77. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 31 January 1802


77. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 31 January 1802* 

London Jan. 31 1802

Dear George,

I have made two Memorandoms as follows, and hope you will oblidge me by being punctual

1st Send one whole or half a real Suffolk cheese one of the poorest you can get, 'a 9 meal cheese' the worse it is the better—(I hope I can write Irish to you and be understood.)—

2nd Send me if possible my last Northamton Journal, containing the story of Barret [1]  and much other nonsence. I mention it to my Mother and to Kitty.—

Thank my Aunt Bird for the Hare, and say that her son call'd here half an hour ago. Lord Buchan is an eccentric character; you will find so by his letter; he has nearly lost the sight of one eye. There is a kind of benevolent wildness in his manner; and an amazing vivacity in his conversation. You will find a copy of my letter to him and his reply. Mr Lofft will forward them to you again, you may keep the copy of Lord B.'s letter if you like, but send me the copy of mine to him. I must not lose it.— Did I say that I had a letter from Mr Smith your neighbour, and one from the Rev Mr. Mills? The latter gentleman thanks me for a copy of the poems which he says I sent him. You can give me a light here, as to how far you used my name, that in case of my replying I may run into no inconsistancy.—I once sent you a Boy, who has turn'd out extreemly well. I send you another somthing younger, and wish you to deal thus with him. [2]  keep him amongst you till the 9th of March; I am allmost afraid to let him pass through Mr L's hands, but send it to him* with the request that he would forward it to my Mother, who, as well as Kitty may read it in a month, and then let me have it again, don't make mention of it except in your letters to me, for I know not yet if I have to dread ridicule or hope for praise.

Mr. Lofft's last says, 'Mr Dingle [3]  has sold a hundred of the Tales, and sent for another hundred in doubt whether he shall get them before the impression is all sold off'—I am not sure that they sell so fast as that, but they sell quite fast enough. I yesterday read your letter to Mrs. Philips, I was there, as you will see by my Mother's letter. The good Old Auditor of the Excise call'd on me, but I was out. I waited on him and made a good day's work, altogether. The Duke will be in town in a week or ten days. You may [words deleted in cutting of letter]

[written in another hand]: 'this letter was cut and Lines printed from it in the Bury post, written by Lord Buchan Blacklock'. [4] 

*You will buy my Mother a bottle of Rum or Brandy and send her the change of the Note which you will send in her Letter —I don't mean you to send Davy to Troston now. A week hence will be time enough.

* BL Add. MS 28268, f. 85; extract published in Hart, p. 23 BACK

[1] This journal is not extant; to judge by Bloomfield's many enquiries of different relatives, he never recovered it. BACK

[2] The first Boy is, of course, The Farmer's Boy. The second, which Bloomfield was now sending, was The History of Little Davy's New Hat. BACK

[3] Dingle was a Bury St Edmunds bookseller. BACK

[4] The part of the letter cut off was printed in the Bury and Norwich Post, 10 February 1802. It consists of a poem by Buchan in tribute to Bloomfield:



On reciting his Rural Tales at his house in the Adelphi.

BLOOMFIELD I come from Modan's holy spring*
To hear thee speak, to hear thee sweetly sing!
Sing on thou Farmer's Boy, and soothe my soul,
I'll waft thy rural lays from pole to pole.
Sing poet, sing the joys of rural life,
Britain shall now renounce her wonted strife.
'E'en all the joys that victory brings,
'Her bellowing guns and flaming pride;
'Cold momentary comfort flings
'Around where weeping friends reside.'**
Sing poet, sing thy 'ancient wedded pair';
Let tears through smiles, and every joy be there.
BLOOMFIELD, before thy days, when mine were green
On Avon's bank poor CHATTERTON was seen;
I saw him too, and his hard fate deplor'd,
And dropt a tear, though then a glitt'ring Lord!
BLACKLOCK I lov'd, and his lov'd praise remains
To soothe my fancy in his dying strains***.
BEATTIE was mine, and wou'd to heav'n his days
Were cloath'd in light, and like his charming lays****!
Praise from my lips, 'twas BURNS'delight to boast—
MINE was the glory—HE deserved it most.
These are the joys of my declining years,
I hear the stormy stream without its fears*****!

*Fountain of St. Modan, at Dryburg.

**From Bloomfield's 'French mariner' inserted in last week's paper.

***Alluding to some lines which he wrote to Lord Buchan on his death-bed.

****Beattie is blind, and lives at Edinburgh.

*****'Strepitumque Acherontis avari.'

The Bury and Norwich Post had earlier, on 3 February, printed 'The French Mariner' from Rural Tales, pp. 78–82. BACK