Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Biographical Study

By E. K. Chambers | Go to book overview
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MALTA January 1804--August 1806

ON 14 January 1804 a sudden recovery to 'a state of elastic health' enabled Coleridge to walk nineteen miles in four and a half hours through bad weather from Grasmere to Kendal. Here he stopped to write to Richard Sharp an analysis of the characters of Thomas Wedgwood and Wordsworth as the two 'genuine philosophers' among their common friends. Wedgwood's faults, he said, in view of his circumstances, impressed him 'with veneration for his moral and intellectual character more than almost any other man's virtues'. For Wordsworth he did not feel 'that almost painfully profound moral admiration which the sense of the exceeding difficulty of a given virtue can alone call forth'. He thought him a happy man, in spite of the 'hypochondriacal graft in his nature', and believed that he would hereafter be admitted, on the strength of his Recluse, as the first and greatest philosophical poet. And here he states that distinction between Fancy and Imagination, as the 'modifying' or 'aggregating' power, 'in that sense in which it is a dim analogue of creation', which was to play so great a part, rightly or wrongly, in his later critical theory.1

From Kendal he went on to Liverpool, where he spent a week with Dr. Crompton, and thence on 23 January to London. Here he found Thomas Poole, who had come on John Rickman's invitation to undertake the analysis of some statistical returns upon the condition of the poor. 'God bless him! He looks so worshipful in his office, among his Clerks, that it would give you a few minutes' good spirits at least to look in upon him.' For a time Coleridge used Poole's lodgings at 16 Abingdon St., sleeping at Waghorn's coffeehouse hard by.2 Poole, however, had to return to Stowey for a time, and Coleridge invited himself for two days to Sir

C.144; W.158; Litchfield, 166.
C.145; G.132, 133; Litchfield, 166; P. ii. 121, 137-9.


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