To Messrs. Taylor and Hessey (Margate, May 16th, 1817)
Margate, May 16, 1817
My dear Sirs
I am extremely indebted to you for your liberality in the shape of manufactured rag, value £20, and shall immediately proceed to destroy some of the minor heads of that hydra the dun; to conquer which the knight need have no Sword Shield Cuirass, Cuisses Herbadgeon Spear Casque Greaves Paldrons spurs Chevron or any other scaly commodity, but he need only take the Bank-note of Faith and Cash of Salvation, and set out against the monster, invoking the aid of no Archimago or Urganda, but finger me the paper, light as the Sibyl’s leaves in Virgil, whereat the fiend skulks off with his tail between his legs. Touch him with this enchanted paper, and he whips you his head away as fast as a snail’s horn—but then the horrid propensity he has to put it up again has discouraged many very valiant Knights. He is such a never-ending still-beginning sort of a body—like my landlady of the Bell. I should conjecture that the very spright that “the green sour ringlets makes Whereof the ewe not bites” had manufactured it of the dew fallen on said sour ringlets. I think I could make a nice little allegorical poem, called “The Dun,” where we would have the Castle of Carelessness, the drawbridge of credit, Sir Novelty Fashion’s expedition against the City of Tailors, etc. etc. I went day by day at my poem for a Month—at the end of which time the other day I found my Brain so over-wrought that I had neither rhyme nor reason in it—so was obliged to give up for a few days. I hope soon to be able to resume my work—I have endeavoured to do so once or twice; but to no purpose. Instead of Poetry, I have a swimming in my head and feel all the effects of a Mental debauch, lowness of Spirits, anxiety to go on without the power to do so, which does not at all tend to my ultimate progression. However to-morrow I will begin my next month. This evening I go to Canterbury, having got tired of Margate. I was not right in my head when I came—At Canterbury I hope the remembrance of Chaucer will set me forward like a Billiard Ball. I am glad to hear of Mr. T.’s health, and of the welfare of the “In-town-stayers.” And think Reynolds will like his Trip—I have some idea of seeing the Continent some time this summer. In repeating how sensible I am of your kindness, I remain
Yr obedt servt and friend
I shall be happy to hear any little intelligence in the literary or friendly way when you have time to scribble.