Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

the letter is concerned with periodical contributions, showing that Hartley was obviously trying to support himself by writing for the magazines; for during the next five years he published essays or poems in Blackwood's, Janus, The Gem, The Literary Souvenir, The Christian Mother's Magazine, and The Winter's Wreath.

Perhaps the most entertaining portion of this letter is that devoted to Wordsworth. Derwent had published in 1826 an essay on Wordsworth in the Metropolitan Quarterly Magazine (containing a passage on Wordsworth's later poems, highly offensive to S. T. Coleridge), and Hartley's own remarks on Wordsworth arose naturally from a consideration of his brother's essay.

The engagement of Coleridge's only daughter, Sara, to her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge (a son of Colonel James Coleridge), was at first objected to by Coleridge, mainly on the ground of consanguinity. Her marriage, which took place on September 3, 1829, was, however, a happy one. Many of the misgivings of the family were, as Hartley's remarks show, due to a dislike of Henry Nelson Coleridge's rather gay and flippant Six Months in the West Indies; but in later years Henry Nelson Coleridge, as friend, disciple, and Boswell of Coleridge, and friend and protector of Hartley, took an important place in the family.


LETTER 28
TO DERWENT COLERIDGE, Helston, Cornwall.

Dear Snifterbreeches [ 1826.]

Beg your Reverence's pardon--I had forgot that I was addressing a Clergyman--I hope you will not like this--my first epistle directed to you in that sacred character--at all the worse, for coming by the hands of a fair quaker1--who is bound in conscience to call your church a steeple-house, and, far worse, when you shall be installed, as I hope you will be, in a Daniel Lambert2 of a Rectory, to refuse paying your tithes. Seriously, my dear Derwent, (alas, how hard is it for a wounded and self-reproaching spirit to be serious) I rejoice to address you in that holy function, which I trust, I had almost said, I know, you have not taken upon you, lightly or irreverently, or for mere motives of interest, but with due sense of all its aweful responsibilities. I can indeed conceive no situation more painful, more humiliating, than that of a man of subtle intellect and tender conscience, reluctantly

____________________
1
This letter was delivered to Derwent by Mrs. Charles Fox.
2
Daniel Lambert ( 1770-1809), keeper of Leicester jail, was the fattest man on record. He weighed at his death 52 3/4 stone.

-90-

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