3722. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 31 August 1821

3722. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 31 August 1821⁠* 

Keswick 31 Aug. 1821.

My dear Grosvenor

I am interrupted by a disturbance in the Lower Regions. – –

x x x x x

It was not an Earthquake which thus broke off my letter at the very commencement, neither had Kehama [1]  slipt his shoulders from their burden, left Yamen & xxxx upon a three legged throne to fall xx or sit if he could, & made a reveller in Padalon. No Grosvenor it was no such particular event. I was not cut short, – but taken short, being væ mihi [2] ! in the second day of the Grouwels, which word properly signifies abomination in Dutch. [3]  I believe the extreme heat of last week, & the sudden change (the glass falling 28 degrees in 36 hours) have brought on some derangement of the bile xxxx xxxxxxxx bile. Yesterday I left it to take its course; – to day I made a wry face & swallowed rhubarb & if the Tripes continue <tomorrow to be like certain poets> melodious & fluent <& weak>, why I shall desire Edmondson to proceed against them.

That ever I should be worth 625£ in the three per cents! [4]  Thank you for the trouble you have taken. When you receive the dividend, you may buy in another 50 therewith.

While I was at Netherhall Nares left a card here, with some complimentary verses on the back. My Aunt saw him, & showed him this room, – where he looked at the books & pictures, & admired my habitat & the comforts which were are collected about me. His London address was is written upon his card, so that I am bound to a return of this civility when next I visit town.

I do not take John Bull, [5]  & for these reasons: 1 Because Calvert & I take the Guardian. [6]  2 Because I-per-se-I (if that compound is not as mongrel in person as in language) take the Westmorland Gazette, [7]  as it becomes me to do; 3 Because I hate slander, & would have all newspapers that deal in slander suppressed, if that were possible.

To day I have compleated my laborious correction, or more strictly speaking amplification of the first vol: of Brazil, [8]  on which as much work has been bestowed as would in another shape have been worth 200£, & here it will not produce me one farthing.

Health to your best-for-nothing-Cat. Alas we are catless & kittenless!

Senhouse gave me on my birth day a bottle of Tokay [9]  curious for its history. It was sent to his father [10]  about forty years ago by Baron Corry [11]  (a relation of Isaac Corrys) from Dantzick, he had received it as a present from Stanislaus King of Poland [12]  (whose seal was on the cork) – & Stanislaus had it from the Emperor Joseph. [13]  And in this Baronial-Royal & Imperial Tokay, the healths of the King & his Poet were drunk. – There is a flavour of melancholy about all this which makes it worth remembering.

I am more than sorry that you give up the thought of seeing Skiddaw this year, – & that Henry is out of order. The journey would do him good.

God bless you



* Address: To/ G. C. Bedford Esqre/ Exchequer
Endorsements: 31. Augt 1821/ with Power of Attorney
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 26. ALS; 4p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), III, pp. 267–268 [in part]. BACK

[1] The central figure in Southey’s The Curse of Kehama (1810). In the poem, Yamen was the god of the dead and Padalon the world of the dead. BACK

[2] ‘Woe is me’. BACK

[3] ‘Gruwel’ is the Dutch word for ‘abomination’. BACK

[4] Grosvenor Bedford had arranged to invest Southey’s capital in government stock. BACK

[5] John Bull (1820–1892) was a popular conservative Sunday newspaper, famous for its scurrilous attacks on radicals. BACK

[6] The Guardian (1819–1824) was advertised as ‘a New Weekly Paper, conducted on Principles of Attachment to our present Establishment in Church and State. Published every Saturday Evening’. It was an attempt, masterminded by Croker, to break the radical hold on the Sunday newspaper market. BACK

[7] Westmorland Gazette (founded 1818) is a weekly newspaper, based in Kendal. At this time it was vigorously conservative. BACK

[8] The second edition of the first volume of Southey’s History of Brazil (1822). BACK

[9] A dessert wine from Hungary, popular among the European nobility. BACK

[10] Humphrey Senhouse (1731–1814), MP for Cockermouth 1786–1790, MP for Cumberland 1790–1796. BACK

[11] Sir Trevor Corry (1724–1780), British Consul in Danzig 1754–1780, created a Baron of Poland in 1773. He was the uncle of Isaac Corry, Southey’s employer in 1801–1802. BACK

[12] Stanislaw II August (1732–1798; King of Poland 1764–1795). BACK

[13] Joseph II (1741–1790; Holy Roman Emperor 1765–1790 and King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia 1780–1790). BACK

People mentioned

Places mentioned

Keswick (mentioned 1 time)
Netherhall (mentioned 1 time)
Skiddaw (mentioned 1 time)