280. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Nether Stowey | Somersetshire | England Payed to Cuxhaven MS. New York Public Lib. Pub. with omis. New Monthly Magazine, October 1835. Parts of this and the following letter were printed in the Amulet in 1829, as 'Over the Brocken'. The manuscript is badly torn, especially at the edges of the pages, and the words in brackets have been supplied from a transcript made by Thomas Ward. Postmark: Foreign Office, 3 June 1799. Clausethal, Friday Morning, May 17th, 1799 [My de]arest Love, I wished to give you some idea of the manner in which the Women in this part [of the] country carry their infants; and of the baskets in which they put their Burthens, & the manner of [bearing] the basket, which is kept to the back by a ____________________ 1 This letter was probably written not long before the Harz tour, which began on 11 May 1799. -496- A sketch drawn by Charles Parry at the beginning of a letter to Mrs. S. T. Coleridge, dated May 17th, 1799 [This page intentionally left blank.] broad stripe of cloth going under the arm[pits and over] the shoulders. -- It is astonishing what burthens the Women here carry! These Baskets are universal both [in Götti]ngen, and all the Harz Country. -- The Women wear long strip'd cotton cloaks, almost but not quite [so long] as your white Cloak / -- The manner in which they fold them when they carry their infants [pre]sents commonly a most picturesque Drapery, & reminds you of the Statues of the ancients. -- [This] little Sketch here Mr Parry was so kind as to draw for me / both objects were taken [imme]diately from Nature. / -- I write to you from Clausethal, Friday Morning, May 17th, 1799. -- [On] Saturday, May 11th, 10 o clock, we left Gottingen, 7 in Part[y] -- Charles & Frederic Parry, Greenough, 1 Carlyon, 2 Chester, myself, and one German, the Son of Professor Blumenbach; an intelligent & well informed young man, especially in Natural History ----. We ascended a hill, N.E. of Göttingen, & passed thro' areas surrounded by woods, the areas now closing in upon us, now opening & retiring from us, till we came to Hessen Dreisch, which belongs to the Prince of Hesse Cassel / Here I observed a great wooden Post with the french words, Pais Neutre (Neutral Country) on it -- a precaution in case the French should march near. This miserable Post forcibly contrasted in my mind with the 'And Ocean 'mid his uproar [w]ild Speaks safety to his Island Child! [ '] 3 -- I bless God that my Country is an Island. -Here [we] dined on potatoes & pancakes -- the pancakes throughout this part of the Country are [exce]llent, but tho' pancakes in shape, in taste they more resemble good Yorkshire, [or batter pu]dding. These & eggs you may almost always procure, when you can [procure] nothing else. They were brewing at the Inn -- I enquired & found that they put [3] Bushels of Malt & five large Handfuls of Hops to the Hogshead. ---- The Beer [as] you may suppose, but indifferent stuff. Immediately from the Inn we passed into [a nar]row road thro' a very lofty Fir Grove / these tall Firs are branchless almost to the [top -- c]onsequently no wood is so gloomy, yet none has so many spots & patches of [Su]nshine / the Soil consisted of great stones & rocks covered wholly & deeply with a bright-green Moss, speckled with the sunshine, & only ornamented by the tender Umbrella three-leaves & virgin white flower of the Wood-sorrel -- a most delightful acid to a thirsty foot- ____________________ 1 Charles Bellas Greenough ( 1778-1855), geographer and geologist. See Edith J. Morley , "Coleridge in Germany", Wordsworth and Coleridge, ed. by E. L. Griggs , 1989, pp. 220-36, for Greenough's supplementary record of the Harz tour. 2 Clement Carlyon ( 1777-1864), physician. His Early Years and Late Reflections ( 4 vols., 1836-58) gives a further description of this excursion. 3 Ode to the Departing Year, 129-30. -497- traveller. / And now we emerged from the fir-grove, & saw a beautiful Prospect before us, with the little Village 'Wage' [Waake] before us on the slope of a low Hill. We pass thro' this village & journey on for a mile or two thro' Coombes very much [li]ke those about Stowey & Holford, but still more like those at Porlock, on account of [the] great rocky fragments which jut out from the Hills both here & at Porlock & which [alas! w]e have not at dear Stowey! ---- And now a green Hill, smooth & green [with] young Corn, faces us; & we pass at it's foot, and the Coomb curves away into [a] new & broader Coomb green with Corn, both the bottom & the Hills -- in no way interesting, except for the variety. -- In the former Coombe there were two or three neat Cottages with a bit of cultivated Ground around them, & Walnut Trees close by the House, exactly like a Cottage or rather Farm-house in one of the Holford Coombes. -- We passed thro' Rudolpshausen, a village near which is the Amtman's House & Farm-buildings. -- The Government give the Amtmen but moderate salaries; but then they let them great Farms at a very very low Rent -- so the Amtmen throughout the Han[over]ian Country are the great agriculturists, and form the only class that correspond[s to our G]entlemen-farmers. From them & in them originate all the innovations in the systems of agricultu[re here --] I have never seen in England farm-buildings so large, compact, & commodious for all the purp[oses of] storing, & stall-feeding as those of these Amtmen generally are. -- They have commonly from a thou[sand to] 1500 English acres. ---- From Rudolph's Hausen (i.e. Houses) we came to Womar's Hausen, a Catho[lic] Village belonging to the Elector of Mayence, & the first Catholic Village I had seen -- a crucifix, [i.e. a] wooden Image of Christ on the Christ [Cross], at the end of the Town & two others in the road [at a lit]tle distance from the Town. The greater part of the Children here were naked all but the Shirt, or rather the relique of a ci devant Shirt: but they were fat, healthy, & pl[ayful --] The Woman at the end wore a piece of Silver round her neck, having the figure of St Andrew on it -- She gravely informed us, that St Andrew had been a Man of the Forest & born near this village, & that he was remarkably good to People with sore eyes. -- Here we met some Students from the University of Halle, most adventurous Figures, with leather Jackets, long sabres, & great three cornered Hats, with small iron chains dangling from them -- & huge Pipes in the mouth, the Boles of which absolutely mounted above the Forehead. -- Poole would have called them Knights of the Times. I asked young Blumenbach, if it was a Uniform. He said No! -- but that it was a Student's Instinct to play a character, in some way or other / & that therefore -498- in the universities of Germany whim & caprice were exhausted in planning [&] executing blackguardisms of Dress. -- I have seen much of this at Gottingen; but beyond doubt Gottingen is a gentlemanly & rational place compared with the other Universities. Thro' roads no way rememb'rable we came to Gieboldshausen, over a bridge, on whic[h was] a mitred Statue with a great Crucifix in it's arms --/ the village long and ugly, [but the Church,] like most Catholic Churches, interesting -- & this being Whitsun Eve, all were crowding to [it with] their Mass-books & Rosaries -the little babies commonly with coral Crosses hanging [on the] Breast. -- Here we took a Guide / left the Village, ascended a Hill& now the Woods rose u[p before] us in a verdure which surprized us like a Sorcery! -- The Spring has burst forth with the (suddenness] of a Russian Summer / As we left Gottingen there were buds & here & there a Tree half-green; but here were Woods in full foliage, distinguished from summer only by the exquisite Freshness of their tender Green. We entered the Wood thro' a beautiful mossy Path, the Moon above us blending with the evening Lights; & every now & then a Nightingale would invite the others to sing / & some one other commonly answered, & said, as we supposed -- It is yet somewhat too early! ---- For the Song was not continued. -We came to a square piece of Greenery compleatly walled on all four sides by the Beeches -- again entered the Wood & having travelled about a mile emerged from it into a gran[d] Plain, Mountains in the distance, but ever by our road the Skirts of the Green-woo[d --] A very rapid River ran by our side. And now the Nightingales were all singing [and the] tender verdure grew paler in the moonlight -- only the smooth parts of the R[iver] were still deeply purpled with the reflections from the fiery red Lights in the West. -- So surrounded & so impressed, we arrived at Poele [Pöhlde], a dear little Cluster of Houses in the middle of a semicircle of woody Hills the area of the semicircle scarcely broader than the breadth of the Village -- the Trees still for the most part Beech. -- We left it, & now the Country ceased to be interesting, and we came to the town of Schlachtfeld [Scharzfeld] belonging to Hanover / Here we had Coffee & Supper, & with many a patriotic Song (for all of my Companions sing very sweetly, & are thorough Englishmen) we closed the Evening & went to Sleep in our Cloaths on the Straw laid for us in the Room / This is the only Bed which is procurable at the village Inns in Germany / . At half past seven, Whitsunday Morning, we left Schlachtfeld, passed thro' a broad Coomb, turned up a smooth Hill on the Right, & entered a Beech Wood / & after a few hundred yards we came to -499- the Brink of an enormous Cavern -- which we descended -- It went under Ground 800 feet, consisted of various apartments, dripping, stalactitious, & with mock chimnies; but I saw nothing unusual, except in the first apartment, or, as it were, antichamber. You descend from the Wood by steps cut into the Rock, pass under a most majestic natural Arch of Rock, & then you come into the Light -- for this antichamber is open at the Top for a space of 20 yards in length, & 8 in breadth -- the open space of an oval Form / and on the edges the Beeches grow & stretch their arms over the Cavern, but do not wholly form a ceiling. Their verdure contrasted most strikingly with the huge Heap of Snow which lay piled in this antichamber of the Cavern into a white Hill, imperfectly covered with withered Leaves. -- The sides of this antichamber were wet stones in various angles, all green with dripping Moss. -- Reascended -- journeyed thro' the wood with various ascents & descents; & now descending we came to a Slope of Greenery, almost perfectly round with walls [of woods, and] exactly 170 Strides in diameter. As we entered this sweet Spot, a [hoary Ruin peeped over] the opposite Woods in upon us --. We reentered the Woods, & still desce[nding came to a little] Brook where the Wood left us / & we ascended a smooth green Hill, on the Top of which [stood the] Ruined Castle. When we had nearly reached the Top, I layed down by a black & blaste[d Trun]k, the remains of a huge hollow Tree, surrounded by wild Gooseberry Bushes, & looked back [on the] Country, we had passed. Here again I could see my beautiful Rotundo of Greenery -- the rest [of the v]iew was woody Hills swelling over woody Hills in various outlines. -- The Ruin had nothing [obs]ervable in it / but here let me remark, that in all the Ruins I have seen in Germany, [and] this is no small number, I have never discovered the least vestige of Ivy. -- The Guide [inf]ormed us that the Castle had been besieged in the year 1760 by a French army of [110]00 men under General Beaubecour, who had pitched camp on the opposite Hills -- [and was] defended for eleven days by 80 Invalids under Prince Ysenburg, & at last taken by Treachery, & then dismantled &c ----. From the top of the Hill a large Plain opened before us, with villages -- a little village Neuhof lay at the foot of the Hill; we reached it, & then turned up thro' a valley on the left hand. The Hills on both sides the valley were prettily wooded, & a rapid lively river ran thro' it -- / So we went for about 2 miles, and almost at the end of the valley, or rather of it's first Turning, we found the Village of Lauterberg --. Just at the entrance of the Village two streams come out from two deep & woody Coombes close by each other, meet & run into a third deep woody Coomb -500- opposite / before you a wild Hill which seems the end & the Barrier of the valley; on the right hand low Hills now green with Corn, & now wooded --; and on the left a [m]ost majestic Hill indeed! the effect of whose simple outline Painting could not give / & how poor a Thing are Words? We pass thro' this neat little Town, the majestic Hill on the [left hand] soaring over the Houses, & at every interspace you see the whole of it, it's [Beeches, it's Firs, it's] Rocks, it's scattered Cottages, & the one neat little Pastor's House at the Foot [emb]osomed in Fruit-trees, all in Blossom/ the noisy Coombbrook dashing close by it. -- We [leave] the Valley or rather the first Turning on the left, following a stream -- & so the vale winds [on, the] river still at the foot of woody Hills, with every now [and) then other smaller valleys on [right] & left crossing our Vale, & ever before you the woody Hills running, like Groo[ves one] into the other / Sometimes I thought myself in the Coombes about Stowey, sometimes a[bout] Porlock, sometimes between Porlock & Linton / only the Stream was somewhat larger / -- sometimes the Scenery resembled parts in the River Wye almost to Identity except that the River was not quite so large. -- We turn'd, & turned & entering the fourth Curve of the Vale we perceived all at once that we had been ascending -- the Verdure vanished! All the Beech Trees were leafless / & so were the silver Birches, whose boughs always, winter & summer, hang so elegantly! -- But low down in the Valley, & in little companies on each [ban]k of the River a multitude of black green Conical Fir Trees -- with herds of [Catt]le wandering about, almost every one with a cylindrical Bell around it's neck [of no) inconsiderable size -- / And as they moved scattered over the narrow vale & [up] among the Trees on the Hill, the noise was like that of a large City in the stillness [o]f the Sabbath Morning, when all the Steeples all at once are ringing for Church. -- The whole was a melancholy & romantic Scene that was quite new to me ---- Again we turned, passed three smelting Houses which we visited -- A scene of terrible Beauty is a furnace of boiling Metal, darting out every moment blue, green, & scarlet Lightning, like serpents' Tongues! And now we ascended a steep Hill on the Top of which was St Andreas Burg, a Town built wholly of Wood -- We arrived here, Whitsunday Afternoon, May 12th, 1/2 past 4. Here we supped & slept / here we supped, & I not being quite well procured a Bed -- the others slept on Straw. ---We left St Andreas Burg, May 13th, 8 o clock, ascended still, the Hill unwooded except here & there with a few stubby Fir Trees. -We descended again to ascend far higher; & now we came to a most beautiful Road that winded on the breast of the Hill, from whence we looked down into a deep deep Valley or huge Bason full of Pines -501- & Firs, the opposite Hills full of Pines & Firs, & the Hill above us on whose breast we were winding, likewise full of Pines & Firs. -The Valley or Bason on our Right Hand into which we looked down is called the Vale of Rauschenbach, that is, the Valley of the Roaring Brook -- & roar it did, indeed, most solemnly! ---- The Road on which we walked was weedy with infant fir-trees, an inch or two High -- / And now on our left hand came before us a most tremendous Precipice of [y]ellow & black Rock, called the Rehburg, that is, the Mountain of the Roe. -- A Deer-stealer [once] was, as is customary in these cases throughout all Germany, fastened to a Roe-buck, his feet [to] the Horns, & his head towards the Tail -- & then the Roe let loose. -- The frighted Animal came [a]t length to the brink of this Precipice, leaped down it, & dashed both himself & the man to [a]toms. ---- Now again is nothing but Pines & Firs, above, below, around us! -- How awful is [the] deep Unison of their undividable Murmur -- What a one thing it is [ -- it is a sound] that [im]presses the dim notion of the Omnipresent! In various Parts of the deep [vale below us we be]held little dancing Waterfalls gleaming thro' the branches; & now on our left ha[nd from the very s]ummit of the Hill above us a powerful Stream flung itself down, leaping & foaming, & no[w c]oncealed, & now not concealed, & now half-concealed by the Fir Trees, till. towards the Roa[d i]t became a visible Sheet of Water, within whose immediate Neighbourhood no Pine [cou]ld have permanent abiding-place! -- The Snow lay every where on the sides of [the Ro]ads, & glimmered in company with the waterfall-foam -- snow-patches & water breaks [gli]mmering thro' the Branches in the Hill above, the deep Bason below & the Hill opposite. Over the high opposite Hills so dark in their Pine forests a far higher round barren stony Mountain looked in upon the Prospect from a distant Country. ---- Thro' this scenery we passed on, till our Road was crossed by a second Waterfall or rather aggregation of lit[tle] dancing Waterfalls, one by the side of the other, for a considerable breadth -- & all cam[e at] once out of the dark wood above, & rolled over the mossy rockfragments, little Firs growing in Islets scattered among them. -The same scenery continued till we came to the Oder Teich, a lake half made by man & half by nature -- / it is two miles in length, & but a few hundred yards in breadth, & winds between banks or rather, thro' high Walls of Pine Trees / it has the appearance of a most cal[m] & majestic River / it crosses the road, goes into a wood, & there at once plunges [itself] down into a most magnificent Cascade, & runs into the vale, to which it gives [the] Name of 'the Vale of the Roaring Brook.' -- We clomb down into the vale, & stood at the bottom of the Cascade, & climbed up again by it's -502- side / -- The rocks over which it plunged were unusually wild in their shape, giving fantastic resemblances of men & animals -- & the fir-boughs by the side were kept almost in a swing, which unruly motion contrasted well with the stern Quietness of the huge Forest-sea every where else. / Here & else where we found large rocks of violet Stone which when rubbed or when the Sun shines strong on them, emit a scent which I could not [have] distinguished from violet. It is yellow-red in colou[r.] My dear d[ear Love! & m]y Hartley! My blessed Hartley [! -- by hill and wood] & Stream, I close my ey[es and] dream of you! ---- If possib[le], I will this evening continue my little Tour in a second letter -- Your faithful Husband S. T. Coleridge