341. To Josiah Wedgwood Address: Josiah Wedgewood Esq. | Christ Church | Hampshire MS. Wedgwood Museum. Pub. with omis. Tom Wedgwood, 102. Postmark: 28 July 1800. Stamped: Keswick. Thursday, July 24, 1800 My dear Sir I found your letter on my arrival at Grasmere, namely, on the 29th of June -- since which time to the present with the exception of the last few days I have been more unwell, than I have ever been since I left School -- for many days I was forced to keep my bed, & when released from that worst incarceration, I suffered most grievously from a brace of swoln Eyelids, & a head into which on the least agitation the blood felt as rushing in & flowing back again like the raking of the Tide on a coast of loose stones. -However, thank God! I am now coming about again. That Tom receives such pleasure from natural scenery strikes me as it does you -- the total incapability, which I have found in myself to associate any but the most languid feelings with the godlike objects which have surrounded me lately, & the nauseous efforts to impress my admiration into the service of nature, has given me a sympathy with his former state of health which I never before could have had. -- I wish from the bottom of my soul that he may be enjoying similar pleasures with those which I am now enjoying with all that newness of sensation; that voluptuous correspondence of the blood & flesh about me with breeze & sun-heat; which make convalescence more than repay one for disease. I parted from Poole with pain & dejection. For him & for myself in him I should have given Stowey a decisive preference -- it was likewise so conveniently situated that I was in the way of almost all whom I love & esteem. But there was no suitable house, & no prospect of a suitable house -- & the utter desolation, which a small & inconvenient house spread thro' my literary efforts & hourly comforts, & the contagious fretfulness of the weaker vessels in my family, I had experienced to a degree which made it a duty for me to live in no house, in which I could not command one quiet room. Nor was Stowey without other objections -- Mrs Coleridge had scarcely any society there, and inter nos the nearness to Bristol connected me too intimately with all the affairs of her family. Likewise I will say to you what I should not say to another -- the antipathy of those of Poole's relations to whom he is most attached (& by the most delicate ties) to me, to my wife, & even to my poor little boy, was excessive -- in more than one instance it led his Brother's Widow into absolute insult to Mrs Coleridge, which -609- perhaps Poole should have noticed more than he did -- perhaps, & more probably, he could not & ought not to have been otherwise than passive. However, it required no overstrained sensibility to make this at times very painful. -- These things would have weighed as nothing, could I have remained at Stowey; but now they come upon me to diminish my regret. -- Add to this Poole's determination to spend a year or two on the continent in case of a Peace & his Mother's Death --. God in heaven bless her! I am sure, she will not live long. -- This is the first day of my arrival at Keswick -- my house is roomy, situated on an eminence a furlong from the Town -- before it an enormous Garden more than two thirds of which is rented as a Garden for sale articles, but the walks &c are our's most completely. Behind the house are shrubberies, & a declivity planted with flourishing trees of 15 years' growth or so, at the bottom of which is a most delightful shaded walk by the River Greta, a quarter of a mile in length. The room in which I sit, commands from one window the Basenthwaite Lake, Woods, & Mountains, from the opposite the Derwentwater & fantastic mountains of Borrowdale -- straight before me is a wilderness of mountains, catching & streaming lights or shadows at all times -behind the house & entering into all our views is Skiddaw. -- My acquaintance here are pleasant -- & at some distance is Sir Guilfrid Lawson's 1 Seat with a very large & expensive Library to which I have every reason to hope that I shall have free access. -- But when I have been settled here a few days longer, I will write you a minute account of my situation. -- Wordsworth lives 12 miles distant -- in about a year's time he will probably settle at Keswick likewise. -- It is no small advantage here that for two thirds of the year we are in complete retirement -- the other third is alive & swarms with Tourists of all shapes & sizes, & characters -- it is the very place I would recommend to a novellist or farce writer. -Besides, at that time of the year there is always hope that a friend may be among the number, & miscellaneous crowd, whom this place attracts. So much for Keswick at present. Have you seen my translation of the Wallenstein? It is a dull heavy play; but I entertain hopes, that you will think the language for the greater part, natural & good common-sense English -- to which excellence if I can lay fair claim in any book of poetry or prose, I shall be a very singular writer at least. -- I am now working at my introduction to the life of Lessing which I trust will be in the press before Christmas -- that is, the Introduction which will be ____________________ 1 Coleridge at first confused the names of father and son. Sir Gilfrid Lawson died in 1794 and was succeeded by his son, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who died in 1806. The family seat, Brayton Hall, is located near Aspatria in Cumberland. -610- published first I believe. I shall write again in a few days. Respects to Mrs W. God bless you & S. T. Coleridge I have had a sort of a message from Sheridan about my Tragedy. -- I thank you for your kind offer respecting the 20£; but if my health continue, I trust, I shall be able to sail smoothly, without availing myself of it.