380. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset MS. British Museum, Pub. E. L. G. i. 172. Postmark: 16 February 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Friday, Feb. 13. 1801 My dearest Friend I received your Letter with the Bill inclosed this evening. -- If you come in the beginning of May, you will make it joyous as an Italian Month to me. -- Only let it be in the middle of May, that the Leaves may be all out. -- I shall begin to look at the Lake, and the ____________________ 1 Thomas Creech ( 1659-1700) published his translation of Lucretius in 1682. 2 Thomas Clarkson ( 1760-1846), after several years of strenuous activity on behalf of the abolition of the slave trade, had retired to Eusemere Hill in the Lake Country. Mrs. Clarkson, née Catherine Buck, became one of Dorothy Wordsworth's most intimate friends. -674- encamped Host of mountains with a new Interest -- 'that will delight him!' -- God ever bless you, my dear dear Friend! -- I received from J. W. the same account as your's nearly in the same words 1 -- Inter nos, I believe Mr Sharpe 2 to be a very shallow man, & as to Mackintosh -- Lord have pity upon those Metaphysics, of which he is a competent Judge. I attended 5 of his Lectures -such a wretched patch work of plagiarisms from Condilliac 3 -- of contradictions, and blunders in matter of fact, I never heard from any man's mouth before. Their opinion weighs as nothing with me. -- But I take T. Wedgewood's own opinion, his own convictions, as STRONG presumptions that he has fallen upon some very valuable Truths -- some he stated but only in short hints to me / & I guess from these, that they have been noticed before, & set forth by Kant in part & in part by Lambert. 4 -- I guess, that it will be so / yet I wish, they may not be, both for the sake of the Truth, & because if they should be, it would damp his spirits. ---- I have been myself thinking with the most intense energy on similar subjects / I shall shortly communicate the result of my Thoughts to the Wedgewoods / but previously shall send off some Letters which I have only to copy out fair to J. Wedgewood respecting Locke & Des Cartes, & likewise concerning the supposed Discovery of the Law of Association by Hobbes. -- Since I have been at Keswick, I have read a great deal / and my Reading has furnished me with many reasons for being exceedingly suspicious of supposed Discoveries in Metaphysics. My dear dear Poole Plato, and Aristotle were great & astonishing Geniuses, and yet there is not a Presbyterian Candidate for a Conventicle but believes that they were mere children in Knowlege compared with himself & Drs Priestly & Rees, 5 &c ---- My Letters to the Wedgewoods shall be copied out & sent you, in the course of the next week. 6 I do not think, they will entertain you very much, those already written, I mean / for they are ____________________ 1 On 8 Feb. Poole wrote to Coleridgethat he had heard from Josiah Wedgwood as follows: 'When Tom was here he enjoyed a high satisfaction in explaining to Mackintosh the result of his metaphysical speculations, and in finding M. concur with him in his opinions. . . . He has also convinced Sharpe, as far as he has opened the business to him. The subjects he has cleared are no less than Time, Space, and Motion; and Mackintosh and Sharpe think a metaphysical revolution likely to follow.' Thomas Poole, ii. 28. 2 Richard, "Conversation", Sharp ( 1759-1885), man of business, Member of Parliament, and critic. 3 Étienne Bonnot de Condillac ( 1715-80), the French philosopher, whose name Coleridge Consistently misspelled. 4 Johann H. Lambert ( 1728-77), German physicist and mathematician. 5 Dr. Abraham Rees ( 1743-1825), cyclopaedist and presbyterian divine. 6 See headnote to Letter 381 and Letters 881-8.M -675- crowded with Latin Quotations, & relate chiefly to the character of Mr Locke, whom I think I have proved to have gained a reputation to which he had no honest claim / and Hobbes as little to the reputation, to which T. Wedgewood & after him Mackintosh have laboured to raise him. But all this inter noq. Wordsworth has received answers from all but Mr Fox 1 -- all respectful & polite, but all written immediately on the receipt of the Poems, & consequently expressing no Opinion. His reputation as a Poet is high indeed in London. Mr Sharpe told me of his Friend Rogers, the drivelling Booby that let the Pleasures of Memory ---- 'I look upon him, Mr Coleridge I as a sweet Enamel Poet.' Change of Ministry interests me not -- I turn at times half reluctantly from Leibnitz or Kant even to read a smoking new newspaper / such a purus putus, Metaphysicus am I become. Mrs Coleridge has been ill with an ulcerated Sore throat; but is bettering. -- I am feebler far, than I could wish to be / but the weather is against me. Mrs C. desires her kindest, very kindest Love to your Mother -- she sends her Love to Ward, & begs & intreats of him (if your Mother is not disposed to write) that he will immediately write her a Letter, full of news, Stowey news -of Mr & Mrs Rich, of the Chesters, of every body, & every thing -she hates the sight of your nasty Letters, with not'a word for a woman to read in them. -- But Ward is a bad hand -- do get your dear Mother to write. O May! best month of all the Year! Derwent is going to be inoculated with the Cow Pox -- he is a beautiful Boy. And Hartley I could fill Sheets about him. -- God love my dearest Friend & S. T. Coleridge ____________________ 1 Fox answered on 25 May 1801. He said that the poems had given him the greatest pleasure and that Harry Gill, We are Seven, The Mad Mother, and The Idiot were his favourites. Of The Brothers and Michael, which Wordsworth had especially singled out, Fox could only say: 'I am no great friend to blank verse for subjects which are to be treated of with simplicity.' Concerning Coleridge's share in the first volume he wrote: 'Of the poems which you state not to be yours, that entitled "Love" appears to me to be the best, and I do not know who is the author. "The Nightingale" I understand to be Mr. Coleridge's, who combats, I think, very successfully, the mistaken prejudice of the nightingale's note being melancholy.' The Prose Works of William Wordsworth, ed. by A. B. Grosart, 8 vols., 1876, ii. 205-6. -676-