269. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Somersetshire England Pay'd to Cuxhaven MS. New York Public Lib. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 267. A small part of the journal was revised and published in Satyrane's Letters, iii. See The Friend, No. 18, 21 December 1809, and Biog. Lit. 1817, ii. 236-7. The manuscript is torn and the passages in brackets have been supplied from a transcript made by Thomas Ward. Postmark: Foreign Office, 19 January 1799. January 4th, 1799 -- Morning, 11 o'clock My Friend, my dear Friend! Two Hours have past, since I received your Letter -- it was so frightfully long since I received one!! -- My body is weak and faint with the Beating of my Heart. -- But every thing affects one, more than it ought to do, in a foreign Country. I cried myself blind about Berkley, when I ought to have been on my knees in the joy of thanksgiving. -- The waywardness of the Pacquets is wonderful -- On the 7th of Decemb. Chester received a letter from his Sister, dated Nov. 27th --: your's is dated Nov. 22nd, & I received it only this morning. I am quite well; calm, & industrious. I now read German as English -- that is, without any mental translation, as I read -- I likewise understand all that is said to me, & a good deal of what they say to each other. On very trivial, and on metaphysical Subjects I can talk tolerably -- so so! -- but in that conversation, which is between both, I bungle most ridiculously. -- I owe it to my industry that I can read old German, & even the old low- ____________________ 1 Christopher Wordsworth in introducing this fragment notes that the letter of which it is an excerpt deals with some plan for the future settlement of Wordsworth and Coleridge 'in neighbourhood to each other'; and since Coleridge's letter to Poole of 4 Jan. 1799 shows that a plan for settling in the same vicinity in England had already been under discussion, this fragment must belong to Dec. 1798. -453- german, better than most of even Natives -- it has greatly enlarged my knowlege of the English Language. -- It is a great bar to the amelioration of Germany that thro' at least half of it, and that half composed almost wholly of Protestant States, from whence alone amelioration can proceed, the Agriculturists & a great part of the Artisans talk a language as different from the language of the higher classes (in which all books are written,) as the Latin is from the Greek. The differences are greater than the affinities, & the affinities are darkened by the difference of pronunciation & spelling. -- I have written twice to Mr Jos. Wedgewood 1 -- & in a few days will follow a most voluminous letter, or rather series of letters, which will comprise a history of the Bauers, or Peasants -- collected not so much from books, as from oral communications from the Amtman here -- (An Amtman is a sort of perpetual Land-mayor -- / -- uniting in himself Judge & Justice of Peace over the Bauers of a given District.) ----. I have enjoyed great advantages in this place; but I have payed dear for them. Including all expences I have not lived at less than two pound a week -- Wordsworth (from whom I receive long & affectionate letters) has enjoyed scarcely one advantage, but his expences have been considerably less than they were in England. -- Here I shall stay till the last week in January, when I shall proceed to G0TTINGEN, where, all expences included, I can live for 15 shillings a week -- for these last two months I have drank nothing but water & I eat but little animal food -- at Gottingen I shall hire lodging for two months, buy my own cold beef at an eating-house, & dine in my chamber which I can have at a dollar a week. -- And here at Gottingen I must endeavor to unite the advantages of advancing in German, & doing something to repay myself. -- My dear Poole! I am afraid, that, supposing I return in the first week of May, my whole expences from Stowey to Stowey, including books & cloathes, will not have been less than 90 POUND! -- And if I buy ten pounds worth more of books it will have been an hundred. / I despair not by that intense application & regular use of my time, to which I have now almost accustomed myself, that by three months' residence at Gottingen I shall have on paper at least all the materials, if not the whole of the structure, of a work that will repay me. -The work I have planned -- & I have imperiously excluded all waverings about other works -- ! That is the disease of my mind -it is comprehensive in it's conceptions & wastes itself in the con- ____________________ 1 Writing to Coleridge on 20 Jan. 1799, Josiah Wedgwood said: 'I have just received your letter of the 29th Novr and I find by it that a former from Hamburgh has not come to me, and I do not now expect to receive it.' Neither of Coleridge's letters has come to light. -454- templations of the many things which it might do! -- I am aware of the disease, & for the next three months, if I cannot cure it I will at least suspend it's operation. This Work is a Life of Lessing -- & interweaved with it a true state of German Literature, in it's rise & present state. ---- I have already written a little life, from three different biographies, divided it into years -- & at Gottingen I will read his works regularly, according to the years in which they were written, & the controversies, religious & literary, which they occasioned. 1 -- But of this say nothing to any one. ---- The Journey to Germany has certainly done me good -- my habits are less irregular; & my mind more in my own power! But I have much still to do! ---- I did indeed receive great joy from Roskilly's good fortune -- & in a little note to my dear Sara I joined a note of congratulation to Roskilly. -- Cruckshank! -- O Poole! you are a noble heart as ever God made! ---- Poor Cruckshank -- he is passing thro' a fiery discipline, and I would fain believe, that it will end in his peace and utility. --/-- Wordsworth is divided in his mind, unquietly divided, between the neighbourhood of Stowey & the N. of England. He cannot think of settling at a distance from me, & I have told him that I cannot leave the vicinity of Stowey. His chief objection to Stowey is the want of Books -- the Bristol Library is a hum & will do us little service, & he thinks that he can procure a house near Sir Gilford [Gilfrid] Lawson's by the Lakes, & have free access to his immense Library. -- I think it better once in a year to walk to Cambridge, in the summer vacation -- perhaps, I may be able to get rooms for nothing -- & there for a couple of months read like a Turk on a given plan, & return home with a mass of materials which with dear independent Poetry will fully employ the remaining year. -- But this is idle prattling about the Future. But indeed it is time to be looking out for a house for me ---- it is not possible, I can be either comfortable or useful in so small a house as that in Lime street --. If Woodland can be gotten at a reasonable Price, I would have it: -- I will now finish my long neglected Journal ---- On Thursday, Sept. 27th, 1798, I returned by extra-post as far as Empfelde a little village half way between Ratzeburgh & Hamburgh -- from Empfelde I walked to Hamburgh -- thro' deep sandy roads & a dreary Flat -- the soil every where white & hungry & excessively pulverized. But the approach to Hamburgh, that is, a mile or two before you reach it, is exceedingly sweet. The light cool Country Houses, which you can look thro'; & the gardens behind, with Trees in piazzas; every house with neat rails before it, & green ____________________ 1 Coleridge's projected study of Leasing, to which so many references occur in succeeding letters, was never carried out. -455- seats within the rails -- every thing, nature & all, neat & artificial -& it pleased me far more than if the Houses & Gardens & Pleasurefields had been in a better Taste. For this better Taste would have been mere apery -- / the narrow-minded, ignorant, money-loving Merchant of Hamburgh could only have adopted, he could not have enjoyed, the wild simplicity of Nature / and the mind begins to love nature first of all by imitating human conveniences in nature -- but this is a step in intellect tho' a low one; & were it not, all around me spoke of innocent enjoyment in sensitive Comfortableness; and I enter'd with joy & sympathy into the enjoyments even of the narrow-minded & money-loving Merchants of Hamburgh. With these thoughts I reached the vast Ramparts of the city -- they are huge, green CUSHIONS, one rising above the other, and Trees growing in the interspaces, eloquent of a long Peace. -- I found Wordsworth at the inn -- out of spirits & disgusted with Hamburgh & Hamburghers, & resolved to seek cheaper residence more to the South. -- Sept. 28th -- After dinner, I walked with Wordsworth to Altona -- we found the Prostitutes all in one Street -- we had seen none even in the streets, & no beggars. We walked on the ramparts -- O what a divine Sunset! There were woods in the Distance -- A rich sandy Light (nay, much deeper than sandy) was over the woods that blackened in this blaze: a brassy Mist seemed to float on that part of the woods which lay immediately under the intenser part of the Blaze. The Trees on the Ramparts & the moving People between the Trees were cut & -- I want a word -- patched (shall I say) by the brassy Splendor -- all else was obscure -- in the same manner as the Trees were divided into portions of obscurity & brassy Light, so were the Bodies of the men & women that moved up & down thro' them. -- It was a fairy Scene -- & what added to the effect, among the People there was a very beautiful Child riding on a saddled goat with a splendid Bridle. -- Chester & self resolved to stay over the Saturday because this Saturday was the Feast of St Michael, the Patron Saint of Hamburgh; and we were informed that there would be splendid Processions &c. Satur. 29th. Feast of St Michael, but no processions! -- Only two or three sermons preached to nobody in two or three churches, all silent & solemn, as a Sunday at Bristol; & St Michael & his Patronage cursed by the higher Classes, because the French Comedy is prohibited on this day -- Sunday, Sept. 30th Left Hamburgh in an extra-post at seven o'clock. These Extra-posts answer to Post-chaises in England; they are uncovered wicker-carts, -- a dust-cart, an English Dustcart -on my word, I do not exaggerate -- is a piece of finery compared -456- with him [them] -- & the Horses! Were one of your Plough-mares to see one of these, she would believe that it was the SkeletonGhost of her Grandfather! -- Where ever we stopped, the Postillion fed his horses with the brown rye-bread which he eat himself -- he and his Horses breakfasted together on the same diet in a most amusing manner -- only the Horses had no gin to their water, & the Postillion no water to his Gin! -- Changed post at Emfelde, & of course, more Germanorum, stopped two Hours. -- The Inns are always Farms -- and both on Inns, Stables, & Farms there are ALWAYS nailed up at both Gables two pieces of wood cross each other thus a the Gable. bb. the Cross. -- the crosses often shaped into [horns &] horses heads This, they believe univer sally, keeps of[f] the Evil Spirit who in a ball of fire would come into their chimnies. -- Here all the higher classes, except the Clergy perhaps, are Infidels -- & all the People grossly superstitious. -- From Emfelde to Ratzeburgh our journey is comprized in two lines -- We rode in wicker waggon with our Goods / O'er damn'd bad roads thro' damn'd delightful Woods. These woods were sometimes like walls to the road -- sometimes they opened on one side & left us, formed curves & prospects in the distance -- Sometimes both sides grad[ually] went off & we found ourselves in a large circle formed by distant woods -- [The] area once a green & lovely Pasturage Farm -- but more often dry & drear[y Fields of] Rye stubble. We observed a cruel Custom -- [The] Cattle in the roads were [chai]ned horn to hoof, & so had their heads ever on the g[round -- ] I have observed similar Cruelties in the Isle of Anglesea in Wales -- & where ever fences & general agriculture are bad, there they will always exist. -- In the great Stables here where the Cattle are wintered the Cattle have the head ever chained, low down in a state of most unnatural Constraint. -- On Sunday Evening we arrived at Ratzeburg, & we took possession of our Lodgings. ---- Here ends my Journal -- After this time one day was like another -- in my next letter I will describe Ratzeburg, & give you my Journey to Lubec & the Baltic Sea. -- Then shall follow the customs of the better classes wherein they differ from the English -- & then the Customs, Superstitions, modes of Marriage &c of the Bowers. -Chester begs that you take up 25£ from his Brother, & [remit it for him to Mr Wedgwood, & I shall draw for it in a Draught on Mr Wedgwood through the Von Axens -- Chester is well & comfortable & begins to make progress -- not in speaking -- but in reading -- He begs his kind remembrances to you -- -457- I am pestered every ball night which very modestly I refuse -- They dance a most infamous dance called the Waltzen -There are perhaps 20 couple -- the Man & his Partner embrace each other, arms round waists, & knees almost touching, & then whirl round & round, the whole 20 couple, 40 times round at least, to lascivious music. This they dance at least three times every ball night -- There is no Country on the Earth where the married Women are chaste like the English -- here the married Men intrigue or whore -- and the Wives have their Cicisbeos. I entreat you, suspect me not of any Cicisbeo affair ---- I am no Puritan; but yet it is not customs or manners that can extinguish in me the Sacredness of a married Woman, or quench the disgust I feel towards an Adultress -- It is here as in France -- the single Women are chaste, but Marriage seems to legitimate Intrigue -- This is the chief moral objection I have to Infidels -- In Individuals it may not operate -but when it is general, it always taints the domestic Happiness of a People ---- ]. Sara, I suppose, is at Bristol -- On Monday I shall write to her. ---- The Frost here has been uncommonly severe / for two days it was twenty degrees under the Freezing Point. -- Wordsworth has left Goslar, & is on his road into higher Saxony to cruise for a pleasanter place. He has made but little progress in the Language --. -- I am interrupted -- & if I do not conclude, shall lose the Post. --. Give my kind love to your dear Mother -- O that I could but find her comfortable on my return -- to Ward remember me affectionately-likewise remember [me] to James Cole, & my grateful remembrances to Mrs Cole for her kindness during my Wife's domestic Troubles. -- To Harriet, Sophia, & Lavinia Poole -- to the Chesters -- to Mary & Ellen Cruikshank ---- in short, to all to whom it will give pleasure remember me affectionately and my dear, dear Poole -- God bless us! -- S. T. Coleridge [P.S. The Amtman who is almost an Englishman & an Idolizer of our nation, desires to be kindly remembered to you -- He told me yesterday that he had dreamt of you the night before.]