3726. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 5 September 1821

3726. Robert Southey to Humphrey Senhouse, 5 September 1821⁠* 

Keswick. 5 Sept. 1821

My dear Senhouse

The days are shortening – “eheu fugaces!” [1]  – & the months are passing on; & tho just now “while the stormy winds do blow,” [2]  the fire side is the most comfortable place, there is yet, it may be hoped fine weather in store, & you must not forget that we have some engagements to keep with the Mountains.

There is also another engagement to be borne in mind, which may facilitate some of our excursions. You & I are expected at Lowther, – & if you will fix a time for going, Wordsworth will meet us there, & let Lord Londsdale know when we shall be with him. Any time is equally convenient to Wordsworth; – & to me also, after next week; – the Gee’s [3]  are just arrived for eight or ten days, & I should not like to leave Keswick while they are in town. – But if you can leave your workmen, the sooner you come here, the better, because of the season.

I find that couteaux de chasse [4]  are still frequently made on the continent like your sword, with a saw at the back, to cut branches for fuel &c.

Yesterday I received a translation of Roderick in three small volumes from M. Bon. de Sorsum the traducteur, [5]  which is being interpreted, the traducer. In cutting open the leaves I found a comical blunder; – he has mistaken <the> motes from in the in the sunbeam for moths, – papillons de nuit. [6] 

Cupn talks with great glee of Netherhall, & Black-caps, & the fea & the fips, – & of every body there, except the Cupn girl, whom he does not like. The visit has given him a taste for travelling, & he has frequently expressed his desire to set out again. Remember us all most kindly to your fireside circle (Miss Fanny [7]  must not forget her promise & believe me

Yours affectionately

Robert Southey

Some poetry from Cockermouth has arrived while I was writing, – the author has not let me know his name, but given an easy clue to it, by letting it appear that he is a young M.D. [8] 


* Address: To/ Humphrey Senhouse Esqre/ Netherhall,/ Maryport
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Seal: red wax
Watermark: S E & Co/ 1819
MS: Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester, Robert Southey Papers A.S727. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65–8 BC), Odes, Book 2, no. 14, line 1; ‘Alas [the years slide by] so fleetingly’. BACK

[2] Thomas Campbell (1777–1844; DNB), ‘Ye Mariners of England’ (1801), lines 8 and 18. BACK

[3] Captain George Gee (d. 1827) of Wraxall, Somerset, who was renting Ivy Cottage at Rydal. He was the son of Thomas Gee, a Bristol merchant, and an old schoolmate of Southey’s in Bristol. He seems to have played an important backstage role in organising the Lowther family’s election contests in Westmorland in 1818, 1820 and 1826. Gee’s wife, Fanny Gee (c. 1772–1846), opened a school at Hendon after her husband’s death. BACK

[4] Hunting knives. Southey had seen the sword in question, a family heirloom, at Netherhall, Senhouse’s home. BACK

[5] ‘Translator’. Antoine André Brugière, Baron de Sorsum, Roderick, le Dernier des Goths (1820), no. 2697 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[6] Roderick, le Dernier de Goths, 3 vols (Paris, 1820), I, p. 175, mis-translating Roderick, the Last of the Goths (1814), Book 8, line 106. Southey drew attention to this mistake in his Poetical Works, 10 vols (London, 1837–1838), IX, pp. x–xiii. BACK

[7] Frances Wood (dates unknown), a cousin of Humphrey Senhouse. BACK

[8] William Beattie (1793–1875; DNB), Rosalie, a Swiss Relique: With Other Poems (1821), no. 2432 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. Beattie was a Scottish doctor and poet, at this time practising in Cumberland. Beattie’s name did not appear on the title page of this book. BACK

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 2 times)
Lowther estate (mentioned 1 time)
Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)