250. To Joseph Cottle Address: Mr Cottle | Bookseller | No 5 | Wine Street | Bristol MS. Harvard College Lib. Pub. with omis. Early Rec. i. 315. Monday Morning [ 28 May 1798] 1 My dear Cottle You know what I think of a letter -- how impossible it is to argue in it. You must therefore take simple statements, & in a week or two I shall see you & endeavor to reason with you. Wordsworth & I have maturely weigh'd your proposal, & this is our answer -- W. would not object to the publishing of Peter Bell or the Salisbury Plain, singly; but to the publishing of his poems ____________________ 1 On 18 May, as Letter 248 shows, Wordsworth went to Bristol. While he was away Hazlitt arrived for a three-week visit to Stowey, lasting from circa 20 May to 11 June; and a day or two after Hazlitt's arrival Wordsworth himself returned from Bristol. Possibly Cottle came with him; at all events, Cottle's visit, during which plans for the publication of Lyrical Ballads were formulated, probably took place in late May. Furthermore, on 31 May Dorothy wrote to her brother that ' William has now some poems in the Bristol press' ( Early Letters, 192). Coleridge's letter, therefore, must have been written on 28 May, immediately following Cottle's visit, or at latest on Monday, 4 June. -411- in two volumes he is decisively repugnant & oppugnant -- He deems that they would want variety &c &c -- if this apply in his case, it applies with tenfold force to mine. -- We deem that the volumes offered to you are to a certain degree one work, in kind tho' not in degree, as an Ode is one work -- & that our different poems are as stanzas, good relatively rather than absolutely: -- Mark you, I say in kind tho' not in degree. -- The extract from my Tragedy will have no sort of reference to my Tragedy, but is a Tale in itself, as the ancient Mariner. -- The Tragedy will not be mentioned -- / As to the Tragedy, when I consider it [in] reference to Shakespear's & to one other Tragedy, it seems a poor thing; & I care little what becomes of it -- when I consider [it] in comparison with modern Dramatists, it rises: & I think it too bad to be published, too good to be squandered. -- I think of breaking it up; the planks are sound, & I will build a new ship of old materials. -- The dedication to the Wedgewoods 1 would be indelicate & unmeaning. -- If after 4 or 5 years I shall have finished some work of some importance, which could not have been written but in an unanxious seclusion -- to them I will dedicate it, for the Public will have owed the work to them who gave me the power of that unanxious Seclusion. -- As to anonymous Publications, depend on it, you are deceived. -Wordsworth's name is nothing -- to a large number of persons mine stinks -- The Essay on Man, Darwin's 2 Botanic Garden, the Pleasures of memory, & many other most popular works were published anonymously. -- However, I waive all reasoning; & simply state it as an unaltered opinion, that you should proceed as before, with the ancient Mariner. -- The picture shall be sent. 3 For your love-gifts & book-loans accept our hearty love -- The Joan of Arc is a divine book. 4 -- It opens lovelily -- I hope that you will take off some half dozen of our poems in great paper, even as the Joan of Are. -- Cottle, my dear Cottle, I meant to have written you an Essay on the Metaphysics of Typography; but I have not time. -- Take a few hints without the abstruse reasons for them with which I mean to favor you -- 18 lines in a page, the lines closely printed, certainly, more closely than those of the Joan -- (Oh by all means closer! W. Wordsworth) 5 equal ink; & large margins. That is beauty -- it may even under your immediate care mingle the sublime! -- ____________________ 1 In printing this letter Cottle Inserted here the phrase, 'which you recommend'. Early Rec. i. 816. 2 Cottle deleted ' Darwin's' and substituted 'the' in the manuscript. 3 The earliest known portrait of Wordsworth by W. Shuter. 4 The second edition of Southey's Joan of Are appeared in 1798. 5 The sentence in parentheses is in Wordsworth's handwriting. -412- And now, my dear Cottle! may God love you & me who am ever with most unauthorish feelings your true friend S. T. Coleridge I walked to Linton the day after you left us, & returned on Saturday. -- I walked in one day & returned in one -- /