375. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | N. Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Single Sheet MS. British Museum. Partly pub. Thomas Poole, ii. 27. On 19 January 1801 Coleridge sent Poole a sheet containing (1) a copy of a letter from Wordsworth to Charles James Fox, in Dorothy Wordsworth's handwriting (see Early Letters, 259), (2) a copy of a letter from Wordsworth to William Wilberforce in Dorothy Wordsworth's handwriting but dictated to her by Coleridge, and (8) a personal letter from Coleridge to Poole. At the top of the manuscript Coleridge wrote: 'Dear Poole Turn to the Back of the Letter before you read this. S. T. C.' Since the letter to Wilberforce is unpublished and is Coleridge's own composition, it is added as an addendum to the letter to Poole. Postmark: 22 January 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Monday Night, Jan. 19, 1801 My dearest Poole Since I last wrote, I have had a sad time & a painful -- a fluid, it seems, had collected between the tunica vaginalis & the left Testicle -- in short, 'twas an hydrocele. By the increased weight the spermatic cord was affected, and in consequence the hip & the back, & where ever the spermatic cord passed, were troubled constantly by a dull pain and frequently by sharp & shooting Pains-& towards night I had regularly feverish Symptoms. But the sense of Lassitude, if I only sate up in bed, was worst of all -I seem'd to fall in upon myself in ruin, like a column of sand, that had been informed & animated only by a whirl blast of the desart -such & so treacherous were my animal spirits to me. -- The Vinegar fomentations & fumigations, &c producing no effect, we had recourse to an application of Sal Ammoniac dissolved in verjuice -- -664- this promised well at first, but it soon by the extreme irritation brought on over the whole surface of the scrotum such a frantic Itching, that I have no doubt but that this & no other is the Torment in Hell, & that Brimstone was given not [as] a producer, but as a merciful Palliative, of the Punishment. -- This Itching was succeeded by the appearance of five small but angry Ulcers on the Scrotum / on Wednesday morning I had three Leeches applied, & the wounds by means of hot cloaths were kept bleeding the whole day -- & after this I applied poultices, of bread grated & mixed up with a strong solution of Lead. -- Since that day I have been (not indeed without sorrowful Relapses at Evening) mending fast -- the fever toward night is almost gone -- & the Fluid has been absorbed & is absorbing apace -- and all seems doing well. This day for the first time I sate up for an hour or two, & do not find myself the worse. -- Our Surgeon & apothecary is an excellent, modest, truly intelligent man. -- The Lyrical Ballads will be published by the time this Letter reaches you -- for my sake, & Wordsworth's, & your own, you will purchase not only the new Volume, but likewise the second Edition of the First Volume, on account of the valuable Preface. By my advice, & at Longman's expence, copies with appropriate Letters were sent to the Dutchess of Devonshire, Sir Bland Burgess, 1 Mrs Jordan, Mr Fox, Mr Wilberforce, & 2 or 8 others -I dictated all the other Letters while W. wrote one to Mr Fox. 2 I have had that letter transcribed for you, for it's excellence -- & mine to Wilberforce, because the two contain a good view of our notions & motives, poetical & political. -- I had written to Mr Wedgewood to repay you. I rejoice at your dear Mothe[r's heal]th. Love to Ward, & congrat. on his Sister's account. God love you, dear Friend -- S. T. Coleridge. Write. I have not heard from Mr Wedgewood since I wrote -- & am not a little pinched for money. Last week I payed 25£ to Phillips, in consequence of an attorney's Letter, 3 the first I ever received & ____________________ 1 Sir James Bland Burges ( 1752-1824), politician and man of letters. 2 For note concerning Fox's reply see Letter 380. 3 This 'attorney's Letter' has been preserved: London 9 Jany 1801 Sir I have been applyd to by Mr Rd Phillips of this City Bookseller who directs me to inform You that unless your engagemt. with him is forthwith completed I have his instructions to commence an Action against You without further Notice I am Sir | Your most Obt Servt D. Abbott. Rolls Yard Chancery Lane /. -665- which amused me infinitely. -- I felt like a man of this World. I had irritated P. by an exceedingly humorous Letter, which I will send you. Wordsworths left me this morning. -- To William Wilberforce Esqr. M.P. [Composed by Coleridge for Wordsworth] Sir, I composed the accompanying poems under the persuasion, that all which is usually included under the name of action bears the same pro[por]tion (in respect of worth) to the affections, as a language to the thing sign[ified.] When the material forms or intellectual ideas which should be employed to [rep]resent the internal state of feeling, are made to claim attention for their own sake, then commences Lip-worship, or superstition, or disputatiousness, in religion; a passion for gaudy ornament & violent stimulants in morals; & in our literature bombast and vicious refinements, an aversion to the common conversational language of our Countrymen, with an extravagant preference given to Wit by some, and to outrageous incident by others; while the most sacred affections of the human race seem to lay no hold on our sympathies unless we can contemplate them in the train of some circumstances that excite curiosity, or unriddle them from some gaudy phrases that are to attract our wonder for themselves. It was the excellence of our elder Poets to write in such a language as should the most rapidly convey their mean[ing,] but the pleasure which I am persuaded the greater number of Read[ers re]ceive from our modern writers in verse & prose, arises from the sense of having overcome a difficulty, of having made a series of lucky guesses, & perhaps, in some degree, of understanding what they are conscious the lower Classes of their Countrymen would not be able to understand. The poems which accompany this letter were written with no idle expectation of the Author's immediate fame or their. rapid circulation: had my predominant influences been either the love of praise or the desire of profit, I should have held out to myself other subjects than the affections which walk 'in silence and in a veil' and other rules of poetic diction than the determination to prefer passion to imagery, & (except when the contrary was chosen for dramatic purposes) to express what I meant to express with all possible regard to precision and propriety but with very little attention to what is called dignity. In thus stating my opinions I state at the same time my reasons for soliciting your acceptance of these Volumes. In your religious -666- treatise 1 these truths are developed, & applied to the present state of our religion; I have acted on them in a less awful department, but not I trust with less serious convictions. Indeed had I not persuaded myself that in the composition of them I had been a Fellow-labourer with you in the same Vineyard, acting under the perception of some one common truth & attributing to that truth the same importance & necessity; 2 if I had not appeared to myself to have discovered (in my intentions at least) some bond of connection between us; I could not without self-reproof have taken this opportunity of &c &c W. Wordsworth.