477. To Thomas Poole Address: T. Poole Eaqre | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset MS. British Museum. Pub. E.L.G. i. 228. Stamped: Brecknock. Tecastle, Friday Night, Dec. 17. 1802 My dear Poole Both T. Wedgwood & myself are sorry that we cannot congratulate you on your return to England, with unmingled pleasure -- but this damned Dutch Ague -- I pray God, you may have Stoweyized it to the Devil -- or back again to the low Countries, which I should suppose a worse punishment for an Ague -- unless indeed, like Milton's Devils, it should move alternately from the fiery to the icy end of hell. -- And now let me defend myself against the charge of neglecting you -- . When your Letter arrived at Keswick I was absent -- out among the mountains on a fortnight's Tour -- your Letter came the very day, I left home -- . Mrs Coleridge will bear witness for me, how vexed & wounded I was that a Letter from you should have been a fortnight unanswered -- & how immediately & exclusively I set about answering it. I wrote you a long, & (for my head & heart were both full) not an ineloquent, or valueless Letter -- & if it were at all in my character to set any price on my own compositions, I should be vexed that I had not taken a copy. I wished to do it -- but did not, for eagerness to forward it to you. This Letter must have arrived at your Lodgings in Paris, the day you left it -- . Did you not pass thro' Paris on your return? -You yourself, my dear friend! are not wholly blameless in having stayed so long at Paris without writing to me. On receiving your second Letter, I wrote to you at the Poste restante, Geneva -- not -899- indeed immediately, but time enough in all conscience for it to have reached the place -- before your arrival. This was a mere Letter of affection, with a little effusion of old English Gall contra Gallos. It grieves me that you have not received these Letters -because it does a friendship no good for a man to have felt resentfully or woundedly towards his friend for 3 or 4 months -- even tho' he finds afterwards that he has wronged his Friend. -- Now of all earthly Things I detest explanations -- after the Day of Judgment there will be an end to them / veniat regnum tuum! -- And now for information respecting myself & our friend. -- I received on the 3rd of November a Letter from T. Wedgwood, which, I felt, could be properly answered only by immediately going to him. I left Keswick the next morning -- passed thro' London to Bristol met T. W. at Cote -- proceeded with him & Sally Wedgwood into Wales -- spent a week or so at St Clear's -- & then to Crescelly, the Seat of the Mrs Wedgwoods' Father, old Allen -- where we have passed the last 3 weeks in much comfort. Miss S. Wedgewood is a truly excellent woman / her whole Soul is clear, pure, & deep, as an Italian Sky -- Jessy, Fanny, & Emma Allen are all sweet Girls -- & Jessy & Fanny very interesting. We had plenty of music & plenty of Cream: for at Crescelly (I mention it as a remarkable circumstance it being the only place, I was ever at, in which it was not otherwise) tho' they have a Dairy, & tho' they have plenty of milk, yet nevertheless they are not at all stingy of it. In all other Houses, where Cows are kept, you may drink six shillings' worth of wine a day, & welcome / but use threepenny worth of Cream & O Lord I the Feelings of the Household & their Looks would curdle the Cream Dish. I have never been able to understand or analyse this strange Folly ---- it is a perfect mystery, that threepenny worth of Cream should be more costly than a shilling's worth of Butter. 1 ---- Our friend's Health is as nearly as possible what it was last Christmas -- & I conceive, that he must go to a warmer Climate sooner or later. He would not hesitate an hour, but that he feels that he is not likely to be happy, at a distance from, & out of reach of, Josiah. -- He is determined to give England a fair Trial -- & a scheme has started, which he thinks himself bound to act upon tho' the success of it, in it's first approaches, is extremely problematical. The Detail of it he will acquaint you with, as soon as he can ascertain any thing respecting it -- and on this scheme he is now going strait onwards to Cumberland -- and will return into ____________________ 1 C -- used to be very fond of the clouted cream -- eating more than my Dairy-maid thought sufficient -- The reproof within is meant for her -- or me. [Note written in the manuscript by Thomas Poole.] -900- South Wales, about the middle or perhaps end of January. It is a sense of Duty -- no movement of pleasure -- that impels him to the North, instead of to Stowey -- according to our former plan. He has taken a Shooting Cottage at Trewern, 5 miles from Narbarth, 13 from Crescelly, in Pembrokeshire --. This afternoon as we were on our way from Llandovery to this place, he had a very serious fit indeed, brought on by long detention of indurated faeces -- he is now relieved -- but God Almighty shield him from a second. I should extremely dread an inflammation in the Bowels, as the consequence. ---- My own Health is certainly better than it was when you last saw me -- much better. But it is far, very far from what it ought to be. My Stomach is exceedingly weak -- and all sort of food produces flatulence -- & my Bowels are weak. I find every month an increased necessity of austere Diet -- I have left off all wine, Spirit, & fermented liquor -- & I try to prefer solids to fluids, & animal food to vegetable --: simple food to seasoned I prefer naturally. But deep & pleasurable Tranquillity of Mind -- & an even warmth of Body -- are absolutely necessary for me, as far at least as Health is necessary. The latter I can gain only by settling in Sicily, or Teneriffe, or the W. Indies -- & this I should not hesitate concerning, if I could ensure the former, which you well know does not depend on myself. -- However, Mrs C. & I go on with less ---- of those habitual Ills That wear out Life when two unequal minds Meet in one house, & two discordant wills -- 1 We have been at peace. -- I return home with a palpitating heart-for I expect to hear at Kendal, that I have a new Child. -- From Keswick I shall write again; but T. Wedgwood joins with me in begging & entreating that you will immediately write to him, or me, at Keswick -- informing us, how you are -- for in very truth we are both anxious. -- Give my love to Ward -- to whom Mr Wedgewood desires his friendly remembrance. And if Miss Ward is at Stowey, I send her my best good wishes -- for she is of the better clay -- there is a susceptibility of the good & the beautiful in her heart & mind. ---- God bless you, my dear friend! I still believe, that I shall see you in a few months. S. T. Coleridge We shall arrive at Keswick Dec. 24 or 25th God willing. -- ____________________ 1 Cf. Letter 488, p. 796. -901-