1219. Robert Southey to Mary Barker, 25 September 1806

1219. Robert Southey to Mary Barker, 25 September 1806 ⁠* 

This evening I have received Mr Lewis’s [1]  letter – & tho I have nothing to say but that it is received, it seems something like a duty to tell you that I know what tidings awaited you on your return home. – God grant you strength to bear up against the shock, – for a shock it will indeed have been. [2]  The amputation of a limb is not the less painful, because it was a diseased one, & its removal desireable. – I am very anxious to hear from you.

My brothers are gone. they went this afternoon – Tom going to Taunton to his Uncle, & wishing to take Harry with him. It is the first time that we have ever been all three together since we were children – & it is by no means improbable that it may be the last. – My head feels as if it would be easier if I were to let a little water out, – but tears, Senhora, are a bad collyrium for weak eyes, – & I shall go to work. Idleness is the mother of sins they say, & it may be said that she is the wet nurse of Melancholy. My motto you know is In Labore Quies. [3]  I hope & trust that you may have too much business to be at leisure for unhappiness.

God Almighty bless you –

Robert Southey.

Thursday Sept. 25. 1806.


* Address: To/ Miss Barker
MS: MS untraced; text is taken from Robert Galloway Kirkpatrick, ‘The Letters of Robert Southey to Mary Barker from 1800 to 1826’ (unpublished PhD, Harvard, 1967), pp. 206–207.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 394–395. BACK

[1] Possibly A.F. Lewis, who is listed among the subscribers to Mary Barker’s A Welsh Story (1798). BACK

[2] Southey is probably referring to the death of Mary Barker’s father, Thomas Barker (dates unknown). BACK

[3] Southey’s motto meaning ‘In Labour Rest’, borrowed from the sixteenth-century Spanish historian Esteban de Garibay (1533–1600) and engraved on his bookplate. BACK

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