502. To Thomas Poole Address: Thomas Poole, Esqre | Nether Stowey | Bridgewater | Somerset -- MS. British Museum. Pub. E. L. G. i. 262. Postmark: 23 May 1803. Stamped: Keswick. May 20, 1803. Keswick My dear Poole Since Good Friday, the time of my arrival at Keswick, I have been not only very ill -- & for a large part of the time actually bedridden -- but the Disorder seized in my head in such a way, that the ____________________ 1 Having been ill for some time, Mrs. Clarkson left the Lake Country for Bury St. Edmunds in July 1803. Her mother died a year later, after a protracted illness, when Coleridge was in Malta. This letter was probably written in May, before Mrs. Clarkson's departure. The first sentence seems to refer to Coleridge's insurance policy, which, he wrote to both Southey and Poole, had been so great a comfort to him during his illness. See Letters 500 and 502. 2 Possibly the result of this inquiry led Coleridge to request Thelwall to bring Duns Scotus's De Sententiis on the way from Kendal to Keswick. See Letter 528. -944- very idea of writing became terrible to me. -- It was the Influenza, which shewed itself in the form of rheumatic Fever -- crippling my loins -- but distinguished from it by immediate prostration of Strength, confusion of Intellect on any attempt to exert it, a tearing Cough with constant expectoration, & clammy honey-dew sweats on awaking from my short Sleeps. -- I am now only somewhat better / & feel the infinite Importance of the deepest Tranquillity. -- It has been an inconceivable Comfort to me during my illness that when in London I had made myself a member of the Eq. Ass. Society for 1000£, which cost me 31£ -- but henceforward it will only be 27£. I made my will too, bequeathing the Interest of the Sum to Mrs C. -- and after her Death the Sum itself to my Daughter if she be alive / if not, to my two boys or the one who is alive --. I ventured without writing to you to take the liberty of leaving the money to you in trust -- & in case of your Death, to Wordsworth. But I shall employ the first months of my returning Health in arranging my MSS, to be published in case I should be taken off -& I will send you instructions with respect to my Letters &c -which should be collected -- & I shall leave it entirely to you & Wordsworth to choose out of them such as with necessary omissions, & little corrections of grammatical inaccuracies may be published -----; but if God grant me only tolerable Health this summer, I pledge myself to all who love me, that by next Christmas the last three years of my Life shall no longer appear a Blank. -- I wish exceedingly that you could come to me this Summer, or Autumn / and God knows my heart, I wish very few things. -- Dear Poole! in the present Instance I have been incapable of writing to you / but at no time judge of my affection & esteem by the frequency or infrequency of my Letters. While I live, I shall always hold you dear in the first degree. -- Farewelll S. T. Coleridge At one time every Soul in my house was confined to bed, & we were tended on by strange faces. Many have died of the complaint in & about Keswick / & no one has been quite as well since as before. -- Love to Ward. Mrs Coleridge's Love to you. -----