Tuesday. July 26.
My dear Grosvenor
Why is your letter delayed? I am anxious & apprehensive.
it is nearly a week since you told me to expect it in four & twenty
Allen is at the Hot Wells with his
wife who is consumptive. she understands French & Italian — &
has the manners of the world — but her physiognomy is not good & whether
or no she may be pleasing in health, I cannot determine in sickness. to me — she
never would. Allen is the same as
when I left him, except that he is now a confirmed Atheist, & to my
great surprize tells me Carlisle
I am sorry for this, not that I think any error in judgment
criminal, nor do I think the Atheist necessarily a fool & necessarily
unhappy. I am a very tolerant man, even to indifference. but certainly he loses
the highest source of happiness.
tell me Grosvenor the state of your mind upon religion. but tell me the state
of your body first.
Allen agrees with me that Man is a
Beast. he verges towards misanthropy & says that a years crusade to
benefit mankind will cure any man of his prejudices in their favor. so say I —
for I have been a Crusader. & so say you who have the benefit of my
but of Carlisle.
you have given me a very good opinion of him, for your applause is a ticket of
admission to mine. NOW I do not like him a whit
the less for his Atheism, but I have forsworn all metaphysics, from my soul
abhorring so barren a study. now if the majority of your club are necessarians
materialists & atheists (as I believe they are) I, who am neither the
one or the other, have no inclination to be in a state of continual
argumentation. to tell you the truth, I dislike periodical engagements. I love
to pass my evenings at home with Edith, & methinks no other company can make me happier or
better. besides I am become a very reserved man, never unbending except to those
whom I love, consequently to any but my friends I am not an agreable
Grosvenor I despise the
world. I hate the mob — I do not love the soi-disant Philosophers — & I
have a thorough contempt for the aristocratical part. I shall mingle in the
world, but it will be only with the view of enabling myself to get out of it. I
must pass a very dirty road to get into the path of quiet life. now with these
intentions — being without ambition, & alike indifferent to applause or
abuse — why should I make acquaintance? I have a few friends but they xxxxx <are> enough. you &
Wynn — & your brother & Robert Allen. then I will have Elmsley for my philosopher. xxx
Carlisle may be my surgeon. &
Allen is to be my physician
& I shall be my own lawyer. now I want only an apothecary — &
then what the Devil do I want to make more acquaintance for?
as for Charles
Collins my opinion of him is settled. & his opinion of me will be determind by my success in life,
& the his conduct by my appearance. he
is one of the many men of whom I have thought too well. but he has no heart.
no Grosvenor when I come to London I will live to myself & to
you. I will enter into no clubs, no literary societies — I will use no literary
arts. when I have done with the world I will give Madoc to posterity. I shall
get the applause of the present generation which I care not for — but I believe
that I may benefit the future.
things will be better in another world. tell me Grosvenor is there not
more real pleasure in that belief — more consolation in that little sentence
<than> in all the systems & maxims of Philosophy?
I am become melancholy in writing upon this subject. for to own
the truth tho I laugh at all systematizers, when I look at the world I am more
inclined to cry with Heraclitus. 
Tom desires to be remembered to you
& Miles.  there is a worthy lad in a very unworthy situation. he is
as much too good for a Sailor as I am for an Officer or a Pimp or a Hangman or
any office equally honourable. tis well I am not the Exterminating Angel!
I saw five or six men on Sunday stoning a dog to death —
& I heard the dog’s cries — & I wishd I had been the
Exterminating Angel. alas — how are we hurried into vice by the indignation of
I cannot tell how I got here. for certainly I am made of very
different stuff from the mob of ma human beings.
perhaps I was created in some better planet & kicked out for sedition.
this I am very sure of — that I feel out of my element in this.
Now I must give <you> a few very beautiful lines,
translated from the Spanish. they were uttered by Luis de Leon when after an
unjust imprisonment of five years in the inquisition, he was releasd. 
Adieu dark dungeons! many a wearying year
Envy & Falshood have confind me here.
Ah happy he who truly wise as good
From a bad world retires to Solitude!
For sure Content shall bless his humble fare —
The poor his cottage Peace shall sojourn there.
Unenvying & unenvied pass his days
“Prayer all his business — all his pleasures praise.” 
Grosvenor I shall never
like Richard Roe 
ever <half> so well as Luis de
I like no trade because in all of them you must mingle too much
with this cursed race. I like no profession. the church is the best — but to me
Perjury is the porter. physic requires study that I am afraid — hardens the
heart. Grosvenor I now
think so. as for Law — cætera desunt. 
hiatus valde lacrymabilis! 
What a comfort it is that you & I can keep one another in countenance —
& “throw meta-physics to the dogs” tho no doubt
Σνιφελ  likes the <your> conclusion better. Poor
did not like physic when I was at Brixton.
Some James’s powder mixt in butter
Poor Snivel took to make her ——
Were we not very very happy then Grosvenor? &
shall w[MS torn] as happy again?
Would I had time to finish my sheet. but [MS torn] going out to
dinner — & I must not lose this post — for indeed I am very anxious for
God bless you
remember me to all “your good
* Address: For/ G
C Bedford Esqr/ New Palace Yard/ Westminster/
Postmark: AJY/ 27/ 96
Watermarks: Figure of Britannia; COLES/
Endorsement: 26. July 1796
MS: Bodleian Library, MS Eng. Lett.
Previously published: Kenneth Curry (ed.), New
Letters of Robert Southey, 2 vols (London and New York, 1965),
I, pp. 112–115. BACK
 July 26: Possibly inserted in
another hand. BACK
Greek philosopher Heraclitus (540–475 BC), who was often called ‘the
mourner’, due to his habit of weeping at the follies and frailties of
 A friend of the Bedford
family, he lived at Vanbrugh Fields, Greenwich. His first name is not
 The Spanish humanist and poet Luis de Leon
(1527–1591), who was imprisoned by the Inquisition from
 This translation of Luis de Leon’s
‘Aqui la embidia y mentira’ appeared in Southey’s Letters Written During a Short Residence in Spain and
Portugal (Bristol, 1797), p. 184. The final line is a
quotation from Thomas Parnell (1679–1718; DNB),
‘The Hermit’ (1722), line 6. BACK
 A fictitious character,
often used to signify the defendant in a law suit. BACK
Latin translates as ‘the rest is wanting’. BACK
 The Latin translates as ‘a truly lamentable gap’. BACK
 The Greek translates as ‘Snivel’, the name
of Grosvenor Charles Bedford’s dog. BACK