491. To Robert Southey Address: Robert Southey Esqre | St James's Parade | Kingsdown | Bristol Single Sheet MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. E. L. G. i. 253. Stamped: Bridgewater. Nether Stowey, Thursday Morning, Feb. 17. 1803 My dear Southey I received your Letter at ten o'clock last night: it occasioned me a restless night. Partly, I was greatly oppressed to think, that there should hang such weights from your wings -- & partly, I harrassed myself by the apprehension that I had expressed myself abruptly in my last Letter, & not with sufficient delicacy, as to your living at Keswick -- making previous conditions, as in a Bargain. But I was heavy with thought & with want of Sleep, tho' not with the desire of it: and one is apt to say bluntly what must be said & cannot be said without pain. I feel myself awkwardly situated; I shall either be guilty of a Breach of Confidence to Mrs Coleridge or I must request of you not to mention what I say to Mrs Southey -- & I am not certain, that this Latter is not in the teeth of part of your marriage Code. But Mrs Coleridge, who would be too happy, -928- as the phrase [goes], if you & Mrs Southey & the Pearl were with her, has most expressly in a Letter to me declared that she will not live with Mrs Lovell; nor with Tom. This last article is not altogether in consequence of the opinion & feelings, I expressed to her, respecting him, & his unbrotherly manners to you; but from the necessity of an additional Servant, & the consequent crowding of the House, to which Mr Jackson has objected, for his own Quiet's sake, & to which Mrs C. objects for her own. Assuredly, I have no right to do any thing that will in the least degree diminish Mrs Coleridge's Comforts & Tranquillity. In an evil Day for me did I first pay attentions to Mrs Coleridge; in an evil day for me did I marry her; but it shall be my care & my passion, that it shall not be an evil day for her; & that whatever I may be, or may be represented, as a Husband, I may yet be unexceptionable, as her Protector & Friend. -- O dear Southey! I am no Elm! -- I am a crumbling wall, undermined at the foundation! Why should the Vine with all it's clusters be buried in my rubbish? -- As to my returning to Keswick, it is not to be calculated on. -- I advise you at all events to emancipate yourself. Allow Mrs Lovell 20£ a year, till she can get a situation; & let her live in some family, where she will make herself in some way useful, so as to make up for the small Allowance. If nothing better can be done (& I will try my very utmost) do this -- but I conjure you, at all events, & whatever it cost you, emancipate yourself. -- Good heaven! what a shocking Thing that there should be such unnecessary canker worms in your Happiness! -- You only need a little courage to give a little pain. You are happy in your marriage Life; & greatly to the honor of your moral self-government, Qualities & manners are pleasant to, & sufficient for, you, to which my Nature is utterly unsuited: for I am so weak, that warmth of manner in a female House mate is as necessary to me, as warmth of internal attachment. This is weakness; / but on the other hand I ought to say, in justice to myself, that I am happy & contented in solitude, or only with the common Inhabitants of a Batchelor's House: / -- an old woman, and a sharp Child. -- But you, who want nothing to be happy -- who are prevented from happiness, & consequent Greatness, only by unnecessary Appendages -- I cannot endure to think of it ---- Go to Keswick -- or to the South of France -- first, compleatly clear yourself -- & then live within your income, & do nothing but great works. ---- My Disease is probably anomalous. If it can be called any thing, by a lucky Guess, it may be called irregular scrophulous Gout. But as to King's notion, that if it be irregular Gout, change of -929- climate is no remedy -- this is in the teeth of every medical writer of Note on the gout, who have all prescribed hot Climates for gouty people -- & what weighs more with me, in the teeth of particular facts in my own knowlege. -- Besides, what gouty Medicines are there that I have not used? What gouty regimen? Have I not wholly abandoned wine, spirits, & all fermented Liquors? And taken Ginger in superabundance? 'Tis true, I have not taken Dr Beddoes's North American Fruit -- nor do I intend to do it. -What can I want more decisive than my own experience-in hot rooms I am well -- in hot weather I am well -- Cold, wet, & change of weather uniformly disease me. -- It is astonishing how well I was three hot weeks in last summer -- a cold rain came on, & I was ill as instantly as if it had poisoned me. I should be an ideot, if I wished any thing more decisive than this. My Disease, whatever it may be called, consists in an undue sensibility with a deficient irritability -- muscular motion is languid with me, & venous action languid-my nerves are unduly vivid -- the consequence is, a natural tendency to obstructions in the glands, &c; because glandular secretion requires the greatest vigor of any of the secretories. My only medicine is an universal & regular Stimulus -Brandy, Laudanum, &c &c make me well, during their first operation; but the secondary Effects increase the cause of the Disease. Heat in a hot climate is the only regular & universal Stimulus of the external world; to which if I can add Tranquillity, the equivalent, & Italian climate, of the world within, I do not despair to be a healthy man. When I shall see you, I cannot tell -- certainly not for 5 weeks. I go to Taunton on Friday; and leave it on Saturday morning 5 o'clock -- & shall be at Gunville, on Saturday evening. Josiah Wedgewood is high Sheriff of the County. -- You will see by my Letter that T. Wedgewood wrote to me what Tobin told you. Selfishly speaking, I should wish he might continue of that mind; but I love & honor him so much, that on the whole I do not wish it. For I am desirous above all things, that he should make a fair Trial of a good climate; which he cannot do, unless he has both a field companion with him, and a man who in the sum of his faculties is his Equal -- & one who is with him purely from affectionate Esteem. -- Do not mind the Cid. I do not think, I shall be able to do any thing in the poetry Line. -- God bless you | & S. T. Coleridge. Poole's kind remembrances -- & will send you Laver quam citissime. -- I have opened the Letter to beg that you will procure -930- (me from King a Bottle of the red Sulfat, and one of the Compound Acid -- & to send them well secured to Mr T. Wedgewood, Cote -for me: & this must be within a week. --