Wednesday, March 19, 2008

faculties and discernments

Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Robert Southey

Friday night, September 26, 1794.

My Dear, Dear Southey,
I am beyond measure distressed and agitated by your letter to Favell. On the evening of the Wednesday before last, I arrived in Cambridge; that night and the next day I dedicated to writing to you, to Miss F.*, etc. On the Friday I received your letter of phlogistic rebuke. I answered it immediately, wrote a second letter to Miss F., inclosed them in the aforesaid parcel, and sent them off by the mail directed to Mrs. Southey, No. 8 Westcott Buildings, Bath. They should have arrived on Sunday morning. Perhaps you have not heard from Bath; perhaps damn perhapses! My God, my God! what a deal of pain you must have suffered before you wrote that letter to Favell.

It is an Ipswich Fair time, and the Norwich company are theatricalizing. They are the first provincial actors in the kingdom. Much against my will, I am engaged to drink tea and go to the play with Miss Brunton (Mrs. Merry's sister). The young lady, and indeed the whole family, have taken it into their heads to be very much attached to me, though I have known them only six days. The father (who is the manager and proprietor of the theatre) inclosed in a very polite note a free ticket for the season. The young lady is said to be the most literary of the beautiful, and the most beautiful of the literatae. It may be so; my faculties and discernments are so completely jaundiced by vexation that the Virgin Mary and Mary Flanders, alias Moll, would appear in the same hues.

All last night, I was obliged to listen to the damned chatter of our mayor, a fellow that would certainly be a pantisocrat, were his head and heart as highly illuminated as his face. At present he is a High Churchman, and a Pittite, and is guilty (with a very large fortune) of so many rascalities in his public character, that he is obliged to drink three bottles of claret a day in order to acquire a stationary rubor, and prevent him from the trouble of running backwards and forwards for a blush once every five minutes. In the tropical latitudes of this fellow's nose was I obliged to fry. I wish you would write a lampoon upon him in me it would be unchristian revenge.

Our tragedy is printed, all but the title-page. It will be complete by Saturday night. God love you. I am in the queerest humour in the world, and am out of love with everybody.
S. T. Coleridge.

*Sarah Fricker, his future wife.

-from Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Edited by Ernest HartleyColeridge in Two Volumes (London: William Heinemann, 1895) vol. 1.

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