3692. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 June 1821

3692. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 3 June 1821⁠* 

3 June 1821. Keswick

My dear G.

If my presentation list for the Vision [1]  had not been of a most formidable length, I should have put Cunninghams name upon it – it was at my pens point, but I took the prudential side, & when I do that, which is not very often, it is generally repented of, as is in the present case –

I always spell Judgement with an e, as I do acknowledgement – dgm being unpronounceable.

I read all my proof sheets xxxxx twice aloud, – once on the day when they arrive & a second time on the morrow, – except the proofs for the QR. [2]  which require more breath than I can afford. I weight every section upon the ear, & take especial care as far as possible to avoid all ambiguity of language, which our pronouns sometimes render very difficult. The passage to which you allude I cannot of course refer to, but I dare say the Prince means Ferdinand, because it is not likely that I should distinguish Godoy by that appellation in a sentence or paragraph which related to both. [3]  The 26 sheet is now before me, & I sent off a supply of MSS last night. – I am very glad you like it as far as it goes. The migration of the Braganza family, the situation of Lisbon under Junots tyranny, & the account of the Sebastianistas in the same chapter, are subjects which it would require some skill in bad writing to have spoilt in the telling. [4] 

I have at this time two other proofs on the table, – one of Lope de Aguirre [5]  (the last sheet but one) – the other of the QR. [6]  concerning which you may do some service if you will tell Gifford that I had better keep it till the whole is before me, because I perceive a certain Thomas Cromwell has just published a book about his ancestor, which should be sent me without delay, that I may notice it, if it be of no other use. [7]  Pray let him send me a duplicate of the proofs, – provided I have the whole as it was written, he may cut away to his hearts content.

Aguirre will make an interesting little volume, the 34th which I shall have published in that size, if the Carmen Nuptiale, & Carm. Aulica are bound together in one. [8] 

It did not occur to me in my last to ask if you had paid Sharon Turner the expences incurred in consequence of Lord Somervilles death, [9]  which are in fact only what he expended for me – for he has always given me his own time & services. The Dogstar has also some demands upon you for xxx sundries expended on my account. – inter alia, a very magnificent montero, [10]  which I am now sporting.

Have you seen the portrait in the Percy Anecdotes from poor dear Nash’s miniature of me? [11]  – Had it occurred to me in time I would have had these lines from Ovid placed underneath it

Oderat hic urbes; nitidâque remotus ab aulâ
Secretos montes, et inambitiosa colebat
Rura. [12] 

perhaps we might proceed with the line without much impropriety considering that in historical romance Troynovant is the name of London –

– nec illiacos cætus nisi rerus adibat [13] 

I shall not give up the hope of seeing you. My daugher Edith has a good x genius for the best kind of domestic manufactures wines sweetmeats &c – yesterday there was a second brewing of what is called ginger wine, but of which the former brewing vied with perry. We reckon upon you at the drinking thereof.

Poor Cupn had on a blister last night for a swelled face, which strangely enough seems to have endemic here during <the> hot suns & cold winds which have of late prevailed. A gathering was apprehended under the ear, at the point of the jaw. The remedy sorely troubled him all night; what effect it may have is yet to be seen, – at present he is chearful & happy. – You would be much amused with him.

And now I must spend the rest of the evening with Oliver Cromwell.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer/ Westminster
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 6 JU 6/ 1821
Endorsement: 3 June 1821
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] A Vision of Judgement (1821). BACK

[2] Quarterly Review. BACK

[3] A passage in Southey’s History of the Peninsular War (1823–1832), concerning Ferdinand VII (1784–1833; King of Spain 1808, 1813–1833), Prince of Asturias, as heir to the throne 1789–1808; and Manuel Godoy y Alvarez de Faria, Prince of the Peace (1767–1851), Prime Minister of Spain 1792–1798. BACK

[4] The flight of the Portuguese court from Lisbon to Brazil following the French invasion in November 1807; Jean-Andoche Junot (1771–1813), who commanded the French Army in Portugal 1807–1808; and Sebastianism, a millennial movement in Portugal that looked to the return of Sebastian I (1554–1578; King of Portugal 1557–1578). These events were dealt with in Chapter 2, History of the Peninsular War, 3 vols (London, 1823–1832), I, pp. 85–148. BACK

[5] Southey’s The Expedition of Orsua; and the Crimes of Aguirre (1821), originally intended to be part of the History of Brazil (1810–1819) and first published in Edinburgh Annual Register, for 1810, 3.2 (1812), i–l. BACK

[6] Southey’s ‘Life of Cromwell’, Quarterly Review, 25 (July 1821), 279–347. BACK

[7] Thomas Cromwell (1792–1870; DNB), Oliver Cromwell and His Times (1821). BACK

[8] Southey’s Lay of the Laureate (1816), and the Carmen Aulica (1821), the name given to the second edition of his Congratulatory Odes. Odes to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Prussia (1814). Southey calculated that, if these two items counted as one, then he would have published 34 volumes in duodecimo format. BACK

[9] Turner had investigated if Southey had a claim on the Fitzhead estate in Somerset after the death of Southey’s third cousin, John Southey Somerville, 15th Lord Somerville (1765–1819; DNB). BACK

[10] A Spanish hunter’s cap, round in shape, with ear flaps. BACK

[11] John Clinton Robertson (1788–1852) and Thomas Byerly (d. 1826), The Percy Anecdotes, 21 vols (London, 1821–1823), XVII, derived from Nash’s miniature of Southey, painted in 1820 and now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. BACK

[12] Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC–AD 17/18), Metamorphoses, Book 11, lines 764–766: ‘He loathed the cities, and, distant from the splendid court, did frequent the lonely mountains and unambitious country’. BACK

[13] Publius Ovidius Naso, Metamorphoses, Book 11, line 766: ‘nor went but rarely to the Trojan meetings.’ BACK

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