369. To John Thelwall Address: Mr Thelwall | Llynswen | (by the three cocks) | near the | Hay | Brecknockshire [Readdressed in another hand] Widemarsh Street | Hereford MS. Pierpont Morgan Lib. Hitherto unpublished. Stamped: Keswick. Keswick, Cumberland Dec. 17th, 1800. Dear Thelwall I should have ruined a richer man than you or myself, if I had written to you as often as I have thought of you with tender recollections, or as often as I have felt for your afflictions with dim eyes. -- But, in truth, my old aversion from letter-writing has become tenfold -- I am hardened in the sin, and enjoy that deep calm of a seared Conscience, which precedes the Devil's Whirlwinds in Reprobate Spirits. -- I write now to know certainly whether you are still at Lyswin Farm -- & whether I have directed the present Letter so as to find you in the best & speediest way. A young man (I am not permitted to mention his name) whose principles are not over democratic, but who honours your talents & purity of intention, desired me in my own person, and as from myself, to assume the privilege of friendship & send you 10£ -- this of course I would not do, both because it would give you a most inaccurate idea of the state of my pecuniary circumstances, & because it is right for you to know that you are honored where you have never been seen, ____________________ 1 It is worth remarking once for all that Coleridge did not publish a German tour. -655- and by others than of your own political sentiments, & because, I cannot but believe, that it will gratify you to be assured, that to all, who know me intimately, I labor to communicate my own affectionate Esteem for you. I shall receive the money to a certainty at the latter end of this week -- a trifle in itself, but probably it may be useful to you, and it should contribute to your pleasure in receiving it, that it was no trifle in the pocket from which it came, inasmuch as the most honorable situation an ill-used Man can occupy, is to be considered by good men as the object of a public Duty. -- Write to me all particulars of yourself, I mean, your present Self -- & whether in the higher excitements of mind, ratiocinating or imaginative, you have been able to conjure up religious Faith in your Heart, and whether if only as a Ventriloquist unconscious of his own agency you have in any mood or moment thrown the voice of your human wishes into the space without you, & listened to it as to a Reality. -- For even that is something. I am settled in this delightful county comfortably -- Wordsworth lives 18 miles from me. My literary pursuits are, 1 the Northern Languages, the Sclavonic, Gothic, & Celtic, in their most ancient forms, as an amusing study, & 2. as a serious object, a metaphysical Investigation of the Laws, by which our Feelings form affinities with each other, with Ideas, & with words. As to Poetry, I have altogether abandoned it, being convinced that I never had the essentials of poetic Genius, & that I mistook a strong desire for original power. -- My Wife, and Hartley are well -- little Berkley is gone from us -- but we have another little one, christen'd Derwent, who was born Sept. 14. 1800. -- I would you had sympathy enough with my Christian Hope to receive comfort from my Wish, that our little ones may have met & talk'd of their Fathers in a happier Place. -- My kindest Love to your Wife. If you are writing any poems, & want a lively Idea of Murder personified, it is a pity you can not see me -- : for I have two blood-red Eyes that would do credit to Massacre itself! God bless You & S. T. Coleridge