439. To Thomas Poole Address: Mr T. Poole | N. Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset MS. British Museum. Pub. with omis. E. L. G. i. 193. Postmark: 10 May 1802. Stamped: Keswick. May 7, [ 1802.] Friday -- Keswick My dear Poole I were sunk low indeed, if I had neglected to write to you from any lack of affection / I have written to no human being -- which I mention, not as an excuse, but as preventive of any aggravation of my fault. I have neither been very well, nor very happy; but I have been far from idle / and I can venture to promise you that by the end of the year I shall have disburthened myself of all my metaphysics, &c -- & that the next year I shall, if I am alive & in possession of my present faculties, devote to a long poem. -- All my small poems are about to be published, as a second Volume / & I mean to write few, if any, small poems, hereafter. -- So much for myself -- My children are well -- Mrs Coleridge is indisposed, & I have too much reason to suspect that she is breeding again / an event, which was to have been deprecated. -- Wordsworth is as well as he usually is; & has written a considerable number of small poems. -- So much for us of the North. -- And you are going to France, Switzerland, Italy! -- Good go with you, & with you return! I have, you well know, read nothing in French but metaphysical French / of French Books I know nothing -- of French manners nothing -- Wordsworth, to whom I shall send your Letter tomorrow, may perhaps have somewhat to communicate / he having been the same rout -- but what can you want? I never saw you in any company in which you did not impress every one present as a superior man / and you will not be three days in France without having learnt the way of learning all you want --. I advise one thing only -- that before you go you skim over Adam Smith, & that in France you look thro' some of their most approved writers on political Economy -- & that you keep your mind intent on this / I am sure, that it is a Science in it's Infancy -indeed, Science it is none -- & you, I would fain anticipate, will be a Benefactor to your Species by making it so. -- Had I been you, I would have gone thro' France & Switzerland, & returned by Paris -- & not gone to Paris first. Such a crowd of eager Englishmen will be there, at the same time with you, all pressing forward with their Letters of Recommendation / & you will find it difficult perhaps to remain disentangled by their society / To which as a more important Reason I may add the superior skill & fluency in French -799- & french manners -- the naturalization of Look & Tongue -- which will enable you to converse with the Literati of Paris on a better footing, if you take Paris last. -- I had offers made me by a London Bookseller of paying me the reasonable expences, of a tour thro' France & Switzerland, on the condition of a regular correspondence with him, which he was, of course, to publish / but tho' I had many strong domestic reasons impelling me to accept the offer, among others the benefit which my Health would have received from such a vacation from household Infelicity, yet I declined it -- chiefly, but not altogether, from my ignorance of the French Language -- / In Switzerland indeed they speak German; but there one uses one's Eyes more than one's Tongue or Ears -- / It would be droll if we had met -- you not knowing of my Scheme! -- What an Æra in our Lives it would have been, to have passed thro' Switzerland together -- You will (tho' I have little claim upon you, I confess) give me the delight of hearing from you / especially, I am solicitous to know the price of provisions & house rent in the South of France -nearest Switzerland / I am glad, you have received the German Picture 1 -- there is one (I see by the Newspaper) in the Exhibition of me / what it is, or whose, I do not know, but I guess, it must be the miniature, which Hazlitt promised to Mrs Coleridge; but did not give to her, because I never finished my sittings / Mine is not a picturesque Face / Southey's was made for a picture. -- Poor old Cruckshank! 2 -- Give my kind Love to Ward -- I will not let this post go off without this Letter, dreary & vacant as it is -- but I will write again, in a few days, when my heart is come back to me / but not to leave such a Blank I will transcribe 2 pleasing little poems of Wordsworth's -- To a Butterfly 3 Stay near me! Do not take thy Flight! A little longer stay in sight! Much Reading do I find in thee, Historian of my Infancy! Float near me! do not yet depart! Dead Times revive in thee -Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art, A solemn Image to my Heart, My Father's Family. ____________________ 1 See p. 470. 2 Poole had written to Coleridge of the death of William Cruikshank, Lord Egmont's agent. 3 Wordsworth Poet. Works, i. 226. -800- O pleasant, pleasant were the Days The time when in our childish plays My Sister Emmeline & I Together chac'd the Butterfly. A very Hunter did I rush Upon the Prey: with Leaps & Springs I follow'd on from Brake to Bush -But she, God love her! fear'd to brush The Dust from off it's wings. The Sparrow's Nest 1 Look! five blue Eggs are gleaming there! Few Visions have I seen more fair Nor many Prospects of Delight More pleasing than that simple sight! I started, seeming to espy The Home & little Bed, The Sparrow's Dwelling which hard by My Father's House, in wet or dry, My Sister Emmeline & I Together visited. She look'd at it, as if she fear'd it, Still wishing, dreading to be near it; Such Heart was in her, being then A little Prattler among men. The Blessing of my later years Was with me when a Boy, She gave me eyes, she gave me ears, And humble Cares & delicate Fears, A heart the fountain of sweet Tears, And love & thought & Joy! I ought to say for my own sake that on the 4th of April last I wrote you a letter in verse; but I thought it dull & doleful -- & did not send it ----- God bless you, dear Friend! & S. T. C. ----- ____________________ 1 Wordsworth Poet. Works, i. 227. -801-