427. To Robert Southey Address: Mr Southey MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. Letters, i. 365. Dec. 81. 1801. -- Nether Stowey, Bridgewater. Dear Southey On Xmas day I breakfasted with Davy, with the intention of dining with you; but I returned very unwell, & in very truth in so utter a dejection of spirits, as both made it improper for me to go any whither, & a most unfit man to be with you. -- I left London on Saturday Morning 4 o/ clock -- & for 8 hours was in such a storm, as I was never before out in: for I was a top of the Coach -- Rain & Hail & violent wind with vivid flashes of Lightning, that seemed almost to alternate with the flash-like Re-emersions of the Waning Moon, from the ever shattered ever closing Clouds. However, I was armed cap-a-pie, in a compleat Panoply, namely, in a huge, most huge, Roquelaire, which had cost the Government 7 Guineas -- & was provided for the Emigrants in the Quiberon Expedition, one of whom falling sick stayed behind & parted with his Cloak to Mr Howel who lent it me --. I dipped my head down, shoved it up, & it proved a compleat Tent to me. I was as dry as if I had been sitting by the fire --. I arrived at Bath at 11 o clock at Night -- & spent the next day with Warren who has gotten a very sweet Woman to Wife, and a most beautiful House & situation at Whitcomb, on the Hill over the Bridge. -- On Monday afternoon I arrived at Stowey --. I am a good deal better; but my Bowels are by no means derevolutionized. -- So much for me. - I do not know what I am to say to you of your dear Mother 1! Life passes away from us in all modes & ways -- in our friends, in ourselves. We all 'die daily'. -- Heaven knows that many & many & many a time I have regarded my Talents & Acquirements as a Porter's Burthen, imposing on me the Duty of going on to the end of the Journey, when I would gladly lie down by the side of the road, & become the Country for a mighty nation of Maggots -- for what is Life, gangrened, as it is with me, in it's very vitals domestic Tranquillity? ---- These things being so, I confess that I feel for you but not for the event; or for the event only by an act of Thought, & not by any immediate shock from the like Feeling within myself. ---- When I return to Town, I can scarcely tell -- I have not yet made up my mind whether or no I shall move Devonward. My Relations wish to see me, & I wish to avoid the uneasy feelings I shall have, ____________________ 1 Southey's mother died on 5 Jan. 1802. -778- if I remain so near them without gratifying the wish / no very brotherly mood of mind, I must confess -- but it is, 9/10ths of it at least, a work of their own Doing. -- Poole desires to be remembered to you -- Remember me to your wife, & to Mrs Lovell. God bless you | & S. T. Coleridge