29. Robert Southey to Thomas Phillipps Lamb, 28 October  *
Sunday. October 28.
an ugly cold & cough has delayed my journey to Oxford which was fixed for to day. I wish it were over. tho these huge wigs have nothing really in them they look very formidable.
My dear Sir —
I am less grieved at my disappointment than for the occasion of it — that vile old grey was only foaled for mischief
so said Horace to the tree that fell upon him — if you like to look at the original it is the 13th ode of the 2nd book.
if the Baron of Thundertentroncks castle had not been destroyd (said Dr Pangloss to Candidus) if Miss Cunegonda had not been ript up alive by the Bulgarian soldiers — if I had not been hung, if you had not killd an inquisitor & been burnt by the inquisition, we should not have been now eating pistachio nuts. alls for the best.  according to this mode of reconciling grievances, if the grey had not nearly broke your neck & your sons (not to mention how I seated myself) I should never have imitated this ode of Horace
You ask me where Tom can be safe on the continent. I answer in no one place. insurrections are frequently announced at Brussels & at Berlin & tho’ the intelligence has been always contradicted it is still more than probably that it will soon happen. never was there a period more eventful or more astonishing. Dumourier  promises to winter at Brussels. he talks like Brunswick did & may perhaps act in the same <manner>.
is xx the report of the secret treaty between France & Prussia very probable? if it be so I shall despise his Prussian majesty  more than I formerly detested him. he leads on his desperadoes when there was little to fear & abandons his allies when there is little to hope!
the French have rid themselves of a while of foreign enemies they will now quarrel among themselves. I long to see their new Constitution. I beg my best respect to Mr L. & Mrs Lamb.
your humble servant
* Address: Thomas Philips Lamb Esqr/ Mountsfield Lodge/ Rye/
Postmark: [partial] OC/ 92
MS: Duke University Library, Southey papers. ALS; 4p. (c).
Previously published: John Wood Warter, Selections From the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 10–13 [where it is dated ‘Bristol, Dec. 1792.’]. BACK
 John Gualbert (c. 995–1073), founder of the Vallombrosian order. The pseudonym ‘Gualbertus’ was used by Southey for his controversial attack on flogging as an invention of the devil in the fifth issue of The Flagellant (29 March 1792). BACK
 John Hampden (1594–1643; DNB), parliamentarian and opponent of Charles I (1600–1649; reigned 1625–1649; DNB). He died in a skirmish at Chalgrove Field. Algernon Sidney (1622–1683; DNB), politician and republican, executed for his alleged involvement in the Rye House plot. BACK
 Either Lucius Junius Brutus, the man credited with expelling the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, in 510 BC, or Marcus Junius Brutus (85–42 BC), assassin of Julius Caesar (100/102–44 BC). BACK