25 January 1800

Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Robert Southey, 25 January 1800.1


Sat. 25. 1800 – Jan.


My dear Southey

      [...] Miss Hays I have seen. Charles Lloyd’s conduct has been atrocious beyond what you stated –. Lamb himself confessed to me, that during the time in which he kept up his ranting sentimental Correspondence with Miss Hays, he frequently read her Letters in company, as a subject for laughter  & then sate down & answered them quite a la Rousseau! Poor Llody! every Hour new-creates him – he is his own Posterity in a perpetually flowing Series  & his Body unfortunately retaining an external Identity. THEIR mutual contradictions & disagreeings are united under one name, & of course are called Lies, Treachery, & Rascality! – I would not give him up; but that the same circumstances, which have wrenched his Morals, prevent in him any salutary Exercise of Genius –. / And therefore he is not worth to the World, that I should embroil & enbrangle myself in his Interests!

      Of Miss Hay’s intellect I do not think so highly, as you, or rather, to speak sincerely, I think not contemptuously, but certainly very despectively thereof. – Yet I think you likely in this case to have judged better than I – for to hear a Thing, ugly & petticoated, ex-syllogize a God with cold-blooded Precision, & attempt to run Religion thro’ the body with an icicle – an Icicle from a Scotch Hog-trough –! I do not endure it! – my Eye beholds phantoms -- & ‘nothing is, but what is not.’ 


1 Excerpt taken from Leslie Griggs, ed., Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956), 1.563; Brooks, Correspondence 325; The Collected Letters of Robert Southey (Romantic Circles edition), gen. ed. Lynda Pratt, Tim Fulford, and Ian Packer.