157. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 27 May 1796
157. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 27 May 1796 *
Friday May 27. 1796.
I have written to Wynn & asked him to accompany you. give me due notice of your coming that I may procure you beds as near as possible, if this house be full. I will meet you at the coach.
poor Lovell! — I am in hopes of raising something for his widow by publishing his best pieces — if only enough to buy her a harpsichord. his father afflicted as he is seems to have transferred his affection to her & behaves with a liberal kindness rarely to be found. the poems will make a five shillings volume which I preface — & to which I shall prefix an epistle to Mary Lovell. will you procure me some subscribers? — I have forgotten his foibles & faults — & many a melancholy reflection obtrudes. what I am doing for him — you Bedford may one day perform for me. how short my part in life may be he only knows who assignd it — I must only be anxious to discharge it well.
how does Time mellow down our feelings opinions! little of that ardent enthusiasm which so lately fevered my whole character remains — & what little is suffered I have contracted my sphere of action within the little circle of my own friends — & even my wishes seldom stray beyond it. a little candle will give light enough to a moderate sized room. place it in a church it will only “teach light to counterfeit a gloom”  — & in the street — the first wind extinguishes it. do you understand this? or shall I send you to Quarles Emblems? 
Of my situation & employments Wynns letter has probably informed you. I am hardly yet in order.
& whilst that last word was writing arrived the parcel containing what thro all my English wanderings have accompanied me — your letters. aye Grosvenor our correspondence is valuable — for it is the history of the human heart during its most interesting stages — I have now bespoke a letter case — where they shall repose in company with another series — now blessed be God! compleat. my letters to Edith. — Bedford who will be worthy to possess these when we are gone? Odi profanum vulgus  — must I make a funeral pile by my death bed?
Would that I were so settled as not to look on to another removal . I want a little room to arrange my books in — & some Lares  of my own. shall we not be near one another? aye Bedford as intimate as John Doe & Richard Roe  with whose memoirs I shall be so intimately acquainted.
& there are two other cronies John a Nokes & Jack a Stiles  always like Gyas & Cloanthus  & the two Kings of Brentford hand in hand.  oh I will be a huge lawyer.
With all this bustle you will easily see I have no time for my promised letter yet. nor will I hurry it for it shall be as good as I can make it.
remember me to your father & mother — & Horace & Harry — Wynn told me of Harry musical mechanism! take care of that boy — for I never knew his capabilities equalled.
come soon. my “dearest friend” expects you with almost[MS torn] as much pleasure & impatience as
* Address: Grosvenor Charles Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/
Postmark: BMA/ 28/ 96
Watermark: [Obscured by MS binding]
Endorsement: 27 May 1796
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. 275–276 [in part]. BACK
 Horace (65–8 BC), Odes, Book 3, no. 1, line 1. The Latin translates as ‘I hate the vulgar rabble’. BACK
 Fictitious characters, often used to signify the plaintiff (Doe) and defendant (Roe) in legal suits. BACK
 Fictitious characters, often used to signify the plaintiff (Nokes) and defendant (Stiles) in legal suits. BACK
 Two mythical characters (‘Kings’ of the Essex town of Brentford – a place renowned for its dirtiness), whose existence seems to derive from George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628–1687; DNB), The Rehearsal (1672), a satire on heroic tragedy. A ‘mock’ play within Villiers’s play includes a scene in which the two Kings of Brentford enter hand in hand. In the next century, the phrase entered into wider cultural use; see, for example, William Cowper (1731–1800; DNB), The Task, a Poem, in Six Books (London, 1785), p. 5. BACK