303. To Robert Southey Address: Mr. Southey ∣ Kingsdown Parade ∣ Bristol Single MS.Lord Latymer. Pub. Letters, i. 314. Postmark: 19 December 1799. Thursday Evening. [ 19 December 1799] 4 My dear Southey I pray you in your next give me the particulars of your Health. I hear accounts so contradictory that I know only enough to be a good deal frightened. -- You will surely think it your duty to suspend all intellectual exertion -- as to money, you will get it easily enough. You may easily make twice the money you receive from Stewart by the use of the Scissors / for your name is prodigiously high among the London Publishers. I would to God, your Health permitted you to come to London -- You might have Lodgings in the same House with us, & this I am certain of, that ____________________ 1 Coleridge arrived in London 27 Nov. 1799; this letter must have been written shortly afterwards. 2 This fragment is probably from one of the 'two Letters' Wordsworth mentions finding at Grasmere on his arrival there on 20 Dec. Early Letters, 284. 3 On 24 Dec. Wordsworth wrote in answer to this letter: 'As to the Tragedy and Peter Bell, D will do all in her power to put them forward.' Ibid. 287. 4 Misdated 'December 9, [1799]' by E. H. Coleridge. -547- not even Kingsdown is a more airy or heealthful Place. I have enough for us to do that would be mere Child's work to us, and in which the Women might assist us essentially -- by the doing of which we might easily get 150£ each before the first of April. This I speak not from Guess but from absolute Conditions with Booksellers. The principal work to which I allude would be likewise a great source of amusement & profit to us in the Execution / & assuredly we should be a mutual comfort to each other. This I should press on you, were not Davy 1 at Bristol -- but he is indeed an admirable young man / not only must he be of comfort to you / but on whom can you place such reliance as a medical man? -- But for Davy, I should advise your coming to London / the difference of expence for three months could not be above 50£ -- I do not see how it could be half as much. But I pray you write me all particulars-how you have been, how you are -- & what you think the particular nature of your Disease. Now for poor George. 2 Assuredly I am ready & willing to become his Bondsman for 500£, if on the whole you think the Scheme a good one --. I see enough of the Boy to be fully convinced of his goodness & well-intentionedness -- of his present or probable Talents I know little. To remain all his Life an under Clerk as many have done; and earn 50£ a year in his old age with a trembling hand ----- alas! that were a dreary Prospect. No Creature under the Sun is so helpless, so unfitted, I should think, for any other mode of Life as a Clerk, a mere Clerk. -- Yet still many have begun so -- & risen into wealth & importance -- & it is not impossible that before his term closed we might be able, if nought better offered, perhaps to procure him a place in some public office. -- We might between us keep him neat in Cloaths from our own Wardrobes, I should think -- & I am ready to allow five guineas this year in addition to Mr Savary's twelve £. More I am not justified to promise. Yet still I think it matter of much reflection with you -- The Commercial Prospects of this Country are, in my opinion, gloomy -- our present Commerce is enormous --; that it must diminish after a peace is certain / & should any accident injure the West India Trade, & give to France a Paramountship in the American Affections, that diminution would be vast indeed -- & of course, great would be the number of Clerks etc wholly out of employment. This is no visionary speculation: for we are consulting concerning a Life for probably ____________________ 1 Hurnphry Davy ( 1778-1829). Davy, a native of Cornwall, arrived in Bristol on 2 Oct. 1798 to join Dr. Beddoes's Pneumatic Institution. Coleridge probably met him just before going from Bristol to Sockburn in Oct. 1799. 2 George Fricker, Mrs. Coleridge's brother. Southey had written that 'Savary will take George into his bank -- if we each become security for £500.' -548- 50 years. I should have given a more intense conviction to the goodness of the former Scheme of apprenticing him to a Printer / & would make every exertion to raise any share of the money wanting. -- However, all this is talk at random / I leave it to you to decide. -- What does Charles Danvers think? He has been very kind to George -- but to whom is he not kind, that body-bloodbone-muscle-nerve-heart & head-good Man! -- I lay final stress on his opinion in almost every thing except verses -- / those I know more about than he does -- 'God bless him, to use a vulgar Phrase.' -- This is a quotation from Godwin who used these words in conversation with me & Davy -- the pedantry of atheism tickled me hugely. -- Godwin is no great Things in Intellect; but in heart & manner he is all the better for having been the Husband of Mary Wolstonecroft --. 1 Why did not George Dyer (who bye the bye has written a silly milk-&-water Life of you, 2 in which your Talents for pastoral & rural imagery are extolled, in which you are asserted to be a Republican) why did not George Dyer send to the Anthology that Poem in the last monthly Magazine? -- It is so very far superior to any thing I have ever seen of his -- & might have made some atonement for his former Transgressions. -- God love him -- he is a very good man; but he ought not to degrade himself by writing Lives of Living Characters for Phillips; & all his Friends make wry faces, peeping out of the Pillory of his advertisemental Notes. -- I hold to my former opinion concerning the arrangement of the anthology / & the Booksellers, with whom I have talked, coincide with me. -On this I am decided, that all the light Pieces should be put together under one tit[le] with a motto thus -- Nos haec novimus esse nihil 3 -- Phillis amat corylos. --. -- I am afraid that I have scarce poetic Enthusiasm enough to finish Christabel -- but the poem, with which Davy is so much delighted, I probably may finish time enough. -- I shall probably not publish my letters -- & if I do, I shall most certainly not publish any verses in them. Of course, I expect to see them in the Anthology. -- As to title, I ____________________ 1 Mary Wollstonecraft ( 1759-97), author of Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792, had married Godwin in Mar. 1797. 2 'A gossiping account of the early history and writings of "Mr. Robert Southey" appeared in Public Characters for 1799-1800, a humble forerunner of Men of the Time, published by Richard Phillips, the founder of the Monthly Magazine, and afterwards knighted as a sheriff of the city of London. Possibly Coleridge was displeased at the mention of his name in connexion with Pantisocracy, and still more by the following sentence: "The three young poetical friends, Lovel, Southey, and Coleridge, married three sisters. Southey is attached to domestic life, and, fortunately, was very happy in his matrimonial connection".' Letters, i. 317 n. 3 Southey used this motto in The Minor Poems of Robert Southey, 3 vols., 1815. -549- should wish a fictitious one or none / were I sure, that I could finish the poem, I spoke of. -- I do not know how to get the conclusion of Mrs Robinson's Poem for you -- perhaps, it were better omitted -- & I mean to put the thoughts of that Concert Poem into smoother metre. 1 -- Our 'Devil's Thoughts' 2 have been admired far & wide -- most enthusiasticallyadmired I I wish to have my name in the Collection at all events; but I should better like it to better poems than those I have been hitherto able to give you. -- But I will write again on Saturday. Supposing that Johnson should mean to do nothing more with the Fears in Solitude & the two accompanying Poems, would they be excluded from the Plan of your Anthology? 3 -- There were not above two hundred sold -- and what is that to a newspaper Circulation? Collins's Odes were thus reprinted in Dodsley's Collection. As to my future Residence I can say nothing -- only this, that to be near you would be a strong motive with me, for my Wife's sake as well as myself. -- I think it not impossible, that a number might be found to go with you & settle in a warmer Climate. -- My kind Love to your Wife -- Sara & Hartley arrived safe, and here they are -- No / 21, Buckingham Street, Strand. -- God bless you & your affectionate S. T. Coleridge P.S. Mary Hayes 4 is writing the Lives of famous Women -- & is now about your friend, Joan. She begs you to tell her what books to consult, or to communicate something to her. -- This from Tobin who sends his Love. --