418. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset Through London. MS. British Museum. Pub. E. L. G. i.186. Postmark: 24 October 1801. Stamped: Keswick. Oct. 21. 1801. My dear Poole Was my society then useless to you during my Abode at Stowey? Yet I do not remember, that I ever once offered you advice! If indeed under this word you chuse to comprehend all that free communication of thought & feeling, which distinguished our inter- ____________________ 1 Cf. Spenser, Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, lines 56-59: One day (quoth he), I sat, (as was my trade) Under the foote of Mole, that mountaine hore, Keeping my sheepe amongst the cooly shade Of the greene alders by the Mullaes shore. 2 Poems, ii. 979. -769- course, I have nothing to do but to subscribe to your Meaning, referring you to the Dictionary for the better wording thereof. By the 'quiet influences of the great Being' I wished to convey all that all things do from natural impulse, rather than direct and prospective Volition: not that I meant to interdict the latter -- on the contrary, in that very letter I felt it my duty to give you plump advice -- nay, I admit that man is an advising animal; even as he is a concupiscent one -- Now as Religion has directed it's main attacks against concupiscence, because we are too much inclined to it, so does Prudence against advice-giving, & for the same reason. In short, I meant no more than that it is well to have a general suspicion of ourselves in the moment of an inclination to advise this suspicion, not as a ham-stringer to cripple, but as a curb-rein to check. As to myself, advice from almost any body gives me pleasure, because it informs me of the mind & heart of the adviser -- but from a very very dear Friend it has occasionally given me great pain -- but, so help me Heaven, as I believe at least that I speak truly -- on his account alone-or, if on my own, on my own only as a disruption of that sympathy, in which Friendship has it's Being. A thousand people might have advised all that you did, and I might have been pleased; but it [was] the you you part of the Business that afflicted me -- tho' by what figure of speech any part of my Letter could be called outrageous, I can discover by the science of metaphysics, rather than by any hitherto published Art of Rhetoric. -- And here ends, I trust, the Controversial -- from which I have seldom seen much good come even in conversation & never any thing but evil when Letters have been the Vehicle. -- I will come to you as soon as I can get the money necessary. There are a few bills here, which must be payed before I can leave Mrs Coleridge with comfort, to the amount of 10£ perhaps; I must leave her 5£; & my own Journey will cost me 10£. Any part of this money, that you can spare for the space of four months, I shall be glad to receive from you -- & the rest, I will borrow from Pinny as soon as I know of his arrival at Somerton. I have very particular Reasons for not anticipating any part of my next year's annuity by any draft on the Mr Wedgewoods. -- Mackintosh, (who is a large tall man) spent two days with me at Keswick, & was very entertaining & pleasant. He is every inch the Being, I had conceived him to be, from what I saw of him at Cote House. We talked of all & every thing -- on some very affecting subjects, in which he represented himself by words as affected; on some subjects that called forth his verbal indignation-or exultation: but in no one moment did any particle of his face from the top of his forehead to the half of his neck, move. His face has no lines -770- like that of a man -- no softness, like that of a woman -- it is smooth, hard, motionless -- a flesh-mask! -- As to his conversation, it was an uncommonly well-worded: but not a thought in it worthy of having been worded at all -- He was however entertaining to me always; & to all around him then chiefly, when he talked of Parr, Fox, Addington, 1 &c &c. When I asked him concerning Davy -- he answered Oh! -- little Davy -- Dr Beddoes' Eleve, you mean? -- This was an exquisite trait of character. The Irish Chancellor's Name is Corry, not Curry. We, i.e. Wordsworth & myself, regard the Peace as necessary; but the Terms as most alarming. My children are well -- & I am better. My knee is quite gone down -- & the frosty air has greatly improved my general health. But a fit of Rain, or a fit of Grief, undoes in three hours what 3 weeks had been doing. I am a crazy crazy machine! -- God bless you & S. T. Coleridge What did you mean by my being 'the sport of the capricious advice of the most capricious'? It was quite an enigma to me. -- N.B. I never received a double letter from Mr Wedgewood that was not charged single, nor a single Letter from you that was not charged double. Yesterday was my Birth day -- 29 years of age! O that I could write it without a sigh -- or rather without occasion for one! --