Address: Mr T. Poole | N. Stowey | Bridgewater| Somerset MS. British Museum. Pub. with omis. E. L. G. i. 166. Postmark: 9 January 1801. Stamped: Keswick.
Tuesday Night, Jan. 7.  1801
My dear Poole
I write, alas! from my bed, to which I have been confined for almost the whole of the last three weeks with a Rheumatic Fever -- which has now left me, I trust -- but the pain has fixed itself in ray hip, & in consequence, as I believe, of the torture I have sustained in that part, & the general feverous state of my body, my left testicle has swoln to more than three times it's natural size, so that I can only lie on my back, and am now sitting wide astraddle on this wearisome Bed. O me, my dear fellow! the notion of a Soul is a comfortable one to a poor fellow, who is beginning to be ashamed of his Body. For the last four months I have not had a fortnight of continuous health / bad eyes, swoln Eyelids, Boils behind my ears, & heaven knows what! -- From this year I commence a Liver by Rule -- the most degrading, perhaps, of all occupations, & which, were I not a Husband & Father, I should reject, as thinking human Life not worth it. --
My visit to the South I must defer to the warm weather -- the remaining months of the winter & the Spring I must give totis viribus to Health & Money -- . But for my illness I should have been so far beforehand with the world, that I should in all probability have been able to have maintained myself all this year without drawing on [the] Mr Wedgewoods, which I wished with a very fever of earnestness: for indeed it is gall to me to receive any more money from them, till I can point to something which I have done with an inward consciousness, that therein I have exerted the whole of my mind. -- As soon as my poor Head can endure the intellectual & mechanical part of composition, I must immediately finish a volume which has been long due -- this will cost me a month, for I must not attempt to work hard. When this is finished, I shall receive 70£ clear -- which will not be sufficient by some pounds to liquidate my debts: for I owe 20£ to Wordsworth, 25£ to Shopkeepers & my Landlord in Keswick, & 25£ to Phillips, the Book- seller (moneys received on the score of a work to be done for him which I could do indeed in a fortnight & receive 25£ more; but the fellow's name is become so infamous, that it would be worse than any thing I have yet done to appear in public as his Hack.) -- Besides these I owe about 30£, 17£ of it to you, & the remainder