257. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [16 September 1797]
257. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, [16 September 1797] *
Is not this beautiful Grosvenor? but it is a damned lying sheet of paper.
me voici then at Bath & why had not you your birth day poem? in plain downright sincere sincerity, as the man said who dedicated his book to God Almighty,  I totally forgot it. till on the morning of the 11th Sept when I found myself on Poole-heath walking thro desolation, with that gloomy capability which my nativity caster marks as among the predominant features of my character. there I planned the history of the days expedition as an atonement & peace offering — & yet hope to present it.
We left Burton yesterday morning. the place was very quiet & I was very comfortable, nor know I where to expect again so pleasant a summer. We live in odd times Grosvenor — & even in the best periods of this bad society the straightest path is most cursedly crooked.
I shall be with you in November. send me my Coke  I pray you. I want Law food — & tho not over hungry, yet must I eat & execrate like Pistol. 
How does Godwin bear his loss?  a man ought to repress painful feelings — or I would tell you my own upon this occasion. She has left no equal. The world can ill spare such a woman — but I am sometimes tempted to think that the best of us were designed for a better place, & dropt here by some unlucky mistake. if however this be not our punishment, a better world must be our reward. if mankind were all disbelievers in a hereafter the earth would soon be thinned by suicide.
Something odd came into my head a few hours since. I was feeling that the love of letter-writing had greatly gone from me & enquiring why. my mind is no longer agitated by hopes & fear, no longer doubtful, no longer possessed with such ardent enthusiasm. it is quiet — & repels all feelings that would disturb that state. when I write I have nothing to communicate — for you know all my opinions & feelings, & incidents none can occur to one settled as I am. what followed these reflections? I have long intended to write my own history — or rather to trace the development of my own character which I can accurately recollect. will you be my Confessor — & will you with most Catholic secresy receive the detail of the past? not that I have one sin to confess, tho follies enough — but I would not have such letters seen by persons who cannot understand them — perhaps by nobody save yourself.
Now Grosvenor here will be matter enough for me to write long letters & when I am dead — you will have a series more interesting then than now.
write to me.
Charles Lloyd is still my companion. I never expected [MS torn] another friend, & yet chance has birdlimed me to one in a most odd manner.
God bless you. have you received my parcel of Poems? do not delay Musæus.  Toms stay is uncertain. he sends his remembrances & this beautiful paper.
Saturday. like an idiot I forgot that the useless day following
* Address: [deletion and readdress in another hand] G C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard <Hastings> / Westminster
<Sussex/ to be held at/ the Post Office>
Stamped: BATH; Bridge/ Street
Postmark: ASE/ 18/ 97
Endorsements: Recd 22 Septr 1797; Recd Septr. 22–97
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: Charles Cuthbert Southey (ed.), Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, 6 vols (London, 1849–1850), I, pp. 322–323 [in part; misdated 22 September 1797]. BACK
 Edward Coke (1552–1643; DNB), Commentarie upon Littleton (1628), the first part of his four part Institutes of the Laws of England (1628–1644). BACK
 Grosvenor Charles Bedford’s translation of Musæus (fl. c. early 6th century), The Loves of Hero and Leander (1797). BACK