521. To Sir George and Lady Beaumont Address: Sir G. Beaumont, Bart | Dunmow | Essex MS. Pierpont Morgan Lib. Pub. with orals. Memorials of Coleorton, i. 6and26. Postmark: 26 September 1803. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick. Sept. 22. 1808 My dear Sir George | and | Dear Lady Beaumont I reached my home this day week. Need I say that I have been ill or that I should have written immediately? The attacks of the Gout, now no longer doubtful, have become formidable in the Stomach, & my nature is making continual tho' hitherto alas! fruitless efforts to throw the Disease into the Extremities / and as it never rains but it pours I have an intermittent Fever with severe Hemicrania, which returns every evening at ½ past 5, & has hitherto baffled the use of Bark. Yet I am strong, & have far better appetite than usual, & never in my Life looked so well, which is owing in part to the Tan from Sun, wind, & Rain. At Perth I received two Letters from Southey, the first informing me of his approaching Loss, the second of his arrival at Keswick / I altered my plans immediately -- took my place in the Mail, & hastened home to yield him what small comfort, my society might afford. Previously to my taking the Coach, I had walked 268 miles in 8 days, in the hope of forcing the Disease into the extremities -- and so strong am I, that I would undertake at this present time to walk 50 miles a day for a week together. In short, while I am in possession of my will & my Reason, I can keep the Fiend at arm's Length; but with the Night my Horrors commence -- during the whole of my Journey three nights out of four I have fallen asleep struggling & resolving to lie awake, & awaking have blest the Scream which delivered me from the reluctant Sleep. Nine years ago I had three months' Visitation of this kind, and I was cured by a sudden throwing-off of a burning corrosive acid -- these Dreams with all their mockery of Guilt, Rage, unworthy Desires, Remorse, Shame, & Terror formed at that time the subject of some Verses, which I had forgotten till the return of the Complaint, & which I will send you in my next as a curiosity. 1 -- But God be praised! tho' it be hard to bear up, I do bear up, in the deep faith that all things work together for Good to him who in the simplicity of his Heart desires Good. -- To morrow I expect to receive the new Gout medicine from Welles, who in consequence of a Request ____________________ 1 There is no corroboration of a 'three months' Visitation' in 1794, nor is there any evidence, beyond the statement here, that Coleridge composed The Pains of Sleep at that time. See Letter 516. -993- from my friend, Dr Beddoes, has written me a very obliging Letter. If he cure me, I will raise up a new Sect in his honor, & make a greater clamour in his favor as the Anti-podagra, 'that was to come & is already in the World' than ever the Puritans did against the poor Pope, as the Anti-christ. -- I left Wordsworth & his Sister at Loch Lomond / I was so ill that I felt myself a Burthen on them / & the Exercise was too much for me, & yet not enough. -- I sent my cloathes &c forward to Edinburgh / & walked myself to Glen Coe, & so on as far as Cullen, then back again to Inverness, & thence over that most desolate & houseless Country by Aviemore, Dalnacardoch, Dalwhinny, Tummel Bridge, Kenmore, to Perth, with various Digressions & mountain climbings. -- At the Bridge of the Sark, which divides England from Scotland I determined to write to you -- at the foot of Loch Ketterin, under the agitation of Delight produced by the Trossachs, I began a Letter to you / but my fits became so violent & alarming, that I was truly incapable of doing more, than taking a few notes in my pocket-book. At Fort William on entering the public House I fell down in an hysterical Fit with long & loud weeping to my own great metaphysical amusement, & the unutterable consternation & bebustlement of the Landlord, his Wife, children, & Servants, who all gabbled Gaelic to each other, & sputtered out short-winded English to me in a strange Style. -- So much 'all about myself'. I will send you my whole Tour in the course of the ensuing fortnight, in two or three successive Letters. -- Wordsworths will be home, Deo volente, on Saturday. -- Poor Mrs Southey droops, but not so much as I expected: & I suspect & hope, that the best consolation is about to be given them /. Southey who is a very amiable man & very much improved in every respect, bears it well -- it is a Loss which will never leave his memory, nor master his fortitude & resignation. My dear & honored Friends! my spirit has been with you day after day. Yesterday Afternoon I found among Southey's Books a Tetraglott Edition of Paschal's Provincial Letters / I seized it, O how eagerly! It seemed to me as if I saw Lady Beaumont with my very eyes; and heard over again the very sounds of those words, in which she had expressed her enthusiastic Admiration of him. Tho' but a wretched French Scholar, I did not go to bed before I had read the Preface & the two first Letters. They are not only excellent; but the excellence is altogether of a new kind to me. Wit, Irony, Humour, Sarcasm, Scholastic Subtilty, & profound Metaphysics all combined -- & this strange combination still more strangely co-existing with child-like Simplicity, Innocence, unaffected Charity, & the very soul of Christian Humility. -- And the Style is a robe of pure Light. -- -994- We have Mr Clarkson here / so that we have a houseful -- & my wife is chin-deep in occupation with the children & the meals -- for we have but one Servant, & can procure no other till November. She will however write to Lady B. in answer to her kind Letter of to day as speedily as possible. -- I send with this a Sheet full of Verses, that I had promised / your kindness, my dear Sir G., will make you think them almost worth the Postage. -- In a few weeks I shall, if I live & am tolerably well, send you three Specimens of my Translations from your Drawings. If you should really like them, I will go on & make a Volume / I cannot help saying, & it seems as if I had more Love toward you than toward myself in my heart while I am saying it, that I myself have been unusually pleased with what I have done -- My honored Friends! [with un-] affected esteem, gratitude & affectionate Admirati[on,] [Y]our's, S. T. C. -- Mont Blanc, the summit of the Vale of Chámouny, an Hour before Sunrise -- An Hymn. 1 Hast thou a charm to stay the Morning Star In his steep Course? So long he seems to pause On thy bald awful Top, O Chamouny! The Arve and Arveiron at thy Base Rave ceaselessly; but thou, dread Mountain Form! Risest from out thy silent Sea of Pines, How silently! Around thee, and above, Deep is the Sky and black! transpicuous, black, An ebon Mass I Methinks, thou piercest it, As with a Wedge! ----- But when I look again, It is thy own calm Home, thy chrystal Shrine, Thy Habitation from Eternity! O dread and silent Form! I gaz'd upon thee, Till thou, still present to my bodily sense, Didst vanish fr6m my Thought -- entranc'd in prayer, I worshipp'd the Invisible alone. Yet thou meantime wast working on my Soul, Even like some deep enchanting Melody, So sweet, we know not, we are list'ning to it: Now I awake I and with a busier mind And active Will self-conscious, offer now Not, as before, involuntary Prayer And passive Adoration! ____________________ 1 Poems, i. 376. See Letters 456 and 459. -995- Hand and Voice, Awake, awake! And thou, my Heart, awake! Green Fields and icy Cliffs! all join my Hymn! And thou, thou silent Mountain, lone and bare! O * struggling with the Darkness all the Night And visited all night by Troops of Stars, Or when they climb the Sky, or when they sink; Companion of the Morning Star at Dawn, Thyself Earth's rosy Star, and of the Dawn Co-herald -- wake, O wake, and utter praise! Who sank thy sunless Pillars deep in Earth? Who fill'd thy Countenance with rosy Light? Who made thee Father of perpetual Streams? And You, ye five wild Torrents, fiercely glad! Who call'd you forth from Night and utter Death, From Darkness let you loose and icy Dens, Down those precipitous, black, jagged Rocks For ever shatter'd, and the same for ever! Who gave you your invulnerable Life, Your Strength, your Speed, your Fury, and your Joy, Eternal Thunder, and unceasing Foam? And who commanded (and the Silence came) Here shall your Billows stiffen and have rest? Ye Iee-falls! Ye that from the Mountain's brow Adown † enormous RAVINES steeply slope, Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty Voice And stopp'd at once amid their maddest Plunge, Motionless Torrents! silent Cataracts! Who made you glorious, as the Gates of Heaven, Beneath the keen full Moon? Who bade the Sun Cloathe you with Rainbows? who with ‡ lovely Flowers Of living Blue spread garlands at your Feet? ____________________ * I had written a much finer Line when Sca' Fell was in my Thoughts -viz -- O blacker than the Darkness all the Night, And visited &c -- [Note by S. T. C.] † a bad line; & I hope to be able to alter it. [ S. T. C.] ‡ The Gentiana major grows in large companies a stride's distance from the foot of several of the Glaciers -- It's blue Flower, the Colour of Hope -- is it not a pretty Emblem of Hope creeping onward even to the edge of the Grave -to the very Verge of utter Desolation? [Note by S. T. C.] -996- God! let the Torrents, like a Shout of Nations, Utter! Thou Ice-plain, burst, and answer, God! God, sing, ye Meadow-streams with gladsome Voice, Ye Pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like Sound! And ye too have a Voice, ye Towers of Snow! Ye perilous Snow-towers, fall and thunder, God! Ye azure Flowers, that skirt the eternal Frost! Ye wild-goats bounding by the eagle's Nest! Ye Eagles, play-mates of the Mountain Storm! Ye Lightnings, the dread Arrows of the Clouds! Ye Signs and Wonders of the Element -- Utter forth, God1 and fill the Hills with Praise! And thou, thou silent Mountain, lone and bare! Whom as I lift again my Head, bow'd low In Adoration, I again behold! And from thy Summit upward to thy Base Sweep slowly with dim Eyes suffusd with Tears! Rise, mighty Form! even as thou seem'st to rise! Rise, like a Cloud of Incense, from the Earth! Thou kingly Spirit thron'd among the Hills, Thou dread Ambassador from Earth to Heaven, Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent Stars, Tell the blue Sky, and tell the rising Sun, Earth with her thousand Voices calls on God! 4 last Stanzas of an Ode to Tranquillity. 1 Tranquillity! thou better Name Than all the Family of Fame! Thou ne'er wilt leave my riper Age To low Intrigue and factious Rage: For O! dear child of thoughtful Truth! To Thee I gave my early Youth, And left the Bark, and blest the stedfast Shore, Ere yet the Tempest rose and scar'd me with it's roar! Who late and lingering seeks thy Shrine, On him but seldom, Power divine! Thy Spirit rests! -- Satiety And Sloth, poor Counterfeits of Thee, Mock the tir'd Worldling: idle Hope And dire Remembrance interlope, And scare the fev'rish Slumbers of his Mind -- The Bubble floats before, the Spectre stalks behind! ____________________ 1 Poems, i. 360. -997- But me the Power divine will lead At Morning thro' th' accustom'd Mead; And in the sultry summer Heat Will build me up a mossy Seat; And when the Gust of Autumn crowds And breaks the busy moonlight Clouds -- Thee best the thought will lift, the heart attune, Light as the busy Clouds, calm as the gliding Moon. The feeling Heart, the searching Soul, To HER I dedicate the Whole! And while within myself I trace The greatness of some future Race, Aloof with hermit eye I scan The present Works of present Man -- A wild and dream-like Trade of Blood & Guile, Too foolish for a Tear, too wicked for a Smile! S. T. Coleridge Extempore -- to a Child of six years old -- 1 Do you ask what the Birds say? The Linnet, the Dove, The Blackbird, the Thrush, say, I love and I love! In the Winter they're silent, the Wind is so strong -- What It says, I don't know, but it sings a loud Song. But green Leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather, And singing and loving all come back together. I love and I love almost all the Birds say From Sunrise to Star-rise, so gladsome are they; But the Lark is so brimful of Gladness and Love, The green fields below him, the blue Sky above, That he sings and he sings and for ever sings he -- I love my Love, and my Love loves me! S. T. Coleridge --