212. To Joseph Cottle Address: Mr Cottle | Bookseller | High Street | Bristol MS. Harvard College Lib. Pub. with omis. E. K. Chambers, A Sheaf of Studies, 1942, p. 43. Cottle took his usual liberties with this manuscript, printing it as three communications. See Early Rec. i. 139, 251, and 288. The top half of pages 1 and 2 of the holograph has been torn off. Stamped: Bridgewater. [Circa 20 November 1797] 2 . . . Southey's poem 3 is very [plea]sing -- no. . . a little digressive. -- ____________________ 1 Presumably, Poems by S. T. Coleridge, 1797. 2 The reference to the introduction of Wordsworth's play to Harris, the manager of Covent Garden (see postscript), suggests that this letter was written about 20 Nov. 1797, before which date The Borderers was dispatched to London. Cf. Early Letters, 174. 3 To A. S. Cottle, published only in A. S. Cottle, Icelandic Poetry, 1797, pp. xxxi-xlii. -356- From the beginning to the Words -- Of Earth & Heaven --! -- It is exquisite -- / Regner's tale has been hackneyed by Southey in other poems, and by 20 before Southey. -- From 'Were I, my Friend! a solitary man' -- to Fill'd with the firs' faint odour --! is in Southey's best manner -- rich -- almost delicious! -- Let me except the two lines 'That loathes the commerce['] ---- to 'hollow Gaieties! -- ['] It may be very well; but we have had too much of it. -- What follows to 'the deeds of men['] -- is well conceived, but expressed in an every-day Manner -- it wants the vividness of an original mind. -- From thence to 'wretched wife' -- a sublime & deep Eloquence! -- The conclusion of the Paragraph is very well; but Southey himself has hackneyed it. He may reply as Martial did to the Man who laughed at his worn-out Toga -- Vetus, at meum. -- Old, but my own. -- To the. . . & awful Invective against Things as they are? -- He himself is the best Judge. ---- I am translating the Oberon of Wieland -- it is a difficult Language, and I can translate at least as fast as I can construe. -- I pray you, as soon as possible, procure for me a German-English Grammar -- I believe, there is but one -- Widderburne's, I think -- but I am not certain. -- I have written a ballad of about 300 lines 1 -- & the Sketch of a Plan of General Study: -- and I have made a very considerable Proficiency in the French Language, and study it daily -- and daily study the German -- so that I am not, & have not been, idle. ---- I have heard nothing about my Tragedy, except some silly remarks of Kemble's, to whom Linley shewed it -- it does not appear to me that there is a shadow of probability that it will be accepted. -- It gave me no pain -- & great pleasure in finding that it gave me no pain. I had rather hoped than believed, that I was possessed of so much philosophical capability. -- Sheridan, most certainly, has not used me with common Justice. The proposal came from himself -- and altho' this circumstance did not bind him to accept the Tragedy, it certainly bound him to pay every & that the earliest, attention to it. -- I suppose, it lies snugly in his green Bag -- if it have not emigrated to the Kitchen or the Cloāca. I sent three mock Sonnets in ridicule of my own, & Charles Lloyd's, & Lamb's, 2 &c &c -- in ridicule of that affectation of unaffectedness, of jumping & misplaced accent on common-place epithets, flat lines forced into poetry by Italics (signifying how well & mouthis[h]ly the Author would read them) puny pathos &c &c -- ____________________ 1 Apparently The Ancient Mariner, see Letters 218 and 288, and E. K. Chambers , "Some Dates in Coleridge's Annus Mirabilis", A Sheaf of Studies, 1942, pp. 42-59. 2 "Sonnets attempted in the Manner of Contemporary Writers", first published Monthly Magazine, Nov 1797. Cf. Poems, i. 209. -357- the instances are almost all taken from mine & Lloyd's poems ---- I signed them Nehemiah. Higginbottom. I think they may do good to our young Bards. -- God love you & S. T. Coleridge. P.S. I have procured for Wordsworth's Tragedy an Introduction to Harris, the Manager of Convent-garden -- who has promised to read it attentively and give his answer immediately -- and if he accept it, to put it in preparation without an hour's delay. --