Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

effect it. How did you like Dora Wordsworth? She is a very pleasing girl--simple and affectionate; uniting her Aunt Sarah's1 shrewdness to her mother's gentleness. Mrs. W. is now almost solitary, having only her son Willy with her. John is studying hard at Oxford--I read Thucydides with him at Xmas.--Mr. W. and his sister at Coleorton, are perhaps by this time in town. He has been translating Virgil2 --into a sort of confluent couplet--or if the phrase be not a bull, rhiming blank verses. It is certainly, from the sample I have seen, a powerful work, but between Wordsworth's republican Austerity, and the courtly pomp of Virgil, the contrast is so wide, that I doubt, whether the more perfect correctness of sense, can atone in a translation for such disparity of mode. My dear Mother and Sara are, I believe, well --the latter engaged as hard as her eyes allow her. They were much grieved at the news of Mrs. Gillman's accident--I hope she suffers nothing from it at present. My best love to her, and to Mr. Gillman to whom I will write before very long. I have received a kind letter from Williams which I censure myself for not answering sooner. It is very long since I have heard from Jameson--how is he? I fear he has not received my last, which was [by] a private hand, and thinks that I have neglected him--

Your truly affectionate Son,
H. C.


LETTER 27
To JOHN TAYLOR COLERIDGE, No. 65 Torrington Square, or Pump Court, Middle Temple.

Ambleside, Feb. 12th, 1825.

Dear John

'Sera numquam est ad bonos mores via' is the first scrap of Latin we learn, and perhaps the whole extent of Classic lore furnishes not a better. I hope my present epistle will not prove sera for our mutual advantage, tho' in truth I should be not a little ashamed of my tardiness, had I not a somewhat better excuse than procrastination, or even my engagements, multifarious as they are, to allege for it. The fact is--I had the misfortune to strain my thumb about

____________________
1
Sarah Hutchinson, a sister of Mrs. Wordsworth's, although a favourite of Coleridge's, hardly ever receives praise from Hartley.
2
As early as 1819 Wordsworth had completed three books of Virgil Aeneid, and in 1824 he turned again to the subject. Coleridge rather frankly criticized Wordsworth's efforts.

-87-

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