414. To William Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | Polygon | Somers' Town | London MS. Lord Abinger. Pub. with omis. William Godwin, ii.81. Postmark: 25 September 1801. Greta Hall, Keswick, Cumberland Tuesday, Sep. 22. 1801 Dear Godwin When once a correspondence has intermitted from whatever cause, it scarcely ever recommences without some impulse ab extra. After my last Letter I went rambling after Health, or at least alleviation of Sickness -- my Azores scheme I was obliged to give up, as well, I am afraid, as that of going abroad altogether, from want of money. -- Latterly, I have had additional sources of Disquietude -- so that altogether I have, I confess, felt little inclination to write to you, who have not known me long enough, nor associated enough of that esteem, which you entertain for the qualities, you attribute to me, with me myself me, to be much interested about the carcase, Coleridge. -- So of Carcase Coleridge no more. -- At Middleham, near Durham, I accidentally met your Pamphlet, & read it -- and only by accident was prevented from immediately writing to you. For I read it with unmingled delight & admiration, with the exception of that one hateful Paragraph, for the insertion of which I can account only on a superstitious hypothesis, that when all the Gods & Goddesses gave you each a good gift, Nemesis counterbalanced them all with the destiny, that in whatever you published, there should be some one outrageously imprudent, suicidal Passage. But you have heard enough of this. With the exception of this passage I never remember to have read a pamphlet with warmer feelings of sympathy & respect. Had I read it en masse when I wrote to you, I should certes have made none of the remarks, I once made, in the first Letter on the subject; but as certainly should have done so in my second. On the most deliberate reflection I do think the introduction clumsily worded -- and (what is of more importance) I do think your retractations always imprudent, & not always just. -- But it is painful to me to say this to you -- I know not what effect it may have on your mind -- for I have found, that I can not judge of other men by myself. I myself am dead indifferent as to censures of any kind --/ Praise even from Fools has sometimes given me a momentary pleasure, & what I could not but despise as opinion I have taken up with some satisfaction, as sympathy. But the censure or dislike of my dearest Friend, even of him, whom I think the wisest man, I know, does not give me the slightest pain -761- / it is ten to one but I agree with him -- & if I do, then I am glad. If I differ from him, the pleasure I receive in developing the SOURCES of our disagreement entirely swallows up all consideration of the disagreement itself. But then I confess, I have written nothing that I value myself at all -- & that constitutes a prodigious difference between us -- & still more this, that no man's opinion merely as opinion operates on me in any other way, than to make me review my own side of the Question. All this looks very much like self-panegyric -- I cannot help it -- it is the truth. And I find it to hold good of no other person, id est, to the extent of the indifference, which I feel -- and therefore I am without any criterion, by which I can determine what I can say & how much without wounding or irritating. -- I will never therefore willingly criticize any manuscript composition, unless the author and I are together / for then I know, that say what I will, he cannot be wounded because my voice, my look, my whole manner, must convince any good man, that all I said was accompanied with sincere good-will & genuine kindness. Besides, I seldom fear to say any thing, when I can develope my reasons / but this is seldom possible in a Letter. ---- It is not improbable, that is to say, not very improbable, that if I am absolutely unable to go abroad -- (and I am now making the last effort by an application to Mr John Pinny respecting his House at St Nevis, & the means of living there) I may perhaps come up to London, & maintain myself, as before, by writing for the Morning Post. -- If I come, I come alone. -- Here it will be imprudent for me to stay, from the wet & the cold -- even if every thing within doors were as well suited to my head & heart, as my head & heart would, I trust, be to every thing that was wise & amiable. 1 -- My darling ____________________ 1 While Coleridge and his wife were an ill-assorted pair, the failure of their marriage is not evident until the winter of 1800-1 (see Early Letters, 273). Reluctant to go north, Mrs. Coleridge, who did not share in the intimacy with the Wordsworths, was sorely tried after her removal to Keswick by her husband's months of ill health and the resultant inability to provide for his family. It seems probable, too, that she was aware of his growing attachment to Sara Hutchinson, an attachment which ripened into love during Sara's protracted stay with the Wordsworths in the winter of 1800-1; and certainly, his month-long visit with the Hutchinsons in the summer of 1801 precipitated a crisis. Earlier Coleridge had been able to view the incompatibility between himself and Mrs. Coleridge with equanimity; indeed, he wrote to Southey on 12 Feb. 1800: 'My wife is a woman of absolutely pure mind and considerable intellect . . ., but her every-day self and her minor interests, alas, do not at all harmonize with my occupations, my temperament, or my weaknesses -- we cannot be happy in all respects. In my early married life I was often almost miserable -- now (as everything mellows) I am content, indeed, thankful!' Association with Sara Hutchinson, however, brought to Coleridge the 'heart-withering Conviction' that he could not but be miserable with his wife, an attitude bound to make married life intolerable alike for him and for her; -762- Hartley has this evening had an attack of fever -- but my medical friend thinks, it will pass off. -- I think of your children not infrequently. God love them. Wordsworth is not at home. He has been in the Scotch [Lakes] with Montague & his new Father, S[ir] William Rush. -- Your's, S. T. Coleridge.