Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview

LETTER 61
TO HENRY NELSON COLERIDGE.

[ 1837.]

Dear Henry

The enclosed Sonnet is not, of course, for the public eye-- I leave it to your own discretion to read it to Mama, or Sara, if you think it will not set old wounds a bleeding. I have my doubts as to the former, besides the allusions would perhaps puzzle her. Not a word in prose or verse will I ever publish that can be tortured into a reference to our domestic affairs, or even to my own circumstances. Lockhart gave me a lesson for that. I regret and resent the appearance of several pieces in my first volume. One Sonnet which Sara has (if she have not prudently destroyed it) having slipt by mistake into the printer's hand, I peremptorily ordered to be cancelled, and I wonder that I did not the same with regard to the lines addressed to Mary Derwent.1

As for the thing on the other side, over and above the more pressing reasons for keeping it to ourselves, I know it is very open to Criticism. I protest I would not show it to Wordsworth on any account. His austere taste would be mortally bored with the confusion of Astrology, Mythology, Scripture, and Hylozoism it exhibits--and perhaps some people not quite so particular in matters of composition would be horrified to find Moses between the Dioscuri and the Anima Mundi. But in my Sacred Sonnets intended for the Religious World, I have avoided any thing that can give them a pretext for setting up their backs, though I shall not win golden opinions from all sorts of men or women either--at least not from the admirers of the Lyra Apostolica. I shall enclose a specimen or two.

I could not thank you in prose for the great reconcilement you were the means of effecting--the peace and comfort and universal charity you gave to the last days του + ̑ Μακαρίτου. You caused him to die in good will with all men--save the Reformers and the dissenters--happily unconscious what a pack of resurrection rascals were hovering around his deathbed.

Yours truly

H.C.

____________________
1
Cf. Letter 32, 121-2.

-217-

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