390. To William Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | the Polygon | Sommers Town | London Single MS. Lord Abinger. Pub. with omis. William Godwin, ii. 77. Postmark: 28 March 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick Wednesday, March 25, 1801 Dear Godwin I fear, your Tragedy 1 will find me in a very unfit state of mind to sit in Judgement on it. I have been, during the last 8 months, undergoing a process of intellectual exsiccation. In my long Illness I had compelled into hours of Delight many a sleepless, painful ____________________ 1 This was Abbas, King of Persia, which was not accepted for presentation at Drury Lane. -713- hour of Darkness by chasing down metaphysical Game -- and since then I have continued the Hunt, till I found myself unaware at the Root of Pure Mathematics -- and up that tall smooth Tree, whose few poor Branches are all at it's very summit, am I climbing by pure adhesive strength of arms and thighs -- still slipping down, still renewing my ascent. -- You would not know me -- ! all sounds of similitude keep at such a distance from each other in my mind, that I have forgotten how to make a rhyme -- I look at the Mountains (that visible God Almighty that looks in at all my windows) I look at the Mountains only for the Curves of their outlines; the Stars, as I behold them, form themselves into Triangles -- and my hands are scarred with scratches from a Cat, whose back I was rubbing in the Dark in order to see whether the sparks from it were refrangible by a Prism. The Poet is dead in me -- my imagination (or rather the Somewhat that had been imaginative) lies, like a Cold Snuff on the circular Rim of a Brass Candle-stick, without even a stink of Tallow to remind you that it was once cloathed & mitred with Flame. That is past by! -- I was once a Volume of Gold Leaf, rising & riding on every breath of Fancy -- but I have beaten myself back into weight & density, & now I sink in quicksilver, yea, remain squat and square on the earth amid the hurricane, that makes Oaks and Straws join in one Dance, fifty yards high in the Element. However, I will do what I can -- Taste & Feeling have I none, but what I have, give I unto thee. ----- But I repeat, that I am unfit to decide on any but works of severe Logic. I write now to beg, that, if you have not sent your Tragedy, you may remember to send Antonio with it, which I have not yet seen -- & likewise my Campbell's Pleasures of Hope, which Wordsworth wishes to see. Have you seen the second Volume of the Lyrical Ballads, & the Preface prefixed to the First? ----- I should judge of a man's Heart, and Intellect precisely according to the degree & intensity of the admiration, with which he read those poems ----- Perhaps, instead of Heart I should have said Taste, but when I think of The Brothers, of Ruth, and of Michael, I recur to the expression, & am enforced to say Heart. If I die, and the Booksellers will give you any thing for my Life, be sure to say -- ' Wordsworth descended on him, like the ϒω+̑θ σ+̂εατóϒ from Heaven; by shewing to him what true Poetry was, he made him know, that he himself was no Poet.' In your next Letter you will perhaps give me some hints respecting your prose Plans. -- . God bless you & S. T. Coleridge -714- I have inoculated my youngest child, Derwent, with the Cowpoxhe passed thro' it without any sickness. -- I myself am the Slave of Rheumatism -- indeed, tho' in a certain sense I am recovered from my Sickness, yet I have by no means recovered it. I congratulate you on the settlement of Davy in London. -- I hope, that his enchanting manners will not draw too many Idlers round him, to harrass & vex his mornings. -- . . . 1 P.S. -- What is a fair Price -- what might an Author of reputation fairly ask from a Bookseller for one Edition, of a 1000 Copies, of a five Shilling Book? --