520. To Thomas Wedgwood Address: T. Wedgwood Esqre | Mr Allen's Chambers | 12. Paper Buildings | Temple | London MS. Wedgwood Museum. Pub. E. L. G. i. 278. Postmark: 19 September 1803. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick. Sept. 16. [ 1803.] Friday My dear Wedgwood I reached home on yesterday noon; & it was not a Post Day. -William Hazlitt is a thinking, observant, original man, of great power as a Painter of Character Portraits, & far more in the manner of the old Painters, than any living Artist, but the Object must be before him / he has no imaginative memory. So much for his Intellectuals. -- His manners are to 99 in 100 singularly repulsive --: brow-hanging, shoe-contemplative, strange / Sharp seemed to like him / but Sharp saw him only for half an hour, & that walking -- he is, I verily believe, kindly-natured -- is very fond of, attentive to, & patient with, children / but he is jealous, gloomy, & of an irritable Pride -- & addicted to women, as objects of sexual Indulgence. 1 With all this, there is much good in him -- he is dis- ____________________ 1 Coleridge's judgement was soon confirmed, for Hazlitt involved himself in an amatory escapade during his 1803 visit to the Lakes. See Letter 531. Both Coleridge and Wordsworth have left accounts of the sequel, in which -990- interested, an enthusiastic Lover of the great men, who have been before us -- he says things that are his own in a way of his own -- & tho' from habitual Shyness & the Outside & bearskin at least of misanthropy, he is strangely confused & dark in his conversation & delivers himself of almost all his conceptions with a Forceps, yet he says more than any man, I ever knew, yourself only excepted, that is his own in a way of his own -- & oftentimes when he has warmed his mind, & the synovial juice has come out & spread over his joints he will gallop for half an hour together with real Eloquence. He sends well-headed & well-feathered Thoughts straight forwards to the mark with a Twang of the Bow-string. -- If you could recommend him, as a Portrait-painter, I should be glad. To be your Companion he is, in my opinion, utterly unfit. His own Health is fitful. -- I have written, as I ought to do, to you most freely imo ex corde / you know me, both head & heart, & will make what deductions, your reason will dictate to you. I can think of no other person. What wonder? For the last years I have been shy of all mere acquaintances -- To live belov'd is all, I need, And whom I love, I love indeed. 1 I never had any ambition; & now, I trust, I have almost as little Vanity. -- For 5 months past my mind has been strangely shut up. I have taken the paper with an intention to write to you many times / but it has been all one blank Feeling, one blank idealess Feeling. I had nothing to say, I could say nothing. How deeply I love you, my very Dreams make known to me. -- I will not trouble you with the gloomy Tale of my Health. While I am awake, by patience, employment, effort of mind, & walking I can keep the fiend at Arm's length; but the Night is my Hell, Sleep my tormenting Angel. Three Nights out of four I fall asleeep, struggling to lie awake -- & my frequent Night-screams have almost made me a nuisance in my own House. Dreams with me are no Shadows, but the very Substances & footthick Calamities of my Life. Beddoes, who has been to me ever a very kind man, suspects that my Stomach 'brews Vinegar' -- it may be so -- but I have no other symptom but that of Flatulence / shewing itself by an asthmatic Puffing, & transient paralytic Affections / this Flatulence has never any acid Taste in my mouth / I have now ____________________ they were instrumental in helping Hazlitt to escape the vengeance of the local residents. See E. L. G. ii. 178-9, 196-7; Henry Crabb Robinson on Books and their Writers, ed. by Edith J. Morley, 8 vols., 1938, i. 169-70; and Chambers, Life, 176. 1 These are the concluding lines of The Pains of Slep. -991- no bowel-rumblings. I am too careful of my Diet -- the supercarbonated Kali does me no service, nor magnesia -- neither have I any headach. But I am grown hysterical. -- Meantime my Looks & Strength have improved. I myself fully believe it to be either atonic, hypochondriacal Gout, or a scrophulous affection of the mesenteric Glands. In the hope of driving the Gout, if Gout it should be, into the feet, I walked, previously to my getting into the Coach at Perth, 268 miles in eight Days, with no unpleasant fatigue: & if I could do you any service by coming to town, & there were no Coaches, I would undertake to be with you, on foot, in 7 days. -- I must have strength somewhere / My head is indefatigably strong, my limbs too are strong -- but acid or not acid, Gout or Scrofula, Something there is [in] my stomach or Guts that transubstantiates my Bread & Wine into the Body & Blood of the Devil -- Meat & Drink I should say -- for I eat but little bread, & take nothing, in any form, spirituous or narcotic, stronger than Table Beer. -- I am about to try the new Gout Medicine / & if it cures me, I will turn Preacher, form a new Sect in honor of the Discoverer, & make a greater clamour in his Favor, as the Antipodagra, 'that was to come & is already in the world', than ever the Puritans did against the poor Pope, as Anti-christ. -- All my Family are well. Southey, his Wife & Mrs Lovell are with us. He has lost his little Girl, the unexpected Gift of a long marriage, & stricken to the very Heart is come hither for such poor comforts as my society can afford him. -- To diversify this dusky Letter I will write in a Post-script an Epitaph, which I composed in my Sleep for myself, while dreaming that I was dying. To the best of my recollection I have not altered a word -- Your's, dear Wedgwood, and of all, that are dear to you at Gunville, gratefully & most affectionately, S. T. Coleridge Epitaph 1 Here sleeps at length poor Col, & without Screaming, Who died, as he had always liv'd, a dreaming: Shot dead, while sleeping, by the Gout within, Alone, and all unknown, at E'nbro' in an Inn. It was on Tuesday Night last at the Black Bull, Edinburgh -- ____________________ 1 Poems, ii, 970. -992-