123. Robert Bloomfield to Edward Brayley, 13 April 1804


123. Robert Bloomfield to Edward Brayley, 13 April 1804* 

City Road. Apr 13th 1804

To Mr Brayley


I have defer'd writing on account of time being requisite to determine on your suggestion, but take the first leisure to state to you what I am convinced will appear to you sufficient reason for declining your proposal, as acting otherwise would involve me in a labarinth of inconsistency. Three years past I had written a long address 'to Imagination,' in what I calld Blank Verse, but my friend Mr Lofft thinking it deficient, was for adding and explaining, and in effect perverting my meaning till I finish'd the contest by refusing to print the piece, and by ultimately destroying it, [1]  as I have done many others.

Within the last twelv'months I had pleased myself exceedingly in composing a piece of considerable length, and every thing bade fair for publication, untill a prose addition from a friend render'd the whole objectionable; and the piece remains unpublish'd.—After such occurrences with my Old original friends, your good sense will shew you the utter imposibility of complying without, on my part, forfeiting every claim to consistency of character. [2] 

I think the Readings an improving and National entertainment, but feel very uncomfortable from the extreem publicity of my face, and the curiosity of the company. I feel myself born for privacy, and though I cannot command it, I must absolutely persue hapiness in my own way.

Remaining Sir Yours most truly

Rob Bloomfield

Address: Mr E. W. Brayley / No 18 Wilderness Row / Goswell Street

* James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection 17848, Beinecke Library, Yale University BACK

[1] A manuscript version of the poem, dated 11 May 1800, survives in the British Library, entitled 'To Immagination'. The full text is here. BACK

[2] Bloomfield most likely refers here to Good Tidings; or, News from the Farm, delayed by the dilemma of whether to ask Nathan Drake to revise his prose preface, which called for the old system of inoculation to be banned, in line with Lofft's advice (see Capel Lofft to Bloomfield, 10 July 1803, Letter 111). Bloomfield overcame this reluctance to collaborate sufficiently to allow Brayley to publish, with the artists James Storer and John Greig, Views in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Northamptonshire; Illustrative of the Works of Robert Bloomfield; accompanied with Descriptions: to which is annexed, A Memoir of the Poet's Life (London, 1806). BACK