1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Thelwall

Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Joseph Cottle, 1797; Cottle, Reminiscences (New York, 1847) 112.



John Thelwall is a very warm-hearted, honest man; and disagreeing as we do, on almost every point of religion, or morals, of politics, and philosophy, we like each other uncommonly well. He is a great favorite with Sara. Energetic activity of mind and of heart, is his master feature. He is prompt to conceive, and still prompter to execute; but I think he is deficient in that patience of mind which can look intensely and frequently at the same subject. He believes and disbelieves with impassioned confidence. I wish to see him doubting, and doubting. He is intrepid, eloquent, and honest. Perhaps, the only acting democrat that is honest, for the patriots are ragged cattle; a most execrable herd. Arrogant because they are ignorant, and boastful of the strength of reason, because they have never tried it enough to know its weakness. Oh! my poor country! The clouds cover thee. There is not one spot of clear blue in the whole heaven!