20. Robert Southey to Thomas Davis Lamb, [c. 31 July 1792]

20. Robert Southey to Thomas Davis Lamb, [c. 31 July 1792] ⁠* 

Dear Lamb

By this post I write to Bedford & beg house room for my unfortunate books till I go to Oxford — will you be kind enough to direct them to old Donkey & send them all there.

in your tour you must take the western parts of England & if you will contrive it whilst I am either at Bath or Bristol you know I shall be very happy to see you. I do not go to Oxford till October & at Christmas I shall be again at Bath but come when you will I shall hope to see you before you leave England.

I shall always be glad to hear from you & the oftener the better — how I am to write to you when you are travelling? you must inform me at what town you intend to be upon a fixed day & I will direct to be left at the post office till called for — if you can fix upon a better method pray inform me.

I am ready to run mad over the mathematics! which I have just begun & wish I had just concluded — all your drudgery is over. I have five years more to look <forwards> & at the expiration of that time look forward to nothing more agreeable.

when does Combe leave school? I wish to write to him before he goes. this day week I was within seven miles of the palace at Earns hill & had not time to visit it & see the Lions!

our western country may well claim your attention — we have in Somersetshire three cities (which no other county in England has & of which you have only seen Bath. I saw Wells & Wokey hole Monday last but will not anticipate by a description the pleasure you will find in visiting one of the finest Gothic buildings in England. the cavern & Glastonbury Abbey & Tor will please you but we saw Battle Abbey together & after that what ruins in England are to be mentioned as worthy of comparison?

you must be busy in preparation & though really I am disposed to lengthen my letter I consider your time as well disposed of — all I shall further say is that I hope Dr V will give you a better character than your sincere friend


When first I escapd from the stroke
What pleasure illumind my heart
My fetters in shivers I broke
For I feard that I might not depart.
He frownd with scholastical sway.
I could scarcely my freedom discern
So sternly he sent me away
I thought that he bade me return

remember me to all friends. & ask Collins where I am to direct to him in the holydays.

you know the lines of Shenstone [1]  whence these are parodied.


* Address: Mr Davis Lamb/ Mrs Cloughs/ Deans Yard Westminster
Stamped: BATH
Postmark: OJY/ 31/ 92
MS: Houghton Library, bMS Eng 265.1 (34). ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] William Shenstone (1714–1763; DNB). The verses that precede are an imitation of his ‘Pastoral Ballad, in Four Parts. Written in 1743’. BACK

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