2757. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [17 April 1816]

2757. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [17 April 1816]⁠* 


My dear Bedford

There is an end of hope & of fear, – but not of suffering. His sufferings however are over, & thank God his passage was perfectly easy. [1]  He fell asleep, – & is now in a better state of existence, – for which his nature was more fitted than for this –. You more than most men can tell what I have lost, – & yet you are far from knowing how large a part of my hopes & happiness will be laid in the grave with Herbert. For years it has been my daily prayer that I might be spared this affliction.

I am much reduced in body by this long & sore suffering, but I am perfectly resigned, & do not give way to grief.

In his desk there are the few letters which I had written to him, – in the joy of my heart. I will fold up these & send them to you, – that they may be preserved when I am gone – in memory of him & of me. Should you survive me, you will publish such parts of my correspondence as are proper, for the benefit of my family. [2]  My dear Grosvenor, I wish you would make the selection while you can do it without sorrow, – while it is uncertain which of us shall be left to regret the other. You are the fit person to do this, – & it will be well to burn <in time> what is to be suppressed. in time.

The body has been opened – there was a great accumulation of matter at the heart. I will not venture to say x relate the boys conduct during his whole illness. I dare not trust myself to attempt this. But nothing could be more calm, – more patient, – more collected, more dutiful – more admirable

Oh that I may be able to leave this country. The wound will never close while I remain in it. You would wonder to see me, – how composed I am. Thank God I can control myself for the sake of others, – but I am it is a life-long grief, – & do what I can to lighten it, the burthen will be as heavy as I can bear.


I wish you would tell Knox [3]  what has happened. He was very kind to Herbert, & deserves that I should write to him


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ 9 Stafford Row/ Buckingham Gate/ London
Stamped: KESWICK/ 298
Postmark: E/ 20 AP 20/ 1816
Endorsements: 17 April 1816; 17 April 1816/ Recd. 20th
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 159–161. BACK

[1] Herbert Southey had died on 17 April 1816. BACK

[2] Grosvenor Bedford predeceased Southey, so this idea could not be fulfilled. BACK

[3] John William Knox (1784–1862), an usher at Westminster School 1806–1821, clergyman and Latin scholar. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 3 times)