1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Charles Lamb to William Wordsworth, 26 April 1816; Works of Charles Lamb, ed. Lucas (1903-05) 6:487.



Coleridge is printing Christabel, by Lord Byron's recommendation to Murray, with what he calls a vision, Kubla Khan — which said vision he repeats so enchantingly that it irradiates and brings heaven and elysian bowers into my parlour while he sings or says it, but there is an observation "Never tell thy dreams," and I am almost afraid that Kubla Khan is an owl that won't bear day light, I fear lest it should be discovered by the lantern of typography and clear reducting to letters, no better than nonsense or no sense. When I was young I used to chant with extacy "Mild Arcadians ever blooming," till somebody told me it was meant to be nonsense. Even yet I have a lingering attachment to it, and think it better than Windsor Forest, Dying Christian's address, &c. — C. has sent his Tragedy to Drury Lane Theatre — it cannot be acted this season, and by their manner of receiving it, I hope he will be able to alter it to make them accept it for next. He is at present under the medical care of a Mr. Gilman (Killman?) a Highgate Apothecary, where he plays at leaving off Laud-m. I think his essentials not touched: he is very bad, but then he wonderfully picks up another day, and his face when he repeats his verses hath its ancient glory, an Archangel a little damaged.