468. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge Address: Mrs Coleridge | Keswick | Cumberland MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 410. Postmark: 18 November 1802. St Clear, Carmarthen. Tues. Nov. 16. 1802 My dear Love I wrote to you from the New Passage, Saturday Morning, Nov. 13. -- We had a favorable Passage -- dined on the other side, & proceeded in a Post-chaise to Usk, and from thence to Abergavenny, where we supped, slept, & breakfasted -- a vile supper, vile beds, & vile breakfast. -- From Abergavenny to Brecon, thro' the vale of Usk, I believe -- 19 miles of most delightful Country -it is not indeed comparable with the meanest part of our Lake Country -- but Hills, Vale, & River, Cottages & Woods, are nobly blended, & thank Heaven! I seldom permit my past greater pleasures to lessen my enjoyment of present Charms -- Of the things, which this 19 miles has in common with our whole vale of Keswick, (which is about 19 miles,) I may say that the two vales, & the two Rivers are equal to each other / that Keswick Vale beats the Welch one, all hollow, in Cottages --; but is as much surpassed by it in Woods, and Timber Trees. I am persuaded, that every Tree in the South of England has three times the number of Leaves, that a Tree of the same sort & size has in Cumberland or Westmoreland -- and there is an incomparably larger number of very large Trees. Even the Scotch Firs luxuriate into beauty, & pluminess, & the Larches are magnificent Creatures indeed -- in S. Wales. -- I must not deceive you however / with all these advantages, S. Wales -- if you came into it with the very pictures of Keswick, Ulswater, Grasmere, &c in your fancy, & were determined to hold them & S. Wales together -- with all it's richer fields, woods, & ancient Trees, S. Wales would needs appear flat & tame, as ditch-water. I have no firmer persuasion than this -that there is no place in our Island -- (& saving Switzerland -- none in Europe, perhaps) which really equals the vale of Keswick, -882- including Borrodale, Newlands, & Bassenthwaite --. O Heaven! that it had but a more genial Climate! -- It is now going on for the 18th week, since they have had any Rain here, more than a few casual refreshing Showers -- & we have monopolized the Rain of the whole Kingdom! From Brecon to Trecastle / a Church Yard two or three miles from Brecon is belted by a circle of the largest & noblest Yews, I ever saw -- in a belt, to wit -- they are not as large as the Yew in Borrodale, or that in Lorton / but so many, so large & noble, I never saw before -- and quite glowing with those heavenly coloured silky-pink-scarlet Berries. -- From Trecastle to Llandovery, where we found a nice Inn, an excellent Supper, & good Beds --. From Llandovery to Llandilo -- from Llandilo to Carmarthen, a large Town, all white-washed -- the Roofs of the Houses all white-washed! a great Town in a Confectioner's shop, on Twelfth cake Day / or a huge Show piece at a distance /. It is nobly situated along a Hill, among Hills, at the Head of a very extensive Vale. -- From Carmarthen after Dinner to St Clear -a little Hamlet nine miles from Carmarthen, three miles from the Sea (the nearest Sea-port being Langarn, pronounced Larn, on Carmarthen Bay -- look in the Map) and not quite 100 miles from Bristol. -- The Country immediately round is exceedingly bleak & dreary-- just the sort of Country, that there is around Shurton, &c -- But the Inn, the BLUE BOAR, is the most comfortable little Public House, I was ever in --. Miss S. Wedgewood 1 left us this morning (we arrived here, at ½ past 4 Yesterday Evening) for Crescella, Mr ALLEN'S Seat (the Mrs Wedgewoods' Father) 2 15 miles from this place -- and T. Wedgewood is gone out, Cock shooting, in high glee & spirits. He is very much better than I expected to have found him / he says, the Thought of my coming, & my really coming so immediately, has sent a new Life into him. -He will be out all the mornings -- the evenings we chat, discuss, or I read to him. To me he is a delightful & instructive Companion. He possesses the finest, the subtlest mind & taste, I have ever yet met with. -- His mind resembles that miniature Sun seen, as you look thro' a Holly Bush, as I have described it in my Three Graves -- 3 'A small blue Sun! and it has got A perfect Glory too! Ten thousand Hairs of color'd Light Make up a Glory gay & bright Round that small orb so blue![']----- ____________________ 1 Sarah Wedgwood was the sister of Tom and Josiah. 2 John Bartlett Allen of Cresselly was the father of Mrs. John and Mrs. Josiah Wedgwood. 3 Poems, i. 284, lines 509-13. -883- I continue in excellent Health, compared with my state at Keswick -- my bowels give me but small Disquiet -- all, I am troubled with, is a frequent oppression, a suffocating Weight, of Wind -Sunday Night I was obliged to sit up in my bed, an hour & a half & at last, was forced to make myself sick by a feather, in order to throw off the Wind from my Stomach --. But I have now left off Beer too, & will persevere in it -- I take no Tea -- in the morning Coffee, with a tea spoonful of Ginger in the last cup -- in the afternoon a large Cup of Ginger Tea -- / & I take Ginger at 12 o clock at noon, & a glass after supper. I find not the least inconvenience from any Quantity, however large -- I dare say, I take a large Table spoonful in the course of the 24 hours -- & once in the 24 hours (but not always at the same hour) I take half a grain of purified opium, equal to 12 drops of Laudanum -- which is not more than [an] 8th part of what I took at Keswick, exclusively of B[eer,] Brandy, & Tea, which last is undoubtedly a pernicious S[timulant --] all which I have left off -- & will give this Regimen a fair, compleat Trial of one month -- with no other deviation, than that I shall sometimes lessen the opiate, & sometimes miss a day. But I am fully convinced, & so is T. Wedgewood, that to a person, with such a Stomach & Bowels as mine, if any stimulus is needful, Opium in the small quantities, I now take it, is incomparably better in every respect than Beer, Wine, Spirits, or any fermented Liquor -- nay, far less pernicious than even Tea. -- It is my particular Wish, that Hartley & Derwent should have as little Tea as possible& always very 1 weak, with more than half milk. Read this sentence to Mary, and to Mrs Wilson. -- I should think, that Ginger Tea with a good deal of Milk in it would be an excellent Thing for Hartley. A Tea spoonful piled up of Ginger would make a pot full of Tea, that would serve him for two days -- And let him drink it half milk -- I dare say, that he would like it very well -- for it is pleasant, with sugar -- & tell him that his dear Father takes it instead of Tea, & believes, that it will make his dear Hartley grow, & cure the Worms. The whole Kingdom is getting Ginger-mad. My dear Love! I have said nothing of Italy: for I am as much in the Dark as when I left Keswick -- indeed, much more. For I now doubt very much whether we shall go or no. Against our going you must place T. W's improved state of Health, & his exceeding dislike to continental Travelling, & horror of the Sea, & his exceeding attachment to his Family / for our going you must place his past experience -- the transiency of his enjoyments, the craving after change, & the effect of a cold winter, especially if it should come on wet, or sleety. His determinations are made so rapidly, ____________________ 1 Underlined twice in MS. -884- that two or three days of wet weather with a raw cold air might have such an effect on his Spirits, that he might go off immediately for Naples, or perhaps for Teneriff -- which latter place he is always talking about. Look out for it in the Encyclopaedia. -- Again, these latter causes make it not impossible or improbable, that the pleasure, he has in me, as a companion, may languish --. I must subscribe myself in haste Your dear Husband S. T. Coleridge The Mail is waiting