411. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr. T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Single MS. British Museum. Pub. with omis. Thomas Poole, ii.63. In July 1801 Wordsworth wrote to Poole 'solely on Coleridge's account', and suggested that 150 would make it possible for Coleridge to go to the Azores in search of health. 'My dear Poole,' Wordsworth concluded, 'you will do what you think proper on this statement of facts; if, in case of Coleridge's death, you could afford to lose 50£, or more if necessary, it may perhaps appear proper to you to lend him that sum, unshackled by any conditions, but that he should repay it when he shall be able; if he dies, if he should be unwilling that any debt of his should devolve on his Brothers, then let the debt be cancelled.' Early Letters, 279-81. On 21 July 1801 Poole replied not to Wordsworth, but to Coleridge. After regretting Coleridge's ill health, Poole went on to say that he had proposed to the Wedgwoods that Coleridge accompany Tom to Sicily, but that he had received no answer. He suggested the advisability of Coleridge borrowing from his brothers. Then, after mentioning Wordsworth's letter and the request for £50, Poole said he had 'many claims', offered to lend £20, and added the comforting news that Coleridge's indebtedness was £52, not £37, as Coleridge had supposed. MS. British Museum. Postmark: 10 September 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Keswick. Sept. 7. 1801 My dear Poole It has been, you may be well assured, neither a Falling off of my affection to you, nor doubt of your's to me which has produced my long silence --; but simply confusion, & ignorance & indecision and want of means respecting the disposal of myself in order to the preservation of a Life, which heaven knows, but for a sense of duty I would resign as quietly & blessedly as a Baby fallen asleep lets the mother's nipple slip from it's innocent gums. -- I have such an utter dislike to all indirect ways of going about any thing, that when Wordsworth mentioned his design of writing to you, but would not explain to me even by a hint what he meant to write, I felt a great repugnance to the idea, which was suppressed by my habitual deference to his excellent good sense. I wish, I had not suppressed it -- he wrote without knowing you, or your circumstances, your habitual associations in the whole growth of your mind, or the accidental impressions of disgust made by your many Losses & -755- the squandering of your exertions on objects that had proved themselves unworthy of them. It is impossible that you should feel with regard to pecuniary affairs as Wordsworth or as I feel or even as men greatly inferior to you in all other things that make man a noble Being. But this I always knew & calculated upon; & have applied to you in my little difficulties when I could have procured the sums with far less pain to myself from persons less dear to me, only that I might not estrange you wholly from the outward & visible Realities of my existence, my Wants & Sufferings. -- In all my afflictions I never dreamt however for a moment of making such an application to you, as Wordsworth did -- he acted erroneously but not wrongly -- for you, I understand, had requested him to write to you freely on all that in his opinion concerned my Welfare. -- However Error generates Error; his Letter untuned your mind -- You wrote to me when you ought assuredly to have written to him -- & you wrote to the Wedgewoods, & made a most precipitate & unwise request, which coming from you will, I am sorry to say, in all human probability connect in their minds a feeling of disgust with my character & my relations to them -- a feeling of disgust, & a notion of troublesonwness. -- Besides, the Request itself --! O God! how little you must have comprehended the state of my Body and mind not to have seen that to have accompanied Tom Wedgewood was the very last thing that I could have submitted to! Two Invalids -- & two men so utterly unlike each other in opinions, habits, acquirements, & feeling! When I was well, I made the offer to him as a duty, provisionally that he could find no other person, that suited him; but in the state in which I now am, I should have felt it my duty to have declined it, had it been offered to me or even desired of me. -- The other proposals I only sighed at -- principally, that of applying to my family. What claims have I on my family? A name & nothing but a name. Had I followed the wishes of my family, Poole! think you, that ten times the paltry sum, that may be wanted by me, would have presented any difficulty to me. -- My family -- I have wholly neglected them -- I do not love them -- their ways are not my ways, nor their thoughts my thoughts -- I have no recollections of childhood connected with them, none but painful thoughts in my after years -- at present, I think of them habitually as commonplace rich men, bigots from ignorance, and ignorant from bigotry. -- To me they have always behaved unexceptionably. I have a little to thank them for, & nothing to complain of -- / but what one claim can I have on their assistance or exertions? whence can it arise? Shall I say then -- do it, because I am called your Brother? Or shall I say, do it because I am your Brother? -- I who am not -756- their Brother in any sense that gives to that title aught that is good or dear. -- Or shall I say -- Preserve my life, because if it is preserved, I shall most assuredly devote it with all it's powers & energies to the overthrow of all that you hold precious or sacred? But enough of this -- let us for the future abstain from all pecuniary matters -- if I live, I shall soon pay all I at present owe -- & if I die, the thought of being in your debt will never disquiet me on my sick bed. I love you too well to have one injurious thought respecting you. -- You deem me, too often perhaps, an enthusiast -- Enthusiast as I may be, Poole! I have not passed thro' Life without learning, that it is a heart-sickening Degradation to borrow of the Rich, & a heart-withering affliction to owe to the Poor. ---- As to my health, I am going, as I suspect. -- My knee & leg remains swoln & troublesome -- but that is a trifle. Other symptoms of a more serious nature have lately appeared -- a tendency to scrophulous Boils and Indurations in the Neck, a dry husky Cough, with profuse sweats at night confined to the Region of my Chest. Of course, it is my Duty not to stay in this climate -- I have accordingly written to John Pinny of Somerton, requesting of him to let me have apartments in his Country House in the Isle of St Nevis, & even earnestly solicited him to contrive, that the expences of my food & necessary conveniences may by his means & letters be alleviated as much as possible. When I have heard from him, I will write again to you. My spirits are good -- I am generally cheerful, & when I am not, it is only because I have exchanged it for a deeper & more pleasurable Tranquillity. The young Soldier rushes on the Bayonet & cries with his last breath -- God save King George! I should have been strangely idle, an Hypocrite or a Dupe, if I have not learnt my Trade as well as he has learnt his. His Trade has been to follow a blind feeling -- & thereby to act -- mine has been to contemplate -- & thereby to endure. Southey is here with his Wife. Wordsworth is gone into Scotland to the Scotch Lakes with Sir William & Lady Rush & their six Daughters -- to the eldest of whom Montague (who is with them) was to have been married on Thursday last at Edingburgh -- & was so, I suppose. She is a fine girl, only 18. -- My Wife & children are both well. -- How much Mrs C. was shocked at the death of poor Susan Chester, you may easily suppose. I felt a sort of pain -- just enough to bring a tear upon my cheek, some five minutes after I heard the intelligence. Poor Mrs Chester! -- My best Love to your Mother -- & kind Remembrances to Ward if he be with you. -- Heaven bless you, my dear Poole, & your affectionate Friend, S. T. Coleridge -757-