2797. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 26 May 1816

2797. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 26 May 1816⁠* 

26 May. 1816

My dear Grosvenor

I have made the transposition which you suggested & I think with advantage. But I have not omitted the stanza – the substitution of thro thy will for by, [1]  removes part of your objection, – & I have none myself to the occurrence of man & mankind in company. [2] 

Now Grosvenor as I do not know the form of a dedication to such cattle as this, – that is to say the Royals & Highnesses & Devoteds & Superlatives & Etcæteras, you must do this for me, & send it to Pople, – for which purpose I inclose to you the title-page. [3]  The proof I return tomorrow, – he will receive it Thursday, & the book will be ready for the Book-binder by the Monday following, so look you after the Court copies for the two Governesses, [4]  & send me the form of my epistle in time.

About the half title to the Epilogue – you are right – but we have begun with a Mup Mumpsimus, [5]  & so with a Mumpsimus we must end. The half title to the Proem should only have had that word & the Lay kept for the Dream alone, [6]  – – but as the Lay stands to Prologue it must now to Epilogue also, – with no flagrant impropriety indeed, – all three, being integral parts of the same poem.

I am glad you like the poem, & am sure it is a good one: but whether it may please the person to whom it is addressed I know not; – it is not very likely that it should, – & as far as concerns me individually not very immaterial: – far otherwise indeed when considered as an indication of the mind & feeling of the Presentee. – But I really think you may give it a hearty shove in the Quarterly, – & if the book should be like Lord Grenville, – that sort of shove you know is the very thing [7]  which it will stand in need of. [8]  The breath of praise tells to advantage when we have all sails set

I sent Elmsley the Pilgrimage, - [9]  & sent it to Herries also. The Lay will be so little a book that perhaps you can get some conveyed for me in Treasury franks

My chest is better, – & I think I am now able to judge what will be the permanent effect upon my spirits; [10]  – a good body left, – but no more sparkling; – the for any other person time would have done this long ago.

Remember me to all at home & so God Bless you

RS.

You may chuse about the title page – I think it is better without my name, – that we may not have Laureate twice, [11]  – but these things are utterly unimportant & you may do as you please. Send them however with the Dedication as soon as you can.


Notes

* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsement: Sunday
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), ‘Epilogue’, stanza 8, line 1; ‘That through the will of thy enlightened mind’, changed from ‘by the will’ in the manuscript. BACK

[2] The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), ‘Epilogue’, stanza 8, lines 2–3; ‘Brute man may be to social life reclaimed:/ That in compassion for forlorn mankind’. BACK

[3] The dedication to The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816): ‘TO/ HER ROYAL HIGHNESS/ THE/ PRINCESS CHARLOTTE/ THE FOLLOWING POEM/ IS DEDICATED/ WITH PROFOUND RESPECT/ BY HER ROYAL HIGHNESS’S/ MOST DUTIFUL/ AND/ MOST DEVOTED SERVANT/ ROBERT SOUTHEY/ POET LAUREATE’. BACK

[4] Southey had ordered presentation copies for Princess Charlotte and his wife Edith: The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816), no. 2694 in the sale catalogue of Southey’s library, was described as ‘elegantly bound in morocco, lined with silk, richly tooled, and gilt leaves.’ BACK

[5] A traditional custom or notion adhered to although shown to be unreasonable. BACK

[6] In error, the half title was printed as ‘The Lay of the Laureate./ Proem’ at The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (London, 1816), p. 3. ‘The lay of the Laureate./ Epilogue’ appeared at p. [63]. BACK

[7] Initially ‘think’. BACK

[8] The poem was not reviewed in the Quarterly Review. BACK

[9] A presentation copy of The Poet’s Pilgrimage to Waterloo (1816). BACK

[10] Southey’s son Herbert had died on 17 April 1816. BACK

[11] Both the title page and the dedication page that followed it featured Southey’s name and Laureate title. BACK

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