2369. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 January 1814

2369. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 25 January 1814 ⁠* 

25 Jany. 1814.

My dear G.

Take care of my mss. in this next Q. [1]  for the omissions which are always made play the very Beelzebub with that connection, which is almost the last act of composition that a poor quill-driver attains. – Your book [2]  I shall take in hand as soon as Lewis & Clark [3]  are out of hand

I have written a chapter this week in Dr Daniel Dove which will delight your heart – it contains an account from an Ogham inscription of the second fall of Eve & her eating the forbidden Potatoe, & how Pahat escaped at the Deluge & his Ark rested upon Mount Taurus. Likewise a fragment of Milesian history concerning Pahats family, King Ballunder &c – & how the people of the Verdant Isle worshipped the Queen of the Bulls, who is the Whore of the Hills. I long to show you this. The account of Pahats family will do your heart good. You will also enjoy Dr Doves proofs of the excellences of the letter D, & the birth of Nobs &c. I have about a volume of this great history done, & could willingly stick to it till the whole were finished. [4] 

God bless you


I am going to take Jeffrey in hand & dissect him alive. My Memoranda are begun for this purpose, [5]  – & Miss Wordsworth (than whom no person is more capable) is to cull for me the flowers of his criticism. The Lord have mercy upon him! I will have none.


* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqr
Endorsement: 25 Jany. 1814
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 25. ALS; 3p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, p. 362 [in part; misdated 25 July 1814]. BACK

[1] The Quarterly Review; Southey was increasingly annoyed at changes made to his contributions prior to their publication. BACK

[2] Bedford’s Letters and Miscellaneous Papers by Barré Charles Roberts: With a Memoir of His Life (1814). Southey’s review appeared in Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 509–519. BACK

[3] Southey was working on a review of Meriweather Lewis (1774–1809) and William Clarke (1770–1838), Travels to the Source of the Missouri River, and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean (1814), Quarterly Review, 12 (January 1815), 317–368. BACK

[4] The ‘history’ of Dr Daniel Dove became the basis for Southey’s only novel, The Doctor (1834–1847). The ‘Fragment of Milesian History’ was intended for Chapter 1 and was published in J. W. Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), II, pp. 362–370. It was a parody of ancient Irish history. BACK

[5] Mary Barker and Wordsworth’s sister-in-law, Sara Hutchinson, had been making extracts from the Edinburgh Review to provide Southey with material for his notes to Carmen Triumphale (1814); see Southey to Mary Barker, [c. 15–17 December 1813] (Letter 2348), and Southey to James Hogg, 7 June 1814 (Letter 2436). This may have given Southey the idea for his attack on Jeffrey, though it was not written. BACK

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