2756. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [17 April 1816]

2756. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, [17 April 1816]⁠* 

Wednesday morning.

My dear Harry

All is over, [1]  & no equal affliction can ever again befall me for here was the very heart & life of xxx my happiness & xxxx my hopes. Do not however imagine that I shall give way to grief or that I am unmindful of or unthankful for the blessings which I still possess.

As the best proof that I do not indulge mean to struggle against all dreadful recollections I am determined to leave Cumberland, if I can command the money necessary for such a removal. My furniture here is little in quantity, & scarcely of any value. It will require 200£ to move ourselves & the books, & 400 more to sit down in another house, tho of course I shall go to the least possible expence in furnishing it. My lease expires in twelvemonths, – whether by that time I can raise 600 £ is doubtful. I cannot answer for my own exertions that is I know not <how> far my body will bear up, nor what farther trials may be in store, if Ediths health should give way under a blow which she is less able to bear than I am. At present she bears it well – but the stupor of grief is upon her.

I would go near town, & should prefer Richmond [2]  to all other places, but I fear houses will be too dear there, – next to Richmond, the nearer my Uncle the better. [3]  But can I get a house for 70 £ a year in that neighbourhood? beyond that sum I must not venture, measured as my expenses of living will necessarily be xx. If I cannot, where shall I house myself? – I should like to be on the sea coast if I cannot be near my friends, – near Hastings for instance or possibly Bath, – of all places the most abounding with conveniences for persons of limited means. But certainly it would be best to be near London, where I might be near my Uncle & you, & the friends whom I love best. For lifexxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xx xxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxx xxxx xxxxx. I am not certain whether I should be able to bear solitude, – there is a danger also xxx <in> xxx learning to bear it of unfitting myself for any thing else, by contracting habits of settled melancholy. With a wife & four children [4]  I must not look forward to my own grave with xx feelings which would soon preponderate if they were any way indulged.

Think about a place of residence for me, & consult about it with my Uncle when you see him, & with Bedford. I shall write to John May myself. Write to my Uncle & tell him what has befallen me, – I do not know whether he is at Streatham or in Hampshire.

I have sent for Edmondson to open the body.

I enclose Edmondsons report: give it to Bedford & tell him not to return it to me. Are there any symptoms by which the early appearances of such a disease may be suspected? any means of checking its progress? any known causes which excite it xx & may therefore be avoided?

His death was as easy as possible, his whole conduct thro the whole illness so beautiful as to excite the admiration of all who witnessed it. I am very thankful for having possessed such a child, & the hope & faith of having him restored to me in a better world is a consolation & a joy beyond all price. That faith will in due time bring with it the peace which passeth all understanding.

God bless you. Our love to Louisa & Mrs Gonne



* Address: To/ Dr Southey/ Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London./ Double
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 20 AP 20/ 1816
Seal: black wax, with ‘S’, ‘In Labore Quies’ motto below
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 3. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), II, pp. 137–138.
Dating note: Dating from content; Wednesday was 17 April in 1816. BACK

[1] Southey’s only son Herbert had just died. BACK

[2] Richmond, near London, where John May lived. BACK

[3] Southey’s uncle Herbert Hill lived at Streatham, near London. BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Streatham (mentioned 1 time)