339. To Humphry Davy Address: Mr Davy | Pneumatic Institution | Hotwells | Bristol MS. Royal Institution. Pub. E. L. G. i. 141. Postmark: 19 July 1800. Stamped: Keswick. Wed. July 15 [16], 1800 My dear Davy Since my arrival at Grasmere I have been afflicted with continued illness, in consequence of a cold from wet -- for days together I have been obliged to keep my bed; & when up, I have been prevented till within these few days from reading by a pair of swoln & inflamed Eyelids. I hope, that you have suffered no inconvenience from want of the money, which I borrowed of you -it has made me very uneasy; but in a few days I will take care, that it shall be remitted to you. We remove to our own House at Keswick on Tuesday week -- my address is, Mr Coleridge, Greta ____________________ 1 No poetical contributions to the Morning Post between 24 Jan. and 13 Oct. 1800 have been identified. -604- Hall, Keswick, Cumberland. My dear fellow, I would that I could wrap up the view from my House in a pill of opium, & send it to you I I should then be sure of seeing you in the fall of the year. But you will come. -- As soon as I have disembrangled my affairs by a couple of months' Industry, I shall attack chemistry, like a Shark --. In the mean time do not forget to fulfil your promise of sending me a synopsis of your metaphysical opinions. I am even anxious about this. -- I see your Researches on the nitrous oxyde regularly advertised -- Be so kind as to order one to be left for me at Longman's, that it may be sent with my box. The difficulty of -- procuring Books is the greatest disadvantage, under which I shall labor. The carriage from London by the waggon is cross-roadish & insecure; that by the Mail attacks the Purse with 7 Hydra Mouths all open. -- I read the day before yesterday in a German Book a fact which appeared to me analogous to those facts exhibited by the respiration of the nitrous Oxyde. The account of the sickness is circumstantially described by persons who attended the patient, 'a young, fiery, lively Youth in the 17th year of his age. At the commencement of the Summer of 1783 he was seized during dinner with a Cramp in his Chest, which was followed by a Fever that continued for four weeks; at the conclusion of which time symptoms of amelioration appeared; but one night he was attacked by the most frightful convulsions, which lasted in all their fury 24 hours without intermission. After these convulsions the Fever recommenced, & was accompanied by strong Delirium. The subject of Death, & his old occupations as a merchant's clerk formed the subjects of his Discourse -- in which he discovered a power of mind, a regularity, a logic, an eloquence, wholly unknown in him in his state of health. These orations lasted always till they were intercepted by the cramp in his chest -- and when the whole Paroxysm, all the Convulsions, delirious oration, & Cramp were over, instead of appearing exhausted he was to an extraordinary degree elevated, & in such extreme high spirits that whoever had seen him without knowing the previous circumstances would have concluded him to have been in rampant high health. -- The Paroxysms returned, and ever with such impetuosity that five stout men could scarcely keep him down; yet ever they left him in the same high spirits & undiminished strength. During his paroxysms he exhibited a proud & fierce contempt for all around him; the color of black was intolerable to him -- as were watch ribbons & watch chains & looking-glasses. If he saw one of these in the intervals, his Paroxysm returned instantly. After a Paroxysm, while he was in rampant high spirits, he was persuaded to have a vein opened -- the Blood -605- was almost black, burst from the vein with violence, foam'd, and was in every respect so remarkable' says the author ['] that it [was] easily comprehensible how it should have produced this strange revolution in the whole man. I asked him once how he felt when the Paroxysm was coming on. He answered that at first he had a sensation of heat from about the stomach spreading upwards till it reached his head, & that then he began to be more & more giddy & drunken, & objects grew more & more dim before his eyes, till he lost all consciousness -- and this was the moment in which the Convulsions always began, which convulsions lasted in their full fury never less than 8 minutes, but oftener for half an hour. -In this way the Disease continued without any apparent abatement ten weeks, at which time, after a violent Paroxysm, the Patient said that that would be the last. And so it proved. From this time the Convulsions ceased, and, to the astonishment of all, the Patient had lost nothing either of his former Powers, or bodily strength, or high animal spirits. He was ordered a medicinal Bath (eine Badekur) that was to secure him from all future attacks -but after three weeks the Paroxysms returned, tho' not so violently -- and without convulsions, except in [one] instance in which he had been suddenly frightened. At the end of 14 days he was completely cured [by] a violent Dysenterie. From this moment to the time in which the account was published ( May 81, 1784) he enjoyed the most perfect Health, had in no part of the Disease, & in no hour after, lost any strength, and his animal spirits appear more impetuous than they were before. But he has not the least consciousness of any one thing that past during his whole sickness -- the whole ten Weeks seem annihilated from his present Being.[']-----This account is in Moritz's Magazine for experimental Psychology, p. 12. of the third number of the second Volume. -- Does it not seem here, as if Nature herself had elaborated the nitrous oxyde out of the common Air? -- In Wordsworth's case, which I have sent to Beddoes, you will see a curious instance of ideas, linked with feeling habitually, at length forming blind associations with a particular pain, probably in the right hypochondrium -- so as immediately to excite that pain. I have read the little chemist's pocket-book twice over. -- Do, do, my dear Davy! come here in the fall of the year. -- Sheridan has sent to me again about my Tragedy -- I do not know what will come of it -- he is an unprincipled Rogue. Remember me to Mr Coates when you see [him] -- and be sure you do to Matthew Coates, & Mrs Coates. Will you be so kind as just to look over the sheets of the lyrical Ballads? -- What are you -606- now doing? -- God love you! Believe me most affectionately, my dear Davy, your friend S. T. Coleridge