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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 21 January 1799

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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“January 21. 1799.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“You ask me why the Devil rides on horseback.* The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman, and that would be reason enough; but, moreover, the history doth aver that he came on horseback for the old woman, and rode before her, and that the colour of the horse was black. Should I falsify the history, and make Apollyon a pedestrian? Besides, Grosvenor, Apollyon is cloven-footed; and I humbly conceive that a biped—and I never understood his dark majesty to be otherwise—that a biped, I say, would walk clumsily upon cloven feet. Neither hath Apollyon wings, according to the best representations; and, indeed, how should he? For were they of feathers, like the angels, they would be burned in the everlasting fire; and were they of leather, like a bat’s, they would be shrivelled. I conclude, therefore, that wings he hath not. Yet do we find, from sundry reputable authors and divers histories, that he transporteth himself from place to place with exceeding rapidity. Now, as he cannot walk fast or fly, he must have some conveyance. Stage coaches to the infernal regions there are none,

* The allusion here is to the illustration of my father’s pithy and profitable “ballad of the “Old Woman of Berkeley,” which is referred to in the last letter but one. It seems that Mr. Bedford, whose humour on such subjects tallied exactly with his own, had questioned the propriety of the portraiture.

though the road be much frequented. Balloons would burst at setting out, the air would be so rarified with the heat; but horses he may have of a particular breed.

“I am learned in Daemonology, and could say more; but this sufficeth. I should advise you not to copy the ballad, because the volume will soon be finished. I expect to bring it with me on Ash-Wednesday to town. . . . .

“I am better, but they tell me that constant exercise is indispensable, and that at my age, and with my constitution, I must either throw off the complaint now, or it will stick to me for ever. Edith’s health requires care; our medical friend dreads the effect of London upon both. When my time is out in our present house (at Midsummer), we must go to the sea awhile. I thought I was like a Scotch fir, and could grow anywhere, but I am sadly altered, and my nerves are in a vile state. I am almost ashamed of my own feelings, but they depend not upon volition. These things throw a fog over the prospect of life. I cannot see my way; it is time to be in an office, but the confinement would be ruinous. You know not the alteration I feel. I could once have slept with the seven sleepers without a miracle; now the least sound wakes me, and with alarm. However, I am better. . . . . God bless you.

Yours affectionately,
R. Southey.”