330. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 27 June 1798

330. Robert Southey to Charles Watkin Williams Wynn, 27 June 1798 ⁠* 

Tuesday June 27 98.

My dear Wynn

Thank God I have at last accomplished the business of settling my mother, a business which three months ago I almost feared would be impracticable. I write to you from Westbury, one of the villages at the end of Durdham Down, two miles from Bristol. the house I have taken for her is a very old one. but my revolutionizing hand has already removed much rubbish & added some conveniences. there is a garden large enough to supply our table, & the back view is extensive, & as beautiful as a prospect can be without any characteristic sublimity, which has only hill, & wood vale, & wood to vary it.

I cannot tell you from what a weight I feel relieved by this change in her situation. Edith too is evidently better. We are as busy as you may conceive, but the fatigue of preparing future comfort is itself almost comfortable. I hope my mother may like the place enough, & find it agree with her health so well, as to make it her continued home. I should like to make it the place of my summer visit, & feel when in London that I had also a home in a pleasanter place.

We came here only on Monday; in a few days I hope all bustle will be over, & I shall quietly settle into regularity. It is a long time since you have written. In my last I enquired for your brother [1]  — if his hurt was a slight one. this Irish business is very dreadful. it is one comfort that they are only Irishmen on one side & soldiers on the other, & the conduct of both has been so brutal that one may certainly be easily reconciled to the slaughter of either or both. [2] 

I thought to have seen Wales this summer & had expected much pleasure. other reasons however make me willingly give up the plan, & excepting a visit to Hereford & its neighbourhood I shall be stationary here till we remove again to London. my mother will receive a regular small income from her brother, but it has been her removal from Bath has been a heavy expence, & for a short time I keep house. I now believe she will recover her health. indeed the prospect before me is fairer than I ever remember it.

My Letters [3]  are immediately going to the press. they will be much corrected, & will I believe make a handsome & respectable book. did you ever see Sothebys descriptive sketches in Wales? [4]  the aqua-tinta views in that are our model, tho of a smaller size to suit the octavo page.

If you have an Anthologia [5]  by you or can recollect the Epitaph do send me those two lines which conclude thus

— ιεςου υπυου;

Κοιμαται, θνησκειυ μη λεγε τουγ αγαθους [6] 

I have forgotten the beginning of the hexameter.

I saw your name in the debates [7]  & cursed the reporters ears – he should have borrowed Dapples. [8] 

God bless you.

yrs truly

Robert Southey.

Direct as usual to Cottles.


* Address: To/ C W Williams Wynn Esqr/ 5. Stone Buildings/ Lincolns Inn/ London
Stamped: BRISTOL
Postmarks: [partial] B/ JU/ 28; FREE/ JU/ 28 98
Endorsements: June 27 1798; Mr Wynn
MS: National Library of Wales, MS 4811D. ALS; 4p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Sir Watkin Williams Wynn (1772–1840; DNB), older brother of Charles Watkin Williams Wynn. BACK

[2] A planned revolution by the United Irishmen had got off to a faltering start on 23 May 1798, but fighting continued intermittently until September. BACK

[3] A second edition of Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal was published in 1799. BACK

[4] William Sotheby (1757–1835; DNB), A Tour through Parts of Wales, Sonnets, Odes, and other Poems. With Engravings from Drawings taken on the Spot, by J. Smith (1794). BACK

[5] The Anthologia Graeca, a collections of poems spanning the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature. BACK

[6] Callimachus (310/305 BC–240BC), Epigram 8, ‘Here sleeping the sacred sleep is Saon son of Dicon of Acanthus. Don’t say that good men die’. Southey translated this epigram in Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, p. 73, where it is dated 14 January 1798. The translation appeared unsigned in the Morning Post, 6 April 1798. BACK

[7] Debates in the House of Commons, in which Wynn, an MP since 1797, participated. BACK

[8] A nickname for Grosvenor Charles Bedford, derived from that of Sancho Panza’s ass in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616), Don Quixote (1605–1615). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Cottles (mentioned 1 time)
Westbury (mentioned 1 time)