147. Robert Southey to [Robert Lovell] [fragment], [started before and continued on] 19 February 1796

147. Robert Southey to [Robert Lovell] [fragment], [started before and continued on] 19 February 1796 ⁠* 

[MS missing] carries the marks of [MS missing] signalizing my gay pantaloons & [MS missing] one tooth brush — one comb — a pound of [MS missing] pair of shoes; Maber has as much rea[MS missing] Miss lived well upon the road. tost about [MS missing] air water & earth — & enduring what I have f[MS missing] I am in high health. my Uncle & I never moles[MS missing] principles — I used to work Maber sometimes — but he[MS missing] I am so intimate with or with whom I wish intimacy. [MS missing] visiting & as little society as you can wish — & a Bristol Alder[large section, about 2/3rds of a page of MS missing]l ill gain — every thing was [MS missing]mily to Lisbon. the old fellow recovered [MS missing] very in readiness — fell ill again & died. [MS missing]ave ever since <been> uniformly languid, & tho the [MS missing]ngland & troops to Spain, they never believed themselves [MS missing]ill the French took their ships at the mouth of the [MS missing] of the two courts at Badajos is supposed to have been [MS missing] surmized that Spain meant to draw Portugal into an alliance [MS missing]try however parted upon bad terms. a war with Spain is not [large section, about 2/3rds of a page, of MS missing] lovely hills & plains of Cornwall.

I might have been provoked to one great execration by what I hear from Bristol, if I had not hex brought up all my bile upon the voyage & remained pigeon-livered ever since. a sea voyage is the best way in the world to learn Xtian meekness. the gall comes out by mouthfuls & you have not bitterness enough left to be angry with a rascal

Remember me to Heath [1]  — & Harwood [2]  & if you <see> Jennings tell him I shall write by the next packet which will be on the road before you can receive this. I utter Spanish to Mambrino [3]  — & talk French with an Abbe — & with the Court Improvisatore who treats me on Sunday with poetry & parmesan. [large section, about 2/3rds of a page, of MS missing] getting some to day — & Malmsey such as makes a man envy Clarence. [4] 

I enjoy one comfort here — my Uncle has erected a temple to Cloacina [5]  a goddess whose mysteries the Portuguese celebrate in the open air — to the great scandal of all who have been accustomed to more decent rites. the Spaniards have as little sense of her religion, & I observed only the ruins of one temple at Corūna, during my journey thro Spain — this from its antiquity might have been Roman — but I rather conceive it to have been the hasty work of some Englishman addicted to his national rites — When the golden shower descends upon <near> a man the fright would make him faint — did not the stink preserve him.

farewell. love to Mrs L.

Robert Southey.

Friday Feby. 19. 1796.

the packet sails Sunday.


* MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 22. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 262–267 [in part, but in a fuller version than survives in MS (see Appendix 1)]. BACK

[1] In 1794, Heath (first name and dates unknown) was an apothecary in Bristol and a prospective member of Pantisocracy. He was possibly the brother of Charles Heath (1761–1831; DNB), topographer and twice mayor of Monmouth. BACK

[2] Unidentified; an acquaintance of Southey’s from the Bath-Bristol area. BACK

[3] Manuel Mambrino (dates unknown), a Spanish servant from Oviedo who accompanied Southey on some of his travels in Spain and Portugal in 1795–1796. Mambrino later went to work for Herbert Hill in Lisbon. Southey was somewhat perturbed by Mambrino’s accounts of cat-eating; see Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and Portugal (London, 1797), pp. 100–101. BACK

[4] George, Duke of Clarence (1449–1478; DNB), was allegedly executed by being drowned in a vat of Malmsey (a type of wine). BACK

[5] In Roman mythology, goddess of the sewers. BACK

People mentioned

Maber, George Martin (d. 1844) (mentioned 2 times)
Hill, Herbert (c. 1749–1828) (mentioned 2 times)
Jennings, James (1772–1833) (mentioned 1 time)