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To Mr. Poole.
August, 1796. “MY BELOVED FRIEND,
“I was at Matlock, the place monodized by Bowles, when your letter arrived at Darley, and I did not receive it till near a week afterwards. My very dear Poole, I wrote to you the whole truth. After the first moment I was perfectly composed, and from that moment to the present have continued calm and lighthearted. I had just quitted you, and I felt myself rich in your love and esteem: and you do not know how rich I feel myself. O ever found the same, and trusted and beloved !
“ The last sentences of your letter affected me more than I can well describe. Words and phrases which might perhaps have adequately expressed my feelings, the cold-blooded children of this world have anticipated and exhausted in their unmeaning gabble of flattery. I use common expressions, but they do not convey common feelings. My ' heart has thanked you. I preached on Faith yesterday. I said that Faith was infinitely better than Good Works, as the cause is greater than the effect,—as a fruitful tree is better than its fruits, and as a friendly heart is of far higher value than the kindnesses which it naturally and necessarily prompts. It is for that friendly heart that I now have thanked you, and which I so eagerly accept; for with regard to settlement, I am likely to be better off now than before, as I shall proceed to tell you. “ I arrived at Darley on the Sunday. *
* Monday I spent at Darley. On the Tuesday Mrs. Coleridge, Miss Willett, and I went in Mrs. Evans's carriage to Matlock, where we stayed till Satur
* Sunday we spent at Darley, and on Monday, Sara, Mrs. Evans, and myself visited Oakover, a seat famous for a few first-rates of Raffael and Titian; thence to Ilam, a quiet vale hung round with wood, beautiful beyond expression, and thence to Dovedale, a place beyond expression tremendously sublime. Here, in a cavern at the head of a divine little fountain, we dined on cold meat, and returned to Darley, quite worn out with the succession of sweet sensations. On Tuesday we were employed in packing up, and on Wednesday we were to have set off.
But on the Wednesday Dr. Crompton, who had just returned from Liverpool, called on me, and made me the following proposal :—that if I would take a house in Derby and open a day-school, confining my number to twelve scholars, he would send three of his children on these terms—till my number should be completed, he would allow me £100 a year for them ;—when the number should be complete, he would give £21 a year for each of them :—the children to be with me from nine to twelve, and from two to five—the last two hours to be
employed with their writing or drawing-master, who would be paid by the parents. He has no doubt but that I shall complete my number almost instantly. Now 12x20 guineas=£252, and my mornings and evenings at my own disposal=good things. So I accepted the offer, it being understood that if anything better offered, I should accept it. There was not a house to be got in Derby; but I engaged with a man for a house now building, and which is to be completed by the Sth of October, for 121. a year, and the landlord to pay all the taxes except the Poor Rates. The landlord is rather an intelligent fellow, and has promised me to Rumfordize the chimneys. The plan is to commence in November; the intermediate time I spend at Bristol, at which place 1 shall arrive, by the blessing of God, on Monday night next. This week I spend with Mr. Hawkes, at Mosely, near Birmingham ; in whose shrubbery I now write. I arrived here on Friday, having left Derby on Friday. I preached here yesterday.
“ If Sara will let me, I shall see you for a few days in the course of a month. Direct your next letter to S. T. C., Oxford Street, Bristol. My love to your dear Mother and Sister, and believe me affectionately your ever faithful friend,
66 S. T. COLERIDGE I shall write to my Mother and Brothers to-morrow.” At the same time Mr. C. wrote to Mr. Wade in terms similar to the above, adding that at Matlock the time was completely filled up with seeing the country, eating, concerts, &c. "I was the first fiddle; not in the concerts—but everywhere else, and the company would not spare me twenty minutes together. Sunday I dedicated to the drawing up my sketch of education, which I meant to publish, to try to get a school !” He speaks of “ the thrice lovely valley of llam ; it vale hung with beautiful woods all round, except just at its entrance, where, as you stand at the other end of the valley, you see a bare bleak mountain standing as it were to guard the entrance. It is without exception the most beautiful place I ever visited.”
He concludes :-“ I have seen a letter from Mr. William Roscoe, author of the Life of Lorenzo the Magnificent; a work in two 4to. volumes (of which the whole first edition sold in a month); it was addressed to Mr. Edwards, the minister here, and entirely related to me. Of me and my compositions he writes in terms of high admiration, and concludes by desiring Mr. Edwards to let him know my situation and prospects, and saying that if I would come and settle at Liverpool, he thought a comfortable situation might be procured for me. This day Edwards will write to him."
Whilst at Birmingham, on The Watchman tour, Mr. C. had been introduced to Mr. Charles Lloyd, the eldest son of Mr. Lloyd, an eminent
banker of that place. At Mosely they met again, and the result of an intercourse for a few days together was an ardent desire on the part of Lloyd to domesticate himself permanently with a man whose conversation was to him a revelation from Heaven. Nothing, however, was settled on this occasion, and Mr. and Mrs. C. returned to Bristol in the beginning of September. On the 24th of September he writes to Mr. Poole :
To Mr. Poole.
“ 24th September, 1796. “ MY DEAR, VERY DEAR POOLE,
“ The heart thoroughly penetrated with the flame of virtuous friendship is in a state of glory; but lest it should be exalted above measure, there is given to it a thorn in the flesh. I mean that where the friendship of any person forms an essential part of a man's happiness, he will at times be pestered with the little jealousies and solicitudes of imbecile humanity. Since we last parted I have been gloomily dreaming that you did not leave me so affectionately as you were wont to do. Pardon this littleness of heart, and do not think the worse of me for it. Indeed my soul seems so mantled and wrapped round with your love and esteem, that even a dream of losing but the smallest fragment of it makes me shiver, as if some tender part of my nature were left uncovered and in nakedness.
Last week I received a letter from Lloyd, informing me that his parents had given their joyful concurrence to his residence with me, but that, if it were possible that I could be absent from home for three or four days, his father wished particularly to see me.
I consulted Mrs. Coleridge, who advised me to go. Accordingly on Saturday night I went by the mail to Birmingham, and was introduced to the father, who is a mild man, very liberal in his ideas, and in religion an allegorizing Quaker. I mean that all the apparently irrational parts of his sect he allegorizes into significations, which for the most part you or I might assent to. We became well acquainted, and he expressed himself thankful to Heaven, that his son was about to be with me. He said he would write to me concerning money matters, after his son had been some time under my roof.
“On Tuesday morning I was surprised by a letter from Mr. Maurice, our medical attendant, informing me that Mrs. C. was delivered on Monday, 19th September, 1796, half-past two in the morning, of a son, and that both she and the child were uncommonly well. I was quite annihilated with the suddenness of the information, and retired to my room to address myself to my Maker, but I could only offer up to Him the silence of stupified feelings. I hastened home, and Charles Lloyd re
turned with me. When I first saw the child, I did not feel that thrill and overflowing of affection which I expected. I looked on it with a melancholy gaze; my mind was intensely contemplative, and my heart only sad. But when two hours after, I saw it at the bosom of its mother-on her arm— —and her eye tearful and watching its little featuresthen I was thrilled and melted, and gave it the kiss of a Father. The baby seems strong, and the old nurse has over-persuaded my wife to discover a likeness to me in its face,-no great compliment to me; for in truth I have seen handsomer babies in my lifetime. Its name is. David Hartley Coleridge. I hope that ere he be a man, if God destines him for continuance in this life, his head will be convinced of, and his heart saturated with, the truths so ably supported by that great master of Christian Philosophy.
“ Charles Lloyd wins upon me hourly; his heart is uncommonly pure, his affections delicate, and his benevolence enlivened, but not sicklied, by sensibility. He is assuredly a man of great genius; but it must be in a têle-à-tête with one whom he loves and esteems that his colloquial powers open ; and this arises not from reserve or want of simplicity, but from having been placed in situations where, for years together, he met with no congenial minds, and where the contrariety of his thoughts and notions to the thoughts and notions of those around him induced the necessity of habitually suppressing his feelings. His joy and gratitude to Heaven for the circumstance of his domestication with me, I can scarcely describe to you; and I believe his fixed plans are of being always with me. His father told me, that if he saw that his son had formed habits of severe economy, he should not insist upon his adopting any profession, as then his fair share of his (the father's) wealth would be sufficient for him.
“ My dearest Poole, can you conveniently receive Lloyd and me in the course of a week? I have much, very much, to say to you, and to consult with you about; for my heart is heavy respecting Derby; and my feelings are so dim and huddled, that though I can, I am sure, communicate them to you by my looks and broken sentences, I scarcely know how to convey them in a letter. C. Lloyd also wishes much to know you personally. I shall write on the other side of the paper two of his sonnets, composed by him in one evening at Birmingham. The latter of them alludes to the conviction of the truth of Christianity, which he had received from me. Let me hear from you by post immediately, and give my kind love to your sister and dear mother, and likewise my love to that young man with the soul-beaming face, which I recollect much better than I do his name.” (Mr. George Ward, of Over Stowey.) “ God bless you, my dear friend, and believe me, with deep affection, yours,
“S. T. COLERIDGE."
The reader of Coleridge's Poems will remember the beautiful lines To a young Friend, on his proposing to domesticale with the Author. (P. W., i., p. 246.) They were written at this time, and addressed to Lloyd; and it may be easily conceived what a deep impression of delight they would make on a mind and temperament so refined and enthusiastic as his. The Sonnet To a Friend who asked how I felt when the Nurse first presented my infant to me~(i., p. 252) is the metrical version of a passage in the foregoing letter. A short time before the birth of little Hartley C., Mr. Southey had returned to Bristol from Portugal, and was in lodgings nearly opposite to Mr. Coleridge's house in Oxford Street. There had been a quarrel between them on the occasion of the abandonment of the American scheme, which was first announced by Mr. Southey, and he and Coleridge had ceased to have any intercourse. But a year's absence had dissipated all angry feelings, and, after Mr. C.'s return from Birmingham in the end of September, Southey took the first step, and sent over a slip of paper with a word or two of conciliation." This was immediately followed by an interview, and, in an hour's time, these two extraordinary youths were arm in arm again. They were, indeed, of essentially opposite tempers, powers, and habits; yet each well knew and appreciated the other,-perhaps even the more deeply from the contrast between them. Circumstances separated them in after life; but Mr. Coleridge recorded his testimony to Southey's character in this work, and in his Will referred to it as expressive of his latest convictions.
On the 1st of November, 1796, Coleridge wrote the following letter to his friend :
November 1, 1796. “ MY BELOVED POOLE,
“ Many causes have concurred to prevent my writing to you, but all together they do not amount to a reason. I have seen a narrow-necked bottle so full of water, that, when turned upside down, not a drop has fallen out-something like this has been the case with me. My heart has been full, yea, crammed with anxieties about my residence near you. I so ardently desire it, that any disappointment would chill all my faculties, like the fingers of death. And, entertaining wishes so irrationally strong, I necessarily have day-mare dreams that something will prevent
4 The paper contained a sentence in English from Schiller's Conspiracy of Fiesco at Genoa. Fiesko! Fiesko! du raumst einen Platz in meiner Brust, den das Menschengeschlecht, dreifach genommen, nicht mehr besetzen wird. Fiesco ! Fiesco ! thou leavest a void in my bosom, which the human race, thrice told, fill never fill up. Act v., sc. 16. S. C.
5 Chap. iii. S. C.