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William Wordsworth, Dorothy Wordsworth

The Letters of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Vol. 6: The Later Years: Part III: 1835–1839 (Second Revised Edition)

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  • Address: Robt Southey, Esqre. [In M. W.'s hand]
  • MS. St. John's College, Cambridge. Hitherto Unpublished.

  • Friday morning
  • [? 16 Mar. 1838]

My dear Southey,

We condole with you sincerely upon the death of your Brother.1 His loss must be most severely felt by his Widow and family; and we much fear that a still heavier pressure, in consequence of this Event, may come upon your self and your Brother Dr Southey. My own Brother has been very much indisposed for several months, but we have learned today that he is somewhat better; his illness was the consequence of great fatigue, caused by the necessity, in addition to his other labours, of examining all the deeds, Statutes, and other writings, concerning his College, previous to the intended proceedings of the Commission of enquiry.2

By the decease of Lady Lonsdale, I have lost one of my most valued Friends. I feel it sharply. A more humbleminded Person could not exist; she was affectionate, courteous, kind or charitable to everyone according to the relations in which they stood towards [her].3 Poor Lord Lonsdale! It must be a sad blow to him; they had been married 57 years.

pg 533Your account of your State of health and spirits grieves me much. But as to the hernia, it being inguinal and not femoral, there is no danger in it if a good truss be constantly used; this I know, not from [my] own experience, but from that of several Friends. Mr Crabbe Robinson has had this infirmity, but the swelling disappeared by the use of the truss; so did it with my Sister. But a Person who has once been affected in this way, though all outward signs may have disappeared, should never go from home without that support at hand. Mr Robinson alarmed me a good deal in Italy by not having taken this precaution. He had overstrained himself in two days' long walking up the Appennines, and the threatening pain returned; but afterwards he became more moderate in his exercise and no further mischief ensued. It is absolutely necessary for ease and comfort that the pad of the truss should not be too large. The best, Mr Carr says, is Salmon and Oddys opposite-sided truss.—But in London you can suit yourself, only for heaven's sake provide the best you can immediately. Mr Quillinan's father lost his life because he would not submit to the inconvenience of putting up with a Portuguese one till a better could be had from London.

I forward a letter and shall also send a Pamphlet1 from Mr Merewether as in duty bound: but I shall tell him that it is quite out of your power, for sundry weighty reasons, to pay the least attention to the subject at present, if ever; so don't trouble yourself even to think about it for a month.

Thanks for Madoc, he is an old and highly valued Friend. But what a cheap Book!2 Mrs W. has been reading the Poem and is charmed with it. What is to come of you and me as Poets in future times, it would be presumptuous to aim at determining, but surely we shall have a better chance of being remembered than some others who have figured in our day.

How sorry I am that your engagements don't allow you to come over with Bertha. I do not like the thought of your long absence, and still less if you are to go without my seeing you.3pg 534Would it inconvenience you if I should come over for a night. God bless you.

  • Most affectionately yours          
  • Wm Wordsworth   

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
2 In Apr. 1837, the Earl of Radnor had moved the second reading of a Bill for the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into the working of the statutes and the application of the revenues of the Halls and Colleges of Oxford and Cambridge; and to avoid having reform thrust upon them, the Colleges had reluctantly set about putting their houses in order. The Master and Seniors of Trinity had agreed to revise the College statutes, but little progress was made while C. W. was Master. Later on, by 1844, some limited reforms were made under Whewell.
Editor’s Note
3 Word dropped out.
Editor’s Note
1 Francis Merewether does not appear to have published a new pamphlet recently. The reference is probably to a later edition of his Popery a new religion, Compared with that of Christ and his apostles. A Sermon …, 1835, which had reached a 3rd edn. by 1836.
Editor’s Note
2 i.e. compared with Moxon's estimates for the forthcoming volume of Sonnets.
Editor’s Note
3 Southey was about to go up to town to consult Sir Benjamin Brodie.
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