589. Robert Southey to Barbara Seton [fragment], [7 July 1801]

589. Robert Southey to Barbara Seton [fragment], [7 July 1801] ⁠* 

Indeed we mist you. The banishment of the factory [1]  would have been nothing, had they left me but my Uncle & his two rooms & you – you left us to ourselves – I was like a bear sucking his own paws. We took a dislike to your house – above all to your window. I had a long story ready [2]              .             .             .             .             .            .             how we were almost starved – yea double starved by the cold & the want of food, & of certain soldiers who arrested us at midnight – & how my book of drawings was inspected – & of the Town of a thousand fountains, [3]  where the people drank well water             .             .             .             .             We reached Monchique – almost another Cintra, wanting indeed the shapes of Cintra but more abundant in water & of far greater magnitude. We stood on the summit & mountains lay below us like the sea. Indeed for half a day we travelled over mountains of just that heaving, swelling, breasting wavyness that the old prints of Palestine exhibit!


* MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Ifan Kyrle Fletcher, ‘Robert Southey and Miss Seton’, Times Literary Supplement (1937). Southey’s letters to Seton were advertised for sale in Kyrle Fletcher’s catalogue no. 57 (1936), Item 332. Their purchaser and current location are unknown
Previously published: Ifan Kyrle Fletcher, ‘Robert Southey and Miss Seton’, Times Literary Supplement, no. 1868 (20 November 1937), 896.
Dating note: Dating from Fletcher, who records the entire letter is dated ‘Bodmin, July 7, 1801’ and is ‘full of reminiscences of Portugal’. BACK

[1] The British Factory at Lisbon. The official organisation of British merchants in the Portuguese capital, it was not finally abolished until 1825. BACK

[2] Southey’s ‘story’ describes his travels in southern Portugal in April 1801; see Adolfo Cabral, Robert Southey: Journals of a Residence in Portugal 1800-1801 and a Visit to France 1838 (Oxford, 1960), pp. 33-61. Southey and his party were briefly arrested at Lagos on 23 April 1801. BACK

[3] Monchique. BACK

People mentioned

Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Cintra [Sintra] (mentioned 2 times)