Coleridge’s passions flair and subside, are encouraged and crushed, soothed by drugs and brandy, or roused by them. The man of politics, theology, and poetry ebbs and flows with the acceptance or rejection of a stocky good-humored woman. Her “heart-wringing” letter of Feb. 21, 1804 sends him to Malta two months later to recover from wounds of body and spirit. He wrestles away from the embraces of the violently adoring diva, Cecilia Bertolossi, as we saw in the chapter on singing, because Asra’s spirit intrudes at the end of the bed. Returning reluctantly and most slowly to England in 1806, bloated and drugged, “determined to separate from his wife” with her “endless heart-wasting,” he is ripe for suffering. Wrung or wasted, his heart yearns for love; he is thirty-four years old and alone.
KeywordsBurning Amid Glycine Hunt Opium
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- 1.Stephen Gill, William Wordsworth: A Life (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), p. 256.Google Scholar
- 3.Richard Holmes gives a sense of the merriment and ease of the Morgan home in Hammersmith and later in Calne in Coleridge: Darker Reflections: 1804–1834 (New York: Pantheon, 1998), pp. 220–264. Amid jokes and riddles and excursions, Coleridge “had fun with the Morgans” (p. 262).Google Scholar