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knees, to entreat the said Goddess, to touch your bank notes and guineas with her magical, multiplying wand. I could offer such a prayer for you, with a better conscience than for most men, because I know that you have never lost that healthy common sense, which regards money only as the means of independence, and that you would sooner than most men cry out, enough! enough! To see one's children secured against want, is doubtless a delightful thing ; but to wish to see them begin the world as rich men, is unwise to ourselves, (for it permits no close of our labors) and is pernicious to them; for it leaves no motive to their exertions, none of those sympathies with the industrious and the poor, which form at once the true relish and proper antidote of wealth.
* * * Is not March rather a perilous month for the voyage from Yarmouth to Hamburg ? danger there is very little, in the packets, but I know what inconvenience rough weather brings with it; not from my own feelings, for I am never sea sick, but always in exceeding high spirits on board ship, but from what I see in others. But you are now an old sailor. At Hamburg I have not a shadow of acquaintance. My letters of introduction produced for me (with one exception, viz. Klopstock the
brother of the poet) no real service, but merely distant and ostentatious civility. And Klopstock will by this time have forgotten my name, (which indeed he never properly knew) for I could speak only English and Latin, and he only French and German. At Ratzeburgh (35 English miles N. E. from Hamburgh on the road to Lubec) I resided four months, and I should hope, was not unbeloved by more than one family, but this is out of your route. At Gottingen I stayed near five months, but here I knew only students, who will have left the place by this time, and the high learned professors, only one of whom could speak English , and they are so wholly engaged in their academical occupations, that they would be of no service to you. Other acquaintance in Germany I have none, and connection I never had any. For though I was much intreated by some of the Literati to correspond with them, yet my natural laziness, with the little value I attach to literary men, as literary men, and with my aversion from those letters, which are to be made up of studied sense, and unfelt compliments, combined to prevent me from availing myself of the offer. Herein and in similar instances, with English authors of repute, I have ill consulted the
growth of my reputation and fame. But I have cheerful and confident hopes of myself. If I can hereafter do good to my fellow creatures, as a poet, and as a metaphysician, they will know it; and any other fame than this, I consider as a serious evil, that would only take me from out the number and sympathy of ordinary men, to make a coxcomb of me..
As to the Inns or Hotels at Hamburgh, I should recommend you to some German Inn. Wordsworth and I were at the “Der Wilde Man,' and dirty as it was, I could not find any Inn in Germany very much cleaner, except at Lubec. But if you go to an English Inn, for heaven's sake, avoid the Shakspeare, at Altona, and the King of England, at Hamburgh. They are houses of plunder, rather than entertainment. The Duke of York's Hotel, kept by Seaman, has a better reputation, and thither I would advise you to repair ; and I advise you to pay your bill every morning at breakfast time ; it is the only way to escape imposition. What the Hamburgh merchants may be I know not, but the tradesmen are knaves. Scoundrels, with yellow-white phizzes, that bring disgrace on the complexion of a bad tallow candle. Now as to carriage, I know
scarcely what to advise ; only make up your mind to the very worst vehicles, with the very worst horses, drawn by the very worst postillions, over the very worst roads, (and halting two hours at each time they change horses) at the very worst inns; and you have a fair, unexaggerated picture of travelling in North Germany. The cheapest way is the best ; go by the common post waggons, or stage coaches. What are called extraordinaries, or post chaises, are little wicker carts, uncovered, with moveable benches or forms in them, execrable in every respect. And if you buy a vehicle at Hamburgh, you can get none decent under thirty or forty guineas, and very probably it will break to pieces on the infernal roads. The canal boats are delightful, but the porters everywhere in the United Provinces, are an impudent, abominable, and dishonest race. You must carry as little luggage as you well can with you, in the canal boats, and when you land, get recommended to an inn beforehand, and bargain with the porters first of all, and never lose sight of them, or you may never see your portmanteau or baggage again.
My Sarah desires her love to you and yours. God bless your dear little ones! Make haste and
get rich, dear friend ! and bring up the little creatures to be playfellows and schoolfellows with my little ones!
Again and again, sea serve you, wind speed you, all things turn out good to you ! God bless you,
S. T. Coleridge.”
As a curious literary fact, I might mention, that the sale of the first edition of the “ Lyrical Ballads,” was so slow, and the severity of most of the Reviews so great, that its progress to oblivion seemed ordained to be as rapid as it was certain. I had given thirty guineas for the copy-right, as detailed in the preceding letters; but the heavy sale induced me to part with the largest proportion of the impression of Five hundred, at a loss, to Mr. Arch, a London bookseller. After this transaction had occurred, I received a letter from Mr. Wordsworth, written the day before he set sail for the Continent, requesting me to make over my interest in the “ Lyrical Ballads” to Mr. Johnson, of St. Paul's Church-yard. This I could not have done, had I been so disposed, as the engagement had been made with Mr. Arch.
On Mr. W.'s return to England, I addressed a