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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 23 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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“Oct. 23. 1795.

“And where, Grosvenor, do you suppose the fates have condemned me for the next six months?—to Spain and Portugal! Indeed, my heart is very heavy. I would have refused, but I was weary of incessantly refusing all my mother’s wishes, and it is only one mode of wearing out a period that must be unpleasant to me anywhere.

“I now know neither when I go, nor where, except that we cross to Coruña, and thence by land to Lisbon. Cottle is delighted with the idea of a volume of travels. My Edith persuades me to go, and then weeps that I am going, though she would
not permit me to stay. It is well that my mind is never unemployed. I have about 900 lines, and half a preface yet to compose, and this I am resolved to finish by Wednesday night next. It is more than probable that I shall go in a fortnight.

“Then the advantageous possibility of being captured by the French, or the still more agreeable chance of going to Algiers. . . . . Then to give my inside to the fishes on the road, and carry my outside to the bugs on my arrival; the luxury of sleeping with the mules, and if they should kick in the night. And to travel, Grosvenor, with a lonely heart! . . . . When I am returned I shall be glad that I have been. The knowledge of two languages is worth acquiring, and perhaps the climate may agree with me, and counteract a certain habit of skeletonisation, that though I do not apprehend it will hasten me to the worms, will, if it continues, certainly cheat them of their supper. . . . . We will write a good opera; my expedition will teach me the costume of Spain.

“By the bye I have made a discovery respecting the story of the ‘Mysterious Mother.’ Lord O. tells it of Tillotson: the story is printed in a work of Bishop Hall’s, 1652; he heard it from Perkins (the clergyman whom Fuller calls an excellent chirurgeon at jointing a broken soul: he would pronounce the word ‘damn’ with such an emphasis as left a doleful echo in his auditors’ ears a good while after. Warton-like I must go on with Perkins, and give you an epigram. He was lame of the right hand: the Latin is as blunt as a good-humoured joke need be:—
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 253
Dextera quantumvis fuerat tibi manca, docendi
Pollebas mira dexteritate tamen;
Though Nature thee of thy right hand bereft,
Right well thou writest with thy hand that’s left:
and all this in a parenthesis). Hall adds that he afterwards discovered the story in two German authors, and that it really happened in Germany. If you have not had your transcription of the tragedy bound, there is a curious piece of information to annex to it. . . . . I hope to become master of the two languages, and to procure some of the choicest authors; from their miscellanies and collections that I cannot purchase, I shall transcribe the best or favourite pieces, and translate, for we have little literature of those parts, and these I shall request some person fond of poetry to point out, if I am fortunate enough to find one. Mais helas! J’en doute, as well as you, and fear me I shall be friendless for six months!

Grosvenor, I am not happy. When I get to bed, reflection comes with solitude, and I think of all the objections to the journey; it is right, however, to look at the white side of the shield. The Algerines, if they should take me, it might make a very pretty subject for a chapter in my Memoirs; but of this I am very sure, that my biographer would like it better than I should.

“Have you seen the ‘Mœviad?’ The poem is not equal to the former production of the same author, but the spirit of panegyric is more agreeable than that of satire, and I love the man for his lines to his
own friends; there is an imitation of Otium Divos, very eminently beautiful.
Merry has been satirised too much, and praised too much. . . . .

“I am in hopes that the absurd fashion of wearing powder has received its death-blow; the scarcity we are threatened with (and of which we have as yet experienced only a very slight earnest) renders it now highly criminal. I am glad you are without it. . . . .

God bless you!
Robert Southey.”