396. To William Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | Polygon | Sommers' Town | London MS. Lord Abinger. Hitherto unpublished. Postmark: 1 May 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Keswick Tuesday Evening, April 28, 1801 Dear Godwin I have, this moment, received your manuscript: & this night, if I had not received it, I should have certainly written to you, to make the proper inquiries &c. Indeed, I should have written long ago; but that I feel the utmost aversion at writing an unnecessary Letter since the increase of the postage, that brutal Tax upon the affections & understanding --! You need not be half as poor as I am; & yet look blank & fretful on any idle Letter, that has taken a shilling from your pocket. ----- I do not know in what way you wish me to convey my remarks -- whether by Letter to you, or en masse to be sent as a companion, when I send back the manuscript. -- Spite of the strange Delay at Crosby & Letterman's, & afterwards, perhaps, at the Penrith Booksellers, no time has been lost -- / since during the last three weeks I have kept my bed -- to day I have crawled forth into the hot Sun, and, if this ____________________ the Hope of Albion; or, Edwin of Northumbria: an Epic Poem, 1801. The first edition is not available. In the second edition 'Fairy' rather than 'Lady' is used in all titles and sub-titles; 'dramatic romance' is used for 'dramatic legend'; and Thelwall apologizes for publishing an extract from his epic. 1 No mention of Coleridge appears in the memoir prefixed to Thelwall's volume. -724- weather continue, I have hopes of Health -- at least, till next Autumn / . But this last Winter has truly been a hard one for me -one ugly Sickness has followed another, fast as phantoms before a vapourish Woman / in the mean time my expences increased, and I unable to write a line to defray them. -- But enough of this -- You, I doubt not, can find matter of gloom in London quite sufficient for all the stock of sympathy, which you may have, or wish to have. I will give your manuscript my best attention, & what I think, I will communicate -- but indeed, indeed, I am not dissembling when I express my exceeding scepticism respecting the sanity of my own Feelings & Tone of Intellect, relatively to a work of Sentiment & Imagination. -- I have been compelled, (wakeful thro' the night, & seldom able, for my eyes, to read in the Day) to seek resources in austerest reasonings -- & have thereby so denaturalized my mind, that I can scarcely convey to you the disgust with which I look over any of my own compositions -- a disgust, which has rendered the few brief intervals of my Sicknesses profitless to me as to those engagements with my bookseller which I yet must fulfil or starve. -God be praised, I do not however owe my bookseller any thing -methinks, I would rather have my Butcher & Baker for Duns, than Printers & Booksellers. -- Have you seen Davy lately? -- It has been an age since I heard of him or from him --. It would have yielded me much satisfaction, in many an hour of Downheartedness, if I could have received from you some information respecting your literary Projects & Plans of Sustenance. -- The Theatre -- alas! alas! that is not to be relied on by you. -- I have fears even concerning the managers / -- and suspect, that your future warfare with theatrical Intrigue, & Duplicity will be worse, than any you have hitherto waged. -- It is perhaps impertinent in me to offer advice to you concerning the choice of subjects &c --; but I cannot help wish[ing] that you would write a novel more on [the] plan of Tom Jones -- taking up your Hero or Heroine at or before the Birth, & relating his story in the third Person or first -as your Judgement inclines. -- You will have seen the new Tragedy. When you write, devote half a dozen Lines to it. My wife & children are well -- I trust, that your little ones grow & flourish. -- Your's sincerely S. T. Coleridge -725-