516. To Robert Southey Address: Single Sheet | Mrs Coleridge | Greta Hall | Keswick | Cumberland | S. Britain For Mr Southey. MS. Lord Latymer. Pub.with omis. Letters, i. 434. This letter and the one following were written on the same sheet. Coleridge wrote to both Southey and Mrs. Coleridge from Perth; then on his arrival in Edinburgh the next day, he added a postscript to his letter to Mrs. Coleridge and posted the sheet containing both letters. Postmark: 12 September 1803. [ Perth,] Sunday Night, 9 o clock -- Sept. 10 . 1803 My dearest Southey I arrived here half an hour ago -- & have only read your Letters -- scarce read them. -- O dear friend! it is idle to talk of what I feel -- I am stunned at present -- & this beginning to write makes a beginning of living feeling within me. Whatever Comfort I can be to you, I will. -- I have no Aversions, no dislikes, that interfere with you -- whatever is necessary or proper for you, becomes ipso facto agreeable to me. I will not stay a day in Edinburgh -- or only one to hunt out my clothes. I can[not] chit chat with Scotchmen, while you are at Keswick, childless. -- Bless you, my dear Southey I I will knit myself far closer to you than I have hitherto done -- & my children shall be your's till it please God to send you another.----- I have been a wild Journey -- taken up for a spy & clapped into Fort Augustus -- & I am afraid, they may [have] frightened poor Sara, by sending her off a scrap of a Letter, I was writing to her. -- I have walked 268 miles in eight Days -- so I must have strength somewhere / but my spirits are dreadful, owing entirely to the Horrors of every night -- I truly dread to sleep / it is no shadow with me, but substantial Misery foot-thick, that makes me sit by my bedside of a morning, & cry --. I have abandoned all opiates except Ether be one; & that only in fits -- & that is a blessed medicine! -- & when you see me drink a glass of Spirit & Water, except by prescription of a physician, you shall despise me -- but still I can not get quiet rest -- When on my bed my limbs I lay, 1 It hath not been my use to pray With moving Lips or bended Knees; But silently, by slow degrees, My spirit I to Love compose, In humble trust my eyelids close, ____________________ 1 Poems, i. 889. These lines, in revised form, were first published in the Christabel volume of 1816 as The Pains of Sleep. -982- With reverential Resignation, No Wish conceiv'd, no Thought exprest, Only a Sense of Supplication, A Sense o'er all my soul imprest That I am weak, yet not unblest: Since round me, in me, every where, Eternal Strength & Goodness are! -- But yesternight I pray'd aloud In Anguish & in Agony, Awaking from the fiendish Crowd Of Shapes & Thoughts that tortur'd me! Desire with Loathing strangely mixt, On wild or hateful Objects fixt: Pangs of Revenge, the powerless Will, Still baffled, & consuming still, Sense of intolerable Wrong, And men whom I despis'd made strong Vain-glorious Threats, unmanly Vaunting, Bad men my boasts & fury taunting 1 Rage, sensual Passion, mad'ning Brawl, And Shame, and Terror over all! Deeds to be hid that were not hid, Which, all confus'd I might not know, Whether I suffer'd or I did: For all was Horror, Guilt & Woe, My own or others, still the same, Life-stifling Fear, Soul-stifling Shame! Thus two nights pass'd: the Night's Dismay Sadden'd and stunn'd the boding Day. I fear'd to sleep: Sleep seem'd to be Disease's worst malignity. The third night when my own loud Scream Had freed 2 me from the fiendish Dream, O'ercome by Sufferings dark & wild, I wept as I had been a Child -- And having thus by Tears subdued My Trouble to a milder mood -- ____________________ 1 Sense of intolerable Wrong, Vain-glorious Threats, unmanly Vaunting, Revenge still baffled by a Throng Of insults then my fury taunting; [Cancelled version of the four lines above.] 2 wak'd [Cancelled word in line above.] -983- Such Punishment[s], I thought, were due To Natures, deepliest stain'd with Sin, Still to be stirring up anew The self-created Hell within; The Horror of their Crimes to view, To know & loathe, yet wish & do! With such let Fiends make mockery -- But I--O wherefore this on me? Frail is my Soul, yea, strengthless wholly, Unequal, restless, melancholy; But free from Hate, & sensual Folly! To live belov'd is all I need, And whom I love, I love indeed 1 " -- & &c &c &c &c &c -- I do not know how I came to scribble down these verses to you -- my heart was aching, my head all confused -- but they are, doggrels as they may be, a true portrait of my nights. -- What to do, I am at a loss: -- for it is hard thus to be withered, having the faculties & attainments, which I have. -- We will soon meet -- & I will do all I can to console poor dear Edith. -- O dear dear Southey! my head is sadly confused. After a rapid walk of 33 miles your Letters have had the effect of perfect intoxication on my head & eyes -- Change! change! change! -- O God of Eternity! when shall we all be at rest in thee ? -- S. T. Coleridge.