801. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 23 June 1803

801. Robert Southey to Thomas Southey, 23 June 1803 ⁠* 

John Bulls Invitation [1] 


O Bonaparte [2]  what I hear
It is no lie then? is it?
That in your goodness you intend
To come & pay me a visit?

You shall find a hearty welcome –
Tis the custom of John Bull,
When strangers come to visit him
To give them a belly-full
O Bonaparte! my hero, my hearty,
Come over! come over! come over!

I have treated my French neighbours well
Even in their own country,
And I shall treat them better still
If they come over to me!

No ceremony <You’ll find pot-luck,>! & as you come
To take what I have got,
Pot luck, so <Why you should> tell the friends you bring
To come & go to pot.
O Bonaparte! my hero! my hearty!
Come over! come over! come over!

To give you a good warm welcome
In truth is my design,
But there is David Jones who keeps
A warmer fire-side than mine.
And as you have been engaged to him
I know for many a day,
Why methinks it is not unlikely
You may stop with him by the way.
O Bonaparte &c –

There’s a little piece of water
Which lies between you & me
It’s rather troublesome to cross
For folks who are sick at sea.
But less trouble than you kindly mean
To take, perhaps may do
If I meet you half way over
It will be all over with you

O Bonaparte &c


There Tom – theres a Song for you, piping hot, which you may sing to the tune of Gregory Gubbins. [3] 

R. S.

Thursday June 23. 1803


* Address: To/ Lieutenant Southey./ H. M. S. Galatea/ Spithead./ Single
Postmark: [partial] STOL/ UN 23 1803
MS: British Library, Add MS 30927. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Published in the Morning Post, 5 July 1803. BACK

[2] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821, First Consul 1799-1804, Emperor of the French 1804-1814). BACK

[3] Gubbins was a character in George Colman, the younger (1762-1836; DNB), The Battle of Hexham (1789). Southey probably means Gubbins’s song ‘What’s a valiant hero?’; see Songs, Choruses, &c. in The Battle of Hexham; or, Days of Old (London, 1789), pp. 5-7. BACK