My dear Coleridge
In the Beauties of the Anti-Jacobine  (of course in the Anti-Jacobine itself also) is a note
respecting you concluding with these words. “he has quitted England, become a
citizen of the world, left his children little
ones fatherless & his wife destitute”. now this is a libel of the worst kind
– & I advise you “totis viribus”  as such to prosecute
the publishers. punishment they deserve – & the damages will not be
unacceptable to you. do not reject this idea hastily – consult with your London
friends, & with some lawyer of talents. tacked on to this precious sentence
is “ex uno disce  his associates Southey & Lamb.” the advice I give you I should
follow myself were this also actionable.
I write from Bristol – driven here by illness. a nervous fever
much reduced me – but this was temporary & therefore unimportant. here I
come because something ails me at heart – I have bad symptoms there, which
unless they turn out be to be merely nervous,
must be incurable. when you write do not refer to this even by a hint as narrow
as the edge of my anatomy – nose, now more razor-like than ever.
To your advice respecting Madoc 
I must thus reply. for the last sixteen months my opinion has been fixed upon
the subject. I shall finish it & polish it with all convenient speed, so
that it may be ready for publication. the longer it is kept, the less faulty
will it be, & in case of my death it will be a post-obit bond for my family
of considerable value, with only a little trouble on the part of my friends.
published now it could not possibly be half so lucrative.
I am about to give up writing for Stuart & shall in my next letter
tell him so.  till February I feel bound to continue the employment – but it
is now laborious & irksome, & consumes much time for which I have many
& more important calls. the Anthology  you view in a worse
light than I do, & you also forget that it takes off anonymously all my
little ephemeral pieces. My literary views, for these day-dreams will be the
last that leave me, are these in succession. Thalaba. of this half the fifth
book is written, & my illness at Burton
prevente stopt me when I was full gallop going
on. it will be a good poem – I know it will. ten books will not comprize it – it
must extend to twelve – & at the end I mean to groupe all notes of
digression all the omnium-gatherum that is not merely explanatory of the text.
this I expect to print before I leave Bristol – in the course of some four
months. how I have not yet determined, but probably at my <own> expence,
& then sell the whole edition to a London bookseller. 
Longman is going to purchase
Alfred thus – & desires it may be printed in quarto.  Thalaba is not quite so popular a name –
but he will not be found wanting when weighed in the balance. – Mohammed
occupies a corner of my brain – one of the chambers – my heart is in the
hexameter business.  I
had purposed a prose work – the History of Portugal.  this
requires a residence there. perhaps I shall be ordered there for my health. All
minor pieces go into the Anthology 
unowned, except one or two of the best to lend a name to the volume.
You see here are subjects enough to employ a tolerably long life.
I wish you had wintered here instead of at London.
Direct to me at Mrs Roulerights  – Kingsdown
Parade. Edith is well. we
arrived here Tuesday night. the herewith-packet has been long lying for you –
luckily an opportunity occurs of sending it without expence. Dr Skey,  a quondam friend of Lloyd, will carry it. he examined me
yesterday & felt my pulse & my heart & seemed to think it merely
nervous. my own opinion is rather otherwise. symptoms in themselves little
important are strong corroborants. however I have little pain & spirits as
usual about half way up the thermometer, where they ought to be.
God bless you. write & let me know more frequently some where you are. like a Jack-a-lanthern you
pop up & down & nobody can follow you.
Prosecute – prosecute –prosecute.
December 5. 99.
* Address: To/ S. T.
MS: University of Kentucky
The Beauties of the Anti-Jacobin (London,
1799), p. 306 n. 17, where Coleridge is easily identifiable as
Latin translates as ‘with all [your] strength’. BACK
 The Latin translates as
‘From one learn [about]’. BACK
 Coleridge had urged Southey to ‘publish nothing till the
completion & publication of the Madoc’ (Coleridge to Southey, 10
November 1799, E.L. Griggs (ed.), The Collected Letters of Samuel
Taylor Coleridge, 6 vols (Oxford, 1956–1971), I, p. 546). BACK
 Southey’s sonnet ‘Absence’,
which appeared in the Morning Post, 20 December 1799, was the
last of his regular contributions. He published nothing further in the
Morning Post until ‘O Thou Moor of Moreria’, 18 September
Thalaba the Destroyer (1801) was
published in London by Longman and Rees. BACK
 Joseph Cottle, Alfred, an Epic Poem. In Twenty-Four
Books (1800). BACK
 Coleridge and
Southey’s plan for a jointly-written poem in hexameters on Muhammad
(570–632), the Prophet of Islam, did not make much progress; see
Common-Place Book, ed. John Wood Warter, 4 series
(London, 1849–1850), IV, pp. 18–20. A fragment by Southey was published
posthumously in Oliver Newman: a New-England Tale (London,
1845), pp. 113–116; and 14 lines by Coleridge in The Poetical Works
of S. T. Coleridge, 3 vols (London, 1834), II, p. 68. BACK
 Southey’s uncompleted ‘History of Portugal’. BACK
Annual Anthology (1800). Southey only signed ‘The Battle
of Blenheim’, pp. 34–37 and ‘The Death of Wallace’, pp. 189–191. BACK
 Southey’s landlady; her first name and dates are
 Dr Skey (dates unknown). Probably a
physician practising in or near Bristol. BACK