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may bob it as she likes, but she catches no expected—but the calamity sank deep into cherry of me. So I have even fixed at hap- his mind, and was, I believe, seldom far from hazard, as you'll see.
his thoughts. It had been arranged that the “Yours, every third Wednesday, attendance at the funeral should be confined
to the family of the departed poet and philosopher, and Lamb, therefore, was spared the
misery of going through the dismal ceremony Lamb was entirely destitute of what is of mourning. For the first week he forebore commonly called “a taste for music.” A few to write ; but at its close he addressed the old tunes ran in his head ; now and then the following short letter to one of the family of expression of a sentiment, though never of him whom he once so justly denominated song, touched him with rare and exquisite Coleridge's “ more than friend.” Like most delight; and Braham in his youth, Miss of Lamb's letters, it is undated, but the postRennell, who died too soon, and who used to mark is Aug. 5, 1834. sing the charming air, “In infancy our hopes and fears," and Miss Burrell, won his ear and
TO THE REV. JAMES GILMAN. his heart. But usually music only confused
“My dear Sir,—The sad week being over, him, and an opera—to which he once or twice
I must write to you to say, that I was glad tried to accompany Miss Isola—was to him a maze of sound in which he almost lost his
of being spared from attending ; I have no wits. But he did not, therefore, take less
words to express my feeling with you all. I
can only say that when you think a short pleasure in the success of Miss Clara Novello, -whose family he had known for many
visit from me would be acceptable, when years,—and to whom he addressed the your father and mother shall be able to see
me with comfort, I will come to the bereaved following lines, which were inserted in the
house. Express to them my tenderest re"Athenæum,” of July 26, in this his last
gards and hopes that they will continue our year.
friends still. We both love and respect TO CLARA N
them as much as a human being can, and
finally thank them with our hearts for what The Gods have made me most unmusical, With feelings that respond not to the call they have been to the poor departed. of stringed harp, or voice-obtuse and mute
“God bless you all. C. LAMB.” To hautboy, sackbut, dulcimer, and flute ; King David's lyre, that made the madness flee From Saul, had been but a jew's-harp to me:
“Mr. Walden's, Theorbos, violins, French horns, guitars,
“ Church-street, Edmonton."
Shortly after, assured that his presence Nor ever shall, whatever folks may say,
would be welcome, Lamb went to Highgate. Of the strange mysteries of Sol and Fa; I sit at oratorios like a fish,
There he asked leave to see the nurse who Incapable of sound, and only wish
had attended upon Coleridge ; and being The thing was over. Yet do I admire, O tuneful daughter of a tuneful sire,
struck and affected by the feeling she maniThy painful labours in a science, which
fested towards his friend, insisted on her To your deserts I pray may make you rich
receiving five guineas from him,-a gratuity As much as you are loved, and add a grace To the most musical Novello race.
which seemed almost incomprehensible to Women léad men by the nose, some cynics say; the poor woman, but which Lamb could not You draw them by the ear-a delicater way.
help giving as an immediate expression of
his own gratitude. From her he learned the He had now to sustain the severest of his effort by which Coleridge had suppressed the losses. After a long and painful illness, expression of his sufferings, and the discovery borne with an heroic patience which con- affected him even more than the news of his cealed the intensity of his sufferings from death. He would startle his friends somethe bystanders, Coleridge died. As in the times by suddenly exclaiming, “ Coleridge is instance of Hazlitt, Lamb did not feel the dead !” and then pass on to common themes, immediate blow so acutely as he himself having obtained the momentary relief of
oppressed spirits. He still continued, how- suited to the palate of Elia, he could not ever, his monthly visits to Mr. Cary; and have hit upon a morsel so acceptable. The was ready to write an acrostic, or a compli- birds he is barely thankful for : pheasants mentary epigram, at the suggestion of any are poor fouls disguised in fine feathers. friend. The following is the last of his effu- But a hare roasted hard and brown, with sions in verse.
gravy and melted butter!-old Mr. Chambers,
the sensible clergyman in Warwickshire, TO MARGARET W
whose son's acquaintance has made many Margaret, in happy hour
hours happy in the life of Elia, used to allow Christen'd from that humble flower Which we a daisy * call !
a pound of Epping to every hare. Perhaps May thy pretty namesake be
that was over-doing it. But, in spite of the In all things a type of thee, And image thee in all.
note of Philomel, who, like some fine poets,
that think no scorn to adopt plagiarisms Like it you show a modest face, An unpretending native grace ;
from a humble brother, reiterates every The tulip, and the pink,
spring her cuckoo cry of 'Jug, Jug, Jug,' The china and the damask rose,
Elia pronounces that a hare, to be truly
palated, must be roasted. Jugging sophisti
cates her. In our way it eats so 'crips, as Of lowly fields you think no scorn;
Mrs. Minikin says.
Time was, when Elia
was not arrived at his taste, that he preferred Home-seated in your lonely bower,
to all luxuries a roasted pig. But he disOr wedded-a transplanted flowerI bless you, Margaret !
claims all such green-sickness appetites in CHARLES LAMB.
future, though he hath to acknowledge the Edmonton, Oct. 8th, 1834.
receipt of many a delicacy in that kind from
correspondents-good, but mistaken menA present of game, from an unknown in consequence of their erroneous supposiadmirer, produced the following acknowledg- tion, that he had carried up into mature life ment, in the “Athenæum ” of 30th November, the prepossessions of childhood. From the destined to be, in sad verity, the last essay worthy Vicar of Enfield he acknowledges a of Elia.
tithe contribution of extraordinary sapor.
The ancients must have loved hares. Else THOUGHTS ON PRESENTS OF GAME, &c.
why adopt the word lepores (obviously from “We love to have our friend in the country lepus) but for some subtle analogy between sitting thus at our table by proxy ; to appre- the delicate flavour of the latter, and the hend his presence (though a hundred miles finer relishes of wit in what we most poorly may be between us) by a turkey, whose translate pleasantries. The fine madnesses goodly aspect reflects to us his “plump cor- of the poet are the very decoction of his diet. pusculum ;' to taste him in grouse or wood. Thence is he hare-brained. Harum-scarum cock ; to feel him gliding down in the toast is a libellous unfounded phrase, of modern peculiar to the latter ; to concorporate him usage. 'Tis true the hare is the most cirin a slice of Canterbury brawn. This is cumspect of animals, sleeping with her eye indeed to have him within ourselves ; to open. Her ears, ever erect, keep them in know him intimately; such participation is that wholesome exercise, which conduces methinks unitive, as the old theologians them to form the very tit-bit of the admirers phrase it.”—Last Essays of Elia.
of this noble animal. Noble will I call her, “ Elia presents his acknowledgments to his in spite of her detractors, who from occa'Correspondent unknown,' for a basket of pro- sional demonstrations of the principle of digiously fine game. He takes for granted self-preservation (common to all animals), that so amiable a character must be a reader infer in her a defect of heroism.
Half a of the “ Athenæum,” else he had meditated a hundred horsemen, with thrice the number notice in the “Times.” Now if this friend had of dogs, scour the country in pursuit of puss consulted the Delphic oracle for a present across three counties ; and because the well
flavoured beast, weighing the odds, is willing Marguerite, in French, signifies a daisy. to evade the hue and cry, with her delicate
ears shrinking perchance from discord of the old poem of “The Nutbrowne Mayde.' comes the grave naturalist, Linnæus per- For example, at the dénouement of the ballad chance, or Buffon, and gravely sets down the Prior makes Henry rant out to his devoted hare as a-timid animal. Why Achilles, or EmmaBully Dawson, would have declined the
* In me behold the potent Edgar's heir, preposterous combat.
Illustrious Earl; him terrible in war. “In fact, how light of digestion we feel
Let Loire confess, for she has felt his sword,
And trembling fled before the British lord.' after a hare! How tender its processes after swallowing! What chyle it promotes ! And so on for a dozen couplets, heroic, as How ethereal! as if its living celerity were they are called. And then Mr. Lamb made a type of its nimble coursing through the us mark the modest simplicity with which animal juices. The notice might be longer. the noble youth discloses himself to his It is intended less as a Natural History of mistress in the old poem :the Hare, than a cursory thanks to the country 'good Unknown.' The hare has
To Westmoreland, many friends, but none sincerer than
Which is my heritage, “ELIA."
(in a parenthesis, as it were,)
I will you bring,
And with a ring,
By way of marriage, A short time only before Lamb's fatal
I will you take, illness, he yielded to my urgent importunity,
And lady make,
As shortly as I can. and met a small party of his friends at dinner
So have you won at my house, where we had provided for him
An Earle's son,
And not a banish'd man.' some of the few articles of food which now seemed to hit his fancy, and among them the “How he loved these old rhymes, and with hare, which had supplanted pig in his just what justice !” esteem, with the hope of exciting his very delicate appetite. We were not disappointed; he ate with a relish not usual with him of late years, and passed the evening in his
In December Mr. Lamb received a letter happiest mood. Among the four or five who from a gentleman, a stranger to him,met him on this occasion, the last on which Mr. Childs, of Bungay, whose copy of “Elia” I saw him in health, were his old friends had been sent on an oriental voyage, and Mr. Barron Field, Mr. Procter, and Mr. who, in order to replace it, applied to Mr. Forster, the author of the “Lives of Eminent Lamb. The following is his reply :English Statesmen," a friend of comparatively recent date, but one with whom Lamb found himself as much at home as if he had known
“Monday. Church-street, EDMONTON, him for years. Mr. Field, in a short but
(not Enfield, as you erroneously excellent memoir of Lamb, in the “ Annual
direct yours). Biography and Obituary" of 1836, has “Dear Sir,—The volume which you seem brought this evening vividly to recollection ; to want, is not to be had for love or money. and I have a melancholy satisfaction in I with difficulty procured a copy for myself. quoting a passage from it as he has recorded Yours is gone to enlighten the tawny it. After justly eulogising Lamb's sense of Hindoos. What a supreme felicity to the “ The Virtue of Suppression in Writing,” author (only he is no traveller) on the Ganges Mr. Field proceeds
or Hydaspes (Indian streams) to meet a
smutty Gentoo ready to burst with laughing “We remember, at the very last supper at the tale of Bo-Bo ! for doubtless it hath we ate with him, he quoted a passage from been translated into all the dialects of the Prior's 'Henry and Emma, illustrative of East. I grieve the less, that Europe should this discipline; and yet he said that he loved want it. I cannot gather from your letter, Prior as much as any man, but that his whether you are aware that a second series 'Henry and Emma' was a vapid paraphrase of the Essays is published by Moxon, in
TO MR. CHILDS.
Dover-street, Piccadilly, called “The Last the following Saturday his remains were laid Essays of Elia,' and, I am told, is not inferior in a deep grave in Edmonton churchyard, to the former. Shall I order a copy for you, made in a spot which, about a fortnight and will you accept it. Shall I lend you, at before, he had pointed out to his sister, on the same time, my sole copy of the former an afternoon wintry walk, as the place where volume (Oh! return it) for a month or two? | he wished to be buried. In return, you shall favour me with the loan So died, in the sixtieth year of his age, one of one of those Norfolk-bred grunters that of the most remarkable and amiable men
laud so highly ; I promise not to keep it who have ever lived. Few of his numerous above a day. What a funny name Bungay friends were aware of his illness before they is ! I never dreamt of a correspondent heard of his death ; and, until that illness thence. I used to think of it as some seized him, he had appeared so little changed Utopian town, or borough in Gotham land. by time, so likely to continue for several I now believe in its existence, as part of years, and he was so intimately associated merry England.
with every-day engagements and feelings, [Here are some lines scratched out.] that the news was as strange as it was The part I have scratched out is the best of mournful. When the first sad surprise was the letter. Let me have your commands. over, several of his friends strove to do “CH. LAMB, alias Elia.” justice to their own recollections of him;
and articles upon his character and wiitings,
all written out of the heart, appeared from A few days after this letter was written, Mr. Procter in the “ Athenæum,” from Mr. an accident befel Mr. Lamb, which seemed Forsterin the “New Monthly Magazine,” from trifling at first, but which terminated in a Mr. Patmore in the “Court Magazine," and fatal issue. In taking his daily morning from Mr. Moxon in Leigh Hunt's “London walk on the London road as far as the inn Journal,” besides others whose authors are where John Gilpin’s ride is pictured, he unknown to me; and subsequently many stumbled against a stone, fell, and slightly affectionate allusions, from pens which his injured his face. The wounds seemed healing, own had inspired, have been gleaned out in when erysipelas in the head came on, and he various passages of " Blackwood,” “Fraser," sunk beneath the disease, happily without “Tait,” and almost every periodical work of pain. On Friday evening Mr. Ryle, of the reputation. The “Recollections of Coleridge” India House, who had been appointed co- by Mr. Allsop, also breathed the spirit of executor with me of his will some years admiration for his elevated genius, which before, called on me, and informed me that the author-one whom Lamb held in the he was in danger. I went over to Edmonton highest esteem for himself, and for his on the following morning, and found him devotion to Coleridge—had for years exvery weak, and nearly insensible to things pressed both in his words and in deeds. But passing around him. Now and then a few it is not possible for the subtlest characterwords were audible, from which it seemed istic power, even when animated by the that his mind, in its feebleness, was intent warmest personal regard, to give to those on kind and hospitable thoughts. His last who never had the privilege of his comcorrespondent, Mr. Childs, had sent a present panionship an idea of what Lamb was. of a turkey, instead of the suggested pig; There was an apparent contradiction in him, and the broken sentences which could be which seemed an inconsistency between heard, were of some meeting of friends to thoughts closely associated, and which was partake of it. I do not think he knew me; in reality nothing but the contradiction of and having vainly tried to engage his atten- his genius and his fortune, fantastically tion, I quitted him, not believing his death exhibiting itself in different aspects, which so near at hand. In less than an hour close intimacy could alone appreciate. He afterwards, his voice gradually grew fainter, would startle you with the finest perception as he still murmured the names of Moxon, of truth, separating, by a phrase, the real Procter, and some other old friends, and he from a tissue of conventional falsehoods, and sank into death as placidly as into sleep. On the next moment, by some whimsical inven
tion, make you “doubt truth to be a liar.” | trait in some recollections of Lamb, with He would touch the inmost pulse of pro- which she has furnished me, relates, that found affection, and then break off in some once when she was speaking to Miss Lamb jest, which would seem profane “to ears of Charles, and in her earnestness Miss Lamb polite," but carry as profound a meaning to had laid her hand kindly on the eulogist's those who had the right key, as his most shoulder, he came up hastily and interrupted pathetic suggestions ; and where he loved them, saying, “Come, come, we must not and doted most, he would vent the over. talk sentimentally,” and took up the converflowing of his feelings in words that looked sation in his gayest strain. like rudeness. He touches on this strange Many of Lamb's witty and curious sayings resource of love in his “Farewell to Tobacco,” have been repeated since his death, which in a passage which may explain some startling are worthy to be held in undying rememfreedoms with those he himself loved most brance; but they give no idea of the general dearly.
tenor of his conversation, which was far more "Irony all, and feign'd abuse,
singular and delightful in the traits, which Such as perplext lovers use,
could never be recalled, than in the epigramAt a need, when in despair,
matic turns which it is possible to quote. It To paint forth the fairest fair; Or in part but to express
was fretted into perpetual eddies of verbal That exceeding comeliness
felicity and happy thought, with little tranquil Which their fancies doth so strike, They borrow language of dislike;
intervals reflecting images of exceeding eleAnd, instead of dearest Miss,'
gance and grace. He sometimes poured out Jewel, honey, sweetheart, bliss,
puns in startling succession ; sometimes And those forms of old admiring, Call her cockatrice and siren,
curiously contrived a train of sentences to Basilisk, and all that's evil,
introduce the catastrophe of a pun, which, in Witch, hyena, mermaid, devil, Ethiop, wench, and blackamoor,
that case, was often startling from its own Monkey, ape, and twenty more ;
demerit. At Mr. Cary's one day, he introFriendly traitress, loving foe,Not that she is truly so,
duced and kept up an elaborate dissertation But no other way they know
on the various uses and abuses of the word A contentment to express,
nice; and when its variations were exhausted, Borders so upon excess,
showed what he had been driving at by That they do not rightly wot Whether it be pain or not."
exclaiming, “Well ! now we have held a
Council of Nice.” “A pun," said he in a Thus, in the very excess of affection to his letter to Coleridge, in which he eulogised sister, whom he loved above all else on earth, the Odes and Addresses of his friends Hood he would sometimes address to her some and Reynolds, “is a thing of too much words of seeming reproach, yet so tinged consequence to be thrown in as a makewith a humorous irony that none but an weight. You shall read one of the Addresses entire stranger could mistake his drift. His twice over and miss the puns, and it shall be anxiety for her health, even in his most quite as good, or better, than when you convivial moments, was unceasing. If, in discover them. A pun is a noble thing per company, he perceived she looked languid, he se. O never bring it in as an accessory! A would repeatedly ask her, “Mary, does your pun is a sole digest of reflection (vide my head ache ?” “Don't you feel unwell ?” and Aids' to that awaking from a savage state); would be satisfied by none of her gentle it is entire ; it fills the mind; it is as perfect assurances, that his fears were groundless. as a sonnet; better. It limps ashamed in He was always afraid of her sensibilities the train and retinue of humour. It knows being too deeply engaged, and if in her it should have an establishment of its own. presence any painful accident or history was The one, for instance, I made the other day ; discussed, he would turn the conversation I forget which it was.” Indeed, Lamb's with some desperate joke. Miss Beetham, choicest puns and humorous expressions the author of the “ Lay of Marie,” which could not be recollected. They were born of Lamb esteemed one of the most graceful and the evanescent feeling, and died with it ; truly feminine works in a literature rich in “ one moment bright, then gone for ever.” female genius, who has reminded me of the The shocks of pleasurable surprise were so