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been considered to receive corroboration from a passage in a letter of Stuart, written long years afterwards to H. N. Coleridge: Could Coleridge and I place ourselves thirty years back, and he be so far a man of business as to write three or four hours a day, there is nothing I would not pay for his assistance. I would take him into partnership, and I would enable him to make a large fortune.' I do not share this view. On the contrary, had Stuart ever offered a partnership, he would have remembered the circumstance; he knew that regular work for any length of time it was not in Coleridge's nature to give. Besides, Stuart's offer would have been communicated to Wordsworth, and in such case Wordsworth could not have written to Mrs. H. N. Coleridge: 'So convinced was I of the great service that your father rendered to Mr. Stuart's paper, that I urged him to put in his claim to be admitted a proprietor, but this he declined, having a great disinclination to any tie of the kind' (Introd. to Biog. Lit. 1847). I have little doubt that the offer' was a mere affair of 'ifs' dropped by Stuart in conversation with Coleridge, when urging him to contribute more than he was doing.1 In journalism, as in other matters, it was with Coleridge indolence capable of energies'; and so uniform was Stuart's experience of his friend, that it is incredible that he should have ever seriously proposed to take him as a partner. Except in that unfortunate passage in the Biographia, Coleridge always acknowledged Stuart's generosity a generosity which was continued down to the latest months of the poet's life.
We left Coleridge at Buckingham Street, in the middle of February, having given up his engagement with Stuart. His immediate purpose must have been to get on more quickly with Wallenstein. Towards the end of the month Mrs. Coleridge and Hartley left London, going probably to her mother's house at Bristol; Coleridge himself going to the Lambs', who were then living at Pentonville. The reconciliation between these old friends had taken place some time before this. The first evidence we have of this is in a letter from Lamb, dated in all editions Jan. 2, 1800,' but which must have been written about the 23rd-27th. On March 17th Lamb wrote to Manning: I am living in a continuous feast. Coleridge has been with me now for nigh three weeks, and the more I see of him in the quotidian undress, the more cause I see to love him and believe him a very good man, and all those foolish impressions fly off like morning slumbers. He is engaged in translation, which I hope will keep him this month to come.'
Coleridge graphically describes his situation and prospects at this time in a letter to Stuart These cursed Plays play the Devil with me. I have been writing from morning till night, and almost half the night too, and yet get on slowly for the printer. . . My wife and child leave London to - morrow; and I was particularly desirous to have done enough to have given me some claim on him [Longman] for a few pounds, which I must draw on him for their journey. These things I mention, not as justification of my breach of promise, but as palliations. . . In about four or five days I shall have finished the first Play; and, that being finished, I may go on more leisurely with the others. I shall then be able to give some assistance, probably as much as you may want. A certain number of Essays I consider myself bound to send you AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in common honesty. AFTER these, if it be worth your while, I will do what I can, only not for any regular stipend. That harasses me. I know that hitherto I have received from you
1 There is a mass of printed matter connected with this controversy, but I do not think I have omitted anything essential. See Gent. Mag.
May, June, July, and August 1838; Introduction to Biog. Lit. 1847; and editorial notes in Essays on his own Times.
much more than I have earned, and this must not be. . . . I will certainly fill you out a good paper on Sunday.'1
How long Coleridge remained with Lamb is unknown, for the next glimpse we have of him is in a letter written to Josiah Wedgwood on the 21st April, from Wordsworth's cottage at Grasmere: To-morrow morning I send off the last sheet of my irksome, soul-wearying labour, the translation of Schiller.' 'Of its success I have no hope,' he says, adding but with all this I have learnt that I have Industry and Perseverance-and before the end of the year, if God grant me health, I shall have my wings wholly un-birdlimed.' He expects to be back in London in a week. But he went to Stowey 2 instead. To Godwin he writes from Poole's house on May 21st:3 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 prospect, that, if, according to you and Hume, impressions constitute our being, I shall have a tendency to become a god, so sublime and beautiful will be the series of my visual existence. . . . Hartley sends his love to Mary. "What, and not to Fanny?" Yes, and to Fanny, but I'll have Mary [afterwards Mrs. Shelley]. In Bristol I was much with Davy [afterwards Sir Humphry]—almost all day.' No house was procurable at Stowey, and some time in June Coleridge took his wife and child to Dove Cottage. On the way thither they stayed eight or nine days at Liverpool as the guests of Dr. Crompton (a connection of Mrs. Evans of Darley Abbey), and saw much of the remarkable group of which Roscoe, Rathbone, and Dr. Currie (editor of Burns) were the principal members-all Liberals in politics and religion. The Coleridges remained with the Wordsworths from the 1st July until the 24th, when they moved into Greta Hall.4 On the 11th of that month Coleridge writes to Stuart of a sort of rheumatic fever, the result of a cold caught on the journey north, from which he was hardly then recovered, and, making this the excuse for having sent no contributions for two months, promises the second part of Pitt' and 'Buonaparte' immediately. He will at same time say 'whether or no he will be able to continue any species of regular connection with the paper'; and closes by announcing that his address henceforward will be Greta Hall.'5
On the day on which he entered that famous dwelling, he wrote to J. Wedgwood I parted from Poole with pain and dejection, for him, and for myself in him. I should have given Stowey a decided preference for a residence but there was no suitable house, and no prospect of a suitable house.' Coleridge, however, was by no means inconsolable. As far back as March, Poole had grown jealous of his ever-growing attachment to Wordsworth-accusing him even of 'prostration,' and I share Mrs. Sandford's view that Coleridge would never have been contented to live in the west of England whilst Wordsworth was living in
*Davy had been, since October 1798, at Bristol, in charge of Dr. Beddoes's Pneumatic Institution. Coleridge was introduced to him in 1799 before going to London. In January 1800 Coleridge tells T. Wedgwood, who took much interest in Davy, that he had never met with so extraordinary a young man' (Cottle's Rem. p. 431).
1 Letters from the Lake Poets. . . to Daniel Stuart. 1800-1838. Printed for private circulation, 1889, pp. 5, 6.
2 Letters to the Lake Poets, p. 7.
the north.' Coleridge, no doubt, believed himself to be regretful at the necessity which carried him to the north, and the two men parted the best of friends; and so they continued for some years longer. But Coleridge had always some one chief friend, generally the one nearest to him, to whom he gave away so much of himself as to find it impossible to meet other claims which, not the less, he eagerly acknowledged.
There is no need to describe Greta Hall. The house and its surroundings are well known, and Coleridge's impressions may be found recounted at length in his published letters.1 He was simply enchanted with everything. '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.' So he wrote to the unlovely Godwin, Poole he wrote, after three weeks' experience: 'In gardens, etc., we are uncommonly well-off, and our landlord,* who resides next door in this two-fold house, is already much attached to us. He is a quiet, sensible man, with as large a library as yours, and perhaps larger, well stored with Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, and Histories, etc., all modern. 3 The gentry of the country, titled and untitled, have
all called, or are about to call on me, and I shall have free access to the magnificent library of Sir Gilfrid Lawson, a weak but good-natured man. I wish you could come here in October, after your harvesting, and stand godfather at the christening of my child. We are well, and the Wordsworths are well. The two volumes of the Lyrical Ballads will appear in about a fortnight.'
But they did not appear for about six months, and in the interval there wa much coming and going between Dove Cottage and Greta Hall, as may be seen even in the few extracts from Miss Wordsword's Grasmere Journals,' printed in Prof. Knight's Life of Wordsworth. The interchange of visits was so frequent that the friends seem to have thought little more of the twelve miles which lay between Grasmere and Keswick, than they had of the three between Stowey and Alfoxden. Having left Dove Cottage on the 23rd, Coleridge was back again on the 31st, bringing with him the second volume of the Annual Anthology. The party spent two days walking, rowing on the lake, and reading one another's poems in the breeze and the shade,' and, on the 2nd September, the two poets walked back to Greta Hall, Wordsworth returning home on the 6th. Two days after, Wordsworth and his sister went over on a week's visit. As it has been said that Coleridge never went to church, one may oppose to that scandalous report Miss Wordsworth's entry for Sunday, August 10th: Very hot. The C.'s went to church. We sailed upon Derwent in the evening.' Three Sundays later, Miss Wordsworth records: At 11 o'clock Coleridge came when I was walking in the still, clear
Jackson, a retired carrier. He was the master of Wordsworth's Waggoner, and admir
able in all relations of life.
↑ Derwent-born September 14th, 1800, three weeks after the letter was written. Coleridge had also asked Godwin (of all men in the world!) to be godfather, meeting with a refusal. See a curious passage on Coleridge's then very unsettled views respecting Baptism, in a letter to Godwin (W. Godwin, ii. 9).
Derwent, when a little baby, was supposed to be dying, 'so,' writes Coleridge to Davy, 'the
good people would have it baptized.' This was doubtless a private rite. In November 1803 all three children were publicly baptized-but only, again, to please the good people,' not the father.
1 To Wedgwood in Cottle's Rem. p. 436, and to Godwin in William Godwin, ii. 6-8.
2 William Godwin, ii. 8.
3 To Godwin, he describes Jackson's books as 'almost all the usual trash of Johnson's, Gibbon's, Robertson's, etc.'
moonshine in the garden. He came over Helvellyn. . . We sate and chatted till half-past three . . . Coleridge reading a part of Christabel.' On the 4th October 'Coleridge came in while we were at dinner, very wet. We talked till twelve o'clock. He had sate up all the night before writing essays for the newspaper. Extremely delighted with second part of Christabel. 5th October.-Coleridge read Christabel a second time; we had increasing pleasure. . . . 6th October.-After tea read The Pedlar [Excursion]. Determined not to print Christabel with the L.B. 7th October. Coleridge went off at 11 o'clock.' The further history of Christabel and of the new edition of the Lyrical Ballads will be found in 'Note 116' (p. 601), where it will be seen that he undertook to make up for the omission of Christabel by contributing other poems. Ten days later Miss Wordsworth records that 'Coleridge had done nothing for L.B.'; but on October 22nd he was back at Dove Cottage reading Christabel. 'We were very merry. . . . William read Ruth, etc.' Stoddart was with them, and went to Greta Hall with Coleridge. It may have been then that Stoddart received the copy of Christabel which he read to Scott. In November and December the Wordsworths and Coleridge continued to go and come, but no extracts from the Journals are printed between December 9, 1800 and October 10, 1801. The Lyrical Ballads of 1800 were published in January 1801.
On November 1, 1800, Coleridge tells Wedgwood 1 of his labours on Christabel. 'In the meantime I had got myself entangled in the old sorites of the old sophist -procrastination. I had suffered my necessary business to accumulate so terribly that I neglected to write to any one, till the pain I suffered from not writing made me waste as many hours in dreaming about it as would have sufficed for the letterwriting of half a life.' He goes on, in this extremely interesting letter, to declare that although his situation at Keswick is delightful, he feels the loss of Poole's society, and of opportunities of meeting with the Wedgwoods. Yet when he revises the step he has taken, he cannot see how it could have been avoided. 'You will in three weeks see The Rise and Condition of the German Boors. I found it convenient to make up a volume out of my journey, etc., in North Germany, and the letters (your name of course erased) are in the printer's hands. I was so weary of transcribing and composing, that when I found those more carefully written than the rest, I even sent them off as they were.' The volume never reached the printer's hands.' Certain asterisks which follow probably represent a demand for money, for twelve days later Coleridge thanks his correspondent for his ‘kind letter with the £20,' adding that he believes he has ‘anticipated on the next year to the amount of £30 or £40, probably more.' He still complains of trouble in his eyes. I am much afraid that apart from spasmodic efforts to complete Christabel, Coleridge had been simply idling-so far, at least, as a poet and philosopher whose eye and mind are in a state of activity can be said to idle. But he was also a bread-winner, and well as it may be for such to 'gather in summer' it is unwise to 'sleep in harvest.' The volume about 'German Boors,' though not a myth, might as well have been one, for he 'suspended' it for months, and then tried to get Longmans to accept a metaphysical work instead, which they probably suspected would equally come to no result. Another book, on which he had received an advance from Phillipps, was also abandoned and the money refunded. The newspaper articles, of which he told the Wordsworths in October, were, save the introductory paper, Poole's. After these Stuart received nothing for a whole year, except 2 Essays on his own Times, pp. 413 and
1 Cottle's Rem. p. 439. The present quotation follows directly on that printed in 'Note 116,' at pp. 602, 603, post.
the satirical verses on his brother-in-law, Mackintosh, who was Coleridge's rival in the good graces of the Wedgwoods-a production therefore which, brilliant as it is, he had much better have retained for private consumption, or, at most, private circulation. His letters for the earlier part of the winter are full of work for the booksellers' in arrear, yet he seems to make no effort to rescue it from that always crowded limbo of his. But he talks of undertaking' a huge geographical school-book of ' 12 or 1400 pages' (!) if Godwin does not decide on doing it himself.2 Eight days later he tells Thelwall that he amuses' himself by studying the most ancient forms of the Northern Languages, his 'serious' occupation being a metaphysical investigation of the laws by which our feelings form affinities with each other, with ideas, and with words. As to Poetry, he has abandoned it, being convinced that he never had the essentials of a poet's genius.'
Before the end of the year he seems to have had an illness of some severity— rheumatic fever, followed by other troubles. The illness was intermittent, but before the end of January he was quite well again. He was, however, in serious pecuniary straits-owing money to Wordsworth and Lamb and Poole, and behind with his annual allowance of £20 to his mother-in-law, while a considerable part of his annuity for 1801 had been drawn in advance. Poole came to the rescue as regards one or two of the most pressing obligations. How the others were met, if met at all, there is no record. Coleridge proposes to publish his tragedy as a poem,' and also Christabel. The £60 he hoped to get for these cannot have been got, for they did not go to the printers. 'A drama and a sort of farce,' 'works written purposely vile' for the theatre, are supposed to be available if aught good come of them'; but Coleridge must have known he was romancing, for he adds—that is a dream.' The only bright spot in the letters of this time is that wife and children are well-Derwent a fine, fat fellow,' and Hartley an universal darling,' 'a fairy elf,' 'a spirit of joy dancing on an aspen leaf.'
As soon as Coleridge recovered, he gave himself up entirely to metaphysics, 'thinking with intense energy--the outcome being a series of letters addressed to the Wedgwoods, attacking Locke, Descartes, and Hobbes, but mainly the first, making him out to be a mere plagiarist.3 The intensity of the study does not relax until the middle of March, when he takes a week's respite, that he may make Christabel ready for the press . . . in order to get rid of his engagements to Longman.' One of them, the German book,' he has put aside owing to metaphysical preoccupations, although he confesses that 'poverty is staring him in the face.' The distress throughout the country-the Birmingham poor-rate, Wedgwood tells Poole, is fifty shillings in the pound-distresses Coleridge. His distaste for booksellers' work' grows; he thinks he will go to America; then, he will not, until he is starved out of his native land. Such is the burthen of his letters for months. Yet all the time his bread and butter were secured to him in the annuity; he had books to write for which the publishers were waiting, and Stuart would gladly have paid for the copious remarks on the condition of England question' which he spent much of his time inditing in the form of letters to his unpaying correspondents! With the best will in the world to extend nothing but sympathy towards a man of genius beating his wings against
1 The Two round Spaces on the Tombstone, p. 157. See also 'Note 158,' p. 625, post. Stuart, in 1838, believed that he had detected the purpose of the verses, and refused to publish them--a piece of forgetfulness which tends to invalidate to some extent what he put forward solely on the author.
ity of his recollections, in the controversy respect. ing Coleridge's services to the Morning Post and Courier (Gent. Mag. May 1838, p. 486).
2 William Godwin, ii. 14 (Letter of Dec. 1800).
3 T. Poole and his Friends, ii. 31.