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TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
signed H., and adding, ‘I take your correspondent to be the same with Hylas.' Hylas
had put forth a pastoral just before. How “Dear W.-Your experience about tailors near the unfounded conjecture of the certainly seems to be in point blank opposition to inspired Lofft (unfounded as we thought it) Burton, as much as the author of "The Ex- was to being realised! I can conceive him cursion' does, toto ccelo, differ in his notion of being 'good to all that wander in that a country life, from the picture which W. H. perilous flood.' One J. Scott * (I know has exhibited of the same. But, with a little no more) is editor of The Champion.' explanation, you and B. may be reconciled. Where is Coleridge ? It is evident that he confined his observa “ That Review you speak of, I am only tions to the genuine native London Tailor. sorry it did not appear last month. The What freaks tailor-nature may take in the circumstances of haste and peculiar bad country is not for him to give account of spirits under which it was written, would And certainly some of the freaks recorded have excused its slightness and inadequacy, do give an idea of the persons in question the full load of which I shall suffer from its being beside themselves, rather than in lying by so long, as it will seem to have harmony with the common, moderate, self- done, from its postponement. I write with enjoyment of the rest of mankind. A flying- great difficulty, and can scarce command my tailor, I venture to say, is no more in rerum own resolution to sit at writing an hour naturâ than a flying-horse or a Gryphon. together. I am a poor creature, but I am His wheeling his airy-flight from the pre- leaving off gin. I hope you will see goodcipice you mention, had a parallel in the will in the thing. I had a difficulty to permelancholy Jew who toppled from the monu- form not to make it all panegyric; I have ment. Were his limbs ever found ? Then, attempted to personate a mere stranger to the man who cures diseases by words, is you ; perhaps with too much strangeness. evidently an inspired tailor. Burton never But you must bear that in mind when you affirmed that the art of sewing disqualified read it, and not think that I am, in mind, the practiser of it from being a fit organ for distant from you or your poem, but that supernatural revelation. He never enters both are close to me, among the nearest of into such subjects. 'Tis the common, unin- persons and things. I do but act the stranger spired tailor which he speaks of. Again, the in the Review. Then, was puzzled about person who makes his smiles to be heard, is extracts and determined upon not giving one evidently a man under possession ; a demo- that had been in the 'Examiner;' for niac tailor. A greater hell than his own extracts repeated give an idea that there is must have a hand in this. I am not certain a meayre allowance of good things. By this that the cause which you advocate has much way, I deprived myself of “Sir Alfred reason for triumph. You seem to me to Irthing,' and the reflections that conclude substitute light-headedness for light-hearted his story, which are the flower of the poem. ness by a trick, or not to know the difference. Hazlitt had given the reflections before me. I confess, a grinning tailor would shock me. Then it is the first review I ever did, and I Enough of tailors !
did not know how long I might make it. “ The “ 'scapes' of the Great God Pan, But it must speak for itself, if Gifford and his who appeared among your mountains some crew do not put words in its mouth, which dozen years since, and his narrow chance of I expect. Farewell. Love to all. Mary keeps being submerged by the swains, afforded me very bad.
C. LAMB." much pleasure. I can conceive the waternymphs pulling for him. He would have been another Hylas-W. Hylas. In a mad The apprehension expressed at the close letter which Capel Lofft wrote to M. M.* of the last letter was dismally verified. The Phillips (now Sir Richard) I remember his following contains Lamb's first burst of an noticing a metaphysical article of Pan,
• Afterwards the distinguished and unfortunate editor • Monthly Magazine.
of the London Magazine.
TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
indignation which lasted amidst all his gen- But worse than altering words; he has kept tleness and tolerance unquenched through a few members only of the part I had done life:
best, which was to explain all I could of your
"Scheme of Harmonies,' as I had ventured to call it, between the external
universe and what within us answers to it. “Dear Wordsworth, - I told you my To do this I had accumulated a good many Review was a very imperfect one. But what short passages, rising in length to the end, you will see in the 'Quarterly' is a spurious weaving in the extracts as if they came in one, which Mr. Baviad Gifford has palmed as a part of the text naturally, not obtruding upon it for mine. I never felt more vexed them as specimens. Of this part a little is in my life than when I read it. I cannot left, but so as, without conjuration, no man give you an idea of what he has done to it, could tell what I was driving at. A proof out of spite at me, because he once suffered of it you may see (though not judge of the me to be called a lunatic in his Review.* whole of the injustice) by these words. I had The language he has altered throughout. spoken something about ‘natural methodism;' Whatever inadequateness it had to its sub- and after follows, and therefore the tale of ject, it was, in point of composition, the Margaret should have been postponed' (I prettiest piece of prose I ever writ; and so forget my words, or his words); now the my sister (to whom alone I read the MS.) reasons for postponing it are as deducible said. That charm, if it had any, is all gone : from what goes before, as they are from the more than a third of the substance is cut 104th Psalm. The passage whence I deduced away, and that not all from one place, but it, has vanished, but clapping a colon before passim, so as to make utter nonsense. Every a therefore is always reason enough for warm expression is changed for a nasty cold Mr. Baviad Gifford to allow to a reviewer one.
that is not himself. I assure you my com“I have not the cursed alteration by me; plaints are founded. I know how sore a I shall never look at it again ; but for a word altered makes one; but, indeed, of specimen, I remember I had said the poet this review the whole complexion is gone. of The Excursion ''walks through common I regret only that I did not keep a copy. I forests as through some Dodona or enchanted am sure you would have been pleased with wood, and every casual bird that flits upon it, because I have been feeding my fancy for the boughs, like that miraculous one in some months with the notion of pleasing Tasso, but in language more piercing than you. Its imperfection or inadequateness in any articulate sounds, reveals to him far size and method I knew ; but for the writinghigher love-lays.' It is now (besides half-a- part of it I was fully satisfied ; I hoped it dozen alterations in the same half-dozen would make more than atonement. Ten or lines) but in language more intelligent twelve distinct passages come to my mind, reveals to him ;'—that is one I remember. which are gone, and what is left is, of course,
“But that would have been little, putting the worse for their having been there ; the his shoemaker phraseology (for he was a eyes are pulled out, and the bleeding sockets shoemaker) instead of mine, which has been are left. tinctured with better authors than his “I read it at Arch's shop with my face ignorance can comprehend ;-for I reckon burning with vexation secretly, with just such myself a dab at prose ;-verse I leave to my a feeling as if it had been a review written betters : God help them, if they are to be so against myself, making false quotations from reviewed by friend and foe as you have been me. But I am ashamed to say so much this quarter! I have read 'It won't do.' + about a short piece. How are you served !
and the labours of years turned into contempt • In alluding to Lamb's note on the great scene of “The Broken Heart,” where Calantha dances on, after
by scoundrels ! hearing at every pause of some terrible calamity, a writer “ But I could not but protest against your in the “ Quarterly” had affected to excuse the writer as a "maniac;” a suggestion which circumstances rendered “Edinburgh Review," commenced “This will never do!" most cruel.
it contained ample illustrations of the author's genius, † Though the article on “The Excursion,” in the and helped the world to disprove its oracular beginning.
taking that thing as mine. Every pretty thick integument not to be reached at by expression (I know there were many); every other folks' misfortunes. But I feel all I warm expression (there was nothing else) can—all the kindness I
can, towards you
all is vulgarised and frozen.—But if they catch -God bless you! I hear nothing from Coleme in their camps again, let them spitchcock ridge.
C. LAMB." me! They had a right to do it, as no name appears to it, and Mr. Shoemaker Gifford, I suppose, never waived a right he had since The following three letters best speak for he commenced author. Heaven confound themselves :him and all caitiffs !
TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
“The conclusion of this epistle getting • The following letter to Mrs. Wordsworth's gloomy, I have chosen this part to desire sister, who resided with the poet at Rydal, our kindest loves to Mrs. Wordsworth and relates to matters of yet nearer interest. to Dorothea. Will none of you ever be in
“Dear Wordsworth,--You have made me “ Dear Miss H.,-I am forced to be the very proud with your successive book replier to your letter, for Mary has been ill, presents. I have been carefully through
from home these five weeks the two volumes, to see that nothing was yesterday. She has left me very lonely, and omitted which used to be there. I think very miserable. I stroll about, but there is I miss nothing but a character in antithetic no rest but at one's own fireside, and there is manner, which I do not know why you left no rest for me there now. I look forward to out,—the moral to the boys building the the worse half being past, and keep up as giant, the omission whereof leaves it, in my well as I can. She has begun to show some mind, less complete,--and one admirable line favourable symptoms. The return of her gone (or something come instead of it), “the disorder has been frightfully soon this time, stone-chat, and the glancing sand-piper, with scarce a six months' interval. I am which was a line quite alive. I demand these almost afraid my worry of spirits about the at your hand. I am glad that you have not E. I. House was partly the cause of her sacrificed a verse to those scoundrels. I illness, but one always imputes it to the cause would not have had you offer up the poorest next at hand; more probably it comes from rag that lingered upon the stript shoulders some cause we have no control over or con- of little Alice Fell, to have atoned all their jecture of. It cuts sad great slices out of malice ; I would not have given 'em a red the time, the little time, we shall have to live cloak to save their souls. I am afraid lest together. I don't know but the recurrence that substitution of a shell (a flat falsification of these illnesses might help me to sustain of the history) for the household implement, her death better than if we had had no as it stood at first, was a kind of tub thrown partial separations. But I won't talk of out to the beast, or rather thrown out for death. I will imagine us immortal, or forget him. The tub was a good honest tub in its | that we are otherwise. By God's blessing, place, and nothing could fairly be said in a few weeks we may be making our meal against it. You say you made the alteration together, or sitting in the front row of the for the friendly reader, but the ‘malicious' Pit at Drury lane, or taking our evening will take it to himself. If you give 'em an walk past the theatres, to look at the outside inch, &c. The Preface is noble, and such as of them, at least, if not to be tempted in. you should write. I wish I could set my Then we forget we are assailable ; we are name to it, Imprimatur,—but you have set strong for the time as rocks ;-'the wind it there yourself, and I thank you. I had is tempered to the shorn Lambs.' Poor rather be a door-keeper in your margin, C. Lloyd, and poor Priscilla ! I feel I than have their proudest text swelling with hardly feel enough for him ; my own calami- my eulogies. The poems in the volumes, ties press about me, and involve me in a which are new to me, are so much in the
old tone, that I hardly received them as Bourne. What a sweet, unpretending, prettynovelties. Of those, of which I had no mannered, matter-ful creature sucking from previous knowledge, the 'Four Yew Trees,'* every flower, making a flower of everything, and the mysterious company which you have his diction all Latin, and his thoughts all assembled there, most struck me-Death English. Bless him! Latin wasn't good the Skeleton and Time the Shadow.' It is a enough for him. Why wasn't he content sight not for every youthful poet to dream with the language which Gay and Prior of ; it is one of the last results he must have wrote in ? gone thinking on for years for. 'Laodamia' "I am almost sorry that you printed is a very original poem ; I mean original extracts from those first poems,* or that you with reference to your own manner. You did not print them at length. They do not have nothing like it. I should have seen it read to me as they do altogether. Besides, in a strange place, and greatly admired it, they have diminished the value of the original but not suspected its derivation.
(which I possess) as a curiosity. I have “Let me in this place, for I have writ you hitherto kept them distinct in my mind as several letters naming it, mention that my referring to a particular period of your life. brother, who is a picture-collector, has all the rest of your poems are so much of a picked up an undoubtable picture of Milton. piece, they might have been written in the He gave a few shillings for it, and could get same week; these decidedly speak of an no history with it, but that some old lady earlier period. They tell more of what you had had it for a great many years. Its age had been reading. We were glad to see the is ascertainable from the state of the canvas, poems ‘by a female friend.'+ The one on and you need only see it to be sure that it is the wind is masterly, but not new to us. the original of the heads in the Tonson Being only three, perhaps you might have editions, with which we are all so well clapt a D. at the corner, and let it have familiar. Since I saw you I have had a past as a printer's mark to the uninitiated, treat in the reading way, which comes not as a delightful hint to the better instructed. every day,t the Latin Poems of V. Bourne, As it is, expect a formal criticism on the which were quite new to me. What a heart poems of your female friend, and she must that man had, all laid out upon town scenes, expect it. I should have written before, but a proper counterpoise to some people's rural I am cruelly engaged, and like to be. On extravaganzas. Why I mention him is, that Friday I was at office from ten in the your * Power of Music' reminded me of his morning (two hours dinner except) to eleven poem of “The Ballad-singer in the Seven at night ; last night till nine. My business Dials. Do you remember his epigram on and office business in general have increased the old woman who taught Newton the so; I don't mean I am there every night, A B C, which, after all, he says, he hesitates but I must expect a great deal of it. I not to call Newton's 'Principia ?' I was never leave till four, and do not keep a lately fatiguing myself with going through a holiday now once in ten times, where I used volume of fine words by Lord Thurlow; to keep all red-letter days, and some five excellent words; and if the heart could live days besides, which I used to dub Nature's by words alone, it could desire no better holidays. I have had my day. I had regales ; but what an aching vacuum of formerly little to do. So of the little that is matter! I don't stick at the madness of it, left of life, I may reckon two-thirds as dead, for that is only a consequence of shutting his for time that a man may call his own is his eyes and thinking he is in the age of the old life ; and hard work and thinking about it Elizabeth poets. From thence I turned to taint even the leisure hours, stain Sunday
with work-day contemplations. This is • The poem on the
four great yew trees of Borrow. Sunday: and the head-ache I have is part dale, which the poet has, by the most potent magic of the imagination, converted into a temple for the ghastly forms of Death and Time“ to meet at noon-tide,"-a • The “Evening Walk,” and “ Descriptive Sketches passage surely not surpassed in any English poetry among the Alps"_Wordsworth's earliest poems--now written since the days of Milton.
happily restored in their entirety to their proper places + The following little passage about Vincent Bourne in the poet's collected works. has been previously printed.
† By Miss Dorothea Wordsworth.
late hours at work the two preceding nights, voluntary pen-work) I lose all presential and part later hours over a consoling pipe memory of what I had intended to say, and afterwards. But I find stupid acquiescence say what I can, talk about Vincent Bourne, coming over me. I bend to the yoke, and it or any casual image, instead of that which I is almost with me and my household as with had meditated, (by the way, I must look out the man and his consort.
V. B. for you). So I had meant to have
mentioned 'Yarrow Visited,' with that stanza, • To them each evening had its glittering star,
'But thou, that didst appear so fair ;'* than And every sabbath-day its golden sun'
which I think no lovelier stanza can be found to such straits am I driven for the life of in the wide world of poetry ;-yet the poem, life, Time! O that from that superfluity of on the whole, seems condemned to leave holiday-leisure my youth wasted,' Age might behind it a melancholy of imperfect satisfacbut take some hours youth wanted not.' tion, as if you had wronged the feeling with N.B.—I have left off spirituous liquors for which, in what preceded it, you had resolved four or more months, with a moral certainty never to visit it, and as if the Muse had of its lasting.* Farewell, dear Wordsworth ! determined, in the most delicate manner, to
“O happy Paris, seat of idleness and make you, and scarce make you, feel it. Else, pleasure ! from some returned English I it is far superior to the other, which has but hear, that not such a thing as a counting- one exquisite verse in it, the last but one, house is to be seen in her streets, scarce a
or the two last-this has all fine, except, desk. Earthquakes swallow up this mercan- perhaps, that that of 'studious ease and tile city and its "gripple merchants,' as generous cares,' has a little tinge of the less Drayton hath it— born to be the curse of romantic about it. 'The Farmer of Tilsbury this brave isle!' I invoke this, not on Vale’ is a charming counterpart to ' Poor account of any parsimonious habits the Susan,' with the addition of that delicacy mercantile interest may have, but, to confess towards aberrations from the strict path, truth, because I am not fit for an office. which is so fine in the 'Old Thief and the
“Farewell, in haste, from a head that is Boy by his side,' which always brings water too ill to methodise, a stomach to digest, and into my eyes. Perhaps it is the worse for all out of tune. Better harmonies await being a repetition ; 'Susan' stood for the you !
C. LAMB." representative of poor Rus in Urbe. There
was quite enough to stamp the moral of the thing never to be forgotten ; 'bright volumes
of vapour,' &c. The last verse of Susan was “Excuse this maddish letter; I am too to be got rid of, at all events. It threw a tired to write in forma.
kind of dubiety upon Susan's moral conduct.
“1815. Susan is a servant maid. I see her trundling “Dear Wordsworth,—The more I read of her mop, and contemplating the whirling! your two last volumes, the more I feel it phenomenon through blurred optics ; but to necessary to make my acknowledgments for term her ' a poor outcast' seems as much as them in more than one short letter. The to say that poor Susan was no better than ‘Night Piece,' to which you refer me, I she should be, which I trust was not what meant fully to have noticed; but, the fact is, you meant to express. Robin Goodfellow
so fluttering and languid from supports himself without that stick of a moral business, tired with thoughts of it, frightened which you have thrown away; but how I with fears of it, that when I get a few can be brought in felo de omittendo for that minutes to sit down to scribble (an action of ending to the Boy-builders is a mystery. I the hand now seldom natural to me-I mean can't say positively now,-I only know that
TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
no line oftener or readier occurs than that • Alas ! for moral certainty in this moral but mortal Light-hearted boys, I will build up a Giant world! Lamb's resolution to leave off spirituous liquors was a brave one; but he strengthened and rewarded it by such copious libations of porter, that his sister, for
• “ But thou, that didst appear so fair whose sake mainly he attempted the sacrifice, entreated
To fond imagination, him to “live like himself," and in a few weeks after this
Dost rival in the light of day assurance he obeyed her.
Her delicate creation."