2375. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 February 1814

2375. Robert Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 1 February 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. Feby. 1. 1814.

There my Lord on the other leaf [1]  is a curious extract for you, showing that consumptive patients from London used to go to Paris, & abusing pit-coal fires.

Wynn has written to Doyle [2]  about Edward to get him a commission in the Spanish service. I have little hope from the experiment. I have wrote to E. telling him he may expect to hear the result as soon as an answer arrives, – & with regard to his last letter contented myself with briefly observing that I knew not why he should wish to deceive me. [3]  – It seems as if he knew not how to speak sincerely.

The Dutchmen [4]  have made their appearance –

I thank William for his receipt. [5] 

I have not been able to speak to Lord William. [6]  He took fright at the name of the scarlet-fever, & considers me as still under quarantine. At present thank God we are all well. Our winter tho as severe as yours has been much less inconvenient; – for xxx xxxx the deep snows xx yours are all in the South. This morning before breakfast I heard the ice-thunders in perfection. Edith & Herbert were with me at the Lake side, & we remained about half an hour listening to the ice. It was prodigiously fine. It was neither like thunder nor the sound of the wind, – but a sort of indescribable moaning, more melancholy than any thing I ever heard, & to any one who might have been crossing the ice it must be beyond measure awful & appalling. Every now & then came a crack & a splash of water. I cannot tell what occasioned all this emotion; it had frozen for the three last days & was freezing at the time.

I shall probably finish the 13th book of Roderick [7]  to night, – that & the preceding will be sent off as soon as this latest can be transcribed; – they will take a round to find out the Speaker, [8]  & reach you thro Rickman. Consign them to Bedford when you have done with them. My Carmen has proved of the polypus genus, the part which was cut off having grown into a separate individual. [9]  Perhaps you can tell me what is become of Stuart. I sent it him to insert in the Courier three weeks ago, & he has neither printed it there, nor written to me to say it is better suppressed I conclude that he is not at Kilburne. Turner wished to transcribe the omissions from your copy, – so I sent him the second poem when I returned the Power of Attorney.

I can get no account from Ballantyne. I shall He owes me not less than 190 £, as for my share that is good for nothing. [10]  – Three sheets of Roderick are printed, if the rest of the poem should please me as well in its typographical dress as the two first books have done, I shall have reason to be thoroughly contented.

Ediths love

God bless you



* Address: To/ Dr Southey,/ 28. Queen Anne Street/ Cavendish Square/ London.
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 4 FEB 4/ 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Don. d. 3. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] This has not survived. Southey was collecting information for Henry Herbert Southey’s Observations on Pulmonary Consumption (1814). BACK

[2] See Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 2 January 1814, Letter 2359. This may be a reference to Charles William Doyle (1770–1842; DNB), who acted as British liaison officer to various Spanish forces and was involved in training Spanish troops. BACK

[3] Southey’s letter to Edward Southey does not appear to have survived. BACK

[4] A Southey family name for haemorrhoids. BACK

[5] A recipe for ‘a blacking which will not come off on my fingers or stockings’ sent by Henry Herbert Southey’s servant; see Southey to Henry Herbert Southey, 28 December 1813, Letter 2357. BACK

[6] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823), son of Cosmo George Gordon, 3rd Duke of Gordon (1720–1752). He owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater. BACK

[7] Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814). BACK

[8] i.e. Southey planned to send the MS book of Roderick by means of a frank from Abbot. BACK

[9] Southey’s first official poem as Poet Laureate was extremely controversial and much altered prior to publication. Five stanzas were considered by Croker and Rickman to be inflammatory. Southey bowed to pressure and deleted them from the version published as Carmen Triumphale in a quarto of 30 pages on 1 January 1814. He incorporated the deleted stanzas into an ‘Ode Written During the Negotiations with Bonaparte’, published in the Courier, 3 February 1814. BACK

[10] Southey had bought a share in the Edinburgh Annual Register. This proved to be an unwise investment. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)