114. Robert Southey to Horace Walpole Bedford, 12 November 1794 *
There was a time Horace when my life was heavy in listlessness — when I lookd forward & all was darkness without one ray to which I might guide my steps. strange alteration! now my soul never rests. in the tumult of emotion I have neglected to thank you for Piers Plowman  — or if I did thank you, have forgotten it. I know not. never was individual placed in a situation more important — never did man experience more heart-rending scenes. they are past — the energies of my mind have been all exerted & I look back with astonishment at what they have endured.
direct to me at Bath. I have been turnd out of doors by my Aunt — did I tell you of this before? excuse me Horace that these things glide from my remembrance — my heart strings have been sadly jarrd. I had depended on my Mothers going. Ariste did the same — & her mothers accompanying us depended on that. my Mother seemd to change her resolution. Horace the question was — will you abandon all your relations for me — or me for your sisters & mother? whether hell has more <keener> agonies in store than that of the half hour I waited an answer I know not. Heaven surely has no higher delight than I experienced at last from the answer & the manner that accompanied it. my head throbs at these recollections. do you wonder that my mind has been agitated? almost to frenzy. but I have past all — & all is again fair.
the Retrospect  is my best piece. I have mentioned the murmuring brook there. take this compos <sonnet> conceived upon its bank.
To a brooklet near Alston. 
I write many sonnets. tis a delightful stile of writing.
I shall write to Grosvenor very soon.
linen drying at the fire! one person clear starching — one ironing — & one reading aloud in the room. blessed scene to write in! oh for my transatlantic log house!
I am in hourly expectation of Coleridge, a man most worthy of all esteem & love. my heavy heart joys in the hope of seeing him.
Horace I am loth to leave you in England. the storm is gathering & must soon break. will you not follow us? I want sadly to converse with you. I must see you. but how to quit the circle where I dispense a gaiety & happiness which I cannot feel! yet I will soon come to London. you shall soon see me. in the interim write. my heart feels very warmly towards you. next March! would to God I were arrived. I will convince you that it is my duty to emigrate when we meet. but what is your duty? tis a question I cannot answer.
farewell. remember me to your parents. they have been very friendly to me & my heart never forgets the kindnesses it has received. to Harry too. would he were my brother — I love that boy with astonishment — what a Pantisocrat he would make. an aristocratic! an engineer! — oh what a mind to be oerthrown!
Westgate Buildings. Nov. 12th. 1794
omit the Esqr — or Mr. direct to plain RS. I put Esqr to please you please me by omitting it.
* Address: H W Bedford Esq/ Palace Yard/ Westminster
Postmark: ANO/ 14/ 94
Watermark: Crown and anchor with G R underneath
Endorsement: Recd. Novr. 14th. 1794
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965), I, pp. 86–87. BACK