529. To Matthew Coates Address: M. M. Cotes, Esqre | Mall I Clifton | BristolSingle Sheet MS. Mr. Merl P. Renz. Pub. with omis. Letters, i. 441. Postmark: 8 December 1803. Stamped: Keswick. Greta Hall, Keswick. Dec. 5, 1803 Dear Sir After a time of Sufferings great, as mere bodily Afflictions can well be conceived to be, and which the Horrors of my Sleep, and Night-screams (so loud & so frequent as to make me almost a ____________________ 1 Mr. Robert H. Pilling of the Kendal Grammar School has given me the following information concerning the Sandes Library in Kendal: 'Thomas Sandes founded in 1659 the Sandes Hospital "for the use of eight poor widows -- and for the use of a schoolmaster to read prayers to the said widows twice a day and to teach poor children --". He left to the care of the schoolmaster the library which he had accumulated with instructions to allow "men of quality and learning" to be admitted thereto. The books were chained and so remained until at least 1722. In 1886 the endowments of the Sandes School (commonly called "the Blue Coat School") were amalgamated with those of the Grammar School. The Sandes School was then closed and the library transferred to the Grammar School, where it still remains. The library consists for the most part of the writings of the Early Fathers, Biblical commentators, religious controversialists, and ecclesiastical historians. In addition there are a number of secular histories and cosmographies.' Among the books in the Sandes Library is Scotus, Super tertio Sententiarum, 1505. -1020- Nuisance in my own house [)] seemed to carry beyond mere Body -- counterfeiting, as it were, the Tortures of Guilt, and what we are told of the Punishments of a spiritual World -- I am at length a Convalescent -- but dreading such another Bout as much as I dare dread a Thing which has no immediate connection with my Conscience. My left Hand is swoln, & inflamed; and the least attempt to bend the Fingers very painful, tho' not half so much as I could wish: for if I could but fix this Jack o'Lanthorn of a Disease in my Hand or Foot, I should expect a year or two's Furlow. But tho' I have no hope of this, yet I have a Persuasion, strong as Fate, that from 12 to 18 months' Residence & perfect Tranquillity in a genial Climate would send me back to dear old England, a sample of the first Resurrection. W. Wordsworth, who has seen me in all my Illnesses for nearly four years, and noticed their strange dependence on the state of my moral Feelings and the State of the Atmosphere conjointly, is decisively of the same opinion. -- Accordingly, after many sore Struggles of mind from reluctance to quit my children, for so long a Time, I have arranged my affairs fully and finally, and hope to set sail for Madeira in the first Vessel that clears out from Liverpool for that Place: tomorrow or next day I expect a Letter from Dr Crompton, with particular Information. Robert Southey, who lives with us at present, informed me, that Mrs M. Cotes had a near Relation -- a Brother, I believe, on the Island -the Dr Adams, who wrote a very nice little Pamphlet on Madeira relatively to the different sorts of Consumptions, & which I have now on my Desk. 1 I need not say, that it would be a great Comfort to me to be introduced to him by a Letter from you or Mrs C., intreating him to put me in the way of living as cheaply as possible. I have no Appetites, Passions, or Vanities that lead to expense: it is now absolute Habit with me indeed to consider my Eating & Drinking, as a course of Medicine: in Books only am I intemperate. They have been both Bane & Blessing to me. For the last 3 years, I have not read less than 8 hours a day, whenever I have been well enough to be out of Bed, or even to sit up in it -- Quiet, therefore, a comfortable Bed and Bed room; and that [still] bett[er] Comfort of kind Faces -- English Tongues & English Hearts -- now and then -- this is the Sum Total of my Wants. The last article indeed is not so much a Want, as it is a Thing, which I need. I am far too contented with Solitude. The same Fullness of Mind, the same ____________________ 1 Dr. Joseph Adams ( 1756-1818) obtained his M.D. degree at Aberdeen and settled in Madeira as a physician. In 1801 he published A Guide to the Island of Madeira. In 1805, after his return to England, he was elected physician to the Small-pox Hospital. It was Dr. Adams 'who in 1816 recommended Coleridge to the care of Mr. James Gillman'. Letters, i. 442 n. -1021- Crowding of Thoughts, & Constitutional Vivacity of Feeling, w[hich] makes me sometimes the First Fiddle, & too often [a] Watchman's Rattle, in Society, renders me likewise [independent] of it. -- However, I am wondrously calmed down, si[nce] you knew m[e -- c]hiefly perhaps by unremitting Disease, [and] somewhat, I would fain hope, [by] Reflection and Self-discipline. Mrs Coleridge desires me to remember her with respectfu[l regards] to Mrs Cotes, and to enquire into the History of your little [family. I] have three Children living, Hartley Coleridge, 7 years ol[d, Derwent,] 3 years old, and Sara a year old, on the 23rd of this Month. Hartley is considered as a Genius by Wordsworth, & Southey -- indeed, by every one who has seen much of him -- / but (what is of much more consequence, & much less doubtful) he has the sweetest Temper & the most awakened moral Feelings of any Child, I ever saw. He is very backward in his Book-learning -- cannot write at all, and a very lame Reader. We have never been anxious about it, taking it for granted that loving me & seeing how I love books, he would come to it of his own accord. And so it has proved. For in the last month he has made more progress than in all his former life. Having learnt every thing almost from the mouths of People, whom he loves, he has connected with his Words & notions a Passion & a Feeling which would appear strange to those who had seen no Children but such as had been taught almost every thing in Books. -- Derwent is a large, fat, beautiful Child, quite the Pride of the Village, as Hartley is the Darling -- Southey says, that all Hartley's Guts are in his Brains, and all Derwent's Brains in his Guts. -- Verily, the constitutional Differences in Children are great indeed. From earliest Infancy Hartley was absent, a mere Dreamer, at his meals; put the food into his mouth by one effort, and made a second effort to remember that it was there & to swallow it -- With little Derwent [it] is a time of Rapture & Jubilee -- and any Story, that has no Pie or Cake in it, comes very flat to him. -- Our Girl is a Darling little Thing with large blue eyes, a quiet Creature that as I have often said, seems to bask in a Sunshine, as mild as Moonlight, of her own Happiness. -- O bless them! next to the Bible, Shakespere, & Milton, they are the three Books from which I have learnt the most -- and the most important -& with the greatest Delight. I have been thus prolix about me & mine, purposely, to induce you to tell me something of yourself & your's. Believe me, I have never ceased to think of you with respect & a sort of yearning -- you were the first man, from whom I heard that article of my Faith distinctly enunciated, which is the nearest to my Heart, the pure Fountain of all [my] moral & religious Feelings & [C]omforts -- I mean, the absolute Impersonality of the -1022- [D]eity. The Many would deem me an Atheist; alas! I know them to be Idolaters. -- I remain, my dear Sir, with unfeigned Esteem & kind Wishes, Your's, &c, S. T. Coleridge. -- P.S. -- Be so good as to direct me as above: if I should be at Liverpool, the Letter (and, if I have not idly flattered myself, the Letters) will be forwarded to me. Do you know, whether there is any Trade from any Devonshire Port, any Vessels that go to, or touch at, Madeira? -- I have not been without some Fears, while writing this Letter, lest you should have received some gloomy Intelligence from Madeira -- but Dr Adams is so well known, that if there had been, it would assuredly have been mentioned -- have escaped in the very first Boiling-up of the News. -- There have been in the memory of middle-aged Persons two 'Borsten Clouds' in the mountains round Keswick; & have left the History of their Doings -- one of them, in naked Rock adown the whole side of a high Mountain, in aforetime covered with vegetations: -- but now written over with Vees, Ys and Ws, of no easy erasure -- in winter time & after hard Rains they become Literae vocales with a vengeance -each one the bed of a Torrent. -- S.T.C.