343. To James Webbe Tobin Address: Mr. Tobin, Junr., | Berkeley Square, Bristol. Pub. Atlantic Monthly, July 1894, p. 97. Friday, July 25,1800 From the leads on the housetop of Greta Hall, Keswick, Cumberland, at the present time in the occupancy and usufruct-possession of S. T. Coleridge, Esq., Gentleman-poet and Philosopher in a mist. Yes, my dear Tobin, here I am, with Skiddaw behind my back; ____________________ 1 'Ne Sutor ultra crepidam.' [Note by S. T. C.] See Lamb Letters, i. 193. -612- the Lake of Bassenthwaite, with its simple and majestic case of mountains, on my right hand; on my left, and stretching far away into the fantastic mountains of Borrowdale, the Lake of Derwentwater; straight before me a whole camp of giants' tents, -- or is it an ocean rushing in, in billows that, even in the serene sky, reach halfway to heaven? When I look at the feathery top of this scoundrel pen, with which I am making desperate attempts to write, I see (in that slant direction) the sun almost setting, -- in ten minutes it will touch the top of the crag; the vale of Keswick lies between us. So much for the topography of the letter; as to the chronology, it is half past seven in the evening. I left Wordsworth yesterday; he was tolerably well, and meditates more than his side permits him even to attempt. He has a bed for you; but I absolutely stipulate that you shall be half the time at Keswick. We have house-room enough, and I am sure I need say nothing of anything else. What should prevent you from coming and spending the next brace of months here? I will suppose you to set off in the second week of August, and Davy will be here in the first week of September at the farthest; and then, my dear fellow, for physiopathy and phileleutherism -- sympathy lemonaded with a little argument -- punning and green peas with bacon, or very ham; rowing and sailing on the lake (there is a nice boat obsequious to my purposes). Then, as to chemistry, there will be Davy with us. We shall be as rich with reflected light as yon cloud which the sun has taken to his very bosom! When you come, I pray you do not forget to bring Bartram's Travels 1 with you. Where is John Pinny? He talked of accompanying you. Wordsworth builds on his coming down this autumn; if I knew his present address, I would write to him. Wordsworth remains at Grasmere till next summer (perhaps longer). His cottage is indeed in every respect so delightful a residence, the Sara Hutchinson | from | S. T. C. | Dec. 19. 1801 This is not a Book of Travels properly speaking; but a series of poems, chiefly descriptive, occasioned by the objects which the Traveller observed. -- It is a delicious Book; and like all delicious things, you must take but a little of it at a time. -- Was it not about this time of the year, that I read to you parts of the 'Introduction' of this Book when William and Dorothy had gone out to walk? -- I remember the evening well, but not what time of the year it was. [From a transcript kindly made by Mrs. E. F. Rawnsley of Allan Bank.] ____________________ 1 William Bartram, Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of those Regions, together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians, Philadelphia, 1791. A copy of Bartram's Travels, with the following note from Coleridge to Sara Hutchinson pasted in the volume, belongs to Mrs. Dickson of Stepping Stones, Grasmere: -613- walks so dry after the longest rains, the heath and a silky kind of fern so luxurious a bedding on every hilltop, and the whole vicinity so tossed about on those little hills at the feet of the majestic mountains, that he moves in an eddy; he cannot get out of it. In the way of books, we are extraordinarily well off for a country place. My landlord has a respectable library, full of dictionaries and useful modern things; ex. gr., the Scotch Encyclopaedia, the authors of which may the devil scotch, for toothless serpents that poison with dribble! But there is at some distance Sir Wilfred Lawson's magnificent library, and Sir Wilfred talks of calling upon me, and of course I keep the man in good humor with me, and gain the use of his books. Hartley returns his love to you; he talks often about you. I hear his voice at this moment distinctly; he is below in the garden, shouting to some foxgloves and fern, which he has transplanted, and telling them what he will do for them if they grow like good boys! This afternoon I sent him naked into a shallow of the river Greta; he trembled with the novélty, yet you cannot conceive his raptures. God bless you! I remain, with affectionate esteem, | Yours sincerely, S. T. Coleridge. I open the letter, and make a new fold, to tell you that I have bit the wafer into the very shape of the young moon that is just above the opposite hill.