352. To William Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | Polygon | Sommers' Town | MS. Lord Abinger. Pub. with omis. E. L. G. i. 154. Postmark: 25 September 1800. Stamped: Keswick. Monday, Sept. 22. 1800 Dear Godwin I received your letter, and with it the inclosed Note, which shall be punctually redelivered to you on the first of October. -- Your Tragedy to be exhibited at Christmas! -- I have indeed merely read thro' your letter; so it is not strange, that my heart still continues beating out of time. Indeed, indeed, Godwin! such a stream of hope & fear rushed in on me, when I read the sentence, as you would not permit yourself to feel. If there be any thing yet undreamt of in our philosophy; if it be, or if it be possible, that thought can impel thought out of the visual limit of a man's own scull & heart; if the clusters of ideas, which constitute our identity, do ever connect & unite into a greater Whole; if feelings could ever propagate themselves without the servile ministrations of undulating air or reflected light; I seem to feel within myself a strength & a power of desire, that might dart a modifying, commanding impulse on a whole Theatre. What does all this mean? Alas! that sober sense should know no other way to construe all this except by the tame phrase -- I wish you success. -- That which Lamb informed you, is founded in truth. Mr Sheridan sent thro' the medium of Stewart a request to Wordsworth to present a Tragedy to his stage, & to me a declaration that the failure of my piece was owing to my obstinacy in refusing any alteration. I laughed & Wordsworth smiled; but my Tragedy will remain at Keswick, and Wordsworth's is not likely to emigrate from Grasmere. Wordsworth's Drama is in it's present state not fit for the stage, and he is not well enough to submit to the drudgery of making it so. Mine is fit for nothing except to excite in the minds of good men the hope, that 'the young man is likely to do better.' In the first moments I thought of re-writing it, & sent to Lamb for the copy with this intent -- I read an act, & altered my opinion, & with it my wish. -- Your feelings respecting. Baptism are, I suppose, much like mine! At times I dwell on Man with such reverence, -624- resolve all his follies & superstitions into such grand primary laws of intellect, & in such wise so contemplate them as ever-varying incarnations of the eternal Life, that the Lama's Dung-pellet, or the Cow-tail which the dying Brahman clutches convulsively, become sanctified & sublime by the feelings which cluster round them. In that mood I exclaim, My boys shall be christened! -- But then another fit of moody philosophy attacks me -- I look at my doted-on Hartley -- he moves, he lives, he finds impulses from within & from without -- he is the darling of the Sun and of the Breeze! Nature seems to bless him as a thing of her own I He looks at the clouds, the mountains, the living Beings of the Earth, & vaults & jubilatesl Solemn Looks & solemn Words have been hitherto connected in his mind with great & magnificent objects only -- with lightning, with thunder, with the waterfall blazing in the Sunset -- / -- then I say, Shall I suffer the Toad of Priesthood to spurt out his foul juice in this Babe's Face? Shall I suffer him to see grave countenances & hear grave accents, while his face is sprinkled, & while the fat paw of a Parson crosses his Forehead? -Shall I be grave myself, & tell a lie to him? Or shall I laugh, and teach him to insult the feelings of his fellow-men? Besides, are we not all in this present hour fainting beneath the duty of Hope? From such thoughts I start up, & vow a book of severe analysis, in which I will tell all I believe to be Truth in the nakedest Language in which it can be told. -- My wife is now quite comfortable -- Surely, you might come, & spend the very next four weeks not without advantage to both of us. The very Glory of the place is coming on -- the local Genius is just arraying himself in his higher Attributes. But above all, I press it, because my mind has been busied with speculations, that are closely connected with those pursuits which have hitherto constituted your utility & importance; and ardently as I wish you success on the stage, I yet cannot frame myself to the thought, that you should cease to appear as a bold moral thinker. I wish you to write a book on the power of words, and the processes by which human feelings form affinities with them -- in short, I wish you to philosophize Horn Tooke's System, and to solve the great Questions-whether there be reason to hold, that an action bearing all the semblance of pre-designing Consciousness may yet be simply organic, & whether a series of such actions are possible -- and close on the heels of this question would follow the old 'Is Logic the Essence of Thinking?' in other words -- Is thinking impossible without arbitrary signs? & -- how far is the word 'arbitrary' a misnomer? Are not words &c parts & germinations of the Plant? And what is the Law of their Growth? -- In something of this order -625- I would endeavor to destroy the old antithesis of Words & Things, elevating, as it were, words into Things, & living Things too. All the nonsense of vibrations etc you would of course dismiss. If what I have here written appear nonsense to you, or commonplace thoughts in a harlequinade of outré expressions, suspend your judgement till we see each other. Your's sincerely, S. T. Coleridge I was in the Country when Wallenstein was published. Longman sent me down half a dozen -- the carriage back the book was not worth --