355. To Daniel Stuart MS. British Museum. Pub. with omis. Letters from the Lake Poets, 15. The bottom of pages 1 and 2 of the holograph is cut off and the remainder of the manuscript is missing. Apparently Stuart crossed out the letter and turned over to the printer Coleridge draft of Alcaeus to Sappho. The missing part of the manuscript may have contained The Two Round Spaces; A Skeltoniad, a blatant satire on James Mackintosh, Stuart's brother-in-law. ( Coleridge sent the poem to Davy two days later. See Letter 356.) Writing in the Gentleman's Magazine in May 1838, Stuart said: 'Coleridge sent one [poem] attacking Mackintosh, too obviously for me not to understand it, and of course it was not published.' Stuart was in error. The poem appeared in the Morning Post, 4 December 1800, with the omission of seven offensive lines on Mackintosh. Greta Hall, Keswick -- Tuesday Night, Octr. 7 -- 1800 Dear Stuart The illness of my dear friend, Wordsworth, called me peremptorily to Grasmere; I have this moment returned -- & found your letter. -- To be known to Schiller was a thought, that passed across my brain & vanished -- I would not stir 20 yards out of my way to know him. To see Bonaparte I would doubtless stir many a score miles --; but as I freely believe you, so I trust you will believe me when I say, that his praise or admiration or notice, were it ever in my power to attain it, might amuse me but would gratify no higher feeling. -- If I know my own heart, or rather if I be not profoundly ignorant of it, I have not a spark of ambition / and tho' my vanity is flattered, more than it ought to be, by what Dr John- ____________________ Wordsworth (see Letters 444 and 449), and later, in the Biographia Literaria, he dealt at length | with the Preface. Many years afterwards Wordsworth asserted that he 'was put upon to write' the Preface by Coleridge's 'urgent entreaties'. See The Later Years, i. 537, ii. 910, iii. 1248-9. 1 See Letter 350. -628- son calls 'colloquial prowess', yet it leaves me in my study. This is no virtue in me, but depends on the accidental constitution of my intellect -- in which my taste in judging is far, far more perfect than my power to execute -- & I do nothing, but almost instantly it's defects & sillinesses come upon my mind, and haunt me, till I am completely disgusted with my performance, & wish myself a Tanner, or a Printer, or any thing but an Author. -- To morrow you may depend on my sending you two other Numbers -- and Bonaparte shall not loiter. -- I should like to see Mr Street's Character. -I shall fill up these Blanks with a few Poems --. It grieves me to hear of poor Mrs Robinson's illness. 1 -- Pray, who was the Author of the Imitation of Modern Poetry? 2 -- It was very droll -- the only fault . . . [an]d mingled the vices of other kinds of poetry . . . & A[LC]AEUS to SAPPHO. 3 How sweet, when crimson colors dart Across a breast of snow, To see, that you are in the heart That beats and throbs below! All Heaven is in a Maiden's Blush In which the Soul doth speak, That it was you who sent the Flush Into the Maiden's cheek! Large stedfast Eyes, Eyes gently roll'd In shades of changing Blue, How sweet are they, if they behold No dearer Sight than you! And can a Lip more richly glow Or be more fair than this? The World will surely answer, No! I, SAPPHO! answer, Yes! Then grant one smile, tho' it should mean A Thing of doubtful Birth, That I may say, these Eyes have seen The fairest Face on Earth! ____________________ 1 Mary Robinson died 26 Dec. 1800. 2 Cf. Morning Post, 2 Oct 1800. The Imitation is signed merely H. 3 First published Morning Post, 24 Nov 1800. Although this poem is printed in Poems, i. 358, as Coleridge's, it was written by Wordsworth. See Early Letters, 222 n., and Wordsworth, Poet. Works, ii. 531. Coleridge did not claim the poem as his own, but merely said: 'I shall fill up these Blanks with a few Poems.' -629-