« НазадПродовжити »
I would say to these spoilers of my dinner ; away the harpy solitude from me. I like but if you come, never go ! The fact is, 'em, and cards, and a cheerful glass ; but I this interruption does not happen very often, mean merely to give you an idea between but every time it comes by surprise, that office confinement and after-office society, present bane of my life, orange wine, with how little time I can call my own. I mean all its dreary stilling consequences, follows. only to draw a picture not to make an Evening company I should always like had I inference. I would not that I know of have any mornings, but I am saturated with it otherwise. I only wish sometimes I could human faces (divine forsooth !) and voices, exchange some of my faces and voices for all the golden morning ; and five evenings in the faces and voices which a late visitation a week, would be as much as I should covet brought most welcome, and carried away, to be in company, but I assure you that is a leaving regret but more pleasure, even a wonderful week in which I can get two, or kind of gratitude, at being so often favoured one to myself. I am never C. L., but always with that kind northern visitation. My C. L. & Co. He, who thought it not good London faces and noises don't hear me,I for man to be alone, preserve me from the mean no disrespect, or I should explain more prodigious monstrosity of being never myself, that instead of their return 220 times by myself! I forget bed-time, but even there a year, and the return of W. W., &c., seven these sociable frogs clamber up to annoy times in 104 weeks, some more equal distrime. Once a week, generally some singular bution might be found. I have scarce room evening that being alone, I go to bed at the to put in Mary's kind love, and my poor hour I ought always to be a-bed ; just close name,
C. LAMB." to my bed-room window is the club-room of a public-house, where a set of singers, I “S. T. C. is lecturing with success. I mean take them to be chorus singers of the two to hear some of the course, but lectures are theatres (it must be both of them), begin their not much to my taste, whatever the lecturer orgies. They are a set of fellows (as I con- may be. If read, they are dismal flat, and ceive) who, being limited by their talents to you can't think why you are brought togethe burthen of the song at the play-houses, ther to hear a man read his works, which in revenge have got the common popular you could read so much better at leisure airs by Bishop, or some cheap composer, yourself; if delivered extempore, I am always arranged for choruses, that is, to be sung all in pain, lest the gift of utterance should sudin chorus. At least I never can catch any denly fail the orator in the middle, as it did of the text of the plain song, nothing but the me at the dinner given in honour of me at Babylonish choral howl at the tail on't. the London Tavern. 'Gentlemen,' said I, "That fury being quenched'—the howl I mean and there I stopped ; the rest my feelings -a burden succeeds of shouts and clapping, were under the necessity of supplying. Mrs. and knocking of the table. At length over- Wordsworth will go on, kindly haunting us tasked nature drops under it, and escapes with visions of seeing the lakes once more, for a few hours into the society of the sweet which never can be realised. Between us silent creatures of dreams, which go away there is a great gulf, not of inexplicable with mocks and mows at cockcrow. And moral antipathies and distances, I hope, as then I think of the words Christabel's father there seemed to be between me and that used (bless me, I have dipt in the wrong gentleman concerned in the stamp-office, ink) to say every morning by way of variety that I so strangely recoiled from at Haydon’s. when he awoke:
I think I had an instinct that he was the
head of an office. I hate all such people * Every knell, the Baron saith, Wakes us up to a world of death - accountants deputy accountants. The dear
abstract notion of the East India Company, or something like it. All I mean by this as long as she is unseen, is pretty, rather senseless interrupted tale, is, that by my poetical ; but as she makes herself manifest central situation I am a little over-companied. by the persons of such beasts, 1 loathe and Not that I have any animosity against the detest her as the scarlet what-do-you-call-her good creatures that are so anxious to drive of Babylon. I thought, after abridging us
of all our red-letter days, they had done promise pressed hard upon him, and he protheir worst, but I was deceived in the length cured the requisite quantity of verse from to which heads of offices, those true liberty- a very inferior hand. Kenney, who had haters, can go. They are the tyrants, not married Holcroft's widow, had more than Ferdinand, nor Nero—by a decree passed succeeded to him in Lamb's regards. Holcroft this week, they have abridged us of the had considerable dramatic skill ; great force immemorially-observed custom of going at and earnestness of style, and noble sincerity one o'clock of a Saturday, the little shadow and uprightness of disposition ; but he was of a holiday left us. Dear W. W. be thank- an austere observer of morals and manners; ful for liberty."
and even his grotesque characters were hardly
and painfully sculptured; while Kenney, Among Lamb's new acquaintances was with as fine a perception of the ludicrous Mr. Charles Ollier, a young bookseller of and the peculiar, was more airy, more indulconsiderable literary talent, which he has gent, more graceful, and exhibited more since exhibited in the original and beautiful frequent glimpses of “the gayest, happiest tale of “Inesilla,” who proposed to him the attitude of things.” The comedy met with publication of his scattered writings in a less success than the reputation of the author collected form. Lamb acceded ; and nearly and brilliant experience of the past had all he had then written in prose and verse, rendered probable, and Lamb had to perform were published this year by Mr. Ollier and the office of comforter, as he had done on his brother, in two small and elegant volumes. the more unlucky event to Godwin. To this Early copies were despatched to Southey and play Lamb refers in the following note to Wordsworth ; the acknowledgments of the Coleridge, who was contemplating a course former of whom produced a reply, from of lectures on Shakspeare, and who sent which the following is an extract:
Lamb a ticket, with sad forebodings that the course would be his last.
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
“Monday, Oct. 26th, 1818.
TO MR. COLERIDGE. “Dear Southey, -I am pleased with your
“Dec. 24th, 1818. friendly remembrances of my little things. “My dear Coleridge,–I have been in a I do not know whether I have done a silly state of incessant hurry ever since the receipt thing or a wise one, but it is of no great of
ticket. It found me incapable of consequence. I run no risk, and care for no attending you, it being the night of Kenney's censures. My bread and cheese is stable as new comedy. You know my local aptitudes the foundations of Leadenhall-street, and if at such a time; I have been a thorough it hold out as long as the “foundations of rendezvous for all consultations; my head our empire in the East, I shall do pretty begins to clear up a little, but it has had well. You and W. W. should have had bells in it. Thank you kindly for your your presentation copies more ceremoniously ticket, though the mournful prognostic which sent, but I had no copies when I was leaving accompanies it certainly renders its permatown for my holidays, and rather than delay, nent pretensions less marketable; but I trust commissioned my bookseller to send them to hear many a course yet. You excepted thus nakedly. By not hearing from W. W. Christmas week, by which I understood next or you, I began to be afraid Murray had not week; I thought Christmas week was that sent them. I do not see S. T. C. so often as which Christmas Sunday ushered in. We I could wish. I am better than I deserve to are sorry it never lies in your way to come be. The hot weather has been such a treat! to us; but, dear Mahomet, we will come to Mary joins in this little corner in kindest you. Will it be convenient to all the good remembrances to you all.
C. L." people at Highgate, if we take a stage up, not
next Sunday, but the following, viz., 3rd Lamb's interest was strongly excited for January, 1819_shall we be too late to catch Mr. Kenney, on the production of his comedy a skirt of the old out-goer ?-how the years entitled “ A Word to the Ladies." Lamb had crumble from under us! We shall hope to engaged to contribute the prologue ; but the see you before then; but, if not, let us know
TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
if then will be convenient. Can we secure a he would have call’d for the bull for a relief. coach home?
Neither could Lycidas, or the Chorics (how "Believe me ever yours,
do you like the word ?) of Samson Agonistes, “ C. LAMB." have been written with two inks. Your
couplets with points, epilogues to Mr. H.'s, “I have but one holiday, which is Christ- &c., might be even benefited by the twymas-day itself nakedly: no pretty garnish fount, where one line (the second) is for and fringes of St. John's-day, Holy Inno- point, and the first for rhyme. I think the cents, &c., that used to bestud it all around alternation would assist, like a mould. I in the calendar. Improbe labor ! I write maintain it, you could not have written your six hours every day in this candle-light fog- stanzas on pre-existence with two inks. Try den at Leadenhall.”
another; and Rogers, with his silver standish,
having one ink only, I will bet my 'Ode on In the next year  Lamb was greatly Tobacco,' against the . Pleasures of Memory,' pleased by the dedication to him of Words
--and 'Hope,' too, shall put more fervour of worth’s poem of “The Waggoner," which enthusiasm into the same subject than you Wordsworth had read to him in MS. thirteen can with your two; he shall do it stans pede years before. On receipt of the little volume, in uno, as it were. Lamb acknowledged it as follows:
“The Waggoner' is very ill put up in boards, at least it seems to me always to open
at the dedication; but that is a mechanical
“ June 7th, 1819. fault. I re-read the 'White Doe of Ryl“My dear Wordsworth, - You cannot stone;' the title should be always written imagine how proud we are here of the at length, as Mary Sabilla N-, a very dedication. We read it twice for once that nice woman of our acquaintance, always we do the poem. I mean all through ; yet signs hers at the bottom of the shortest note. 'Benjamin' is no common favourite ; there Mary told her, if her name had been Mary is a spirit of beautiful tolerance in it; it is Ann, she would have signed M. A.N—, or as good as it was in 1806 ; and it will be as M. only, dropping the A.; which makes me good in 1829, if our dim eyes shall be awake think, with some other trifles, that she un
to peruse it. Methinks there is a kind of derstands something of human nature. My i shadowing affinity between the subject of pen goes galloping on most rhapsodically,
the narrative and the subject of the dedica- glad to have escaped the bondage of two tion ;-but I will not enter into personal inks. themes, else, substituting *
Manning has just sent it home, and it for Ben, and the Honourable United Com- came as fresh to me as the immortal creature pany of Merchants trading to the East Indies, it speaks of. M. sent it home with a note, for the master of the misused team, it might having this passage in it: 'I cannot help seem, by no far-fetched analogy, to point its writing to you while I am reading Wordsdim warnings hitherward; but I reject the worth's poem. I am got into the third canto, omen, especially as its import seems to have and say that it raises my opinion of him very been diverted to another victim.
much indeed.* 'Tis broad, noble, poetical, “I will never write another letter with with a masterly scanning of human actions, alternate inks. You cannot imagine how it absolutely above common readers. What a cramps the flow of the style. I can conceive, manly (implied) interpretation of (bad) partyPindar (I do not mean to compare myself to actions, as trampling the Bible, &c.,' and so him), by the command of Hiero, the Sicilian he goes on. tyrant (was not he the tyrant of some place ? “I do not know which I like best, the fie on my neglect of history); I can conceive prologue (the latter part especially) to P. him by command of Hiero or Perillus set Bell, or the epilogue to Benjamin. Yes,
I down to pen an Isthmian or Nemean pane- tell stories; I do know I like the last best; gyric in lines, alternate red and black. I maintain he couldn't have done it ; it would fourteen years behind in his knowledge of who has or
• “N.B.-M., from his peregrinations, is twelve or have been a strait-laced torture to his muse; has not written good verse of late.”
and the'Waggoner'altogether is a pleasanter from bed. He came staggering under his remembrance to me than the ‘Itinerant.' If double burthen, like trees in Java, bearing at it were not, the page before the first page once blossom, fruit, and falling fruit, as I would and ought to make it so.
have heard you or some other traveller tell, “If, as you say, the ‘Waggoner,' in some with his face literally as blue as the bluest sort, came at my call, oh for a potent voice to firmament; some wretched calico that he call forth the 'Recluse' from his profound had mopped his poor oozy front with had dormitory, where he sleeps forgetful of his rendered up its native dye, and the devil a foolish charge—the world.
bit would he consent to wash it, but swore it “Had I three inks, I would invoke him! was characteristic, for he was going to the Talfourd has written a most kind review of sale of indigo, and set up a laugh which I did J. Woodvil, &c., in the 'Champion.' He is not think the lungs of mortal man were your most zealous admirer, in solitude and competent to. It was like a thousand people in crowds. H. Crabb Robinson gives me laughing, or the Goblin Page. He imagined any dear prints that I happen to admire, and afterwards that the whole office had been I love him for it and for other things. laughing at him, so strange did his own Alsager shall have his copy, but at present I sounds strike upon his nonsensorium. But have lent it for a day only, not choosing to has laughed his last laugh, and awoke part with my own. Mary's love. How do the next day to find himself reduced from you all do, amanuenses both-marital and an abused income of 6001. per annum to onesororal ?
C. LAMB." sixth of the sum, after thirty-six years'
tolerably good service. The quality of mercy The next letter which remains is addressed was not strained in his behalf; the gentle to Manning (returned to England, and domi- dews dropt not on him from heaven. It just ciled in Hertfordshire), in the spring of 1819. came across me that I was writing to Canton.
Will you drop in to-morrow night ? Fanny
Kelly is coming, if she does not cheat us. "My dear M.,—I want to know how your the lovers about Wheathamstead would say.
Mrs. Gold is well, but proves ‘uncoined,' as brother is, if you have heard lately. I want to know about you. I wish you were nearer. sit down to a quiet letter for many years. I
“I have not had such a quiet half hour to How are my cousins, the Gladmans of have not been interrupted above four times. Wheathamstead, and farmer Bruton ? Mrs. Bruton is a glorious woman.
I wrote a letter the other day, in alternate
lines, black ink and red, and you cannot Hail, Mackery End
think how it chilled the flow of ideas. Next This is a fragment of a blank verse poem Monday is Whit-Monday. What a reflection! which I once meditated, but got no further. Twelve years ago, and I should have kept The E. I. H. has been thrown into a quan- that and the following holiday in the fields dary by the strange phenomenon of poor a Maying. All of those pretty pastoral
— whom I have known man and delights are over. This dead, everlasting mad-man twenty-seven years, he being elder dead desk,-how it weighs the spirit of a here than myself by nine years and more. gentleman down! This dead wood of the He was always a pleasant, gossiping, half-desk, instead of your living trees ! But then headed, muzzy, dozing, dreaming, walk-about, again, I hate the Joskins, a name for Hertinoffensive chap; a little too fond of the fordshire bumpkins. Each state of life has creature; who isn't at times ? but had its inconvenience ; but then again, mine has not brains to work off an over-night's surfeit more than one. Not that I repine, or by ten o'clock next morning, and unfortu- grudge, or murmur at my destiny. I have nately, in he wandered the other morning meat and drink, and decent apparel ; I shall, drunk with last night, and with a super- at least, when I get a new hat. foetation of drink taken in since he set out “A red-haired man just interrupted me.
He has broke the current of my thoughts. • See “Mackery End, in Hertfordshire, " -- Essays of I haven't a word to add. I don't know why Elia, p. 100,- for a charming account of a visit to their cousin in the country with Mr. Barron Field.
I send this letter, but I have had a hankering
TO MR. MANNING.
TO MISS WORDSWORTH.
to hear about you some days. Perhaps it exchange this transitory world for another, will go off before your reply comes. If it or none. But again, there was a golden don't, I assure you no letter was ever wel eagle (I do not mean that of Charing) which comer from you, from Paris or Macao. did much arride and console him. William's
“C. LAMB." genius, I take it, leans a little to the figura
tive; for, being at play at tricktrack (a kind The following letter, dated 25th November, of minor billiard-table which we keep for 1819, is addressed to Miss Wordsworth, on smaller wights, and sometimes refresh our Wordsworth’s youngest son visiting Lamb own mature fatigues with taking a hand at), in London.
not being able to hit a ball he had iterate aimed at, he cried out, 'I cannot hit that
beast.' Now the balls are usually called “Dear Miss Wordsworth, You will think men, but he felicitously hit upon a middle me negligent: but I wanted to see more of term; a term of approximation and imaginaWilly before I ventured to express a pre- tive reconciliation ; a something where the diction. Till yesterday I had barely seen two ends of the brute matter ivory), and him, Virgilium tantum vidi,—but yesterday their human and rather violent personificahe gave us his small company to a bullock's tion into men, might meet, as I take it : heart, and I can pronounce him a lad of illustrative of that excellent remark, in a promise. He is no pedant, nor bookworm ; certain preface about imagination, explaining so far I can answer. Perhaps he has hitherto ‘Like a sea-beast that had crawled forth to paid too little attention to other men's inven- sun himself!' Not that I accuse William tions, preferring, like Lord Foppington, the Minor of hereditary plagiary, or conceive the natural sprouts of his own.' But he has image to have come ex traduce. Rather he observation, and seems thoroughly awake. seemeth to keep aloof from any source of I am ill at remembering other people’s bon imitation, and purposely to remain ignorant mots, but the following are a few :
-Being of what mighty poets have done in this kind taken over Waterloo Bridge, he remarked, before him ; for, being asked if his father that if we had no mountains, we had a fine had ever been on Westminster Bridge, he river at least ; which was a touch of the answered that he did not know ! comparative : but then he added, in a strain “It is hard to discern the oak in the acorn, which augured less for his future abilities as or a temple like St. Paul's in the first stone a political economist, that he supposed they which is laid ; nor can I quite prefigure what must take at least a pound a week toll. destination the genius of William Minor hath Like a curious naturalist, he inquired if the to take. Some few hints I have set down, tide did not come up a little salty. This to guide my future observations. He hath being satisfactorily answered, he put another the power of calculation, in no ordinary question, as to the flux and reflux ; which degree for a chit. He combineth figures, being rather cunningly evaded than artfully after the first boggle, rapidly; as in the solved by that she-Aristotle, Mary,—who tricktrack board, where the hits are figured, muttered something about its getting up an at first he did not perceive that 15 and 7 hour sooner and sooner every day,—he made 22, but by a little use he could comsagely replied, “Then it must come to the bine 8 with 25, and 33 again with 16, which same thing at last ;' which was a speech approacheth something in kind (far let me worthy of an infant Halley! The lion in be from flattering him by saying in degree) the 'Change by no means came up to his to that of the famous American boy. I am ideal standard; so impossible is it for sometimes inclined to think I perceive the Nature, in any of her works, to come up to future satirist in him, for he hath a subthe standard of a child's imagination! The sardonic smile which bursteth out upon occawhelps (lionets) he was sorry to find were sion; as when he was asked if London were dead; and, on particular inquiry, his old as big as Ambleside ; and indeed no other friend the ourang outang had gone the way answer was given, or proper to be given, to of all flesh also. The grand tiger was also so ensnaring and provoking a question. In sick, and expected in no short time to the contour of skull
, certainly I discern