482. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 28 January 1800
482. Robert Southey to Grosvenor Charles Bedford, 28 January 1800 *
I can call Spirits from the vasty deep – said Owen Glendower  – & Owen Glendower believed that Sprits would come when he calld them.  – I can invite Grosvenor Bedford – but to believe that Grosvenor Bedford will come when I invite him, is a stretch of belief which requires a more gum-elastical faith than Heaven has allotted me. Now if you were a dancing bear, & I had a string tied to the ring in your bearships nose then perhaps there might be a slight attraction to Bristol. Or if you were a piece of iron & I a great loadstone. Or if I were a turtle & you an Alderman  – but he will come said I
[Southey leaves gap to imitate contents of the letter]
so after a longer gap of expectation than you find in the letter – I eat up the laver. 
But Poole will send me some more – so make haste Grosvenor –
What have I more to say? simply nothing. to register the rising & fallings of my health – Fahrenheit, were but to teize you with my own uncomfortable feelings & disappointed expectations, – & I am leading a life of idleness. come you & vary it.
I have heard nothing of Carlisles Icarization.  how ended it? was the bird never hatchd, or did he fall with feeble wings? I have a great desire to have these experiments succeed – it would be a fine thing for people with corns Grosvenor – & a man in the gout might take the air – then in wet weather the saving of umbrellas by getting above the clouds – & to catch larks instead of bat-fowling – every man his own hawk –
Of our Westminster Library  I have heard good news – as how it has played the whale with the Jonah of the city.  do you know the man who told me this – a Mr Beloe  – not one <he> of the British Critic  gang of thick & thin – believers – but an odd man who talks in a dialect of his own, which puzzled my me confoundedly.
One of your last letters Grosvenor hinted at possibilities that gave me hopes or expectations too serious to be trifled with – as if you had a view of settling. with all my heart I wish this – I want you anchored – not for ever floating before every wind with no port in view.
God bless you
Jany. 28. 1800
* Address: To/ Grosvenor C. Bedford Esqr / Exchequer / Westminster
Postmark: B / JAN 29 / 1800
Endorsement: 28 Jany 1800
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett. c. 23. ALS; 2p.
Previously published: John Wood Warter (ed.), Selections from the Letters of Robert Southey, 4 vols (London, 1856), I, pp. 90–91. BACK
 Laver is a type of edible seaweed. Southey did not write a poem on its origin, but see Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series (London, 1849–1850), IV, p. 21 for his note on the possibility of a poem on ‘Laver; how it was ambrosia’. BACK
 Anthony Carlisle had a long-standing interest in the possibility of mechanical flight. He collected data on flight in birds and mammals and also theorised about and sketched flying apparatus; see Henry Wilkinson, ‘Aërostation’, Notes and Queries, 2 (14 September 1850), 251. BACK
 The London Library Society, a non-profit making subscription library founded in 1785, merged with the Westminster Library in early 1800. BACK
 In the Book of Jonah, the whale swallowed Jonah, in the same way that the Westminster Library incorporated the London Library Society. BACK
 The Mr Beloe who gave Southey this information is unidentified. He was not, as Southey makes clear, William Beloe (1758–1817; DNB), clergyman, author and joint proprietor of the British Critic. BACK