405. To Robert Southey Address: Mrs Danvers | Kings down Parade | Bristol | (For Mr Southey) Single Sheet MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 356. Postmark: 25 July 1801. Wednesday, July 22, 1801 My dear Southey Yesterday evening I met a boy on an ass, winding down as picturish a glen, as eye ever looked at -- he & his Beast no mean part of the picture -- I had taken a liking to the little Blackguard at a distance, & I could have downright hugged him when he gave me a letter with your hand-writing. -- Well, God be praised! I shall surely see you once more, somewhere or other. If it be really impracticable for you to come to me, I will doubtless do any thing rather than not see you -- tho' in simple truth travelling in chaises or coaches even for one day is sure to lay me up for a week. -- But ____________________ 1 For Coleridge's opinion of Mrs. Inchbald see Letter 333. -744- do, do, for heaven's sake, come -- & go the shortest way, however dreary it be -- for there is enough to be seen when you get to our house. -- If you did but know what a flutter the Old Moveable at my left Breast has been in, since I read your letter -- I have not had such a Fillip for a many months. -- My dear Edith! how glad you were to see old Bristol again! 1 ----- I am again climbing up that rock of Convalescence, from which I have been so often so washed off, & hurried back -- but I have been so unusually well these last two Days, that I should begin to look the damsel Hope full in the face, instead of sheep's eyeing her, were it not that the Weather has been so unusually hot -- & that is my Joy! -- Yes, Sir! we will go to Constantinople; but as it rains there, which my Gout loves as the Devil does Holy Water, the Grand Turk shall shew the exceeding attachment, he will no doubt form towards us, by appointing us his Vice-roys in Egypt -I will be Supreme Bey of that showerless District, & you shall be my Supervisor. -- But for God's sake, make haste & come to me, and let us talk of the Sands of Arabia while we are floating in our lazy Boat on Keswick Lake, with our eyes on massy Skiddaw, so green & high. Perhaps, Davy might accompany you. Davy will remain unvitiated -- his deepest & most recollectible Delights have been in Solitude, & the next to those with one or two whom he loved. He is placed no doubt in a perilous Desart of good things -but he is connected with the present Race of Men by a very aweful Tie, that of being able to confer immediate benefit on them; and the cold-blooded venom-toothed Snake, that winds around him, shall be only his Coat of Arms, as God of Healing. -- I exceedingly long to see Thalaba -- & perhaps still more to read Madoc over again. -- I never heard of any third Edition of my Poems -- I think, you must have confused it with the L. B. -Longman could not surely be so uncouthly ill-mannered, as not to write to me to know if I wished to make any corrections or additions. -- If I am well enough, I mean to alter, with a devilish sweep of revolution, my Tragedy, & publish it in a little volume by itself with a new name, as a Poem. But I have no heart for Poetry -alas! alas! how should I? who have passed 9 dreary months with giddy head, sick stomach, & swoln knees. -- My dear Southey! -it is said, that long sickness makes us all grow selfish by the necessity which it imposes of continual[l]y thinking about ourselves -- but long & sleepless Nights are a fine Antidote -- oh! how I have dreamt about you -- Times, that have been, & never can return, have been with me on my bed of pain, and how I yearned ____________________ 1 After a little over a year in Portugal the Southeys arrived in Bristol on 10 July 1801: there they stayed with the Danvers for several weeks. -745- toward you in those moments, I myself can know only by feeling it over again! -- But come! 'strengthen the weak hands, & confirm the feeble knees. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and sorrow & sighing shall flee away.' ----- I am here, in the vicinity of Durham, for the purpose of reading from the Dean & Chapter's Library an Ancient, of whom you may have heard -- Duns Scotus! 1 I mean to set the poor old Gemman on his feet again, & in order to wake him out of his present Lethargy, I am burning Locke, Hume, & Hobbes under his Nose -- they stink worse than Feather or Assafetida. Poor Joseph! he has scribbled away both head & heart. What an affecting Essay I could write on that Man's character. -- Had he gone in his quiet way, on a little poney looking about him with a sheep's eye cast now & then at a short poem, I do verily think from many parts of the Malvern Hill, that he would at last have become a poet better than many who have had much fame -- but he would be an Epic, & so Victorious o'er the Danes I Alfred preach, Of my own Forces Chaplain-general! -- I have a very large Boil in my neck a little to the right of my Wind-pipe, & it is poulticed -- in consequence whereof I smell so exactly like a hot Loaf, that it would be perilous for me to meet a hungry blind man. -- But it has broke, & is easy. -- Write immediately, directing -- Mr Coleridge, Mr George Hutchinson's, Bishop's Middleham, Rushiford, Durham 2 -- & tell me, when you set off -& I will contrive to meet you at Liverpool -- where, if you are jaded with the journey, we can stay a day or two at Dr Crompton's -- & chat a bit with Roscoe & Curry, whom you will like as men far, far better than as writers -- O Edith! how happy Sara will be -and little Hartley, who uses the air & the Breezes as skipping Ropes -- & fat Derwent, so beautiful & so proud of his three Teeth, that there's no bearing of him. God bless you, dear Southey & S. T. Coleridge P.S. Remember me kindly to Danvers, & Mrs Danvers -- ____________________ 1 The schoolman, Joannes Duns Scotus ( 1265?-1308?). In a marginal note Coleridge says he 'could find but one work of Duns Scotus -- that De Sententiis' in the Durham Library. See Notes on English Divines, ed. by Derwent Coleridge , 2 vols., 1853, ii. 21. See also Letter 528. 2 At this time George Hutchinson was living at Bishop Middleham, near Durham, and apparently Sara kept house for him. Thomas Hutchinson was at Gallow Hill, near Scarborough, and Mary seems to have made her home there. -746-