344. To Samuel Purkis Address: Samuel Purkis Esq. | Brentford | near | London MS. British Museum. Pub. E. L. G. i. 149. Postmark: 1 August 1800. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick, Cumberland. Tuesday, July 29. 1800 Dear Purkis I write to you from the Leads of Greta Hall, a Tenement in the possession of S. T. Coleridge, Esq. Gentleman-Poet & Philosopher in a mist -- this Greta Hall is a House on a Small eminence, a furlong from Keswick, in the county of Cumberland. -- Yes -- my dear Sir! here I am -- with Skiddaw at my back -- on my right hand the Bassenthwait Water with it's majestic Case of Mountains, all of simplest Outline -- looking slant, direct over the feather of this infamous Pen, I see the Sun setting -- my Godl what a scene --! Right before me is a great Camp of single mountains -- each in -614- shape resembles a Giant's Tent! -- and to the left, but closer to it far than the Bassenthwaite Water to my right, is the lake of Keswick, with it's Islands & white sails, & glossy Lights of Evening -- crowned with green meadows, but the three remaining sides are encircled by the most fantastic mountains, that ever Earthquakes made in sport; as fantastic, as if Nature had laughed herself into the convulsion, in which they were made. -- Close behind me at the foot of Skiddaw flows the Greta, I hear it's murmuring distinctly -- then it curves round almost in a semicircle, & is now catching the purple Lights of the scattered Clouds above it directly before me -- A.A. A. Is the river & B. my House. -- Till now I have been grievously indisposed -- now I am enjoying the Godlikeness of the Place, in which I am settled, with the voluptuous & joy-trembling Nerves of Convalescence. We arrived here last week -- I was confined a fortnight at Grasmere. -- At Liverpool I was very much with Roscoe, a man of the most fascinating manners -- if good sense, sweetness, simplicity, hilarity, joining in a literary man who is a good Husband & the excellent Father of nine children, can give any man's manners the claim to that word. -- Sara Coleridge is well -- she expects to be confined in the first weeks of September. Hartley is all Health & extacy -- He is a Spirit dancing on an aspen Leaf -- unwearied in Joy, from morning to night indefatigably joyous.----- And how do you go on? and dear Mrs Purkis? -- And your little ones? -- Surely 'tis but a needless form for me to say, with what sincere exultation I should stretch out the right-hand of fellowship to you, if chance or choice should lead you hither! I would, I knew the spell that could force you. -- We have pleasant acquaintance here -- & I shall have free access to the magnificent Library of Sir Wilfred Lawson -- yet you may well suppose, I did not quit Stowey without dejection, and that I cannot now think of my separation from Poole without a Pang. Now, while I gaze, there is one dark Slip of Cloud that lies across the bright Sun on the Mountain Top! -- And such, my dear Purkist! is that thought to me. I have greatly regretted, that my engagements in London prevented me from cultivating the acquaintance of Mr Howard. 1 I was exceedingly struck with him / & at that time & since have often wished for an opportunity of experimenting concerning the benefit ____________________ 1 Probably Henry Howard ( 1769-1847), the painter. -615- which a Poet & Painter might be of to each other's minds, if they were long together. When you see him, remember me to him expressly -- and add, that if wearied with town or permitted by his occupations to leave it for a while, he should feel any inclination to see how Nature [has been divers]ified at once to gratify & baff[le every responsive] 1 Feeling, I have a plain table & a quiet room at his service, for any length of time he can stay with me. In short, I should be very glad to see him. Can't you come down together? Hang it -- don't stand deliberating, but come. My wife will not let me stay on the Leads -- I must go, & unpack a Trunk for her -- she cannot stoop to it -- thanks to my late Essay on Population! God bless you & [Signature cut off.]