517. To Mrs. S. T. Coleridge MS. Lord Latymer. Pub. E. L. G. i. 274. Postmark: 12 September 1803. [ Perth, 11 September 1803] For Mrs Coleridge. 2 My dearest Sara I was writing to you from Fort Augustus when the Governor & his wise Police Constable seized me & my Letter -- Since then I have ____________________ 1 In an unpublished letter of 1814 Coleridge quotes a fragment of this poem in greatly amended form. He says the lines are from a poem entitled Diseased Sleep and composed in 1803, and adds that they were 'part of a long letter in verse written to a friend, while I yet remained ignorant that the direful sufferings, I so complained of, were the mere effects of Opium, which I even to that hour imagined a sort of Guardian Genius to me!' In the 1814 letter Coleridge says the lines are 'an exact and most faithful portraiture of the state of my mind under influences of incipient bodily derangement from the use of Opium, at the time that I yet remained ignorant of the cause, & still mighty proud of my supposed grand discovery of Laudanum, as the Remedy or Palliative of Evils, which itself had mainly produced'. 2 See headnote to preceding letter. -984- written to nobody. On my return, if God grant! we will take the Map of Scotland, & by help of my pocket Book I will travel my rout over again, from place to place. It has been an instructive tho' melancholy Tour. -- At Fort Augustus I got a pair of Shoes -- the day before I had walked 36 miles, 20 the WORST in conception, & up a Mountain -- so that in point of effort it could not be less than 46 miles / the shoes were all to pieces / and three of my Toes were skinless, & I had a very promising Hole in my Heel. -- Since the new Shoes I have walked on briskly -- from 80 to 85 miles a day, day after day -- & three days I lived wholly on Oat cake, Barley Bannock, Butter, & the poorest of all poor Skim-milk Cheeses -- & still I had horrors at night! -- I mention all this to shew you, that I have strength somewhere -- and at the same time, how deeply this Disease must have rooted itself. -- I wrote you my last Letter, overclouded by Despondency -- say rather, in a total eclipse of all Hope & Joy -- and as all things propagate their Like, you must not wonder, that Misery is a Misery-maker. But do you try, & I will try; & Peace may come at last, & Love with it. -- I have not heard of Wordsworth; nor he of me. He will be wondering what can have become of me --. --I have only read the first Letter -- & that part of Southey's, containing the 10£ note, which relates to himself -for they have stunned me -- and I am afraid of Hysterics, unless a fit of vomiting which I feel coming on, should as I hope it will, turn it off -- I must write no more / it is now 10 o clock / & I go off in the Mail at 4 in the Morning --. It went against the Grain to pay 18 shillings for what I could have made an easy Day's walk of: & but for my eagerness to be with dear Southey, I should certainly have walked from Edinburgh home / -- O Sara! dear Sara! -- try for all good Things in the spirit of unsuspecting Love / for miseries gather upon us. I shall take this Letter with me to Edinburgh -- & leave a space to announce my safe arrival, if so it please God. -- Good night, my sweet Children! S. T. Coleridge Monday Morning, 12 o clock. I am safe in Edinburgh -- & now going to seek out news about the Wordsworths & my Cloathes -- I do not expect to stay here above this Day -- Dear Southey's Letter had the precise effect of intoxication by an overdose of some narcotic Drug -- weeping -vomiting -- wakefulness the whole night, in a sort of stupid sensuality of Itching from my Head to my Toes, all night. -- I had drunken only one pint of weak Porter the whole Day. -- This morning I have felt the soberness of grief. God bless you all, & S. T. Coleridge -- -985-