103. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 29 February 1803


103. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 29 February 1803* 

London. Feb 29th 1803.

Dear George,

Last week was remarkable for a combination of vexations and unexpected troubles. My own health very midling amongst the rest My Wife and the 3 elder Children ill with bad colds, my poor Boy had early last week an unusual swelling come on his right knee, and the surgeon tells me that it is in a fair way to be a White swelling if the means he takes do not stop it. We apply night and morning a large poultice of Vinegar, Water, and Oatmeal, which draws it full of pimples, and those pimples are to subside, and then to have them raised again by the same means: he gives me no hope of its speedy ammendment. this is one of my serious troubles. I had two holidays last week but was too ill to make my visits which had been defer'd or to write, or any thing else but think. On Friday, the day after the Holidays, I expected a busy day at the Seal Office; and so I found it with a vengeance. I had eat no breakfast, and the Mob of Lawyers made me perfectly savage: at One o'clock we shut the Office, but shut in between 40 and 50 people, and did not get through the Work for 3 quarters of an hour after one. I then grew faint, and knew if I walkd home to the City Road that my Wind and indigestion would get the upper hand of my Stomach, and should eat no dinner; so I put into the Cook's in Salsbury Court and eat heartily. by this time there was no time to go home and then to Temple Bar again by 4; so I sulkd away the time in St George's Fields, and then took another 3 hours' Mobbing at the Office, having seald during the day nearly 1100 Writs! by far the busiest day (if Mr A is to be credited) that have occurrd for eight years past. Returnd to my sick house, tired and insufferably disgusted. At home I found a Letter from Troston, not quite the thing and your most melancholy tidings, and—to crown all, a young Man in the neighbourhood fourced on me a M:S. book of poems for me to read and to give my judgment of, which accorded with the feelings of the moment, being a doleful string of Elegies as black as midnight—This I shall call Black Friday—Another trifle had displeased me. I had found in the Morning Chronicle a bit of news put there by some fool or other that 'Bloomfield the poet has been recently appointed to a handsome situation in the Seal Office in the Temple, thus he has not courted the Muses unsuccessfully!' [1]  Your letter made it still worse by shewing me that Peter had either originally printed this wonderfull piece of news, [2]  or else had made it worse by adding to it what is as false as the Chronicle's 'handsome appointment' is ridiculous. This story has served the Herald two days, the first to say I was there, and the next to say I had resignd it!!—tis useless to be angry, but if the Asses that meddle with another mans business before they know it were buried three times as deep as your poor Wife, I would not were [i.e. wear] black for them.—What G says in his paper is false, thus, because confinement is not my objection, and I hope and trust that it is well known to the Duke. Extreem publicity begins to be more and more disgusting to my feelings, and these boobys make it worse.—The Good Man at Euston will be here soon, and then I shall know how I am to proceed. His last letter said that 'he was sorry I was going to leave it at all.' circumstances made it absolutely necessary to reply that I would not leave it, at least untill I see him—thus we stand now—Dr Jenner is in Town, and has written to me. Dr Perkins plagued me by publishing my name with his Tractors, till I wrote to him to forbid it. my cough plagues me, and I have no time to write down my Rhimes, I have enough on my mind to craze a saint, but I feel my soul soar above it all—I know that I shall triumph—and 'that Spring will come and Nature smile again'. [3]  God grant that I could say or do any thing that would give a new spring to your resolution under your present trials—Kitty must commence Mother with all her might, and I have a high opinion of her sobriety and steadiness. My Mother need not be uneasy on my account; my troubles are such as I must expect, even with my Boy, for he never was well long together, Love to all friends,

Robert Bloomfield


Tuesday Afternoon—The Surgeon says the Boys Knee is mending. Perhaps the others will soon be well—Sickness is allmost universal.

R B—

Address: G. Bloomfield

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 116–17; extract published in Hart, p. 31 BACK

[1] Bloomfield quotes verbatim the notice of his appointment to the Seal Office printed in the Morning Chronicle on 19 February 1803. BACK

[2] The notice also appeared in Peter Gedge's Bury and Norwich Post in early 1803. BACK

[3] Bloomfield quotes the last line of 'Autumn' from his own The Farmer's Boy. BACK