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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 21 November 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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“Nov. 21. 1795. Nan Swithin, near St. Columbs.

Grosvenor, what should that necromancer deserve who could transpose our souls for half an hour, and make each the inhabitant of the other’s tenement? There are so many curious avenues in mine, and so
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 255
many closets in yours, of which you have never sent me the key.

“Here I am, in a huge and handsome mansion, not a finer room in the county of Cornwall than the one in which I write; and yet have I been silent, and retired into the secret cell of my own heart. This day week, Bedford! There is a something in the bare name that is now mine, that wakens sentiments I know not how to describe: never did man stand at the altar with such strange feelings as I did. Can you, Grosvenor, by any effort of imagination, shadow out my emotion? . . . . She returned the pressure of my hand, and we parted in silence.——Zounds! what have I to do with supper!

“Nov. 22.

“I love writing, because to write to a dear friend is like escaping from prison. Grosvenor, my mind is confined here; there is no point of similarity between my present companions and myself. But, ‘If I have freedom in,’ &c.: you know the quotation.*

“This is a foul country: the tinmen inhabit the most agreeable part of it, for they live underground. Above it is most dreary; desolate. My sans culotte†, like Johnson’s in Scotland, becomes a valuable piece

“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
“If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above.
Enjoy such liberty.”
Lovelace’s Poems.

† His walking stick.

of timber, and I a most dull and sullenly silent fellow; such effects has place! I wonder what
Mr. Hoblyn thinks of me. He mentioned that he had seen my poems in the B. Critic. My uncle answered, ‘It is more than I have.’ Never had man so many relations so little calculated to inspire confidence. My character is open, even to a fault. Guess, Grosvenor, what a Kamschatka climate it must be to freeze up the flow of my thoughts, which you have known more frisky than your spruce beer!

“My bones are very thinly cushioned with flesh, and the jolting over these rough roads has made them very troublesome. Bedford, they are at this moment uttering aristocracy, and I am silent. Two whole days was I imprisoned in stage coaches, cold as a dog’s nose, hungry, and such a sinking at the heart as you can little conceive. Should I be drowned on the way, or by any other means take possession of that house where anxiety never intrudes, there will be a strange page or two in your life of me.

“My Joan of Arc must by this time be printed: the first of next month it comes out. To me it looks like something that has concerned me, but from which my mind is now completely disengaged. The sight of pen and ink reminds me of it. You will little like some parts of it. For me, I am now satisfied with the poem, and care little for its success.

“You supped upon Godwin and oysters, with Carlisle. Have you, then, read Godwin, and that with attention? Give me your thoughts upon his book; for faulty as it is in many parts, there is a mass of truth in it that must make every man think. God-
Ætat. 21. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 257
win, as a man, is very contemptible. I am afraid that most public characters will ill endure examination in their private lives;—to venture upon so large a theatre much vanity is necessary, and vanity is the bane of virtue—’tis a foul upas tree, and no healing herb but withers beneath its shade—what, then, had I to do with publishing? This,
Grosvenor, is a question to which I can give myself no self-satisfying solution. For my Joan of Arc there is an obvious reason; here I stand acquitted of anything like vanity or presumption. Grosvenor, what motive created the F.? certainly it was not a bad one. . . . .

“The children in the next room are talking—a harpsichord not far distant annoys me grievously—but then there are a large company of rooks, and their croak is always in unison with what is going on in my thorax. I have a most foul pain suddenly seized me there. Grosvenor, if a man could but make pills of philosophy for the mind! but there is only one kind of pill that will cure mental disorders, and a man must be labouring under the worst before he can use that. . . . . I am waiting for the packet, and shall be here ten days. Direct to me at Miss Russell’s, Falmouth: there I shall find your letters: and remember, that by writing you will give some pleasure to one who meets with very little.

R. S.”