285. To George Bellas Greenough Address: Den Herm Greenough | Göttingen Transcript Professor Edith J. Morley, Hitherto unpublished. [ Brunswick.] July 6th, 1799. Saturday Morning 1/2 past 8 -- My dear Greenough -- God bless you! And eke Carlyon, and Charles Parry, & little Fred. -- Health & Happiness be with you all. -- The date of this Letter, at present in its Infancy, or rather in the very act of Delivery (for Letters come into existence with their Heads forward, in which respect, as in some others, they agree with young Children) the date, I say, is July 6th, 1799, Saturday Morning 1/2 past 8. -- On Wednesday Morning after quitting you we took a melancholy Stroll on the Ramparts; then called on the Kaufmann & begged him to take our Places in the Post auf Hamburg for Saturday, & then walked forth for Helmstadt [Helmstedt]. ---With coat on my arm, & hat in hand, I walked before & Chester behind, & never stopped till we reached Helmstadt, which is ____________________ 1 On 24 June Coleridge and Chester set off on the first stage of their journey to England. Following a circuitous route in the company of Greenough and Carlyon, they went first to Clausthal, then over the Brocken to Elbingerode, and from thence to Wolfenbüttel and Braunschweig. On 3 July the party separated, Coleridge and Chester making an excursion to Helmstedt, and the others returning to Göttingen. -520- 28 miles from Brunswick -- they called it 5 G.M. but it certainly is not, for we walked it exactly in 7 Hours. -- Well -- when we arrived there, we were overdone / behind my ears, all down the side of [my] neck, a longitudinal Bladder, the colours shifting prettily betwixt blue & Red -- & such another on my Forehead -- Chester had acquired a whitloe on his nose, with one dot of black & the Bile had occupied his Face / Red, White, black, & Yellow -- poor Chester! -- God bless him! He fell down on his bed at Helmstadt, and in the literal sense, fell asleep. -- I drest myself (i.e. undrest myself & put on the same cloaths again) and delivered my letter to Hofrath Bruns -- I saw his wife, a pretty affable Woman; but the Hofrath was at the Library. I left my letter & Card; but had scarcely arrived at my Inn, when Bruns came after me -- welcomed me with great Kindness, took me in his arms to the Library, where we rummaged old Manuscripts, & looked at some Libri Rarissimi for about an Hour -- (N.B. The Library resembles strikingly the Libraries of some of the little Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge.) After this he took me to his House, spoke to me of a little translation which Lowth 1 had made in his Presence of an Ode of Ramley [?] -- talked of England, & Oxford, where he had resided some years, & I found, that he had been intimate with many of my Father's Friends -- eat Butterbrot in his arbor with him & his Wife -- a sweet Woman!/another Professor & Wife came -- smoked a Pipe -- all comfortable -- all even affectionate to me / went away at past eleven / Bruns having promised to send the next morning to Beireis &c ---- So passed Wednesday -- i.e. Arsenic. Now for Verdegris -- On Thursday morning received a note from Bruns that Beireis would see me & Chester at 10 o'clock. At ten Bruns came, introduced me to Beireis & left us there. -- Beireis! -- A short man, drear in black, with a very expressive Forehead -- & small eyes -- He went strait to work -- asked no questions-offered no Civilities -- but full of himself ever, & Retching began instantly -- 'You wish to see my Things -- what do you wish to see -- To see all, or half, or quarter is impossible in one or in two Days -- name the collection -Pictures or Coins or Minerals, or Anatomical Preparations, or, or, or, or, or, &c. &c. &c.['] -- Now I had heard that his Coins & Minerals were really admirable / so I would not see them / I was afraid of too much Truth, that Poisoner of Imagination! besides, for Coins, I don't care a dam! & minerals, have I not seen Professor Wiedermann's, & the Duke of Brunswick's, & Greenough's Collections? So I chose his Pictures -- O Lord! it was a Treat! -His Eloquence which is natural & unaffected, really surprized ____________________ 1 Probably Robert Lowth ( 1710-87). -521- me -- / in the space of half an hour, I counted on my fingers, at least half a million sterling that he had given as purchase money -The earliest attempts by Holbein, Michael Angelo, Raphael, Correggio &c &c &c -- & behind each a Distich, of Beireis's own Composition -- /---- I wondered at all with broad eyes, hands uplifted!! like two Notes of Admiration & such a stupid Face of Praise, that Beireis fell in raptures -- Extacied as I was with each & all, yet I never forgot to turn to the Back of each Picture, & read aloud with admiring emphasis, the Latin Distich / still trying the Experiment, whether I could not rise above Beireis's Self-Praises -in Vain! My most extravagant compliments were as German Mustard to Cayenne Pepper! -- / -- Some originals of Correggio he certainly has -- but of Rafael assuredly none / after all, his German Pictures are -- in my opinion, the most valuable -- But hang his Pictures -- it was the Man that interested. I asked him once with great earnestness whether he had not drawn on himself the envy of all the European Sovereigns! O Ja! entsetzlich! was his answer. But (rejoined I) it is lucky for you that the French Revolution has happened -- or beyond a Doubt you would have to fear an Invasion! -- On my Honour, even this was not too Extravagant ---- at last, after three hours' Picture-seeing during which he spoke constantly & always eloquently, I begged him, with trembling voice & downcast eyes, to favor our thirsty Ears with only the 'Geschichte seines weltberühmten Demants [Diamanten],' to see it would be too great a request -- Immediately he gave us a narrative quite as entertaining tho' not so probable as the story of the Wonderful Lamp -- then took me to see his Eating Duck of Brass, which quacked like rusty Hinges / tho' Beireis asked me seriously, if I could distinguish it from a real Duck's Quack! -- I shut my eyes ---- lifted up my hands, -- listened -- & cried -- Herr Jesus!!!! On our return from these Machineries into his Parlor, then, yesthen he shook my hand friendlily -- & out of his Pocket he pulled the Diamond -- apparently, a semi transparent Pebble almost as large as my Fist! -- I will write again from Celle -- for now I must interrupt my Narration to talk of piteous Cares. No Chest, no Portmanteau! -- the Kaufman has heard this Morning, that it ought to have been here on the first of July ----/ -- My Stars! What shall I do! -- Last night I sprinkled my shirt with [water?] hung it up at the window, & slept naked -- for my one clean shirt I must keep till I get to Hamburg. -- Heaven I I stink like an old Poultice! -I should mislead any Pack of Foxhounds in Great Britain / Put a Trail of Rusty Bacon at a Furlong Distance & me at a mile, and they would follow me -- I should hear a cry of Stop Thief close at my ears with a safe Conscience -- but if I caught only the Echo of -522- a Tally Ho! I should climb up into a Tree I You know me too well to suspect Hyperbole -- I stink damnably -- & that's the Truth! Lord a mercy on those poor Imps that are condemned to live between the Toes of the Devil's Dam who wears black Worsted Socks, & uses Turney Sarat for Corn Plaster -- & those that live under the Devil's Tail have a Heaven in comparison -- / Marry -& my Books -- I shall be ruined -- on the Debtor's Side in Newgate, just 5 Yards distant from Sodomy, Murder, & House-breaking -Soul of Lessing! hover over my Boxes! Ye Minnesänger! fly after them! -- Dear Greenough! Dear Parry! Carlyon, Fred -- I go -this Kaufmann had forgotten to take places so we go with the Packages / Chester has got St Antony's Fire in his Legs -- & his Arse is sore -- Your affectionate S. T. Coleridge.