2828. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 August 1816

2828. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 10 August 1816⁠* 

Keswick 10 Aug. 1816

My dear Grosvenor

Yours with the half notes arrived just as I returned home after a weeks absence, – having been with the Wynns [1]  at Lowther & from thence round by Wordsworths, showing Nash the country. – When you have any more money for me discharge Hydes bill with it. [2] 

It would do you good were you to read mark learn & inwardly digest xxxx Qui fit Mæcenas &c [3]  – Instead however of reading comments upon that pregnant text I will tell you briefly & plainly what I have often thought of telling you & have as often deferred.

You are not too old for marrying, – tho it would have been better to have married earlier, – but whether you can make up your mind to the kind of marriage which is within your choice is a question which you alone can answer, & perhaps have never asked yourself; It is too late to marry for love, & at your time of life you ought not to chuse a woman under thirty, – a greater disparity of years would afford less chance for happiness. – Most women marry for the sake of obtaining a settlement in life, – their condition in this country is very forlorn unless they have fortunes, – & fortune falls to the lot of few. If you can resolve to marry a woman who has no money, you may find plenty who would accept you for prudenti, not for affection, but for prudential considerations, – but who would very xx soon learn to estimate you as you deserve. You could not do this without making some worldly sacrifices: – the first indispensable measure would be to insure your life, & thus secure a provision for your famil widow & f her in case of your death; – the next to live upon a scale of expenditure which should be within your the residue of your income by 100 £ an year. There would be no diminution of comfort or of respectability in this, for 500 £ a year you could live as happily as for 5000 £. – In your situation this is what I should do. I might have expressed myself perhaps as better less directly <more winningly> by means of circumlocution, – but you will not require any round-aboutness, or protestations, or qualifications from me.

A walk from Rydal, & a weeks continual exercise & excitement have somewhat tired me & unfitted me for writing just now – therefore it is that I have thus bolted out my meaning in blunt words.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 13 AU 13/ 1816
Endorsement: 10 August 1816
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[2] Bedford, a civil servant, received on Southey’s behalf his stipend as Poet Laureate. Here Southey wishes the bill of Hyde (d. 1820), his London tailor, to be paid. BACK

[3] ’Qui fit, Mæcenas, ut nemo quam sibi sortem,/ Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit, illa/ Contentus vivat? laudet diversa sequentes’; ‘How does it happen, Mæcenas, that no one is content with that lot in life which he has chosen, or which chance has thrown in his way, but praises those who follow a different course?’ Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65–8 BC), Satires, I, lines 1–2. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Lowther estate (mentioned 1 time)
Rydal Mount (mentioned 1 time)