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William Godwin: his Friends and Contemporaries
Ch. I. 1800

Contents Vol. I
Ch. I. 1756-1785
Ch. II. 1785-1788
Ch. III. 1788-1792
Ch. IV. 1793
Ch. V. 1783-1794
Ch. VI. 1794-1796
Ch. VII. 1759-1791
Ch. VII. 1791-1796
Ch. IX. 1797
Ch. X. 1797
Ch. XI. 1798
Ch. XII. 1799
Ch. XIII. 1800
Contents Vol. II
‣ Ch. I. 1800
Ch. II. 1800
Ch. III. 1800
Ch. IV. 1801-1803
Ch. V. 1802-1803
Ch. VI. 1804-1806
Ch. VII. 1806-1811
Ch. VIII. 1811-1814
Ch. IX. 1812-1819
Ch. X. 1819-1824
Ch. XI. 1824-1832
Ch. XII. 1832-1836
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It seems well to give Godwin’s correspondence with Coleridge during 1800 without break. The play therein mentioned was “Antonio,” represented at Drury Lane, and damned, of which more will be said hereafter.

S. T. Coleridge to William Godwin.
Wednesday Morning, Jan. 8, 1800.

My dear Sir,—To-morrow and Friday business rises almost above smothering point with me, over chin and mouth! but on Saturday evening I shall be perfectly at leisure, and shall calendar an evening apart with you on so interesting a subject among my ‘Noctes Atticæ.’ If this do not suit your engagements, mention any other day, and I will make it suit mine.—Yours with esteem,

S. T. Coleridge.

P.S.—How many thousand letter-writers will in the first fortnight of this month write a 7 first, and then transmogrify it into an 8, in the dates of their letters! I like to catch myself doing that which involves any identity of the human race. Hence I like to talk of the weather, and in the fall never omit observing,
‘How short the days grow! How the days shorten!’ And yet that would fall a melancholy phrase indeed on the heart of a blind man!”

The Same to the Same.
“8, Monday Morning, Mar. 3, 1800.

Dear Godwin,—The punch, after the wine, made me tipsy last night. This I mention, not that my head aches, or that I felt, after I quitted you, any unpleasantness or titubancy; but because tipsiness has, and has always, one unpleasant effect—that of making me talk very extravagantly; and as, when sober, I talk extravagantly enough for any common tipsiness, it becomes a matter of nicety in discrimination to know when I am or am not affected. An idea starts up in my head,—away I follow through thick and thin, wood and marsh, brake and briar, with all the apparent interest of a man who was defending one of his old and long-established principles. Exactly of this kind was the conversation with which I quitted you. I do not believe it possible for a human being to have a greater horror of the feelings that usually accompany such principles as I then supposed, or a deeper conviction of their irrationality, than myself; but the whole thinking of my life will not bear me up against the accidental crowd and press of my mind, when it is elevated beyond its natural pitch. We shall talk wiselier with the ladies on Tuesday. God bless you, and give your dear little ones a kiss a-piece from me.—Yours with affectionate esteem,

S. T. Coleridge.
Mr Lamb’s, No. 36 Chapel St.
The Same to the Same.
Wednesday, May 21, 1800.

Dear Godwin,—I received your letter this morning, and had I not, still I am almost confident that I should have written to you before the end of the week. Hitherto the translation of the Wallenstein has prevented me; not that it so engrossed my time, but that it wasted and depressed my spirits, and left a sense of
wearisomeness and disgust, which unfitted me for anything but sleeping or immediate society. I say this, because I ought to have written to you first, and as I am not behind you in affectionate esteem, so I would not be thought to lag in those outward and visible signs that both show and vivify the inward and spiritual grace. Believe me, you recur to my thoughts frequently, and never without pleasure, never without making out of the past a little day dream for the future. I left
Wordsworth on the 4th of this month. If I cannot procure a suitable house at Stowey, I return to Cumberland, and settle at Keswick, in a house of such a prospect, that if, according to you and Hume, impressions and ideas constitute our being, I shall have a tendency to become a god, so sublime and beautiful will be the series of my visual existence. But whether I continue here or migrate thither, I shall be in a beautiful country, and have house-room and heartroom for you, and you must come and write your next work at my house. My dear Godwin, I remember you with so much pleasure, and our conversations so distinctly, that I doubt not we have been mutually benefitted; but as to your poetic and physiopathic feelings, I more than suspect that dear little Fanny and Mary have had more to do in that business than I. Hartley sends his love to Mary. ‘What? and not to Fanny?’ ‘Yes, and to Fanny, but I’ll have Mary.’ He often talks about them. My poor Lamb! how cruelly afflictions crowd upon him! I am glad that you think of him as I think; he has an affectionate heart, a mind sui generis; his taste acts so as to appear like the unmechanic simplicity of an instinct—in brief, he is worth an hundred men of mere talents. Conversation with the latter tribe is like the use of leaden bells—one warms by exercise, Lamb every now and then irradiates, and the beam, though single and fine as a hair, is yet rich with colours, and I both see and feel it. In Bristol I was much with Davy, almost all day; he always talks of you with great affection. . . . If I settle at Keswick, he will be with me in the fall of the year, and so meet you. And let me tell you, Godwin, four such men as you, I, Davy, and Wordsworth, do not meet together in one house every day of the year. I mean, four men so distinct with so many sympathies.


“I received yesterday a letter from Southey. He arrived at Lisbon, after a prosperous voyage, on the last day of April. His letter to me is dated May-Day. He girds up his loins for a great history of Portugal, which will be translated into the Portuguese in the first year of the Lusitanian Republic.

“Have you seen Mrs Robinson lately? How is she? Remember me in the kindest and most respectful phrases to her. I wish I knew the particulars of her complaint. For Davy has discovered a perfectly new acid, by which he has restored the use of limbs to persons who had lost them for years (one woman 9 years) in cases of supposed rheumatism. At all events, Davy says it can do no harm in Mrs Robinson’s case, and if she will try it, he will make up a little parcel, and write her a letter of instructions, &c. . . .

“God bless you.—Yours sincerely affectionate,

S. T. Coleridge.
“Mr T. Poole’s,
N. Stowey, Bridgewater.

Sara desires to be kindly remembered to you, and sends a kiss to Fanny and ‘dear meek little Mary.’”

William Godwin to S. T. Coleridge.
Dublin [September 1800.]

Dear Coleridge,—You scarcely expected a letter from me of the above date. But I received last September an invitation from John Philpot Curran, the Irish barrister, probably the first advocate in Europe, then in London, to spend a few weeks with him in Ireland this summer, which I did not feel in myself philosophy enough to resist. Nor do I repent my compliance. The advantages one derives from placing the sole of one’s foot on a foreign soil are extremely great. Few men, on such an occasion, think it worth their while to put on armour for your encounter. I know Fox and Sheridan, but can scarce consider them as my acquaintance. Your next door neighbour, before he admits you to his familiarity, considers how far he should like to have you for his familiar for the next seven years. But familiarity with a foreign
guest involves no such consequences, and so circumstanced, you are immediately admitted on the footing of an inmate. I am now better acquainted with
Grattan and Curran, the Fox and Sheridan of Ireland, after having been four weeks in their company, than I can pretend ever to have been with their counterparts on my native soil.

Curran I admire extremely. There is scarcely the man on earth with whom I ever felt myself so entirely at my ease, or so little driven back, from time to time, to consider of my own miserable individual. He is perpetually a staff and a cordial, without ever affecting to be either. The being never lived who was more perfectly free from every species of concealment. With great genius, at least a rich and inexhaustible imagination, he never makes me stand in awe of him, and bow as to my acknowledged superior, a thing by-the-by which, de temps à d’autre, you compel me to do. He amuses me always, astonishes me often, yet naturally and irresistibly inspires me with confidence. I am apt, particularly when away from home, to feel forlorn and dispirited. The two last days I spent from him, and though they were employed most enviably in tête à tête with Grattan, I began to feel dejected and home-sick. But Curran has joined me to-day, and poured into my bosom a full portion of his irresistible kindness and gaiety.

“You will acknowledge these are extraordinary traits. Yet Curran is far from a faultless and perfect character. Immersed for many years in a perpetual whirl of business, he has no profoundness or philosophy. He has a great share of the Irish character—dashing, étourdi, coarse, vulgar, impatient, fierce, kittenish. He has no characteristic delicacy, no intuitive and instant commerce with the sublime features of nature. Ardent in a memorable degree, and a patriot from the most generous impulse, he has none of that political chemistry which Burke so admirably describes (I forget his words), that resolves and combines, and embraces distant nations and future ages. He is inconsistent in the most whimsical degree. I remember, in an amicable debate with Sheridan, in which Sheridan far outwent him in refinement, penetration, and taste, he three times surrendered his arms, acknowledged
his error, yea, even began to declaim (for declamation is too frequently his mania) on the contrary side: and as often, after a short interval, resumed his weapons, and renewed the combat. Now and then, in the career of declamation, he becomes tautological and ineffective, and I ask myself: Is this the prophet that he went forth to see! But presently after he stumbles upon a rich vein of imagination, and recognises my willing suffrage. He has the reputation of insincerity, for which he is indebted, not to his heart, but to the mistaken, cherished calculations of his practical prudence. He maintains in argument that you ought never to inform a man, directly or indirectly, of the high esteem in which you hold him. Yet, in his actual intercourse, he is apt to mix the information too copiously and too often. But perhaps his greatest fault is, that though endowed with an energy the most ardent, and an imagination the most varied and picturesque, there is nothing to which he is more prone, or to which his inclination more willingly leads him, than to play the buffoon.”

S. T. Coleridge to William Godwin.
Monday, [Sep. 11, 1800.]

Dear Godwin,—There are vessels every week from Dublin to Workington, which place is 16 miles from my house, through a divine country, but these are idle regrets. I know not the nature of your present pursuits, whether or no they are such as to require the vicinity of large and curious libraries. If you were engaged in any work of imagination or reasoning, not biographical, not historical, I should repeat and urge my invitation, after my wife’s confinement. Our house is situated on a rising ground, not two furlongs from Keswick, about as much from the Lake Derwentwater, and about two miles from the Lake Bassenthwaite—both lakes and mountains we command. The river Greta runs behind our house, and before it too, and Skiddaw is behind us—not half a mile distant, indeed just distant enough to enable us to view it as a Whole. The garden, orchards, fields, and immediate country all delightful. I have, or have the use of, no inconsiderable collection of books. In my library you will find all the Poets and
Philosophers, and many of the best old writers. Below, in our parlour, belonging to our landlord, but in my possession, are almost all the usual trash of
Johnsons, Gibbons, Robertsons, &c., with the Encyclopedia Britannica, &c. Sir Wilfred Lawson’s magnificent library is some 8 or 9 miles distant, and he is liberal in the highest degree in the management of it. And now for your letter. I swell out my chest and place my hand on my heart, and swear aloud to all that you have written, or shall write, against lawyers, and the practice of the law. When you next write so eloquently and so well against it, or against anything, be so good as to leave a larger space for your wafer; as by neglect of this, a part of your last was obliterated. The character of Curran, which you have sketched most ably, is a frequent one in its moral essentials, though, of course among the most rare, if we take it with all its intellectual accompaniments. Whatever I have read of Curran’s, has impressed me with a deep conviction of his genius. Are not the Irish in general a more eloquent race than we? Of North Wales my recollections are faint, and as to Wicklow I only know from the newspapers that it is a mountainous country. As far as my memory will permit me to decide on the grander parts of Caernarvonshire, I may say that the single objects are superior to any which I have seen elsewhere, but there is a deficiency in combination. I know of no mountain in the North equal to Snowdon, but then we have an encampment of huge mountains, in no harmony perhaps to the eye of a mere painter, but always interesting, various, and, as it were, nutritive. Height is assuredly an advantage, as it connects the earth with the sky, by the clouds that are ever skimming the summits, or climbing up, or creeping down the sides, or rising from the chasm, like smoke from a cauldron, or veiling or bridging the higher parts or lower parts of the waterfalls. That you were less impressed by N. Wales I can easily believe; it is possible that the scenes of Wicklow may be superior, but it is certain that you were in a finer irritability of spirit to enjoy them. The first pause and silence after a return from a very interesting visit is somewhat connected with languor in all of us. Besides, as you have
observed, mountains, and mountainous scenery, taken collectively and cursorily, must depend for their charms on their novelty. They put on their immortal interest then first, when we have resided among them, and learned to understand their language, their written characters, and intelligible sounds, and all their eloquence, so various, so unwearied. Then you will hear no ‘twice-told tale.’ I question if there be a room in England which commands a view of mountains, and lakes, and woods, and vales, superior to that in which I am now sitting. I say this, because it is destined for your study, if you come. You are kind enough to say that you feel yourself more natural and unreserved with me than with others. I suppose that this in great measure arises from my own ebullient unreservedness. Something, too, I will hope may be attributed to the circumstance that my affections are interested deeply in my opinions. But here, too, you will meet with
Wordsworth, ‘the latch of whose shoe I am unworthy to unloose,’ and five miles from Wordsworth, Charles Lloyd has taken a house. Wordsworth is publishing a second volume of the ‘Lyrical Ballads,’ which title is to be dropped, and his ‘Poems’ substituted. Have you seen Sheridan since your return? How is it with your tragedy? Were you in town when Miss Bayley’s tragedy was represented? How was it that it proved so uninteresting? Was the fault in the theatre, the audience, or the play? It must have excited a deeper feeling in you than that of mere curiosity, for doubtless the tragedy has great merit. I know not indeed how far Kemble might have watered and thinned its consistence; I speak of the printed play. Have you read the ‘Wallenstein?’ Prolix and crowded and dragging as it is, it is yet quite a model for its judicious management of the sequence of the scenes, and such it is held in German theatres. Our English acting plays are many of them wofully deficient in this part of the dramatic trade and mystery.

Hartley is well, and all life and action.—Yours, with unfeigned esteem,

S. T. Coleridge.

“Kisses for Mary and Fanny. God love them! I wish you would come and look out for a house for yourself here. You
know, ‘I wish’ is privileged to have something silly to follow it.”

The Same to the Same.
Monday, Sep. 22, 1800.

Dear Godwin,—I received your letter, and with it the enclosed note, which shall be punctually re-delivered to you on the 1st October.

“Your tragedy to be exhibited at Christmas! I have indeed merely read your letter, so it is not strange that my heart still continues beating out of time. Indeed, indeed, Godwin, such a stream of hope and fear rushed in on me, when I read the sentence, as you would not permit yourself to feel. If there be anything yet undreamed of in our philosophy; if it be, or if it be possible, that thought can impel thought out of the visual limit of a man’s own skull and heart; if the clusters of ideas, which constitute our identity, do ever connect and unite with a greater whole; if feelings could ever propagate themselves without the servile ministrations of undulating air or reflected light—I seem to feel within myself a strength and a power of desire that might dart a modifying, commanding impulse on a whole theatre. What does all this mean? Alas! that sober sense should know no other to construe all this, except by the tame phrase, I wish you success. . . .”

[In a previous letter not here given he had begged Godwin to stand godfather to his child. The compliment was of course declined.]

“Your feelings respecting Baptism are, I suppose, much like mine! At times I dwell on Man with such reverence, resolve all his follies and superstitions into such grand primary laws of intellect, and in such wise so contemplate them as ever-varying incarnations of the Eternal Life—that the Llama’s dung-pellet, or the cow-tail which the dying Brahmin clutches convulsively, become sanctified and sublime by the feelings which cluster round them. In that mood I exclaim, my boys shall be christened! But then another fit of moody philosophy attacks me. I look at my doted-on Hartley—he moves, he lives, he finds impulses from within
and from without, he is the darling of the sun and of the breeze. Nature seems to bless him as a thing of her own. He looks at the clouds, the mountains, the living beings of the earth, and vaults and jubilates! Solemn looks and solemn words have been hitherto connected in his mind with great and magnificent objects only: with lightning, with thunder, with the waterfall blazing in the sunset. Then I say, shall I suffer him to see grave countenances and hear grave accents, while his face is sprinkled? Shall I be grave myself, and tell a lie to him? Or shall I laugh, and teach him to insult the feelings of his fellow-men? Besides, are we not all in this present hour, fainting beneath the duty of Hope? From such thoughts I stand up, and vow a book of severe analysis, in which I will tell all I believe to be truth in the nakedest language in which it can be told.

“My wife is now quite comfortable. Surely you might come and spend the very next four weeks, not without advantage to both of us. The very glory of the place is coming on. The local Genius is just arranging himself in his highest attributes. But above all, I press it, because my mind has been busied with speculations that are closely connected with those pursuits which have hitherto constituted your utility and importance; and ardently as I wish you success on the stage, I yet cannot frame myself to the thought that you should cease to appear as a bold moral thinker. I wish you to write a book on the power of the words, and the processes by which the human feelings form affinities with them. In short, I wish you to philosophize Horne Tooke’s system, and to solve the great questions, whether there be reason to hold that an action bearing all the semblance of pre-designing consciousness may yet be simply organic, and whether a series of such actions are possible? And close on the heels of this question would follow, Is Logic the Essence of Thinking? In other words, Is Thinking impossible without arbitrary signs? And how far is the word ‘arbitrary’ a misnomer? Are not words, &c., parts and germinations of the plant? And what is the law of their growth? In something of this sort I would endeavour to destroy the old antithesis of Words and Things; elevating, as it were, Words into
Things, and living things too. All the nonsense of vibrating, &c., you would of course dismiss. If what I have written appear nonsense to you, or commonplace thoughts in a harlequinade of outré expressions, suspend your judgment till we see each other.—Yours sincerely,

S. T. Coleridge.

“I was in the country when Wallenstein was published. Longman sent me down half-a-dozen. The carriage back, the book was not worth.”

The Same to the Same.
Monday, Oct. 13, 1800.

Dear Godwin,—I have been myself too frequently a grievous delinquent in the article of letter-writing to feel any inclination to reproach my friends when peradventure they have been long silent. But, this is out of the question. I did not expect a speedier answer, for I had anticipated the circumstances which you assign as the causes of your delay.

“An attempt to finish a poem of mine for insertion in the second volume of the ‘Lyrical Ballads’ has thrown me so fearfully back in my bread-and-beef occupations, that I shall scarcely be able to justify myself in putting you to the expense of the few lines which I may be able to scrawl on the present paper; but some parts in your letter interested me deeply, and I wished to tell you so. First, then, you know Kemble, and I do not. But my conjectural judgments concerning his character lead me to persuade an absolute, passive obedience to his opinions; and this, too, because I would leave to every man his own trade. Your trade has been in the present instance, 1st, To furnish a wise pleasure to your fellow-beings in general; and 2dly, to give to Mr Kemble and his associates the means of themselves delighting that part of your fellow-beings assembled in a theatre. As to what relates to the first point, I should be sorry indeed if greater men than Mr Kemble could induce you to alter a ‘but’ to a ‘yet,’ contrary to your own convictions. Above all things, an author ought to be sincere to the public; and when William Godwin stands in the
title page, it is implied that W. G. approves that which follows. Besides, the mind and finer feelings are blunted by such obseqiousness. But in the theatre, it is as Godwin & Co. ex professo. I should regard it almost in the same light as if I had written a song for
Haydn to compose and Mara to sing. I know indeed what is poetry, but I do not know so well as he and she what will suit his notes and her voice. That actors and managers are often wrong is true; but still their trade is their trade, and the presumption is in favour of their being right. For the Press, I should wish you to be solicitously nice, because you are to exhibit before a larger and more respectable multitude than a theatre presents to you, and in a new part—that of a poet employing his philosophical knowledge.

“If it be possible, come therefore, and let us discuss every page and every line. The time depends of course on the day fixed for the representation of the piece.

“Now for something which I would fain believe is still more important, namely the property of your philosophical speculations. Your second objection, derived from the present ebb of opinion, will be best answered by the fact that Mackintosh and his followers have the flow. This is greatly in your favour, for mankind are at present gross reasoners. They reason in a perpetual antithesis; Mackintosh is an oracle, and Godwin therefore a fool. Now it is morally impossible that Mackintosh and the sophists of his school can retain this opinion. You may well exclaim with Job, ‘O that my adversary would write a book!’ When he publishes, it will be all over with him, and then the minds of men will incline strongly to those who would point out in intellectual perceptions a source of moral progressiveness. Every man in his heart is in favour of your general principles. A party of dough-baked democrats of fortune were weary of being dissevered from their fellow rich men. They want to say something in defence of turning round. Mackintosh puts that something into their mouths, and for awhile they will admire and be-praise him. In a little while these men will have fallen back into the ranks from which they had stepped out, and life is too
melancholy a thing for men in general for the doctrine of unprogressiveness to remain popular. Men cannot long retain their faith in the Heaven above the blue sky, but a Heaven they will have, and he who reasons best on the side of that universal wish will be the most popular philosopher. As to your first objection, that you are no logician, let me say that your habits are analytic, but that you have not read enough of Travels, Voyages, and Biography, especially of men’s lives of themselves, and you have too soon submitted your notions to other men’s censures in conversation. A man should nurse his opinions in privacy and self-fondness for a long time, and seek for sympathy and love, not for detection or censure. Dismiss, my dear fellow, your theory of Collision of Ideas, and take up that of Mutual Propulsions. I wish to write more to state to you a lucrative job, which would, I think, be eminently serviceable to your own mind, and which you would have every opportunity of doing here. I now express a serious wish that you would come and look out for a house.

S. T. Coleridge.

“I would gladly write any verses, but to a prologue or epilogue I am utterly incompetent. . . . .”

The Same to the Same.
Saturday night, [Dec. 9th, 1800.]

Dear Godwin.—The cause of my not giving you that immediate explanation which you requested, was merely your own intimation that you could attend to nothing until the fate of your ‘Melpomene,’ was decided. The plan was this: a system of Geography, taught by a re-writing of the most celebrated Travels into the different climates of the world, choosing for each climate one Traveller, but interspersing among his adventures all that was interesting in incident or observation from all former or after travellers or voyagers: annexing to each travel a short essay, pointing out what facts in it illustrate what laws of mind, &c. If a bookseller of spirit would undertake this work, I have no doubt of its being a standard school-book. It should be as large
as the last edition of
Guthrie—12 or 1400 pages. I mentioned it to you because I thought this sort of reading would be serviceable to your mind: but if you reject the offer, mention it to no one, for in that case I will myself undertake it. The ‘Life of Bolingbroke’ will never do in my opinion, unless you have many original unpublished papers, &c. The good people will cry it down as a Satan’s Hell-broth, warmed up a-new by Beelzebub. Besides, entre nous, my Lord Bolingbroke was but a very shallow gentleman. He had great, indeed amazing, living talents, but there is absolutely nothing in his writings, his philosophical writings to wit, which had not been more accurately developed before him. All this, you will understand, goes on the supposition of your being possessed of no number of original letters. If you are, and if they enable you to explain the junction of intellectual power and depraved appetites, for heaven’s sake go on boldly, and dedicate the work to your friend Sheridan. For myself, I would rather have written the ‘Mad Mother’ than all the works of all the Bolingbrokes and Sheridans, those brother meteors, that have been exhaled from the morasses of human depravity since the loss of Paradise. But this, my contempt of their intellectual powers as worthless, does not prevent me from feeling an interest and a curiosity in their moral temperament, and I am not weak enough to hope or wish that you should think or feel as I think or feel.

“One phrase in your letter distressed me. You say that much of your tranquillity depends on the coming hour. I hope that this does not allude to any immediate embarrassment. If not, I should cry out against you loudly. The motto which I prefixed to my tragedy when I sent it to the manager, I felt, and I continue to feel.
“‘Valeat res scenica, si me
‘Palma negata mærum, donata reducit opimum.’

“The success of a tragedy in the present size of the theatres (‘Pizarro’ is a pantomime) is in my humble opinion rather improbable than probable. What tragedy has succeeded for the last 15 years? You will probably answer the question by
another. What tragedy has deserved to succeed? and to that I can give no answer. Be my thoughts therefore sacred to hope. If every wish of mine had a pair of hands, your play should be clapped through 160 successive nights, and I would reconcile it to my conscience (in part) by two thoughts: first, that you are a good man; and secondly, that the divinity of
Shakespere would remain all that while unblasphemed by the applauses of a rabble, who, if he were now for the first time to present his pieces, would tear them into infamy. Κόυρον γτορ εχει τό πλειστον άνθρώτων. The mass of mankind are blind in heart, and I have been almost blind in my eyes. For the last five weeks I have been tormented by a series of bodily grievances, and for great part of the time deprived of the use of my poor eyes by inflammation, and at present I have six excruciating boils behind my right ear, the largest of which I have christened Captain Robert, in honour of De Foe’s ‘Captain Robert Boyle.’ Eke, I have the rheumatism in my hand. If therefore there be anything fitful and splenetic in this letter, you know where to lay the fault, only do not cease to believe that I am interested in all that relates to you and your comforts. God grant I may receive your tragedy with the πότνια νίχη in the title page!

“My darling Hartley has been ill, but is now better. My youngest is a fat little creature, not unlike your Mary. God love you and

S. T. Coleridge.

P.S.—Do you continue to see dear Charles Lamb often? Talking of tragedies, at every perusal my love and admiration of his play rises a peg. C. Lloyd is settled at Ambleside, but I have not seen him. I have no wish to see him, and likewise no wish not to see him.”

The Same to the Same.
Wednesday night, Dec. 17th, 1800.

Dear Godwin.—I received the newspaper with a beating heart, and laid it down with a heavy one. But cheerily, friend! it is worth something to have learnt what will not please.
Kemble, like Saul, is among the prophets. The account in the Morning Post, was so unusually well written, and so unfeelingly harsh, that it induced suspicions in my mind of the author.

“If your interest in the theatre is not ruined by the fate of this, your first piece, take heart, set instantly about a new one, and if you want a glowing subject, take the death of Myrza as related in the Holstein Ambassador’s Travels into Persia, in p. 93, vol ii. of ‘Harris’s Collections.’ There is crowd, character, passion, incident and pageantry in it; and the history is so little known that you may take what liberties you like without danger.

“It is my present purpose to spend the two or three weeks after the Christmas holidays in London. Then we can discuss all and everything. Your last play wanted one thing which I believe is almost indispensable in a play—a proper rogue, in the cutting of whose throat the audience may take an unmingled interest.

“We are all tolerably well. God love you, and

S. T. Coleridge.
Greta Hall, Keswick.

P.S.—There is a paint, the first coating of which, put on paper, becomes a dingy black, but the second time to a bright gold colour. So I say—Put on a second coating, friend!”