432. To William Godwin Address: Mr Godwin | Polygon | Somers' Town MS. Lord Abinger. Hitherto unpublished. Postmark: 22 January 1802. Friday Morning, Jan. 22. 1802 King's Street, Covent Garden -- Dear Godwin I wrote to you yesterday, immediately on my arrival, a few hasty Lines -- went to the Lecture at the Royal Institution, & dined with Poole & Davy, in a large party -- a sort of anniversary club Dinner, of a club with a long name of which Tobin is a member -Vapidarians, 1 I think, they call themselves. I returned at 9 o/ clock, went to bed, & this morning I feel, that I have drunken deep Of all the Blessedness of Sleep -- 2 No wonder -- I have not slept two hours for the last three nights. -This morning I reperused your Letter -- & I write again, because I fear, that in the fretfulness of fatigue & hurry I might not have answered it with the respect & affection due to you. -- I have no other wish, than that you should know 'the Truth, the whole Truth, & (if possible) nothing but the Truth' of me in the sum total of my character, much more in it's immediate relations to you. You date the supposed alteration of my feelings towards you, & consequent conduct, from Midsummer last; & my conduct since my arrival in town from the North you have regarded as an exacerbation of the Disease. My conduct since November I conceived that I have fully explained. You appear to me not to have understood the nature of my body & mind --. Partly from ill-health, & partly from an unhealthy & reverie-like vividness of Thoughts, & (pardon the pedantry of the phrase) a diminished Impressibility from Things, my ideas, wishes, & feelings are to a diseased degree disconnected from motion & action. In plain & natural English, I am a dreaming & therefore an indolent man --. I am a Starling self-incaged, & always in the Moult, & my whole Note is, Tomorrow, & tomorrow, & tomorrow. The same causes, that have robbed me to so great a degree of the self-impelling self-directing Principle, have deprived me too of the due powers of Resistances to Impulses from without. If I might so say, I am, as an acting man, a creature of mere Impact. 'I will' & 'I will not' are phrases, both of them ____________________ 1 In Apr. 1801 Davy was elected to the Tepidarian Society, so called because they drank nothing stronger than tea. 2 Cf. Christabel, lines 375-6. -782- equally, of rare occurrence in my dictionary. -- This is the Truth -- I regret it, & in the consciousness of this Truth I lose a larger portion of Self-estimation than those, who know me imperfectly, would easily believe -- / I evade the sentence of my own Conscience by no quibbles of self-adulation; I ask for Mercy indeed on the score of my ill-health; but I confess, that this very ill-health is as much an effect as a cause of this want of steadiness & self-command; and it is for mercy that I ask, not for justice. -- To apply all this to the present case -- When you spent the Tuesday Evening with me at my Lodgings, I told you my scheme -- i.e. that line of conduct, which I thought it my duty to pursue, & which I wished to realize. -- If I deviated from it, it was (with the exception of two Saturdays, which I dined out, the one with Mackintosh & the other with Sharp, & which I did from Principle) -- all the rest, (& I must add in favor of myself, that the whole scarcely amounted to more than half of half a dozen) was from the causes, I have stated. I was taken out to dinner; & if you had come & fixed a day, you too would have taken me. -- But indeed, Godwin! you were offended, far too hastily. For a week & more I was exceedingly unwell; & in one instance, when I had fully intended to have met you, I had a hint given to me that it would be unpleasant to you, &c. -- So much for my apparent or real Neglect of you since my arrival in town. -- The altered Tone of my Letters previously, is a different affair. When I wrote to you, that I did not imagine you to be much interested about my personal existence, you think this may be fairly considered as a developement of the state of my feelings towards you. -- No. ---- It developed nothing; but it hinted disappointment, & that my feelings of personal concern respecting you had been starved by the imagined want of correspondent feelings in your mind. I had been really & truly interested in you, & for you; & often in the heat of my spirit I have spoken of your literary Imprudences & Self-delusions with asperity, that if 'the good-natured Friends' have conveyed it to you [they] would have conveyed a bare story of the constancy of my friendship -- but the truth & the whole Truth, [is] that I have been angry because I have been vexed. My letters before Midsummer expressed what I felt ---- and nothing but what I felt. If I underwent any alteration of feelings, it was in consequence of my appearing to observe in your Letters a want of interest in me, my health, my goings on. This offended my moral nature, & (so help me God) not my personal Pride. I considered it as a great Defect in your character, & as I always write from my immedia[te] feelings (with more or less suppression) I suffered the Belief to appear in the tone of my language -- I was struggling with sore calamities, with -783- bodily pain, & languor -- with pecuniary Difficulties -- & worse than all, with domestic Discord, & the heart-withering Conviction -that I could not be happy without my children, & could not but be miserable with the mother of them. -- Of all this you knew but a part, & that, no doubt, indistinctly / yet there did appear to me in your letters a sort of indifference -- a total want of affectionate Enquiry -- pardon me, if I dare express all my meaning in a harsh form -- it did appear to me, as if without any attachment to me you were simply gratified by the notion of my attachment to you. But I must repeat (for if I know my own heart, it is the naked Truth) it offended my moral, & not my personal, feelings: for I have purchased Love by Love. -- I am boisterous & talkative in general company; & there are those, who have believed that Vanity is my ruling Passion. They do not know me. -- As an Author, at all events, I have neither Vanity nor ambition -- I think meanly of all, that I have done; and if ever I hope proudly of my future Self, this Hot Fit is uniformly followed & punished by Languor, & Despondency -- or rather, by lazy & unhoping Indifference. -- In the 2nd Volume of Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads you will find certain parts, & superficies of me sketched truly under the title -'A character in the antithetical manner.['] 1 -- I have written thus, and thus prolixly of myself, with far other feelings than those of Self-love, or of pleasure from the writing about myself --. You seemed to doubt my regard & esteem for you: to whom but to a man whom I regarded & esteemed, would I, or could I, have written this Letter? -- Your's, S. T. Coleridge