500. To Robert Southey [Addressed by Mrs. S. T. Coleridge.] To | R. Southey Esqre | Saint-James's place. | Kingsdown | Bristol MS. Lord Latymer. Hitherto unpublished. Postmark: 20 May 1808. Stamped: Keswick. 17th May. [1803] My dear Southey What mouldering Temples we seem to be! I arrived at Keswick on Good Friday, with the Influenza which I caught of an old man ____________________ 1 8 Apr. -942- in the Mail. It affected my eyes & stupified my Head, in a perfectly new way to me -- However, I had nearly got rid of it, tho' my faculties were in a state of confusion & unexampled weakness, when I caught cold by some accident; & the Influenza returned in the shape of a rheumatic fever, severer for it's continuance (3 fits in the 24 hours) than any attack since my first terrific one at Xt Hospital -- it was sufficiently distinguished however from simple Rheumatic Fever by the immediate & total Prostration of Strength, confusion of senses & faculties, long tearing fits of coughing with great expectoration, & clammy treacle-sweats on awaking. -- At the same time we were all layed up, but Hartley / Maid, Mistress, Baby, & Derwent: so that we had a [h]ouse of Squawling as well as of Mourning. Again I a[m] raising myself up -- and again I have a relapse -- a[nd] that I write you this Letter is literally, my dear Friend! the extent & stretched Tether of my Powers. -- Poor Mrs Danvers! -- dear old Mrs Poole! -- Old People, good dear old Ladies, are like Infants, that die at 9 months old / they gain by Death an unchangeable sort of Being in the minds of the Survivors. I did not love Mrs Danvers, as I loved Mrs Poole -- but I loved her so well, that I understood compleatly how you loved her / & thinking of old Mrs Poole, I not only understood -- but I had -- your identical Feeling. -- If I had such a mother, infirm, but her infirmity threatening nothing, methinks, I could go on with a full & an unyearning Heart ----- I will write as soon as I am able / I will do all I can respecting Robert Lovell. You were mistaken as to the Essay on the men who had risen from the Dead not existing in Plutarch / Lamb had your Plutarch from Rickman / old Philemon 1 / & I found it immediately / So little ought we to rely on a negation of our memory against another's Positive. -- My Plans remain the same / if Spain can continue neuter, I shall go in the late Autumn to Valencia / otherwise I must go to Madeira / which will be our's in some shape or other. -- No one who lived a month with me could have the least doubt as to the barometrical nature of my Health. I am weary & ashamed of talking about my intended works I am still in hopes that this summer will not pass away without something worthy of me. -- If you are in London, by all means insure your Life for 1000£ at the equitable Insurance Society. It will cost you 31£, for the first year, & 27£ for every succeeding one / and at your Death your widow &c have a 1000£, & besides an equal proportionate Share of the Profits of the Society for the whole time of your Membership. ----- I have ____________________ 1 Philemon Holland, The Philosophie, commonly called the Morals, written by the learned Philosopher Plutarch of Chaeronea, translated out of Greek into English, and conferred with Latin and French, 1603. -943- done it -- & I cannot express what a comfort it has been to me / what a weight off my mind. Rickman objects to the value, it makes you set upon your Life, in case of going out on a water-party, or a Sea voyage / for this sort of Death, Hanging, & Suicide deprive you of the Benefits -- I answer, the care you have in every other circumstance / mail coaches overturn & break necks, as well as Boats overset & drown / Every body (attorneys & men of the world) agrees, that it is the best possible way of saving money. -- Bless you & S. T. Coleridge.