2803. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 June 1816

2803. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 4 June 1816⁠* 

My dear G.

Dont growl at my letter, [1]  – in the first place the only thing necessary is that there should be one the manner & matter being infinitely unimportant (which I am wise enough perfectly to understand) – & in the next place if a thought were bestowed upon it, it would not be liked the worse for having less of the court unction than is usually laid on.

I could not say any thing about the Dedication, [2]  – so it is taken for granted as part of my privilege, & Herries may make a speech for me

(Here let me communicate to you a discovery which I have this day made. In that collection which the Butler compared with the Princess Elizabeths it is certain that he had not got King Arthurs chamber pot, for such utensils were not known in King Arthurs days; & the honour of communicating this discovery to the learned world in the 19th century is to be mine.) [3] 

On the other leaf is the list of presentations [4]  which you can convey to Longmans. Perhaps you can frank the four first on the list, which would be a great convenience – If you cannot Toms must come in my parcel, & my Aunts be sent in some Taunton booksellers parcel. – the others go by coach, – but I hope you can frank them which is the readiest, civillest & pleasantest mode.

Elmsley is not in this list because he is not in England

My cold is better. It kept me on the sofa with my eyes closed the greater part of two days, but is now in its ordinary state.

Remember me to all at home. How is your Mother?? We are here as well as may be. The privation still seems strange [5]  – & it must very long be the last thought at night & the first in the morning. But my spirits I think have found their level, – & will be about at par with the rest of the world, – till they are shaken by some fresh loss.

God bless you

RS.

4 June. 1816

George Taylor. – St Helens Auckland – near Rushyford Durham.

Wade Browne – Ludlow.

Miss Southey, Bishops Hull – Taunton.

Capt Southey, Warcup Hall, near Brough Westmoreland.

Wm Taylor Junr, Norwich

Walter Scott

Knox (Revd JW.) Deans Yard. Westminster [6] 

Turner

Rickman

Duppa

Neville White

J May

Wynn

Herries

Lord Wm Gordon [7] 

My Uncle Mr Hill

Dr Southey

Hartley Coleridge. Merton College Oxford, with a copy of the Pilgrimage. [8] 

Cottle

G. C. B.

Miss Fricker. 27 Rathbone Place. 3 copies

8 copies to Keswick.


Notes

* Endorsements: 4 June 1816; 4 June 1816./ List of Presentations
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Southey had been drafting a letter formally presenting his The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816) to its dedicatee, Princess Charlotte, only child of the Prince Regent. The poem was an epithalamion for her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1790–1865; King of the Belgians 1831–1865) on 2 May 1816; see Southey to Princess Charlotte, 4 June 1816, Letter 2805. BACK

[2] The dedication to The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816) read ‘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

[3] One of the facts that Southey collected under the name ‘Butleriana’ and intended to publish, with Bedford. The ‘Butler’ humour dated from Southey’s and Bedford’s schooldays; some of it found its way into print in Southey’s The Doctor (1834–1847). In The Byrth, Lyf, and Actes of Kyng Arthur, 2 vols (London, 1817), II, p. 462, Southey told the story of the chamber pot in a note: ‘A plot was laid by the relations of the illegitimate Guenever to pass her off upon Arthur for her half sister, and thus revenge themselves upon King Leodagan, whom they hated. It was known that the true Guenever before she went to bed must go into the garden, for a purpose which the romance writer states in the plainest language, and which proves that one of the commonest and most indispensable chamber utensils was not in use in King Arthur’s days, nor in his own. She was to be waylaid in the garden, carried off, put into a boat, and kept somewhere in durance, while the false Guenever was to be conducted to the bridal bed in her place, by a treacherous governante.’ BACK

[4] That is, presentation copies of The Lay of the Laureate. Carmen Nuptiale (1816). BACK

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

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

[7] Lord William Gordon (1744–1823; DNB) owned the Waterend estate on the west side of Derwentwater. Southey had at one time thought that he might present the poem at court. BACK

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

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