771. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [8 April 1803]
771. Robert Southey to John Rickman, [8 April 1803] *
We are all bustle & business & brown paper & cords & packages. Tom has been appointed to the Galatea  (not the Mercury  as the newspapers have it) & is this day setting off. he is probably first Lieutenant – & if we must go to loggerheads will start with a fair chance of mending his fortunes.
You will not see me in London so soon as I had at first resolved. I can come up to better advantage in the autumn. this is a good reason, & moreover I wish that cursed La Gripe  to be completely extirpated before lest I should fall into his clutches again.
Septuagints  ought to be more common, for the reason you have given. but you misreckon upon the possible price at which they could be sold. Unless School masters sanction them & adopt them, school boys would not buy them, & nothing but a great school sale could cover the expences. all printing is of course dear in proportion to its closeness, & crowded Greek would be God knows what per sheet, treble – or six fold the English price. I have let my Greek sleep so long that perhaps it may never be awakened – yet I must read Homer again & again. I mean to hunt the Byzantine historians for facts of manners & such corollaries as may be gleaned – & there must be something in Nonnus  which might be useful in writing upon Hindostan – to all this, bless the old Editors! their Latin will help me, & I have yet Greek enough to verify all that concerns me. – Elmsley whom you saw at my rooms, is editing Sophocles at Edinburgh.  I am glad he is doing any thing, tho the stock of human knowledge will be but little increased by any corrections of the metre of a Greek chorus. Elmsleys very complete knowledge of the language will one day be applied to some better purpose. it is a great thing to break the ice. facilis descensus!  – printers ink has a bird-lime quality of sticking to the fingers.
Danvers is much obliged to you for putting his letter in so fair a way of reaching its mark. – I have not written to Lamb – & am sorry for it – but in fact I know not how to mention his sister, & cannot write without mentioning her. in all cases madness is a dreadful affliction – & in this instance it is peculiarly dreadful. 
You are going to Lewes – I wish it were to Portsmouth. the Lt of H. M. S. Galatea would be very glad to see you on board.
God bless you –
* Endorsement: Apr 8 1803
MS: Huntington Library, RS 34. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 310-311. BACK
 In later life, Elmsley edited several of Sophocles’ (c. 497-406 BC) plays, including Oedipus Tyrannus (1811) and Oedipus Coloneus (1823). BACK