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the whine of selfish Sensibility. In a few months I shall enter at the Temple, asă” there seek forgetful calmness where alone it can be found-in incessant and useful activity.'
The letter closes with an assurance that if his rival is to be made happy he will be congratulated and not hated; and ends as abruptly as it began, with the simple signature, S. T. Coleridge,' and this postscript, I return to Cambridge to-morrow morning.' This seems to show that the letter was written before the end of the term (middle of December), in which case Mary's answer was far from being prompt. Coleridge's response to it is dated December 24, 1794,' and opens thus: I have this moment received your letter, Mary Evans. Its firmness does honour to your understanding, its gentleness to your humanity. You condescend to accuse yourself unjustly you have been altogether blameless. In my wildest dream of Vanity, I never supposed that you entertained for me any other than a common friendship. To love you habit has made unalterable. This passion, however, divested, as it now is, of all shadow of Hope, will lose its disquieting. He cannot long be wretched who dares to be actively virtuous. . . . May God infinitely love you!S. T. COLERIDGE,' About the middle of December, a few days before the close of the Michaelmas term, Coleridge quitted Cambridge without taking his degree.*
But not for Bristol. He did not even write, either to his fiancée or to Southey. They, and also Pantisocracy, seem to have been forgotten. He went to London and remained there, solacing his grief in the sympathetic society of Charles Lamb, and confiding his opinion on things in general to the public by way of Sonnets 2 addressed to Eminent Characters,' through the Morning Chronicle. It was of this period that Lamb wrote two years later: You came to town, and I saw you at a time when your heart was yet bleeding with recent wounds. Like yourself, I was sore galled with disappointed hope. . . . I imagine to myself the little smoky room at the "Salutation and Cat," where we have sat together through the winter nights, beguiling the cares of life with Poesy.' The friends at Bristol gradually lost all patience. Coleridge did not come back to Bristol,' wrote Southey to Cottle, till January 1795, nor would he, I believe, have come back at all, if I had not gone to London to look for him. For having got there from Cambridge at the beginning of winter, there he remained without writing to Miss F[ricker] or to me.' With some
* Dr. Carlyon (Early Years, etc. i. 27), apparently on the authority of Dr. Pearce (Master of Jesus College in Coleridge's time), states that when remonstrated with on his conduct, Coleridge 'cut short the argument by bluntly assuring his friend and master, that he mistook the matter altogether. He was neither Jacobin (he said) nor Democrat, but a Pantisocrat.' Dr. Brandl (Life of Coleridge, p. 80) suggests that Coleridge did not take his degree, because He could not have signed the Thirty-nine Articles, and adds (on what authority is not stated) that Dr. Pearce gave him the benefit of the whole winter term for his return, before removing, as he was bound to do, his name from the College boards. Finally, he obtained for him one reprieve more, up to the 14th June 1795.' In the official 'List of [C.H.] University Exhibitioners' it is stated that Coleridge's case was
considered by the C.H. Committee on the 22nd April 1795, which then seems to have learnt for the first time of his absence from Cambridge from Nov. 1793 to April 1794; and also that he had left Cambridge a few days before the expiration of the Michaelmas term in 1794. In this way ended Coleridge's official relations with Christ's Hospital and Jesus College.
1 So far as I am aware, no other record of this project exists.
2 See pp. 38-43; and 'Notes' 64-73, PP. 574, 575.
3 Letter to Coleridge, June 10, 1796. Cf. letters of June 14 and December 2, 1796. See also 'Note 57,' p. 571. The tavern (17 Newgate Street) survived as such till 1884, when it was burnt down.
4 Reminiscences, p. 405-text corrected by the original letter.
difficulty, Southey found him at the 'Angel' Inn in Butcher Hall Street, and carried him off to Bristol. There was probably too much joy there over the recovery of the truant to permit of reproaches, for the relations with Sarah and with Pantisocracy, broken by Coleridge's long silence (the result, it is to be feared, of faded interest), were renewed. At all events they were patched up, and Coleridge recommenced ardent lover and Pantisocrat. The scheme, Cottle assures us, was the favourite theme of his discourse.'
Finance, naturally, was the difficulty. Coleridge, Southey, and Burnett lodged together at 48 College Street. Burnett's father was a well-to-do Somersetshire farmer, and sympathetic; Southey had nothing, and those of his relatives who had something were antagonistic; Coleridge had nothing, and ignored his relatives altogether. Lovell, who had married Mary Fricker, could probably have provided his share of the common capital, but without Coleridge and Southey no move could be made. About a month after Coleridge's recapture, Southey wrote to Bedford (February 8, 1795): Coleridge is writing at the same table ;* our names are written in the book of destiny, on the same page'; and he went on to expound a scheme of publishing a magazine, to be edited by Coleridge and himself. Both hoped to get money by journalism, but opportunities failed; and they tried lecturing-Coleridge on politics and religion, Southey on history. Their relations seem to have been Pantisocratic, for Southey declared, two years later, that his earnings during the earlier half of 1795 were as four to one of Coleridge's, and that, besides supporting himself, he almost supported Coleridge. Of all the lecturing, nothing remains to us but what is contained in three little pamphlets.1
Lovell had lost no time in introducing Coleridge to Cottle, then a young printer, bookseller, and poetaster. He was very friendly to the Pantisocrats, and when they could not quite make up a seven weeks' lodging bill, he lent them a five-pound note, delighted to be thus assured that the foolish emigration scheme was not progressing materially. Soon after this he offered Coleridge thirty guineas+ for a
* Life and Corr. of R. S. i. 231. On January 29, 1810, Southey wrote to Miss Barker (Letters of R. S. ii. 188) of his intercourse with Coleridge in 1795: 'Disliking his inordinate love of talking, I was naturally led to avoid the same fault; when we were alone, and he talked his best (which was always at those times), I was pleased to listen; and when we were in company, and I heard the same things repeated-repeated to every fresh company, seven times in the week if we were in seven parties-still I was silent. . . . His habits have continued, and so have mine.' This habit of unlimited repetition was noted by Coleridge's clerk at Malta.
A statement that he only received half the sum, having been forgetfully made by Coleridge in later life, and adopted by some biographers, it seems only fair to Cottle to say that I have seen Coleridge's stamped receipt for the whole. It runs as follows:- Received, the 28th March 1796, the sum of Thirty guineas, for the copyright of my Poems, beginning with the "Monody
on the Death of Chatterton," and ending with "Religious Musings.' (Signed) S. T. COLE
1 A Moral and Political Lecture, delivered at Bristol, by S. T. Coleridge, of Jesus College, Cambridge. Bristol: printed by George Routh, in Corn Street. Price Sixpence. [1795.] This was probably published soon after the oral delivery in February. In November it was reprinted with some alterations as the first of two Conciones ad Populum; or, Addresses to the People. By S. T. Coleridge. 1795. I. Introductory Address. II. On the present War. The Preface is dated 'Clevedon, Nov. 16, 1795.' At the same time was published The Plot discovered; or, An Address to the People against Ministerial Treason. By S. T. Coleridge. Bristol, 1795. On the wrapper was the legend: 'A Protest against certain Bills. Bristol printed for the Author, Nov. 28, 1795.' The Bills' were the Pitt and Grenville Acts for gagging Press and Platform. Both pamphlets are reprinted in Essays on his own Times.
volume of poems, the money to be advanced as required. Coleridge had a goog many short poems ready in his portfolio, but his magnum opus, Religious Musings, was incomplete,1 and it was not completed until the following year, after all the rest of the volume had been printed. Probably one of the first of his early poems which he revised was the Monody on the Death of Chatterton, adding the passages respecting Pantisocracy, which had become but a memory before the volume was published. We are principally dependent on Cottle for information regarding this period, and he may be believed when he pictures Coleridge as spending much time in conversation.' It was probably, as in after-days, chiefly monologue, and besides Pantisocracy (an everlasting theme'), his stock subjects were Bishop Berkeley, David Hartley, and Mr. Bowles, whose sonnets he delighted in reciting.' Cottle forgets politics, but the lecture-pamphlets are there to testify to the vigour of Coleridge's campaign against the tyranny of Pitt.
The course of true love seems to have run smooth, but not so that of friendship. Letters written by Southey and Coleridge show that up to the middle of September no breach had taken place, but a letter of Southey (July 19, 1797)2 shows that he had lost confidence as early as the summer of 1795.' The joint lodging had to be given up, for financial reasons, says Southey, who returned to his mother at Bath. Our arrears were paid with twenty guineas which Cottle advanced to him. During all this. . . [Coleridge] was to all appearances as he had ever been towards me; but I discovered that he had been employing every calumny against me, and representing me as a villain.'3 The only probable explanation of the conduct attributed to Coleridge is that he must have seen that Southey's enthusiasm for Pantisocracy had been waning. It had so far waned by the summer that, although he could not agree to prepare for the Church, as he was urged to do by his uncle Hill, he somewhat promptly determined to study law. In Coleridge's eyes this must have been black treason, and it is a thousand pities that he did not say so at once and openly. It was only in November, when Southey was about to sail for Lisbon, that he formally announced to Coleridge his abandonment of Pantisocracy. Coleridge broke out in extravagantly-worded upbraidings, and the quarrel was not made up until Southey's return in the summer of the following year.1
When he betook himself to his solitary lodging at 25 College Street, Coleridge must have earned some ready money by his pen, for the thirty guineas received for the copyright of his poems could not nearly have sufficed to support him during the many months which preceded publication, or the settlement of accounts with Cottle on the 28th March 1796. But Cottle must be held responsible for Coleridge's determination not to postpone his marriage. He offered to buy an unlimited number of verses from the poet at the fixed rate of a guinea and a half per hundred lines (which works out at nearly fourpence apiece), for when asked by a friend 'how he was to keep the pot boiling when married,' Coleridge 'very promptly answered that Mr. Cottle had made him such an offer that he felt no solicitude on that subject.' 5
III. MARRIAGE-THE WATCHMAN
In August, consequently, a little cottage was taken at Clevedon (it is still shown
2 Letters of R. S. i.
6 See Note 83,' p. 578.
1 See Note 63,' p. 573; and 'Note 87,' p. 579.
to the pilgrim and the tourist), and on the 4th October 1795, Coleridge and Sarah Frker were married at the great church of St. Mary Redcliffe, and the honeymoon began. The cottage wanted papering, and a good many indispensable housekeeping articles 1 had been forgotten, but Cottle promptly supplied all deficiencies. Burnett and one of Sarah's sisters for a time shared the limited accommodation of the rosebound dwelling; and we learn by some jottings in the Commonplace Book 2 that the household work was shared by all. The two men got up at six, put on the kettle and cleaned the shoes; at eight Sarah laid the breakfast table, and so on. But Clevedon being found too far from Bristol Library, was soon abandoned for rooms on Redcliffe Hill. Religious Musings was still on the anvil, but it was left there, for the prosecution of a great project in which he had interested a number of friends, probably as inexperienced, if not quite as enthusiastic and unbusinesslike, as himself. One evening in December the party met at the Rummer tavern,' and it was settled that Coleridge should bring out a periodical, something between a newspaper and a magazine, to be called The Watchman. To avoid the stamp-tax it was to be issued, not weekly, but on every eighth day; and No. I. was announced to appear on the 1st of March, 'price fourpence.' Early in January, Coleridge started on a tour of the north country to procure subscribers—‘preaching,' as he says,3 by the way in most of the great towns, as an hireless volunteer, in a blue coat and white waistcoat, that not a rag of the woman of Babylon might be seen on me. For I was at that time and long after, though a Trinitarian (i.e. ad normam Platonis) in philosophy, yet a zealous Unitarian in religion.' Through eight pages of the Biographia Coleridge gives a most vivid and humorous account of his tour, from which, he says, he returned with a subscription list of nearly a thousand names.4
On the appointed day, March 1st, No. I. appeared, but it disappointed the subscribers by its dulness. No. II. offended many by the choice of Isaiah xvi. 11 as motto for an essay on 'National Fasts'; succeeding numbers gave umbrage to Jacobin, Democrat, and Godwinite patrons, without attracting opposite factions-and on the last page of 'No. X.' (May 13, 1796) an 'address to the reader' informed him that this is the last number of the Watchman .; the reason is short and satisfactory-the work does not pay its expenses.' Six weeks before, the ever-helpful Thomas Poole had foreseen the inevitable. He set to work to gather a little money for Coleridge, and on the last magazine-day' of the Watchman, its baffled proprietor was cheered by the receipt of a purse of forty pounds, together with a kindly and delicately-worded letter.6 This produced a grateful reply to Poole, which the ex-dragoon closed by asking for a horse of tolerable meekness' on which to ride over to Stowey. The request was granted, and he spent a peaceful fortnight with Poole.
Before this, late in March, the Poems on various subjects had been published. The volume attracted the notice of the principal reviews and magazines-its reception being generally favourable, and in one or two instances enthusiastic. Some Monthly thought that Religious Musings' Coleridge agreed with both sets of critics,
reviewers detected 'turgidness' — the reached the top scale of sublimity.' and so did Lamb.9
1 The amusing list is given in Rem. p. 40. See p. 453, post.
3 Biog. Lit. chap. x.
4 See also an account of the Watchman, with some letters written by Coleridge on the tour, in Cottle's Rem. pp. 74 et seq.
At the end of June, Grey, the co-editor with Perry of the Morning Chronicle, died, and through Dr. Beddoes, Coleridge received a proposal that he said replace him. This he at once accepted, and on the 5th July expected to hear particulars from Perry. My heart is very heavy' (he wrote to Estlin),1‘for I love Bristol, and I do not love London. Besides, local and temporary politics are my aversion. . . . But there are two giants leagued together, whose most imperious commands I must obey, however reluctant,—their names are BREAD and CHEESE.' An undated letter from S. Purkis to T. Poole 2 shows that Coleridge intended to go up to London to see Perry, but at this point our information fails, and we only know that the negotiations ended fruitlessly. Next came an arrangement by which Coleridge was to undertake the education of the sons of Mrs. Evans of Darley Abbey, near Derby a lady, it may be as well to mention, entirely unconnected with the family of his old sweetheart, Mary Evans. This having been settled during a visit to Darley Abbey, Coleridge left his wife there, and, about the end of July, paid a visit of reconciliation to his family at Ottery. Of this visit he wrote to Estlin3: I was received by my mother with transport, and by my brother George with joy and tenderness, and by my other brothers with affectionate civility.'
On his return home on the 7th August, a fresh disappointment awaited him in the shape of a letter from Mrs. Evans, informing him that her trustees would not consent to the arrangements which had been made, but begging him to come to her at once. This request he complied with. At the end of a ten days' visit there was an affectionate parting, and Mrs. Evans, he wrote, 'insisted on my acceptance of £95, and she had given Mrs. Coleridge all her baby-clothes, which are, I suppose, very valuable.' 4 Before leaving Derby, Coleridge was further consoled by a proposition made by Dr. Crompton, that he should set up a school at Derby, under the active patronage of Mrs. Evans's influential family connections. An unfinished house was at once engaged 'to be completed by the 8th October, for £12 a year,' and the landlord won Coleridge's heart by promising to Rumfordize the chimneys.'5 scheme also came to nothing. On September 24, Coleridge writes to Poole that his heart is heavy respecting Derby '-which I interpret as meaning that he feared to settle so far away from Bristol and from Poole. A house at Adscombe (near Stowey), with some land attached, was his desire, and apparently with Poole's approval Derby was given up, and a letter written to Dr. Crompton to which Coleridge received a very kind reply.' 8
On his way home from Derby, Coleridge had spent a week at Moseley, near Birmingham, and there renewed the acquaintance with the Lloyds which had been formed during the Watchman tour in January. Charles Lloyd had been fascinated by Coleridge, and having a turn for verse-making and meditation, rather than for the
* 'I preached yesterday morning from Hebrews iv. 1, 2. It was my chef d'œuvre. I think of writing it down and publishing it with two other sermons. . . . I should like you to hear me preach them. I lament that my political notoriety prevented my relieving you occasionally at Bristol.' S. T. C. to Estlin, August 22, 1796 (Estlin Letters, p. 15).
1 Unpublished Letters of S. T. C. to the Rev. J. P. Estlin, printed for the Philobiblon Society, p. 17.
2 Printed in T. Poole and his Friends, i. 151, 152.
3 Estlin Letters, p. 11. The letter is there misplaced.
A Estlin Letters, pp. 12, 13.
5 Biog. Lit. 1847, ii. 372. See 'Note 89,' p. 581, post.
6 T. Poole and his Friends, i. 158.
7 lb. i. 188.
8 Biog. Lit. 1847, ii. 377. See Lamb's letters to Coleridge of October 17 and 24, and November 8, 1796 (A'ʼn ger's ed. i. 30 et seq.)