482. To Robert Southey Address: Robert Southey Esqre | St James's Parade | Kingsdown | Bristol MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. with omis. E.L.G. i. 240. Postmark: 11 January 1808. Stamped: Keswick. Keswick, Saturday Evening, Jan. [ 8,] 1808 My dear Southey Your whole conduct to George Burnet has been that of a kind & truly good man. For myself, I have no heart to spare for a Coxcomb mad with vanity & stupified with opium. He may not have a bad heart; but he wants a good one. With much sorrow from without, much pain, & disease, & not a little self-dissatisfaction, & with some real distresses of valuable men in my immediate view, I verily can scarcely afford even to pity a fool. Yet better stars be with him! -- I grieve sincerely that there should be such helpless self-tormenting Tormentors; tho' I cannot say, that it adds much to my grief, that one of them is called George Burnet. -- At least, if it does, it is for his friends & not for his own sake. -- Believe me, dear Southey! your account of your improved health & eyesight was a real comfort to me. I love my Milton / & will not endure any other Poet's addresses to his Blindness -- Yet of the two fearful evils I would rather, you were blind, than stomach-deranged to any high degree. You know enough, dear friend! of this latter to guess what it must be, when in the excess in which T. Wedgewood has it. Your diet is, I am persuaded by my own experience, a wise one. I take the chalybeated Aquafortis, with benefit -- & find considerable benefit from eating nothing at breakfast, & taking only a single cup of strong Coffee -then at eleven o'clock I take a couple of eggs, kept in boiling water one minute, folded up in a napkin for a minute & a half, & then put into the boiling water, which is now to be removed from the fire, & kept there with the saucepan covered from 4 to 6 minutes, according to the size of the eggs, & quantity of water in the saucepan. -- The superiority of eggs thus boiled to those boiled in the common way proves to me the old proverb -- there is reason in roasting of Eggs. -- I empty the eggs out into a glass or tea cup, & eat them with a little salt & cayenne peper -- but no bread. -- What a pretty Book one might write, entitled 'Le petite Soulagement, or -910- Little Comforts, by a Valetudinarian['] -- comprizing cookery, sleeping, travelling, conversation, self-discipline -- poetry, morals, metaphysics -- all the alleviations, that reason & well-regulated self-indulgence, can give to a good sick man. -- Sara sends her best Love to you & Edith & Margaret -- & she will write as soon as she has strength. She is in a middling way -- nothing to lament, nothing to boast of. The Sariola is well -- save the Thrush in her mouth -- of which I have noted nothing but that it does not sing, from whence I conclude it is a different kind of Thrush from the Turdus Communis or Throstle of the South Counties -- / On the 30th of Dec. I accompanied Wedgewood to Patterdale, at the head of Ullswater, to Mr Luff's-whom he has some thoughts, I believe, of getting as a companion. On New year's Day I walked over Kirkstone, an awful Road over a sublime mountain by Tairn & waterfall, to Ambleside & Grasmere -- the next day, I walked more than halfway to Keswick to meet Miss Wordsworth, & back again / but unfortunately got wet in my feet -- & on the day after, Monday, Jan. 3. in the evening I had an attack of Dysentery, in kind the same, & in degree nearly equal, to that which I had at Keswick when Stoddart & Edith were there. Dear Edith will remember it well. The same deadly sweats -- the same frightful Profluvium of burning Dregs, like melted Lead -- with quantities of bloody mucus from the Coats of the Intestines. -- I was better after -- & had a good night -- & was so well the next day, that I determined to perform the promise, I had made -- & accordingly walked back again to Mr Luff's over Kirkstone, just 15 miles from Grasmere -- I stayed Wednesday at Luff's -- & on Thursday Wedgewood seemed to have made up his plans, & I found I could go to my home, for a week or so -- but having something of importance to talk to Wordsworth about concerning Luff I was forced to go by Grasmere -- but took a little Poney & a woman to bring it back again, to take me to the top of the mountain; but before I got half way up, the storm was so horrid & pitiless that the woman seemed frightened -- & I thought it unmanly to let her go on. So I dismounted, & sent her home with the Storm to her Back. I am no novice in Storms; but such as this I never before witnessed, combining the violence of the wind & rain with the intensity of the cold. My hands were shrivelled like a Washer-woman's: & the rain was pelted, or rather slung, by the wind against my face, like splinters of Flint; and seemed to cut my flesh. -- A violent pain attacked my right eye -which, I own, greatly alarmed me --. On turning the mountain, at the first step of descent, all was calm, breathless -- it seemed as if there was a great Fountain of wind & Tempest at the summit that rolled down a Niagara of Air to Wards Patterdale -- I arrived at -911- Grasmere, soaked thro' -- & the next day walked to Keswick -- but in consequence of all this, I have had another attack of disentery, & am very poorly. -- I have been thus prolix -- because it will give you a good idea of the nature of my health -- & what a degree & scrupulousness of care it requires to Ward off fits of Distemper from my Bowels. -- My plans are these -- or rather Wedgewood's -- to go to Gunville, to his Brother's, in about ten days -- stay there a month or so -& then to go together to Paris, thro' Switzerland, to Rome, Naples, & perhaps Sicily. -- I am indifferent -- this is well -- & to stay at home would perhaps be better. God knows my heart! it is for my wife's & children's sakes that I go far more than for my own. Yet I could be well-content to try what great care, scrupulous Diet, & a perfect system of cloathing would do, at Keswick. For I love the place with a perfect Love. -- Next to Keswick I would live at Bristol beyond any other place in the Island & of course am glad that you are to live there. -- I have a great deal more to say; but I am getting weak. -- The Ode on Switzerland? -- O! -- you must mean the old Ode, entitled France -- which Stuart has reprinted. 1 As to my politics, given in the Letters to Fox, & in the Essays on France, they are quite my own -- & Stuart's chiefly in consequence of my conversations with him. So far from writing those Letters under Stuart's influence, he kept them 8 weeks -- afraid to publish them -- & at last did it, roused to indignation by an account given him by one of Fox's warmest Friends of Fox's conduct in Paris. -As to Switzerland I know nothing -- if you can procure me any information from King, I would thank you. You well know, that all valuable information may [be] compressed into a very moderate Letter. As to my Letters to Fox, I wish, you had read them -- You would have seen, that only a few conciliatory Passages were Stuartian, but all the reprehensory parts I myself I --. If I have erred, how gladly should I have it pointed out to me! But men of all parties have read the Letters with a compleat Sympathy of Faith -- & what am I to understand by your remark, my dear Southey? -- Have you heard any thing from France, which inclines you to think favorably of Bonaparte, of the French Government, or of Fox's apparent Adulation? -- But I shall write two or three more Essays -- & then collect them into a Pamphlet -- & so I shall have your opinion cool[l]y. -- I heard of the Edingburgh review, 2 & heard the name of your Reviewer -- but forgot it --. Reviews may, sell 50 or 100 copies in the first three months -- & there their Influence ends. Depend on it, no living Poet possesses the general ____________________ 1 Morning Post, 16 Apr 1798; reprinted 14 Oct. 1802. 2 See Edinburgh Review, Oct 1802, p. 68, for a review of Thalaba. -912- reputation, which you possess. Blomfield is the Farmer's Boy, not a Poet -- in the mind of the Public -- and Rogers is never thought of, tho' every School Girl has his pleasures. of memory. W. Wordsworth's reputation is hitherto sectarian -- my name is perhaps nearly as well known & as much talked of as your's -- but I am talked of, as the man of Talents, the splendid Talker, & as a Poet too -- but not, as you are, as a Poet, κατ' ἒμ?ϕασ+̂ιV -- I rejoice that Madoc is to be published speedily. -- God bless you! -- write to me here -- & if I go, your Letter will be sent after me -- & I will endeavor to write more livelily. -- I am become a gentle & tranquillized Being, but, O Southey! I am not the Coleridge, which you knew me. S. T. C. -- My AFFECTIONATE ESTEEM to C. Danvers. God bless him!!