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industrious milliners, neat sempstresses, ladies cheapening, gentlemen behind counters, lying, authors in the street with spectacles, George Dyers (you may know them by their gait), lamps lit at night, pastrycooks' and silver. smiths' shops, beautiful Quakers of Pentonville, noise of coaches, drowsy cry of mechanic watchmen at night, with bucks reeling home drunk; if you happen to wake at midnight, cries of "Fire !” and “Stop thief !”; inns of court, with their learned air, and halls, and butteries, just like Cambridge colleges; oki book-stalls, “Jeremy Taylors," "Burtons on Melancholy," and "Religio Medicis," on every stall. These are thy pleasures, O London! with thy many sins. O City, abounding in w ..., for these may Keswick and her giant brood go hang! ; .. ;
January 30, 1801. 1.I ought before this to have replied to your very kind invitation into Cumberland. With you and your sister I could gang anywhere; but I am afraid whether I shall ever be able to af. ford so desperate a journey. Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see a mountain in my life. I have passed all my days in London, until I have formed as many and intense local attachpoats as any of you mountaineers can have
done with dead Nature. The lighted shops of the Strand and Fleet Street ; the innumerable trades, tradesmen, and customers, coaches, wagons, playhouses; all the bustle and wickedness round about Covent Garden; the very women of the Town; the watchmen, drunken scenes, rattles ; life awake, if you awake, at all hours of the night; the impossibility of being dull in Fleet Street ; the crowds, the very dirt and mud, the sun shining upon houses and pavements, the print-shops, the old book-stalls, parsons cheapening books, coffee-houses, steams of soups from kitchens, the pantomimes -London itself a pantomime and a masquerade -all these things work themselves into my mind, and feed me, without a power of sati. ating me. The wonder of these sights impels me into night-walks about her crowded streets, and I often shed tears in the motley Strand from fulness of joy at so much life. All these emotions must be strange to you; so are your rural emotions to me. But consider, what must I have been doing all my life, not to have lent, great portions of my heart with usury to such scenes ?
My attachments are all local, purely local. I have no passion (or have had none since I was in love, and then it was the spurious engendering of poetry and books) for groves and valleys. The rooms where I was born, the fur. niture which has been before my eyes all my life, the book-case which has followed me about
like a faithful dog, (only exceeding him la knowledge), wherever I have moved, oid chairs, old tables, strects, squares, where I have sunned myself, my old school,—these are my mistresses. Have I not enough, without your mountains? I do not envy you. I should pity you, did I not know that the mind will make friends of anything. Your sun, and moon, and skies, and hills, and lakes, affect me no more, or scarcely come to me in more vener .ble characters, than as a gilded room with tapestry and tapers, where I might live with handsome visible objects. I consider the clouds above me but as a roof beautifully painted, but unable to satisfy the mind: and at last, like the pictures of the apartment of a connoisseur, unable to afford him any longer a pleasure. So fading upon me, from disuse, have been the beauties of Nature, as they have been confinedly called; so ever fresh, and green, and warm are all the inventions of men, and assemblies of men in this great city. I should certainly have laughed with dear Joanna.
Give my kindest love, and my sister's, to D. and yourself; and a kiss from me to little Bar. bara Lewthwaite. Thank you for liking my play.
· TO THOMAS MANNING ::
London, September 24, 1802' · My dear Manning—Since the date of my last letter I have been a traveller. A strong desire seized me of visiting remote regions, My first impulse was to go and see Paris. It was a trivial objection to my aspiring mind, that I did not understand a word of the language, since I certainly intend some time in my life to see Paris, and equally certainly intend never to learn the language; therefore that could be no objection. However, I am very glad I did not go, because you had left Paris (I see) before I could have set out. I believe, Stoddart promising to go with me another year, prevented that plan. My next scheme (for to my restless, ambitious mind London was become a bed of thorns) was to visit the far-famed peak in Derbyshire, where the Devil sits, they say, without breeches. This my purer mind rejected as indelicate. And my final resolve was, a tour to the Lakes. I set out with Mary to Keswick, without giving Coleridge any notice, for my time, being precious, did not admit of it. He received us with all the hospitality in the world, and gave up his time to show us all the wonders of the country. He dwells upon a small hill by the side of Keswick, in a com, fortable house, quite enveloped on all sides by a net of mountains: great floundering bears tad monsters they seemed, all coachant and asicer. We got in in the evening, travelling in • post-chaise írom Penrith, in the midst of a gorgeous sunshine, which transmated all the mountains into colours, purple, etc. etc. We thonght we had got into fairyland. Bat that went off (as it never came again; while we stayed we had do more fine sunsets), and we entered Coleridge's comfortable study just in the dusk, when the mountains were all dark with clouds upon their heads. Such an i.nprese sion I never received from objects of sight be fore, nor do I suppose I can ever again. Glorious creatures, fine old fellows, Skiddaw, etc. I never shall forget ye, how ye lay about that night, like an intrenchment; gone to bed, as it seemed for the night, but promising that ye were to be seen in the morning. Coleridge had got a blazing fire in his study; which is a large antique, ill-shaped room, with an old-fashioned organ, never played upon, big enough for a church, shelves of scattered folios, an Æolian harp, and an old sofa, half bed, etc. And all looking out upon the last fading view of Skid daw, and his broad-breasted brethren: what à night! Here we stayed three full weeks, in which time I visited Wordsworth's cottage, where we stayed a day or two with the Clark song (good people, and most hospitable, at whose house we tarried one day and night), and saw Lloyd. The Wordsworths were gone to Calais. They have since been in London,