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customers' measures, which they swore were but I have forgot what church), attesting bank.notes. They did not shoot him, and that enormous legend of as many children as when they rode off he addrest them with days in the year. I marvel her impudence profound gratitude, making a congee : did not grasp at a leap-year. Three-hundred 'Gentlemen, I wish you good night, and we and sixty-five dedications, and all in a family are very much obliged to you that you have —you might spit in spirit, on the oneness of not used us ill!' And this is the cuckoo Macænas' patronage ! that has had the audacity to foist upon me “Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to the eternal ten buttons on a side, and a black velvet regret of his native Devonshire, emigrates to collar.-A cursed ninth of a scoundrel ! Westphalia—' Poor Lamb (these were his
“When you write to Lloyd, he wishes his last words) if he wants any knowledge, he Jacobin correspondents to address him as may apply to me, in ordinary cases I Mr. C. L.”
thanked him, I have an 'Encyclopedia' at
hand, but on such an occasion as going over The following letter-yet richer in fun- to a German university, I could not refrain bears date Saturday, July 28th, 1798. In from sending him the following propositions, order to make its allusions intelligible, it is to be by him defended or oppugned (or both) only necessary to mention that Southey was at Leipsic or Gottingen. then contemplating a calendar illustrative of the remarkable days of the year.
THESES QUÆDAM THEOLOGICÆ.
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
«« Whether God loves a lying angel better “I am ashamed that I have not thanked than a true man?' you before this for the 'Joan of Arc,' but I did not know your address, and it did not “Whether the archangel Uriel could occur to me to write through Cottle. The knowingly affirm an untruth, and whether, poem delighted me, and the notes amused if he could, he would ?' me, but methinks she of Neufchatel, in the print, holds her sword too ‘like a dancer.' I sent your notice to Phillips, particularly
“Whether honesty be an angelic virtue, requesting an immediate insertion, but I or not rather belonging to that class of suppose it came too late. I am sometimes qualities which the schoolmen term “ virtutes curious to know what progress you make in minus splendidæ, et hominis et terræ nimis that same ‘Calendar:' whether you insert the participes ?”! nine worthies and Whittington ? what you do or how you can manage when two Saints
“Whether the seraphim ardentes do not meet and quarrel for precedency ? Martlemas, manifest their goodness by the way of vision and Candlemas, and Christmas, are glorious and theory ? and whether practice be not a themes for a writer like you, antiquity-bitten, sub-celestial, and merely human virtue ?' smit with the love of boars' heads and rosemary ; but how you can ennoble the 1st of April I know not. By the way I had
« « Whether the higher order of seraphim a thing to say, but a certain false modesty illuminati ever sneer ?' has hitherto prevented me: perhaps I can best communicate my wish by a hint, -my birth-day is on the 10th of February, New
«. Whether pure intelligences can love, or Style, but if it interferes with any remarkable whether they can love anything besides pure
intellect?' event, why rather than my country should lose her fame, I care not if I put my nativity back eleven days. Fine family patronage for “Whether the beatific vision be anything your 'Calendar,' if that old lady of prolific more or less than a perpetual representment memory were living, who lies (or lyes) in to each individual angel of his own present some church in London (saints forgive me, attainments, and future capabilities, some
thing in the manner of mortal looking- accept of her bed, which she offered him, and glasses ?'
offered herself to sleep in the kitchen ; and
that, in consequence of that severe cold, he "Whether an “immortal and amenable is labouring under a bilious disorder, besides soul” may not come to be damned at last, and a depression of spirits, which incapacitates the man never suspect it beforehand ?'
him from exertion when he most needs it.
For God's sake, Soutley, if it does not go “Samuel Taylor hath not deigned an against you to ask favours, do it now; ask it answer; was it impertinent of me to avail as for me ; but do not do a violence to your myself of that offered source of knowledge ? feelings, because he does not know of this
“Wishing Madoc may be born into the application, and will suffer no disappointworld with as splendid promise as the second ment. What I meant to say was this,– birth, or purification, of the Maid of there are in the India House what are called Neufchatel,—I remain yours sincerely,
extra clerks, not on the establishment, like me, “C. LAMB. but employed in extra business, by-jobs ;
these get about 501. a year, or rather more, “I hope Edith is better; my kindest but never rise ; a director can put in at any remembrances to her. You have a good time a young man in this office, and it is by deal of trifling to forgive in this letter.” no means considered so great a favour as
making an established clerk. He would
think himself as rich as an emperor if he The two next letters to Southey illustrate could get such a certain situation, and be strikingly the restless kindness and exquisite relieved from those disquietudes which, I do spirit of allowance in Lamb's nature; the fear, may one day bring back his distemper. first an earnest pleading for a poor fellow
“You know John May better than I do, whose distress actually haunted him ; the but I know enough to believe that he is a second an affecting allusion to the real good- good man; he did make me that offer I have ness of a wild untoward school-mate, and mentioned, but you will perceive that such fine self-reproval in this instance how an offer cannot authorise me in applying for unmerited!
“But I cannot help writing to you on the
subject, for the young man is perpetually "Dear Southey,-Your friend John May before my eyes, and I shall feel it a crime not has formerly made kind offers to Lloyd of to strain all my petty interest to do him serving me in the India House, by the interest service, though I put my own delicacy to the of his friend Sir Francis Baring. It is not question by so doing. I have made one other likely that I shall ever put his goodness to unsuccessful attempt already ; at all events the test on my own account, for my prospects I will thank you to write, for I am tormented are very comfortable. But I know a man, a with anxiety.
“C. LAMB." young man, whom he could serve through the same channel, and, I think, would be disposed to serve if he were acquainted with
“DEAR SOUTHEY, This poor fellow (whom I know “Poor Sam. Le Grice! I am afraid the just enough of to vouch for his strict integrity world, and the camp, and the university, have and worth) has lost two or three employments spoilt him among them. 'Tis certain he had from illness, which he cannot regain ; he at one time a strong capacity of turning out was once insane, and, from the distressful something better. I knew him, and that not uncertainty of his livelihood, has reason to long since, when he had a most warm heart. apprehend a return of that malady. He has I am ashamed of the indifference I have been for some time dependent on a woman sometimes felt towards him. I think the whose lodger he formerly was, but who can devil is in one's heart. I am under obligations ill afford to maintain him; and I know that to that man for the warmest friendship, and on Christmas night last he actually walked heartiest sympathy, even for an agony of about the streets all night, rather than sympathy exprest both by word, and deed,
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
and tears for me, when I was in my greatest
TO MR. SOUTHEY. distress. But I have forgot that! as, I fear, he has nigh forgot the awful scenes which
“I just send you a few rhymes from my were before his eyes when he served the play, the only rhymes in it. A forest-liver office of a comforter to me. No service was
giving an account of his amusements. too mean or troublesome for him to perform. 'What sports have you in the forest ? I can't think what but the devil, that old Not many,--some few,-as thus,
To see the sun to bed, and see him rise, spider,' could have suck'd my heart so dry
Like some hot amourist with glowing eyes, of its sense of all gratitude. If he does come Bursting the lazy bands of sleep that bound him :
With all his fires and travelling glories round him : in your way, Southey, fail not to tell him that
Sometimes the moon on soft night-clouds to rest, I retain a most affectionate remembrance Like beauty nestling in a young man's breast, of his old friendliness, and an earnest wish to
And all the winking stars, her handmaids, keep
Admiring silence, while those lovers sleep : resume our intercourse. In this I am serious.
Sometimes outstretch'd in very idleness,
To view the leaves, thin dancers upon air, because I am afraid whether he be quite
Go eddying round; and small birds how they fare, worthy of it. But I have no right to dismiss When mother Autumn fills their beaks with corn,
Filch'd from the careless Amalthea's horn ; him from my regard. He was at one time,
And how the woods berries and worms provide, and in the worst of times, my own familiar
Without their pains, when earth hath nought beside friend, and great confort to me then. I have To answer their small wants ;
To view the graceful deer come trooping by, known him to play at cards with my father,
Then pause, and gaze, then turn they know not why, meal-times excepted, literally all day long, in Like bashful younkers in society; long days too, to save me from being teased
To mark the structure of a plant or tree;
And all fair things of earth, how fair they be !'&c. &c. by the old man, when I was not able to bear it.
" I love to anticipate charges of unorigin“God bless him for it, and God bless you, ality: the first line is almost Shakspeare's Southey.
“ C. L."
* To hare my love to bed and to arise.'
Midsummer Night's Dream.
Lamb now began to write the tragedy of “I think there is a sweetness in the versiJohn Woodvil. His admiration of the fication not unlike some rhymes in that dramatists of Elizabeth's age was yet young, exquisite play, and the last line but three is and had some of the indiscretion of an early yours : love ; but there was nothing affected in the
That met the gaze, or turn'd it knew not why.' antique cast of his language, or the frequent
Rosamund's Epistle. roughness of his verse. His delicate sense of beauty had found a congenial organ in the "I shall anticipate all my play, and have style which he tasted with rapture ; and nothing to show you. An idea for Leviathan
to adapt it to the frigid insipidities of the time. to find out a meaning for Leviathan,—'tis a “My tragedy," says he in the first letter to whale, say some ; a crocodile, say others. Southey, which alludes to the play, “will be In my simple conjecture, Leviathan is neither a medley (or I intend it to be a medley) of more nor less than the Lord Mayor of London laughter and tears, prose and verse; and, in for the time being." some places, rhyme ; songs, wit, pathos, humour; and, if possible, sublimity ;-at least, 'tis not a fault in my intention if it
He seems also to have sent about this does not comprehend most of these discordant time the solemnly fantastic poem of the atoms—Heaven send they dance not the “Witch," as the following passage relates to dance of death!” In another letter he there one of its conceits : introduces the delicious rhymed passage in the “Forest Scene,” which Godwin, having accidentally seen quoted, took for a choice “ Your recipe for a Turk's poison is fragment of an old dramatist, and went to invaluable, and truly Marlowish. Lamb to assist him in finding the author. Lloyd objects to 'shutting up the womb of
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
his purse ' in my curse, (which, for a Chris- the cheap merriment, the welcomings, and tian witch in a Christian country, is not too the secret envyings of the maidens—then mild, I hope,) do you object? I think there dropping all this, recur to her present lot. is a strangeness in the idea, as well as I do not know that I can suggest anything 'shaking the poor like snakes from his door,' else, or that I have suggested anything new which suits the speaker. Witches illustrate, or material. I shall be very glad to see some as fine ladies do, from their own familiar more poetry, though, I fear, your trouble in objects, and snakes and shutting up of transcribing will be greater than the service wombs are in their way. I don't know that my remarks may do them. this last charge has been before brought “Yours affectionately, “ C. LAMB. against 'em, nor either the sour milk or the mandrake babe ; but I affirm these be things
“I cut my letter short because I am called a witch would do if she could."
off to business.”
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
Here is a specimen of Lamb's criticism on The following, of the same character, is | Southey's poetical communications :- further interesting, as tracing the origin of
his “Rosamund,” and exhibiting his young TO MR. SOUTHEY.
enthusiasm for the old English drama, so “I have read your Eclogue repeatedly, and nobly developed in his “Specimens : cannot call it bald, or without interest ; the cast of it, and the design, are completely original, and may set people upon thinking : “Dear Southey,– I thank you heartily for it is as poetical as the subject requires, which the Eclogue ; it pleases me mightily, being asks no poetry; but it is defective in pathos. so full of picture-work and circumstances. The woman's own story is the tamest part of I find no fault in it, unless perhaps that it-I should like you to remould that-it too Joanna's ruin is a catastrophe too trite: and much resembles the young maid's history, this is not the first or second time you have both had been in service. Even the omission clothed your indignation, in verse, in a tale would not injure the poem ; after the words of ruined innocence. The old lady, spinning 'growing wants, you might, not uncon. in the sun, I hope would not disdain to claim nectedly, introduce “look at that little chub' some kindred with old Margaret. I could down to 'welcome one.' And, decidedly, I almost wish you to vary some circumstances would have you end it somehow thus, in the conclusion. A gentleman seducer has
so often been described in prose and verse ; "Give them at least this evening a good meal.
what if you had accomplished Joanna's ruin
(Gives her money, Now, fare thee well; hereafter you have taught me
by the clumsy arts and rustic gifts of some To give sad meaning to the village-bells,' &c. country-fellow? I am thinking, I believe, of
And she was deluded away
which would leave a stronger impression, (as well as more pleasingly recall the beginning
* An old woman clothed in grey,
Whose daughter was charming and young, of the Eclogue,) than the present commonplace reference to a better world, which the By Roger's false flattering tongue.' woman 'must have heard at church.' I should like you too a good deal to enlarge A Roger-Lothario would be a novel character the most striking part, as it might have been, I think you might paint him very well. You of the poem-'Is it idleness ?' &c., that may think this a very silly suggestion, and affords a good field for dwelling on sickness, so, indeed, it is ; but, in good truth, nothing and inabilities, and old age. And you might else but the first words of that foolish ballad also a good deal enrich the piece with a put me upon scribbling my ‘Rosamund.' picture of a country wedding : the woman But I thank you heartily for the poem. Not might very well, in a transient fit of oblivion, having anything of my own to send you in upon the
ceremony and circumstances return—though, to tell truth, I am at work of her own nuptials six years ago, the upon something, which, if I were to cut away snugness of the bridegroom, the feastings, and garble, perhaps I might send you an
extract or two that might not displease you ; and antique invention, that at first reminded but I will not do that; and whether it will me of your old description of cruelty in hell, come to anything, I know not, for I am as which was in the true Hogarthian style. I slow as a Fleming painter when I compose need not tell you that Marlow was author of anything~I will crave leave to put down a that pretty madrigal, ‘Come live with me few lines of old Christopher Marlow's; I and be my Love,' and of the tragedy of take them from his tragedy, "The Jew of Edward II., in which are certain lines Malta.' The Jew is a famous character, unequalled in our English tongue. Honest quite out of nature ; but, when we consider Walton mentions the said madrigal under the terrible idea our simple ancestors had of the denomination of certain smooth verses a Jew, not more to be discommended for a made long since by Kit Marlow.' certain discolouring (I think Addison calls “I am glad you have put me on the scent it) than the witches and fairies of Marlow's after old Quarles. If I do not put up those mighty successor. The scene is betwixt eclogues, and that shortly, say I am no trueBarabas, the Jew, and Ithamore, a Turkish nosed hound. I have had a letter from captive, exposed to sale for a slave.
Lloyd ; the
young metaphysician of Caius is well, and is busy recanting the new heresy,
metaphysics, for the old dogma, Greek. My (A precious rascal.)
sister, I thank you, is quite well. As for myself, I walk abroad a-nights, And kill sick people groaning under walls :
“ Yours sincerely, “ C. LAMB." Sometimes I go about, and poison wells ; And now and then, to cherish Christian thieves, I am content to lose some of my crowns, That I may, walking in my gallery,
The following letters, which must have See 'm go pinioned along by my door.
been written after a short interval, show a Being young, I studied physic, and began To practise first upon the Italian :
rapid change of opinion, very unusual with There I enriched the priests with burials,
Lamb (who stuck to his favourite books as And always kept the sexton's arms in use With digging graves, and ringing dead men's knells; he did to his friends), as to the relative And, after that, was I an engineer,
merits of the “Emblems" of Wither and of And in the wars 'twixt France and Germany
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
“Oct. 18th, 1798. And with extorting, cozening, forfeiting, And tricks belonging unto brokery,
“Dear Southey,—I have at last been so I fill'd the jails with bankrupts in a year,
fortunate as to pick up Wither's Emblems And with young orphans planted hospitals, And every moon made some or other mad ;
for you, that old book and quaint,' as the And now and then one hang himself for grief, brief author of Rosamund Gray hath it ; it Pinning upon his breast a long great scroll,
is in a most detestable state of preservation, How I with interest bad tormented him,
and the cuts are of a fainter impression than (Now hear Ithamore, the other gentle I have seen. Some child, the curse of antinature.)
quaries and bane of bibliopical rarities, hath
been dabbling in some of them with its paint (A comical dog.)
and dirty fingers; and, in particular, hath a Faith, master, and I have spent my time
little sullied the author's own portraiture, In setting Christian villages on fire, Chaining of eunuchs, binding galley-slaves.
which I think valuable, as the poem that One time I was an hostler in an inn,
accompanies it is no common one; this last And in the night-time secretly would I steal To travellers' chambers, and there cut their throats.
excepted, the Emblems are far inferior to Once at Jerusalem, where the pilgrims kneeld, old Quarles. I once told you otherwise, but I strewed powder on the marble stones,
I had not then read old Q. with attention. And therewithal their knees would rankle so, That I have laugh'd a good to see the cripples
I have picked up, too, another copy of Go limping home to Christendom on stilts.
Quarles for ninepence !!! O tempora ! O
lectores ! so that if you have lost or parted Why, this is something
with your own copy, say so, and I can furnish
you, for you prize these things more than I “ There is a mixture of the ludicrous and do. You will be amused, I think, with the terrible in these lines, brimful of genius honest Wither’s ‘Supersedeas to all them