591. Robert Southey to John May, 11 July [1801]

591. Robert Southey to John May, 11 July [1801] ⁠* 

July 11. Bristol.

My dear friend

We reached this place yesterday, & my first business is to write to you. my Mother I have not yet seen, for she is visiting a friend at Bath. my Cousin Margaret I find yet living – it was her wish to live long enough to see me, – a fatality seems to hang upon my foreign expeditions. at my last return I met the news of Lovells death – & now I am arrived to the death bed of one whom I dearly dearly love. [1]  I am afraid that you have but too much reason to understand my feelings by your own.

I am anxious to know my account with you. it will leave me deeply in your debt. my spirits are heavily depressed – nothing but ill tidings greet me. I have purchased health by running in debt – the my Aunt is more insane than ever, – my Mother made wretched by her & half infected by her, – perhaps the fogs & rains physically help to dishearten me. – Yet my own prospects have a sunshine upon them. Wynn has proposed to me to go as Secretary with Drummond [2]  to Palermo first – then to Constantinople. if Edith can go with me I joyfully accept the offer – & wait to know. this hurried me from Lisbon where I should else have remained in conformity to my Uncles wishes & to my own. He highly approves the scheme. its immediate advantage is little – but it carries me prudently to a good climate, & affords a possibility of advancement.

My plans for the present I will write to you more at large when the tumult of return has a little subsided. Edith is well & desires her remembrance. we left all well in Lisbon. write to me & believe me

yours with affection

Robert Southey.

Direct to Danvers’s.


* Endorsement: No 61. 1801/ Robert Southey/ Bristol 11th July/ recd. 13th do/ ansd. 16th do
MS: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: Charles Ramos, The Letters of Robert Southey to John May: 1797–1838 (Austin, Texas, 1976), p. 62. BACK

[1] Southey’s cousin, Margaret Hill. BACK

[2] Sir William Drummond (c. 1770-1828; DNB), classical scholar, poet and diplomat; Charge d’Affaires in Denmark 1800-1801, Minister-Plenipotentiary in Naples 1801-1803 and 1807-1808, and Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire in 1803. BACK

Places mentioned

Danvers’s, Kingsdown, Bristol (mentioned 1 time)