Letters of Hartley Coleridge

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

well. It is quite time Henry G.1 should do some thing, but it is not easy to tell what. I am not so ill off that can scrawl. Kiss the dear Babes and their Mother and believe me--

Your affectionate H.C.

Write soon, or I shall think you are angry.


LETTER 40 To W. FELL, Ambleside, Westmorland.

Leeds, October 16, [1832.]

Dear Fell

I avail myself of the opportunity of Tom Green's visit to the lakes, to send you a few lines, which will be more than commonly stupid, in consequence of my having a confounded head-ache and a bad cold. I also enclose you a copy of the first number of the Yorkshire Worthies. If you can procure any subscribers to that work you will be doing the cause a good service. The second number will appear, if all be well, on the first of November. It will comprize the lives of Anne Clifford, Countess of Pembroke, Roger Ascham, Bishop Fisher, (these are all printed), Mason the Poet, and Sir Richard Arkwright. Upon the whole I have been very well, and as far as it is possible for me to be so, very industrious-- at least rather hard-worked. I cannot say that Biography is just altogether my forte, for I don't at all excel in plain statement; neither, in the haste with which the work is to be got out, is it possible to hunt out for original facts, or collate original documents, even were they always accessible, which is far from being the case. Moreover, there is nothing in the world so difficult as to write good plain prose, in a style which attracts no notice for itself, but sets off the sense to the best possible advantage. For myself, I find it easier to write simply in verse than in prose. When I compare Southey's biographical style with my own, I confess I am almost driven to plunge myself over head and ears in the slough of despond. Wordsworth would say, and Archer would say after him, that Magazine writing spoils a man for every thing else: but I do not exactly agree to this. A good style would do as well for a Magazine as a bad one. The truth is, that simplicity is a great gift, and the imitation of simplicity is the worst of

____________________
1
This refers to the two sons of the Gillmans at Highgate.

-144-

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