305. To Robert Southey Address: Mr Southey | Kingsdown Parade | Bristol Single MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. Letters, i. 319. Postmark: 25 December 1799. Tuesday Night -- 12 o/clock. [ 24 December 1799] My dear Southey My Spinosism (if Spinosism it be and i' faith 'tis very like it) disposed me to consider this big City as that part of the Supreme One, which the prophet Moses was allowed to see. -- I should be more disposed to pull off my shoes, beholding him in a Bush, than while I am forcing my reason to believe that even in Theatres he is, yea, even in the Opera House. -- / ----- Your Thalaba will beyond all doubt bring you 200£, if you will sell it at once -- but do not print at a venture, under the notion of selling the Edition ----- I assure you, that Longman regretted the Bargain he made with Cottle concerning the 2nd Edition of the Joan of Arc -- & is indisposed to similar negociations --; but most & very eager to have the property of your works at almost any price. -- If you have not heard it from Cottle, why, you may hear it from me -- that in the arrangement of Cottle's affairs in London the whole & total Copyright of your Joan & the first Volume of your poems (exclusive of what Longman had before given) was taken by him at 370£ -- You are a strong Swimmer & have borne up poor Joey with all his leaden weights about him, his own & other people's. -- Nothing has answered to him but your works. By me he has lost somewhat -- by Fox, Amos, & himself very much. I can -551- sell your Thalaba quite as well in your absence as in your presence. -I am employed from I-rise to I-set -- i.e. from 9 in the morning to 12 at night -- a pure Scribbler. My Mornings to Booksellers' Compilations 1 -- after dinner to Stewart, who pays all my expences here, let them be what they will --: the earnings of the Morning go to make up an 150£ for my year's expenditure --: for supposing all clear, my year's ( 1800) allowance is anticipated. But this I can do by the first of April / at which time I leave London. -- For Stewart I write often his leading Paragraphs, on Secession, Peace, Essay on the new French Constitution, Advice to Friends of Freedom, 2 Critiques on Sir W. Anderson's nose, 3 Ode to Georgiana, D. of D. 4 (horribly misprinted) christmas Caro 5, &c &c -- any thing not bad in the Paper that is not your's is mine -- so if any Verses there strike you as worthy the Anthology, 'do me the honor, Sir!' -- However, in the course of a week I do mean to conduct a series of Essays in that paper, which may be of public Utility. So much for myself -- except that I long to be out of London; & that my Xstmas Carol is a quaint performance -- & in as strict a sense as is possible, an Impromptu. Had I done all I had planned, that Ode to the Dutchess would have been a better thing than it is -- it being somewhat dullish/ -- I have bought the Beauties of the Antijacobin -- & Attorneys & Counsellors advise me to prosecute -offer to undertake it, so as that I shall have neither trouble or expence. They say, it is a clear Case. 6 -- I will speak to Johnson about the Fears in Solitude -- if he give them up, they are your's. That dull ode has been printed often enough; & may now be allowed to 'sink with dead swoop, & to the bottom go' -- to quote an admired Author 7 ; -- but the two others will do with a little Trimming. ----- My dear Southey! I have said nothing concerning that which most oppresses me. Immediately on my leaving London, I fall to ____________________ 1 There is no evidence that Coleridge prepared any 'Compilations', but he certainly entered into negotiations with Richard Phillips. See Letters 373 and 875, for Phillips's demand for the repayment of £25. 2 For a list of Coleridge's forty prose contributions appearing in the Morning Post from 7 Dec. 1799 to 21 Apr. 1800 see Wise, Bibliography, 257-64. 3 On Sir Rubicund Naso, Morning Post, 7 Dec 1799. 4 Ibid., 24 Dec 1799. 5 Ibid., 25 Dec 1799. 6 In 1799 The New Morality, a poem which had appeared in the AntiJacobin, 9 July 1798, was reprinted in The Beauties of the Anti-Jacobin, with an editorial note reading in part: 'He [ Coleridge] has left his native country, commenced citizen of the world, left his poor children fatherless and his wife destitute. Ex his disce his friends Lamb and Southey V Coleridge did not take legal action for what Chambers calls a 'premature' charge. Chambers, Life, 92-98 and 120-1. See also Biog. Lit., 1817, i. 70n . 7 See Coleridge, To the Author of Poems, line 14. -552- the Life of Lessing -- till that is done, till I have given the Ws some proof that I am endeavoring to do well for my fellow-creatures, I cannot stir. That being done -- I would accompany you -- & see no impossibility of forming a pleasant little Colony for a few years in Italy or the South of France. Peace will soon come. God love you, my dear Southey! -- I would wr[ite] to Stewart & give up his paper immediately. You should [do] nothing that does not absolutely please you. Be idle -- be very idle! The habits of your mind are such that you will necessarily do much -- but be as idle as you can. Our love to dear Edith -- if you see Mary, tell her that we have received our Trunk. Hartley is quite well, & my talkativeness is his, without diminution on my side. 'Tis strange, but certainly many things go in the Blood, beside Gout & Scrophula. -- Yesterday I dined at Longman's & met Pratt, & that honest piece of prolix Dullity & Nullity, young Towers who desired to be remembered to you. To morrow Sara & I dine at Mister Gobwin's as Hartley calls him -- who gave the philosopher such a Rap on the shins with a ninepin that Gobwin in huge pain lectured Sara on his boisterousness. I was not at home. Est modus in rebus. Moshes is somewhat too rough & noisy / but the cadaverous Silence of Godwin's Children is to me quite catacomb-ish: & thinking of Mary Wolstencroft I was oppressed by it the day Davy & I dined there. God love you, & S. T. Coleridge