183. To William Lisle Bowles Address: Revd W. L. Bowles | Donhead | near Shaftsbury | Wilts. MS. Professor C. B. Tinker. Pub. A Wiltshire Parson and His Friends, by Garland Greever, 1926, p. 29. Thursday Morning. [ 16 March 1797] 2 Dear Sir But that I am not likely to have another opportunity of transmitting the accompanying trifles to you, I would not intrude on you at a moment, when your heart is necessarily occupied with it's own feelings. -- You have the nightly prayers of my little family for the restoration of your dear Mother's health. To me the death of the aged has a more mournful effect than that of the young. Accustomed to observe a completeness in all the works of Nature, the departure of the Latter seems more of a transition -- the heart is dissatisfied, & says, this cannot be all. But of the aged we have seen the bud, the blossom, & the fruit -- & the whole circle of existence appears completed. -- But praise & thanksgiving to ____________________ 1 Cottle added this paragraph as a postscript to Letter 185 of this edition. Cf. Early Rec. i. 240. 2 This letter was written before the death of Bowles's mother on 25 Mar. 1797, and the reference to Lloyd's seizures suggests mid-March. -317- him who sent light & immortality into the world, bidding the corruptible put on incorruption, & the mortal immortality: for the young & old alike rejoice before God & the Lamb. -- The poems of Mr Lloyd will, I think, please you -- the Woman, whom they lament, approached as near perfection, as human nature admits. -- His affection for her was almost too great -- for her death has had the most melancholy effects on his health -- he fell into a nervous complaint, which has terminated in a species of epileptic seizures. -- He is at present domesticated in my cottage. My Ode you will read with a kindly forbearance as to it's political sentiments. -- The base of our politics is, I doubt not, the same. We both feel strongly for whomever our imaginations present to us in the attitude of suffering. -- I confess, that mine is too often a stormy pity.' The plan I had sketched for my tragedy is too chaotic to be transmitted at present -- but immediately I understand it myself, I will submit it to you: & feel greatly obliged to you for your permission to do it. -- It is 'romantic & wild & somewhat terrible' -& I shall have Siddons & Kemble in my mind -- but indeed I am almost weary of the Terrible, having been an hireling in the Critical Review for these last six or eight months -- I have been lately reviewing the Monk, the Italian, Hubert de Sevrac 1 & &c & &c -in all of which dungeons, and old castles, & solitary Houses by the Sea Side, & Caverns, & Woods, & extraordinary characters, & all the tribe of Horror & Mystery, have crowded on me -- even to surfeiting. -- I rejoice to hear of your new Edition -- Why did you ever omit that sublime Sonnet, Thou, whose stern Spirit loves the awful storm -- ? 2 I should have pleaded hard too for the first, Bereave me not 3 -- & still more vehemently for the Sonnet to Harmony 4 -- ____________________ 1 Professor Garland Greever, on the basis of this letter, identifies four reviews as Coleridge's: those of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, of Mary Robinson Hubert de Sevrac, and of M. G. Lewis The Monk; but Mr. C. I. Patterson convincingly shows that only the review of The Monk is indubitably Coleridge's. In a letter dated 1828 Coleridge confirms Mr. Patterson's contention. The reviews of The Monk and of Bishop Horsley's tract, On the Prosodies of the Greek and Latin Languages, Coleridge says, 'were perfected into Print'. (Both of these reviews appeared in the February issue of the Critical Review for 1797.) Coleridge adds that he 'likewise had written some half a score or more of what, I thought, clever & epigrammatic & devilishly severe Reviews', but that 'a Remark made by Miss Wordsworth', to whom he had read one of therp, 'occasioned my committing the whole Batch to the Fire'. See Garland Greever, A Wiltshire Parson, 165-200; C. I. Patterson, "The Authenticity of Coleridge's Reviews of Gothic Romances", Journal of Eng. and Ger. Philology, Oct 1951, pp. 517-21; and E.L.G. ii. 407. 2 At Dover, 1786. 3 At Oxford, 1786. 4 music. -318- the only description of the effect of Music that suited my experience -- or rose above commonplace -- [In Sonn]et xvi (as they now stand) the parenthesis always [interr]upts the tide of my feelings 1 -- We describe [for o]thers -- not when we speak to the object described -- perhaps I may be wrong -- but I am sure, you will excuse my freedom -- I do not like your alteration of Evening -- it seems now to possess less oneness than it did before -- in the 18th 2 you use 'hope' in two ways -- once as an abstract -- he with new hope -- once as an impersonation -- Sweet Hope! -- is this an imper -fection? -- I could write a great deal about your late alteration -but I will not detain you any more -- believe me | very sincerely | Your's S. T. Coleridge I shall be anxious to your [hear?] of your dear Parent's Health. --