397. To Humphry Davy Address: Mr Davy MS. Royal Institution. Pub. with omis. Frag. Remains, 89. Monday, May 4, 1801 My dear Davy I received a letter this evening from Dr Beddoes who immediately wants the Books in the inclosed Parcel. They should have been sent some 9 months ago --; but I have had enough to do &c -with my miseries & sicknesses ----- Be so good as to have the Parcel booked & forwarded immediately. -- I heard from Tobin the day before yesterday, nay, it was Friday -- from him I learn that you are giving lectures on Galvanism. Would to God! I were one of your auditors. -- My motive muscles tingled & contracted at the news, as if you had bared them & were zincifying the life-mocking Fibres. When you have leisure & impulse, perfect leisure & a complete Impulse, write to me -- but only then. For tho' there does not exist a man on earth who yields me greater pleasure by writing to me, yet I have neither Pain nor Disquietude from your Silence. I have a deep faith in the guardianship of Nature over you -- of the Great Being whom you are manifesting. -- Heaven bless you, my dear Davy! -- I have been rendered uneasy by an account of a Lisbon Pacquet's non-arrival -- lest Southey should have been on board it. -- Have you heard from him lately? -- It would seem affectation to write to you & say nothing of my health / but in truth I am weary of giving useless pain. Yesterday I should have been incapable of writing you this scrawl; & tomorrow I may be as bad. 'Sinking, sinking, sinking! I feel, that I am sinking!' -- My medical attendant says that it is irregular Gout with nephritic Symptoms --. Gout in a young man of 29 -- ! -- ! Swoln Knees, & knotty Fingers, a loathy Stomach, & a dizzy head -- trust me, Friend! I am at times an object of moral Disgust to my own Mind. -- But that this long long Illness has impoverished me, I should immediately go to St Miguel's, one of the Azores -- the Baths & the delicious Climate might restore me -- and if it were possible, I would afterwards send over for my Wife & children, & settle there for a few years -- it being exceedingly cheap. -- On this supposition Wordsworth & his Sister have with generous Friendship offered to settle there with me -- & possibly our dear Southey would come too. -- But of this I pray you, my dear fellow! do not say a syllable to any human Being -- for the scheme from the present state of my circumstances is rather the Thing of a Wish than of a Hope. -726- Tell Tobin I have received his letter, & expect the Books &c with impatience, & return him my best Thanks. -- If you write to me, pray in a couple of sentences tell me whether Herschel Thermometric Spectrum (in the Philos. Trans.) will lead to any Revolution in the chemical Philosophy. -- As far as words go, I have become a formidable chemist -- having got by heart a prodigious quantity of terms &c to which I attach some ideas -- very scanty in number, I assure you, & right meagre in their individual persons. That which most discourages me in it is that I find all power & vital attributes to depend on modes of arrangement -- and that Chemistry throws not even a distant rush-light glimmer upon this subject. The reasoning likewise is always unsatisfactory to me -I am perpetually saying -- probably, there are many agents hitherto undiscovered. This cannot be reasoning; for in all conclusive reasoning we must have a deep conviction that all the terms have been exhausted. This is saying no more than that (with Dr Beddoes's leave) chemistry can never possess the same kind of certainty with mathematics -- in truth, it is saying nothing. I grow however exceedingly interested in the subject. ----- God love you, my dear Friend! -- From Tobin's account I fear that I must give up a very sweet vision -- that of seeing you this summer. The summer after my Ghost perhaps may be a Gas -- Your's affectionately S. T. Coleridge