2764. Robert Southey to Mary Matilda Betham, 20 April 1816

2764. Robert Southey to Mary Matilda Betham, 20 April 1816⁠* 

My dear Miss Betham

I have no heart to examine & comment on these poems. [1]  The heaviest of all afflictions has fallen upon us – after a long illness – a dreadful season of hope & fear – we have lost our dear Herbert. [2]  Under such a visitation nothing but religion could support us.

Your portrait of him [3]  is now become invaluable. His mother has behaved with admirable fortitude. For myself I am shaken to the roots, & suffer severely in bodyxx. The mind is at it should be – & I find consolation there where only it can be found.

God bless you


Keswick 20 April 1816


* MS: Beinecke Library, Osborn MSS File ‘S’, Folder 14106. ALS; 1p.
Previously published: Ernest Betham, ed., A House of Letters: Being Excerpts from the Correspondence of Miss Charlotte Jerningham (the Honble. Lady Bedingfield), Lady Jerningham, Coleridge, Lamb, Southey, Bernard and Lucy Barton, and others, with Matilda Betham; and from Diaries and Various Sources; and a Chapter upon Landor’s Quarrel with Charles Betham at Llanthony (London, 1905), p. 167. BACK

[1] Possibly the shorter pieces later published in Betham’s Vignettes in Verse (1818), no. 278 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library. BACK

[2] Herbert Southey died on 17 April 1816. BACK

[3] Betham had painted a miniature portrait of Herbert Southey in 1809. It is currently at the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere. BACK

People mentioned

Southey, Herbert (1806–1816) (mentioned 1 time)
Fricker, Edith (1774–1837) (mentioned 1 time)

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)