8. Robert Southey to Thomas Davis Lamb, [c. 26 April 1792]

8. Robert Southey to Thomas Davis Lamb, [c. 26 April 1792] ⁠* 

Dear Lamb

I will be obliged to you to send my portfolio with all my verses <all its contents> &c & No 6 of to Hart Street. the Castles of Athlin & Dunbayne [1]  which is in the deal box or Combes bookcase & if you will get No 6 [2]  from Gingers & send with them as I have the rest.

Combes breaking up so soon is very odd. I know Vincent fears a rebellion for he told Dr Whalesby [3]  so. most likely he will make Adderly break up & you & then he will be secure. I wish I could hear the trial — Mr Reed will get Garrow [4]  to cut up the Doctor. you seem to be in a pretty situation — when Combe Adderly & you are gone Dodd will plug the house about without opposition — his Majesty would not have broke up so soon unless by Vincents particular desire — I expect you will be at home next — however you have one Ignoramus at the head of the underschool & in all human probability will have another in Dr V. I am obliged to discontinue the Flagellant. No 10 concludes it [5]  — but we shall not waste our papers. we mean to write on & some months hence publish a volume compleat. I plan a paper upon wigs & if you like a curious sketch take the following.

Wigs emblematic of hypocrisy — hypocrisy springs from the Devil Ergo the Devil the inventor of wigs.

NB. as reflection upon your old wig.

a few quotations from Milton Spencer — the testament the Koran the Edda [6]  Hugo Grotius, [7]  Juvenal [8]  &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c &c — derivation of the word hypocrisy UπΟ κριτςς [9]  the mask which the old actors wore. therefore the wig a mask for ignorance & hypocrisy.

the monks shave their head. all extremes bad

Medio tutissismus ibis

Ergo [10] 

Doctors should wear their own hair.

wigs came in fashion as wisdom declined — old custom no good authority. quotation from Tom Paine [11]  concerning precedent. the primitive fathers did not wear wigs. bishops do & therefore the bishops are not orthodox.

ass in a lions skin


Mr Wingfield in a wig —


but all this will not do yet — I must lay by for some time — meanwhile I will lay in a good store of doses for the Doctor the Devil & Dodd.

if we go to France we will send Combe a letter every day — double or treble first a French one & then a translation for fear he should be puzzled — & now as I have nothing to say I conclude.

yours sincerely

R Southey


* Address: Mr Davies Lamb/ Mrs Cloughs/ Deans Yard/ Westminster
Postmark: AP/ 26/ 92
MS: Houghton Library, bMS Eng 265.1 (32). ALS; 3p.
Unpublished. BACK

[1] Ann Radcliffe (1764–1823; DNB), The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789). BACK

[2] Southey is referring to the sixth issue of The Flagellant, which appeared on 5 April 1792. BACK

[3] Unidentified. BACK

[4] The barrister William Garrow (1760–1840; DNB). BACK

[5] Southey was mistaken; the ninth, and final, issue of The Flagellant appeared on 26 April 1792. BACK

[6] A collection of poems dealing with Norse mythology. In 1797 Southey encouraged Amos Simon Cottle to translate the Latin text of the Edda into English. BACK

[7] Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), Dutch statesman and writer on international law. BACK

[8] Decimus Junius Juvenalis (fl. AD late C1 and early C2), satirist. BACK

[9] The Greek translates properly as ‘actor’, but its meaning in NT Greek is ‘hypocrite’. BACK

[10] The Latin translates roughly as ‘Moderation in all things/ Therefore’. BACK

[11] Southey is paraphrasing ideas found in Thomas Paine (1737–1809; DNB), The Rights of Man (1791–1792). BACK

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