263. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Transcript Thomas Ward copy-book, New York Public Lib. Pub. Letters, i. 266. Sunday Evening/ Deer 2d. 1798 God, the Infinite, be praised that my Babes are alive. His mercy will forgive me that late and all too slowly I raised up my heart in thanksgiving. 1 -- At first and for a time, I wept as passionately as if they had been dead -- and for the whole day the weight was heavy upon me, relieved only by fits of weeping. -- I had long expected, I had passionately expected, a letter; I received it, and my frame trembled -- I saw your hand, and all feelings of mind and body crowded together -- had the news been chearful & only, 'We are as you left us' -- I must have wept, to have delivered myself of the stress and tumult of my animal sensiblity -- But when I read the danger and the agony -- My dear Sara! -- my love! my Wife! --- God bless you & preserve us -- I am well; but a stye, or something of that kind, has come upon & enormously swelled my eye-lids, so that it is painful and improper for me to read or write ! -- In a few days it will now disappear -- & I will write at length -- (now it forces me to cease) -- tomorrow I will write a line or two on the other side of the page to Mr Roskilly 2 -- I received your letter Friday, November 81st.[30th.] -- I cannot well account for the slowness -- O my babies! -- Absence makes it painful to be a Father! -- My Wife, believe and know that I pant to be home & with you. S. T. Coleridge Decr. 3d. -- My eyes are painful -- but there is no doubt, but they will be well in two or three days -- I have taken physic, eat very little flesh -- & drink only water -- but it grieves me that I cannot read -- I need not have troubled my poor eyes with a superfluous love to my dear Poole -- ____________________ 1 In a letter of 1 Nov. 1798 Mrs. Coleridge wrote of Berkeley Coleridge's illness, disfigurement, and recovery from an inoculation with small-pox. 2 The Rev. Mr. Roskilly, curate at Nether Stowey, had been promoted to be rector of Kempsford in Gloucestershire. -449-