330. To Thomas Poole Pub. Thomas Poole, ii. 8-9. March 31, 1800 . . . You charge me with prostration in regard to Wordsworth. Have I affirmed anything miraculous of W.? Is it impossible that a greater poet than any since Milton may appear in our days? Have there any great poets appeared since him? . . . Future greatness! Is it not an awful thing, my dearest Poole? What if you had known Milton at the age of thirty, and believed all you now know of him? -- What if you should meet in the letters of any then living man, expressions concerning the young Milton totidem verbis the same as mine of Wordsworth, would it not convey to you a most delicious sensation? Would it not be an assurance to you that your admiration of the Paradise Lost was no superstition, no shadow of flesh and bloodless abstraction, but that the Man was even so, that the greatness was incarnate and personal? Wherein blame I you, my best friend? Only in being borne down by other men's rash opinions concerning W. You yourself, for yourself, judged wisely. . . . Do not, 1 my dearest Poole, deem me cold, or finical, or indifferent to Stowey, full and fretful in objection; but on so important an affair to a man who has, and is likely to have, a family, and who must have silence and a retired study, as a house is, it were folly not to consult one's own feelings, folly not to let them speak audibly, and having heard them, hypocrisy not to utter them. . . . My dearest friend, when I have written to you lately, I have written with a mind and heart completely worn out with the fag of the day. I trust in God you have not misinterpreted this into a change of character. I was a little jealous at an expression in your last letter----'I am happy you begin to feel your power.' Truly and in simple verity, my dear Tom, I feel not an atom more power ____________________ 1 In introducing this paragraph Mrs. Sandford writes: 'In relation to the question of lodgings Tom Poole seems to have mentioned some possibility of renting part of a farmhouse, which would, however, involve the joint-use of a kitchen. This Coleridge fears would lead to continual squabbles between their servant and the farmer's wife, and "be worse than the old hovel fifty times over".' ( Thomas Poole, ii. 8.) Apparently Coleridge had first determined to take the farm-house. See Letter 329. -584- than I have ever done, except the power of gaining a few more paltry guineas than I had supposed. On the contrary, my faculties appear to myself dwindling, and I do believe if I were to live in London another half year, I should be dried up wholly. . . .