day of confinement. it is now many months since I have been well. would to God there were peace that I might try the climate of France or Italy.

I meant to have scrawled thro the sheet but my intellect is as empty as my intestines.

God bless you

yrs, whilst any of him remains

Robert Southey.

Burton. near Ringwood.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer/ Westminster/ Single
Endorsement: Novr 1799
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.
Dating note: References to Southey’s illness in this letter suggest a date very close to that of his letter to Humphry Davy of 12 November 1799 (Letter 454). BACK

[1] Newspaper reports confirmed Tom Southey’s ship, the Sylph, had not been captured, but had safely returned to Plymouth after a long cruise; see, for example, Morning Chronicle, 26 October 1799. BACK

[2] Euclid (fl. 300 BC), Greek mathematician, author of the Elements. ‘Fluxions’ was a 17th and 18th-century mathematical term for what are now called ‘derivatives’, as well as a term for bowel movements. BACK

[3] Weak beer. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Burton (mentioned 1 time)