2519. Robert Southey to Edward Roberts, 16 December 1814

2519. Robert Southey to Edward Roberts, 16 December 1814 ⁠* 

Keswick. 16 Dec. 1814.

You will not I trust, Sir, think me obtrusive, if I return thanks to you as well as to Grosvenor for the volume with which he has favoured me. [1]  I have read it with great interest and great admiration; could the cause of its publication have been forgotten I might have added with unmingled pleasure.

We know too many instances of promising talents cut off in the bud, but I remember no instance in any way resembling this. The good sense, the careful research the playful temper which the letters display are truly delightful; and the picture of filial and fatherly affection might be held up as the ideal of all that can be desired between parent & child.

Books are more durable than marbles; & while this volume lasts exists, Barré will be known and admired. That he would have attained a distinguished reputation if a longer life had been granted him I cannot doubt. Perhaps under any other circumstances he would not have been so entirely laid open to the world; and if he had not been made known so well, however distinguished his attainments, he would never have been admired or lamented so much.

You, Sir, have the consolation of reflecting that everything which the wisest and fondest parent would do for the welfare and happiness of his child was done, and of knowing that what death has taken away death will restore. One who has felt this latter consolation may be allowed to touch upon it. [2] 

Believe me, Sir,

With the most sincere respect

Your obliged humble servant

Robert Southey.


* MS: Bristol Reference Library, SR4 pb Southey MSS B19688. TR; 2p. MS survives as a copy in an unknown hand in a volume of MS poems, letters and other material relating to the family of Bertha Southey and Herbert Hill
Previously published: [Anon.], ‘Inedited Letter of Robert Southey’, Notes and Queries, 2.26 (28 June 1856), p. 505. Also in the Autographic Mirror, 4 vols (1864–1866), II, p. 161. BACK

[1] Grosvenor Bedford’s Letters and Miscellaneous Papers … With a Memoir of His Life (1814) of his cousin Barré Charles Roberts, who had died in 1810 aged 21. It was reviewed by Southey in the Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 509–519. BACK

[2] By 1814 two of Southey’s children had died, Margaret and Emma. BACK

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Keswick (mentioned 1 time)