336. To Biggs and Cottle Address: Messrs Biggs and Cottle | Printers | St Augustine's Back | Bristol 1 Single MS. Yale University Lib. Hitherto unpublished. From the time of his return from Germany in May 1799, Wordsworth had been preoccupied with the sale and reception of Lyrical Ballads, and during Coleridge's visit to Grasmere in April 1800, he apparently determined to reissue the Lyrical Ballads of 1798 as volume 1, to prepare a second volume made up of new poems, and to publish the work in his own name. Accordingly, when Coleridge left for Bristol on 4 May, he took with him copies of several of Wordsworth's poems intended for the second volume. These poems he gave to Humphry Davy, who was to look over the proof sheets. He probably made arrangements with Biggs and Cottle to print the volumes; certainly, as an unpublished letter from Wordsworth shows, he made an agreement on Wordsworth's behalf for the publication of the two volumes by Longman. On his return to Grasmere on 29 June, he plunged whole-heartedly into the labour of preparing the work for the printers. The manuscripts of the two volumes of Lyrical Ballads, except for one sheet containing the second instalment of the Preface and another containing three of Wordsworth's poems, are extant in the form in which they were transmitted to the printers. (See W. H. White, A Description of the Wordsworth & Coleridge Manuscripts in the possession of T. N. Longman, 1897, pp. 1-44.) Very little of this material is in Wordsworth's handwriting; instead, it was Dorothy and Coleridge who carried the burden of transcription. Indeed, an examination of the manuscript sheets sent to Biggs and Cottle and a review of Coleridge's activities during the latter half of 1800 reveal a devotion as disinterested as it was remarkable. Coleridge was faced with several obligations when he arrived in Grasmere at the end of June: he had accepted an advance from Phillips, possibly for a 'bookseller's compilation'; he had agreed to prepare a volume of his German tour for Longman; and beyond all this, he was under a moral responsibility to write his life of Lessing, a work long promised to the Wedgwoods. Instead, however, of rescuing himself from a sea of embarrassments and paying heed to his own reputation, Coleridge gave his best efforts to Wordsworth's project. He unhesitatingly agreed to the inclusion of the four poems he had earlier contributed to the 1798 volume, and he rewrote his poem Love, which replaced Wordsworth The Convict. He made far-reaching revisions of The Ancient Mariner, probably at the instigation of Wordsworth who was convinced that the poem had been 'an injury' to the Lyrical Ballads and that its 'strangeness' had 'deterred readers from going on' ( Early Letters, 226-7). He agreed that Christabel should conclude the second volume, and, after a tremendous expenditure of creative energy, he succeeded in composing Part II of Christabel, before Wordsworth determined not to include it. Not only did he transcribe many of Wordsworth's poems and prepare directions to the printers; but once Lyrical Ballads was published, he did his utmost to win favourable reception for the volumes by writing long letters to several persons of eminence (see Letters 368 and 875). Poole had earlier cautioned against 'prostration in regard to Wordsworth'. Coleridge's utter disregard of anything but Wordsworth's reputation shown how rightly Poole had assessed the situation. (Letters 336, 337, 345, ____________________ 1 The following note appears on the address sheet: 'Begin the Printing immediately. W. W. --' -592- 346, 347, 359, and 872 are drawn from the manuscripts of Lyrical Ballads and contain Coleridge's instructions to the printers.) This letter is the first communication to the printers and is drawn from a sheet entirely in Coleridge's handwriting, except for two brief passages written by Dorothy. Stamped: Kendal. [ Mid-July 1800] The first Volume of the Lyrical Ballads is to be printed in the following order. The Advertisement is to be omitted -- and the Volume to begin with 1 Expostulation and Reply. 2 The Tables turned: an evening scene, on the same subject. 3 Old man travelling, &c 4 The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman 5 The last of the Flock 6 Lines left upon a seat in a Yew tree which stands near the Lake of Esthwaite, &c 7 The Foster mother's Tale, &c 8 Goody Blake & Harry Gill 9 The Thorn 10 We are seven. 11 Anecdote for Fathers, &c 12 Lines written at a small Distance from my House, and sent by my little Boy to the Person, to whom they are addressed 13 The Female Vagrant 14 The Dungeon 15 Simon Lee, the old Huntsman, &c 16 Lines written in early Spring 17 The Nightingale 18 Lines written when sailing in a Boat at Evening. Vide 19 Lines written near Richmond upon the Thames. Alterations 20 The ideot Boy 21 Love. -- (Vide Alteration) 22 The Mad Mother 23 The ancient mariner, a Poet's Reverie. 24 Lines written a few Miles above Tintern Abbey, &c N.B. The Convict is to be omitted -- & in the rest the following Alterations are to be made from the printed Copy. Mr Biggs will be so good as to be careful that the printed Copy, which he uses, shall be that which contains the Nightingale & not one of those first Copies which contained Lewti, or the Circassian Love-chant. 1 ---- ____________________ 1 It was at first intended to include Lewti in the 1798 Lyrical Ballads and a few copies containing that poem were printed. Later Lewti was cancelled and The Nightingale substituted. See Wise, Bibliography, 211. -593- N.B. all the Titles are to be printed at full length from the printed Copy -- except where an alteration is noticed in this & the following letter. -- Alterations to be made. 1 The Foster mother's ale, a Dramatic Fragment -- to be printed The Foster mother's Tale a Narration in Dramatic blank Verse, & to begin at the words 'But that entrance Mother?' The first 15 lines to be omitted. -- Likewise Page 56th line 14th -- instead of 'hole' print 'cell.' Likewise line 18th for sung print sang. Likewise Page 57th Line 2nd instead of 'He always doted' Print 'Leoni doted.' In the same page omit the two lines 'Such as would lull a listening child to sleep His rosy face besoiled with unwiped tears' The Dungeon. Line 2Φ the comma after wisdom. Line 10Φ the colon after 'plague-spot', & put a full stop instead. Line 14 ˄ a comma after the words 'clanking hour,' The Nightingale. In the title omit the words 'a conversational Poem'. In p. 67 omit the following lines. On moonlight Bushes, Whose dewy leafits are but half disclos'd, You may perchance behold them on the Twigs, Their bright, bright eyes, their eyes both bright & full, Glist'ning, while many a Glow-worm in the shade Lights up her love-torch.