416. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Through London. MS. British Museum. Pub. with omis. Thomas Poole, ii.66. Postmark: 8 October 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick. Octob. 5. 1801 My dear Poole I have this evening received your Letter. That I felt many & deep emotions of tenderness & sympathy, you will know without my telling you -- and in truth minds, like mine & (in it's present mood) your's too, require to be braced rather than suppled. Your plan for your own life appears to me wise & judicious: and I cannot ____________________ and immediately after his return from the Hutchinsons he began to fill his letters with complaints about his domestic unhappiness and to talk of separation. -763- too earnestly impress upon you the solemn Duty, you owe to yourself, your fellow-men, & your maker, to exert your faculties, to give evidence of that which God has delivered to your keeping, first to your own mind, & next to that of your countrymen. Great Talents you undoubtedly possess -- indeed, when I consider the vast disadvantages which you have laboured under as an intellectual Being, from the circumstances of having been born to a patrimony & of having had almost from your Birth hourly Doings with money -- all dear Relationships, all hourly intercourses, in some measure modified, or interrupted, by influences of money -- & compare with these disadvantages your opinions, powers, & habits of feeling, I feel an indefiniteness in my conception of your Talents -- a faith, that they are greater than even to your own mind they have hitherto appeared to be. To some great work I exhort you to devote yourself, as soon as ever the Hurry of Grief & Mutation is over, as soon as the Darkness of Sorrow has thinned away into Gloom -- to some great work, which shall combine a predominance of selfcollected fact & argument with the necessity of wide & extensive Reading. -- Poole! I have seen only two defects in your making up, that are of any importance -- (let me premise before I write the next sentence that by family attachment I do not mean domestic attachment, but merely family -- cousinships; not Brother, not Sister, not Son -- for these are real relations; but family, as far as it [is] mere accident.) The two defects which I have seen in you, are, 1. Excess of family & of local attachment, which has fettered your moral free-agency, & bedimmed your intellectual vision. It has made you half a coward at times when (I dream at least that) I should [have] been more than brave. -- 2. A too great desire & impatience to produce immediate good -- to see with your own eyes the plant, of which you have sown the seed. Mustard Cress may be raised this way; & we will raise Mustard Cress; but acorns, acorns -- to plant these is the work, the calling, the labor of our moral Being. This in this awful tone I have been powerfully impelled to say: tho' in general I detest any thing like the giving of Advice. -- I was with an acquaintance lately, & we passed by a poor Ideot boy, who exactly answered my description -- he Stood in the sun, rocking his sugar-loaf Head, And staring at a'bough from Morn to Sunset See-saw'd his voice in inarticulate Noises. 1 ____________________ 1 For these lines in a somewhat different form see Remorse, Act ii, Scene i, lines 189-91. Since the passage of which they are a part does not belong to Osorio, Coleridge must have been reworking that play as early as 1801. See Letter 405, in which he tells Southey of his intention to alter his tragedy 'with a devilish sweep of revolution', and to publish it 'as a Poem'. -764- I wonder, says my Companion, what that Ideot means to say. 'To give advice,' I replied: 'I know not what else an Ideot can do, & any Ideot can do that.' It is more accordant with my general Habits of Thinking to resign every man to himself, & the quiet influences of the great Being -- & in that spirit, & with a deep, a very deep, affection, I now say -- God bless you, Poole! ---- As to the plan, you propose for me, I see no reasons attached to any part of it -- & no motives, as well as no reasons, to the former part of it, namely, that of my taking lodgings near London. -- But you do not know, you have never formed any conception, of the real state of my health. -- It is probable, that my plan will be this this Autumn & the winter I shall probably pass in Somersetshire & Dorset with [the] Wedgewoods, Pinny, & you -- & possibly, a week or two at Ottery -- & in the Spring, if I live so long which is more than I myself expect, I shall go to St Nevis to Pinny's House where Pinny will by that time have prepared for me a comfortable Home without expence -- & there I shall pass a year. Farther on than this I see no wisdom in attempting to look. Mrs Coleridge & the children will, in all probability, stay where they are -- in a more delightful place or a more kind & respectful neighbourhood she cannot be - & she is attached to the place & the people who live next door to us. I am sorry, that my letter affected you so painfully & I need not say, what a pang I felt at the accident of the time, in which it must have reached you. The letter itself I cannot, after the most dispassionate Review, consider as objectionable. Why should you feel pain at my affirming, that it is impossible for you & me to feel alike in money concerns? From my childhood I have associated nothing but pain with money -- I have had no wish, no dream, no one pleasure connected with wealth. The only pleasure which the possession of a few pounds has ever given me has been simply this -- 'Well -- for a week or two I shall have no occasion to interrupt my thoughts & feelings by any accursed Thoughts about money.' -- To[o] I have formed long & meditative habits of aversion to the Rich, Lov[e for] the Poor or the unwealthy, & belief in the excessive evils arising from Property. How is it possible, Poole! that you can have all these feelings? You would not wish to have them. -- I still think that you erred in writing to Mr Wedgewood -- and still think of the idea of an application from me to my nominal Brotherhood, as I then thought. -- I WAS vexed that Wordsworth should have applied to you -- for I know enough of the human heart to have felt, without any positive fact, that there is a great difference between our fore-seeing that such or such an answer would be the Result of such or such an application, & our knowing -765- that such & such an answer has been the Result. That I should not have refused the 50£, tho' it had been my only 50£, beyond the expences of the ensuing month, is saying nothing; because I should not have refused it on a less important necessity to many a man, for whom I have but a very diluted love & esteem, and to whom I should refuse many a sacrifice of much greater difficulty, which you would wittingly make for me. But different as our feelings are respecting money, I am assured that you would not have refused thrice the sum, if necessary, had you believed the state of my Health to be that which I know it to be. No -- Poole! I love you, & know that you love me. -- Even at this moment it almost irritates me, that Wordsworth should have applied to you -- the money might have been raised from so many Quarters -- indeed, I was prevented from going to the Azores not by this, but by intelligence received of the exceeding dampness of the Climate. -- Southey has been with me for some time, but quits me on Wednesday morning for Ireland -- he is appointed private secretary to Corry, the Irish Chancellor -- half the year he spends in Dublin, & half in London. His salary is 200£ a year, & 200£ for travelling expences -- this is nothing -- but his society will be all the first & greatest people -and of course the opening is great. -- Men of Talents are at present in great request by the Ministry -- had I a spark of ambition, I have opportunities enough -- but I will be either far greater than all this can end in, even if it should end in my being Minister of state myself, or I will be nothing. -- Mrs Coleridge & both children are well -- God love you, my dear Poole! and restore you to that degree of cheerfulness which is necessary for virtue & energetic well-doing. May he vouchsafe the same blessing to your affectionate friend, S. T. [Coleri]dge.