512. To Sir George and Lady Beaumont Address: Single Sheet. | Sir George Beaumont, Baronet, | at the | Right Honorable Lord Lowther's | Lowther Hall | Penrith. MS. Pierpont Morgan Lib. Pub. B. Ifor Evans, Coleorton Manuscripts of "Resolution and Independence" and "Ode to Dejection", Modern Language Review, July-October 1951, p. 355. Coleridge's letter is preceded by a copy of Resolution and Independence transcribed by Dorothy Wordsworth and an incomplete version of Dejection in Coleridge's handwriting. Mr. Evans points to 'the confirmation of the close relationship of Wordsworth's poem with that of Coleridge by their presentation in this joint form to the Beaumonts'; while Professor Meyer, in a careful study of the first draft of Dejection, composed on 4 April 1802, and of Resolution and Independence, begun on 8 May 1802, suggests that Wordsworth's poem 'is an answer to Coleridge's'. (Cf. B. Ifor Evans, op. cit. 355, and George W. Meyer , Resolution and Independence: Wordsworth's Answer to Coleridge Dejection: An Ode', Tulane Studies in English, ii, 1950, p. 66.) Stamped: Keswick. Saturday Night. [ 13 August 1803] There was a roaring in the wind all night; 1 The rain came heavily, & fell in floods; But now the sun is rising calm and bright, The birds are singing in the distant woods; Over his own sweet voice the stock dove broods, The jay makes answer as the magpie chatters; And all the air is fill'd with pleasant noise of waters. All things that love the sun are out of doors; The sky rejoices in the morning's birth, The grass is bright with rain-drops, on the moors The hare is running races in her mirth, And with her feet she from the plashy earth Raises a mist, which, glittering in the sun, Runs with her all the way wherever she doth run. ____________________ 1 Poet. Works, ii. 285. This version of Resolution and Independence differs considerably from that of the published text. -966- I was a Traveller then upon the Moor, I saw the hare that rac'd about with joy, I heard the woods and distant waters roar, Or heard them not, as happy as a Boy; The pleasant season did my heart employ, My old remembrances went from me wholly, And all the ways of men so vain and melancholy. But, as it sometimes chanceth from the might Of joy in minds that can no farther go, As high as we have mounted in delight In our dejection do we sink as low To me that morning did it happen so; And fears and fancies thick upon me came, Dim sadness & blind thoughts I knew not, nor could name. I heard the sky-lark singing in the sky And I bethought me of the playful hare; Even such a happy Child of earth am I, Even as these happy creatures do I fare; Far from the world I walk & from all care But there may come another day to me; Solitude, pain of heart, distress and poverty. My whole life I have liv'd in pleasant thought As if life's business were a summer mood, And they who liv'd in genial faith found nought That grew more willingly than genial good But how can he expect that others should Build for him, sow for him, and at his call Love him who for himself will take no heed at all. I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, The sleepless soul who perish'd in his pride: Of him who walk'd in glory and in joy Behind his plough upon the mountain side; By our own spirits are we deified: We Poets in our youth begin in gladness; But thereof comes in the end despondency & madness. Now whether it was by peculiar grace, A leading from above, a something given, Yet it befel that in that lonely place, When up and down my fancy thus was driven, -967- And I with these untoward thoughts had striven, I spied a Man before me unawares; The oldest Man lie seem'd that ever wore grey hairs. My course I stopp'd as soon as I espied The Old Man in that naked wilderness; Close by a Pond upon the hither side He stood alone: a minute's space, [I gue]ss, I watch'd him, he continuing motionless. To the Pool's further margin then I drew, He all the while before me being full in view. As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie Couch'd on the bald top of an eminence, Wonder to all that do the same espy, By what means it could thither come & whence; So that it seems a thing endued with sense, Like a Sea-beast crawl'd forth, which on a Shelf Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself. Such seem'd this Man, not all alive nor dead, Nor all asleep; in his extreme old age His body was bent double, feet and head Coming together in their pilgrimage; As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage Of sickness felt by him in times long past A more than human weight upon his age had cast. Himself he propp'd, both body, [limb, and face,] 1 Upon a long grey staff of shaven woo[d], And still as I drew near with gentle pace Beside the little Pond or moorish flood Motionless as a cloud the Old Man stood, That heareth not the loud winds when they call, And moveth altogether if it moves at all. He wore a Cloak the same as women wear As one whose blood did needful comfort lack; His face look'd pale as if it had grown fair, And furthermore he had upon his back Beneath his Cloak a round & bulky Pack, A load of wool or raiment as might seem That on his shoulders lay as if it clave to him. ____________________ 1 MS. torn. -968- At length, himself unsettling, he the Pond Stirr'd with his staff, & fixedly did look Upon the muddy water which he conn'd As if he had been reading in a book; And now such freedom as I could I took And, drawing to his side, to him did say, 'This morning gives us promise of a glorious day.' A gentle answer did the Old Man make In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew; And him with further words I thus bespake, 'What kind of work is that which you pursue? 'This is a lonesome place for one like you.' He answerd me with pleasure & surprize, And there was while he spake a fire about his eyes. His words came feebly from a feeble chest, Yet each in solemn order follow'd each With something of a pompous utterance drest, Choice word & measur'd phrase, beyond the reach Of ordinary men, a stately speech, Such as grave livers do in Scotland use, Religious Men who give to God & Man their dues. He told me that he to the Pond had come To gather Leeches, being old and poor, That 'twas his calling, better far than some, Though he had many hardships to endure: From Pond to Pond he roam'd, from Moor to Moor, Housing with God's good help by choice or chance, And in this way he gain'd an honest maintenance. The Old Man still stood talking by my side, But soon his voice to me was like a stream Scarce heard, nor word from word could I divide, And the whole body of the Man did seem Like [one w]hom I had met with in a dream; Or like a Man from some far region sent To give me human strength, & strong admonishment. My former thoughts return'd, the fear that kills, The hope that is unwilling to be fed, Cold, pain, and labour, & all fleshly ills, And mighty Poets in their misery dead; -969- And now, not knowing what the Old Man had said, My question eagerly did I renew, 'How is it that you live? & what is it you do?' He with a smile did then his words repeat And said, that wheresoe'er they might be spied He gather'd Leeches, stirring at his feet The waters in the Ponds where they abide. Once he could meet with them on every side; But fewer they became from day to day, And so his means of life before him died away. While he was talking thus the lonely place, The Old Man's shape & speech all troubl'd me; In my mind's eye I seem'd to see him pace About the weary Moors continually, Wandering about alone and silently. While I these thoughts within myself pursu'd, He, having made a pause, the same discourse renew'd. And now with this he other matter blended Which he deliver'd with demeanor kind, Yet stately in the main; & when he ended I could have laugh'd myself to scorn to find In that decrepit Man so firm a mind; 'God,' said I, 'be my help & stay secure! 'I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely Moor.['] Dejection, an Ode. 1 -- (Imperfect) April 4th, 1802 'Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon 'With the old Moon in her Arm, And I fear, I fear, my dear Mastér, 'We shall have a deadly Storm.['] THE BALLAD OF SIR PAT. SPENCE. Well! if the Bard was weatherwise, who made The grand old Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, This Night, so tranquil now, will not go hence Unrous'd by Winds that ply a busier Trade Than that which moulds yon Clouds in lazy Flakes, Or the dull sobbing Draft, that drones and rakes Amid the Strings of this Eolian Lute, Which better far were mute! ____________________ 1 Poems, i. 362. -970- For lo! the New moon, winter-bright! And overspread with phantom Light, With swimming phantom Light o'erspread But rimm'd and circled with a silver Thread, I see the Old Moon in her Lap, foretelling The coming on of Rain and squally Blast! And O! that even now the Gust were swelling, And the slant Night-shower driving loud & fast! Those Sounds which oft have rais'd me while they aw'd And sent my Soul abroad, Might now perhaps their wonted Influence give, Might startle this dull Pain, and make it move and live. A Grief without a Pang, void, dark, and drear, A stifled, drowsy, unimpassion'd Grief, That finds no natural Outlet, no Relief In Word, or Sigh, or Tear -- O dearest William! in this heartless Mood To other Thoughts by yonder Throstle woo'd, All this long Eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky And it's celestial Tint of yellow green -- And still I gaze! and with how blank an eye! And those thin Clouds, above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motions to the Stars; Those Stars, that glide behind them or between, Now sparkling, now bedimmd, but always seen; Yon crescent moon, as fix'd as if it grew In it's own starless cloudless Lake of Blue; I see them all so excellently fair -- I see, not feel, how beautiful they are! My genial Spirits fail, And what can these avail To lift the smoth'ring Weight from off my Breast? It were a vain Endeavor Tho' I should gaze for ever On that green Light, which lingers in the West: I may not hope from outward forms to win The Passion and the Life, whose Fountains are within! O William! we receive but what we give: And in our Life alone does Nature live. Our's is her Wedding-garment, our's her Shroud! -971- And would we aught behold of higher Worth Than that inanimate cold World allow'd To the poor loveless ever-anxious Crowd -- Ah! from the Soul itself must issue forth A Light, a Glory, a fair luminous Cloud Enveloping the Earth! And from the Soul itself must there be sent A sweet and potent Voice, of it's own Birth, Of all sweet Sounds the Life and Element! O pure of Heart! thou need'st not ask of me, What this strong Music in the Soul may be -- What, and wherein doth it exist, This Light, this Glory, this fair luminous Mist, This beautiful, and beauty-making Power? Joy, dearest Bard! but such as ne'er was given Save to the Pure, and in their purest Hour, Joy, effluent, & mysterious, is the Power 1 Which wedding Nature to us gives in Dower A new Earth and new Heaven Undreamt of by the Sensual and the Proud! This 2 is the sweet Voice, This2 the luminous Cloud, Our hidden Selves rejoice! 3 And thence flows all that charms or Ear or Sight, All Melodies the echoes of that Voice, All Colours a Suffusion from that Light! Yes, dearest William! Yes! There was a Time, when tho' my Path was rough, This Joy within me dallied with Distress; And all Misfortunes were but as the Stuff Whence Fancy made me Dreams of Happiness: For Hope grew round me, like the climbing Vine, And Fruits and Foliage, not my own, seem'd mine. But now Afflictions bow me down to Ear[th:] Nor care I, that they rob me of my Mirth -- But O! each Visitation Suspends what Nature gave me at my Birth, My Shaping Spirit of Imagination! ____________________ 1 Joy, is the Spirit and mysterious Power [Cancelled version of line above.] 2 Joy [Cancelled word in line above.] 3 We, we ourselves, rejoice! [Cancelled version of line above.] -972- I am so weary of this doleful Poem that I must leave off / & the other Poems I will transcribe in a Sheet by themselves. 1 -- I have been very ill -- & it is well for those about me, that in these visitations of the Stomach my Disgusts combine with myself & my own Compositions -- not with others or the works of others.------I received the Applethwaite Writings from the Lawyer, made over to W. Wordsworth in due form, with much parchment Parade. 2 -- I have consulted Mr Edmondson as to the safety & propriety of my going into Scotland in an open Carriage. He is confident, that he can relieve me by the use of Carminative Bitters -- & that the Exercise &c will be highly beneficial. I shall probably try it therefore / but shall stay two days to enable myself to guess at the effect of the Bitters -- & the Steel Medicine. -- All are well: & Wordsworth['s] most respectful & affectionate Remembrances I am to convey to you, in terms as warm as respect & propriety will permit me. But Heaven bless me! I am a wretched Hand at apportioning these Things! -- I trust, that you are both pretty well -- My wishes, my prayers, are your's -- and I remain, dear Sir George, and | dear Lady, Beaumont, | with affectionate & grateful respect & esteem | Your's most sincerely, S. T. Coleridge John Fisher, Wordsworth's Neighbour, on reading Lord Lowther's circulatory Paper exclaimed to me -- [']Well, Mr Coleridge! they shall do me na Injury, till they have kill't me! I'll feet (fight) till I dee (die) -- & I'll dé with Honor.' He is a Shoemaker -- a fine enthusiastic noble minded Creature -- who has got a Son, his only one, in the Army. -- Peggy Ashburner, another Neighbour, on reading the little Pamphlet sent to the Minister of the Parish -- cries out -- Lord bless a' (pronounce it as au) -- Lord bless a', and pray God! why, it is eneugh to freeten yan to Deeth! -- And truly that Pamphlet is an over-dose of Stimulus. -- ____________________ 1 See Letter 521. 2 Beaumont had 'purchased a small property at Applethwaite, about three miles to the west [north] of Greta Hall, . . . and presented it to Wordsworth, whom as yet he had not seen'. Writing to Wordsworth in Oct. 1808, Beaumont says; 'I had a most ardent desire to bring you and Coleridge together. I thought with pleasure on the increase of enjoyment you would receive from the beauties of Nature, by being able to communicate more frequently your sensations to each other.' Memorials of Coleorton, i, pp. xii-xiii. -973-