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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 1 October 1795

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Bath, October 1. 1795.

“I have been living over three years and a half in your letters, Grosvenor, with what variety of reflections you may imagine, from the date of the ‘Flagellant,’ through many a various plan! You asked Collins, when you first saw him after his residence at Oxford, if I was altered, and his ‘No’ gave you pleasure. I have been asking myself the same question, and, alas! in truth, must return the same answer. No, I am not altered. I am as warm-hearted and as open as ever. Experience never wasted her lessons on a less fit pupil; yet, Bedford, my mind is considerably expanded, my opinions are better grounded, and frequent self-conviction of error has taught me a sufficient degree of scepticism on all subjects to prevent confidence. The frequent and careful study of Godwin was of essential service. I read, and all but worshipped. I have since seen his fundamental error,—that he theorises for another state, not for the rule of conduct in the present. . . . . I can confute his principles, but all the good he has done me remains: ’tis a book I should one day like to read with you for our mutual improvement; when we have been neighbours six months our opinions will accord—a bold prophecy, but it will be fulfilled.

“My poetical taste was much meliorated by Bowles, and the constant company of Coleridge. . . . . For religion, I can confute the Atheist, and
baffle him with his own weapons; and can, at least, teach the Deist that the arguments in favour of Christianity are not to be despised; metaphysics I know enough to use them as defensive armour, and to deem them otherwise difficult trifles.

“You have made me neglect necessary business. I was busy with this huge work of mine, when your letters tempted me, and gave me an appetite for the pen; somehow they have made me low-spirited, and I find a repletion of the lachrymal glands. Apropos: do kill some dozen men for me anatomically, any where except in the head or heart. Hang all wars! I am as much puzzled to carry on mine at Orleans as our admirable minister is to devise a plan for the next campaign Pardonnez moi! my republican royalist! my philanthropic aristocrat.

“I am obliged to Nares for a very handsome review. It is my intention to write a tragedy; the subject from the Observer,—the Portuguese accused before the Inquisition of incest and murder. Read the story.

Madoc is to be the pillar of my reputation; how many a melancholy hour have I beguiled by writing poetry! . . . .

“Friday, October 9.

“I found your letter an my arrival to-day. My uncle writes not to me, and I begin to think he is so displeased at my rejecting a good settlement, for the foolish prejudice I have against perjuring myself, that he gives me up. Aussi bien! so be it, any thing but
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 249
this terrible suspense. Zounds,
Grosvenor, suspense shall be the subject of my tragedy. Indeed, indeed, I have often the heartache. Cannot you come to Bath for a week? I have so much to say to you, and I will never quit Edith: every day endears her to me. I am as melancholy here at Bath as you can imagine, and yet I am very little here; not two days in the week: the rest I pass with Cottle that I may be near her. Cottle offered me his house in a letter which you shall see when we meet, and for which he will ever hold a high place in your heart. I bear a good face, and keep all uneasiness to myself: indeed, the port is in view, and I must not mind a little sickness on the voyage. . . . . Bedford, I have beheld that very identical tiger. There’s a grand hexameter for you!

Bedford, I have beheld that very identical tiger who stopt the mail coach on the king’s highway, not having the fear of God and the king before his eyes,—no, nor of the guard and his blunderbuss. What a pity, Grosvenor, that that blunderbuss should be levelled at you! how it would have struck a Democrat! Never mind, ’tis only a flash, and you, like a fellow whose uttermost upper grinder is being torn out by the roots by a mutton-fisted barber, will grin and endure it.

“Gaiety suits ill with me; the above extempore witticisms are as old as six o’clock Monday morning last, and noted down in my pocket-book for you.

“God bless you! Good night.

“Oct. 10.

“I visited Hannah More, at Cowslip Green, on Monday last, and seldom have I lived a pleasanter day. She knew my opinions, and treated them with a flattering deference; her manners are mild, her information considerable, and her taste correct. There are five sisters, and each of them would be remarked in a mixed company. Of Lord Orford they spoke very handsomely, and gave me a better opinion of Wilberforce than I was accustomed to entertain. They pay for and direct the education of 1000 poor children; and for aristocracy, Hannah More is much such an aristocrat as a certain friend of mine. . . . .

God love you, my dear friend!
Robert Southey.”