644. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 27 December 1801

644. Robert Southey to Charles Danvers, 27 December 1801 ⁠* 

Sunday 27. Dec. 1801 –

My dear Danvers

I will not let Burnett go without writing by him – tho unfortunately I have nothing pleasant to communicate. his good fortune [1]  you will learn from himself – it will astonish & please you –

My Mother is in a wretched state. today a little better – yet still so diseased in her bowels that thex possibility of recovery is very small – & so weak that Carlisle thinks she if she lives – she will always be an invalid. she has been delirious – that symptom is gone – she now keeps her bed – rising only to have it made – & unable to rise without assistance. for my own part I do not expect her recovery – it seems to me so little like miracle as x not to be within reach of hope – . & Edith also is very unwell – miserably unwell – & in a state of miserable depression. Of course I now go out as little as possible – & at home I have no other comfort but what my good old folios afford me, & the totally forgetfulness of all present circumstances.

Coleridge has left town – somewhat uncivilly without letting us know of his departure. We saw him so little that it is no loss to us – . Burnett I shall miss – but thank God he is well off at last.

I do little – a mere nothing – my mornings are fiddle-faddled away with Mr Corry in sheer idleness – at home I am up & down to my mothers room – & as often as I can sit down – someone interrupts me. still my reading goes on – & some little I contrive to historianize. [2]  the tree grows so slow that it ought to be an oak.

Forget not when George returns to send the catalogue.

There are at your house some large-paper copies of the second Anthology [3]  – of which give one to Burnett. – I send by him the two volumes for King – to whom remember me –

One quarter of my engagement with Corry is expired – to a second year it is impossible that I should extend – I waver in my plans where to think of settling – for beauty & for oeconomy Keswick pleases & suits me – but it is a long way off! – to Bristol you are my only tie – something depends upon my Uncle – his library will be a loadstone from which I must not stray too far. –

In May I suppose we move for Ireland – I shall try to make a holyday month & see you at Bristol on my way. In one way I like the prospect before me – inasmuch as there appears little danger of a second condemnation to imprisonment in London.

Our love to Mrs Danvers. I have great hopes of a mild winter – she will feel its benefit – & I am feeling it –

God bless you.


Robert Southey.

I had nearly again forgotten. – if you have not got rid of that yellow waistcoat of which we bought one each the night before I left Bristol for Lisbon – keep it for me. mine is gone at the pockets – but Edith says if she has yours she can make mine new again.

Miss Barker has made me a black velvet cap to keep my poor ears warm.


* Address: To/ Mr Danvers/ Kingsdown/ Bristol
MS: British Library, Add MS 47890. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Burnett had just been appointed tutor to the two younger sons of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753-1816; DNB), radical politician and inventor. BACK

[2] Southey was working on his unfinished ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[3] Annual Anthology (1800). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)