LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Grosvenor C. Bedford, 5 June 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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“Bristol, June 5. 1799.
“My dear Grosvenor,

“Here is de koele June—we have a March wind howling, and a March fire burning—it is diabolus diei. On my journey I learnt one piece of information, which you may profit by: that on Sunday nights they put the new horses into the mail always, because, as they carry no letters, an accident is of less consequence as to the delay it occasions. This nearly broke our necks, for we narrowly escaped an overturn; so I travel no more on a Sunday night in the mail.

“. . . . . I am the better for my journey, and inclined to attribute it to the greater quantity of wine I drank at Brixton than I had previously done; therefore I have supplied the place of æther by the grape-juice, and supplied the place of the tablespoon by the corkscrew. I find printer’s faith as bad as Punic faith. New types have been promised from London for some weeks, and are not yet arrived, therefore I am still out of the press. I pray you to send me the old woman who was circularised. [figure of a circle] who saw her own back, whose head was like the title-page of a Jew’s prayer-book, who was an emblem of eternity, the omikron of old women. You will make a good ballad of this quaint tale; it is for subjects
allied to humour or oddity that you possess most power. . . . . Find such subjects, and you will find pleasure in writing in proportion as you feel your own strength. I will at my first leisure transcribe for you St. Anthony and the Devil.

“The time of removal is so near at hand, that I begin to wish every thing were settled and over. This is a place which I leave with some reluctance after taking root here for twenty-five years, and now our society is so infinitely mended.

Davy, the Pneumatic Institution experimentalist, is a first-rate man, conversable on all subjects, and learnable-from (which, by the by, is as fine a Germanly compounded word as you may expect to see). I am going to breathe some wonder-working gas, which excites all possible mental and muscular energy, and induces almost a delirium of pleasurable sensations without any subsequent dejection.

“. . . . . I was fortunate enough to meet Sharpe, of whom you said so much, on the Sunday that I left Brixton. I was with Johnson in the King’s Bench when he came in; I missed his name as he entered, but was quite surprised at the novelty and good sense of all his remarks. He talked on many subjects, and on all with a strength and justness of thought which I have seldom heard; the meeting pleased me much. I wish much to see more of Sharpe; he seems a man whom it would be impossible not to profit by. He talked of Combe, who is in the King’s Bench. You said that Combe wrote books which were not known to be his.
Sharpe mentioned as his,
Lord Lyttleton’s Letters, many of Sterne’s Letters, and Æneas Anderson’s Account of China. God bless you!

Yours affectionately,
Robert Southey.”