2718. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 February 1816

2718. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 19 February 1816⁠* 

My dear Grosvenor

Here is the Proem, & now to press with all speed. [1]  Any comments which you may make I can attend to when the proofs arrive. Pople prints it, – & as there will be little if at all less, than 100 pages, without notes, we may have three stanzas in the page. [2]  I have not yet finished, but am coming on bravely with the second & last part of the vision: [3]  – while I remember it let me desire you to strike out the seventh stanza in the Journey, “That wreath which in Eliza’s golden day,” it comes in with more propriety in the other Proem for which it was originally written, & there are some other reasons for omitting it here which are not worth the trouble of explaining. [4]  Another portion is transcribed, but it would overload this frank, & therefore must be kept till tomorrow.

Perhaps the best title would be Waterloo: or the Poets Pilgrimage. Upon this weighty point you may take counsel & do as you please.

I heard from Nash last night, the engraver [5]  is at work, – in the course of this week I hope to finish my part & sing O be joyful. [6] 


So many letters have come in upon me by this post that they leave me no time for more, – I inclose a note for Pople to accompany the MSS.

God bless you


Keswick 19 Feby. 1816.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre.
Endorsements: Feby 1816; 19 Febry. 1816./ with Proem of the Pilgrimage/ & orders to go to Press
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 2p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[2] The poem was published with notes and with two stanzas per page, in a duodecimo volume of 232 pages, of which 35 pages were notes. BACK

[3] The sections Southey was writing grew into Part Two of the poem, consisting of four books, ‘The Tower’, ‘The Evil Prophet’, ‘The Sacred Mountain’ and ‘The Hopes of Man’. BACK

[4] ‘Eliza’ was a poetic name for Elizabeth I (1533–1603; Queen of England 1558–1603; DNB). This stanza was removed from The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816) and inserted as The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Triumphale (1816), ‘Proem’, stanza 10. When published, it attracted criticism (e.g. in the Examiner, 449 (4 August 1816), 490) for arrogance because it made Southey himself, and his claim to stand alongside his Laureate predecessors, the subject of a poem that was ostensibly a wedding gift celebrating the marriage of Princess Charlotte, only child of the Prince Regent, to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865) on 2 May 1816. The lines had originally been written in March–June 1814, as part of fifty stanzas celebrating the engagement of Princess Charlotte to William, Hereditary Prince of Orange (1792–1849; King of the Netherlands 1840–1849). BACK

[5] George Cooke (1781–1834), engraver. BACK

[6] Psalm 100, line 1; a great favourite with evangelicals. BACK

People mentioned

Pople, William (fl. 1806–1837) (mentioned 2 times)
Nash, Edward (1778–1821) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)