710. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [31 August-]1 September 1802

710. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [31 August-]1 September 1802 ⁠* 

Dear Grosvenor

I told Duppa to tell you I should soon write – & lo if he make not good speed from Salisbury my letter will reach you before him. he has passed a week between this house & Mr Smiths [1]  – the guest of one or the other – whereby I have seen something more of your Stockwells friends – who improve greatly upon acquaintance. I wish sincerely that Mrs Smith were in better hands – that surgeon is trifling with her merely to swell his bill. he drenches her with medicine – which cannot possibly be necessary for a blow on the head. besides he is a fellow of no talents & nothing but a coach to recommend him.

You will not be pleased to hear that I design to pitch my tent at Keswick but the reasons are valid. I get part of a house furnished – quite room enough for less than the bare rent of a house elsewhere. & thus save the embarrassing expence of furniture. & the expence of living there is about half the London price. climate is the only objection. a winter in London is more trying & that I have stood. if I ail in Cumberland why I must take ship from Liverpool two years sooner than business xxx would call me to Lisbon.

I did & do design to send you the Curse of Kehama [2]  as it proceeds – but the truth is that it does not proceed – for half a book in three months is in fact nothing. I have a job upon hand [3]  which wastes a good deal of time – & it goes against me sorely to spare any time from the history [4]  which will pretty evidently be my opus majus [5]  in all points of view & upon which I calculate is the foundation of an independance. at this I have worked well since we left London – you saw the rudiments of some remarks upon the religion of Mohammed. [6]  they have been shaped into a chapter of I think fair & prof rememberable reasoning. the life of the Cid [7]  I have compleated – & rough hewn that of S. Francisco. [8] 


There broke off my letter – for a better finis – yesterday evening I had a daughter born whom I hope you will one day know by the names of Margaret Edith. all hitherto as well as could be wished.

God bless you

R Southey

Sept. 1. 1802


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr/ Exchequer./ Westminster/ Single
Postmark: BRISTOL/ SEP; [partial] B/ SEP
Endorsement: 1 Septr 1802/ 1 child born? now Edith May Southey
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Thomas Woodroffe Smith (c. 1747-1811), a wealthy Quaker merchant, who lived at Stockwell Park, Surrey, near the Bedfords. In 1789 he married, as his second wife, Anne Reynolds (dates unknown) of Carshalton. BACK

[2] The Curse of Kehama, published in 1810. Southey had begun to draft Book 2 on 4 June 1802. BACK

[3] Southey’s translation of Amadis of Gaul (1803). BACK

[4] Southey’s uncompleted ‘History of Portugal’. BACK

[5] The Latin translates as ‘Greater Work’. BACK

[6] Muhammad (570-632), Prophet of Islam. BACK

[7] Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar (c. 1040-1099), a Castilian aristocrat and military commander, whose exploits were the subject of numerous poems and tales. BACK

[8] St Francis of Assisi (1181/2-1226), founder of the Franciscan order. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)