Зображення сторінки


[ocr errors]

The “Farewell to Tobacco" was shortly which is as much as you can expect from a after transmitted to Mr. and Miss Words- friend's wife, whom you got acquainted with worth with the following :

a bachelor. Some things too about Monkey, * which can't so well be written: how it set

up for a fine lady, and thought it had got

“Sept. 28th, 1805. lovers, and was obliged to be convinced of its “I wish you may think this a handsome age from the parish register, where it was farewell to my Friendly Traitress.' Tobacco proved to be only twelve; and an edict has been my evening comfort and my morning issued, that it should not give itself airs yet curse for these five years; and you know these four years ; and how it got leave to be how difficult it is from refraining to pick called Miss, by grace : these, and such like one's lips even, when it has become a habit. hows, were in my head to tell you, but who This poem is the only one which I have can write ? Also how Manning is come to finished since so long as when I wrote town in spectacles, and studies physic; is 'Hester Savory. I have had it in my head melancholy, and seems to have something in to do it these two years, but tobacco stood in his head, which he don't impart. Then, how its own light when it gave me headaches that I am going to leave off smoking. Ola! your prevented my singing its praises. Now you Leonardos of Oxford made my mouth water. have got it, you have got all my store, for I I was hurried through the gallery, and they have absolutely not another line. No more escaped me. What do I say? I was a Goth has Mary. We have nobody about us that then, and should not have noticed them. I cares for poetry, and who will rear grapes had not settled my notions of beauty ;-I when he shall be the sole eater ? Perhaps if have now for ever!—the small head, the you encourage us to show you what we may long eye,—that sort of peering curve,—the write, we may do something now and then wicked Italian mischief; the stick-at-nothing, before we absolutely forget the quantity of Herodias' daughter-kind of grace. You unan English line for want of practice. The derstand me? But you disappoint me, in *Tobacco,' being a little in the way of passing over in absolute silence the Blenheim Withers (whom Southey so much likes), Leonardo. Didn't you see it? Excuse a perhaps you will somehow convey it to him lover's curiosity. I have seen no pictures of

with my kind remembrances. Then, every- note since, except Mr. Dawe’s gallery. It is ; body will have seen it that I wish to see it, curious to see how differently two great men | I baving sent it to Malta.

treat the same subject, yet both excellent in " I remain, dear W. and D., yours truly,


way. For instance, Milton and Mr. “ C. LAMB.” Dawe. Mr. D. has chosen to illustrate the

story of Samson exactly in the point of

view in which Milton has been most happy: The following letter to Hazlitt bears date the interview between the Jewish hero, 18th Nov. 1805:

blind and captive, and Dalilah. Milton has imagined his locks grown again, strong as

horse-hair or porcupine’s bristles ; doubtless “Dear Hazlitt,- I was very glad to hear shaggy and black, as being hairs 'which, of a from you, and that your journey was so nation armed, contained the strength. I picturesque. We miss you, as we foretold we don't remember he says black; but could shonld. One or two things have happened, Milton imagine them to be yellow? Do which are beneath the dignity of epistolary you? Mr. Dawe, with striking originality of communication, but which, seated about our conception, has crowned him with a thin fireside at night, (the winter hands of pork yellow wig, in colour precisely like Dyson's ; have begun,) gesture and emphasis might in curl and quantity, resembling Mrs.P—'s; have talked into some importance. Some- his limbs rather stout,-about such a man thing about -'s wife; for instance, how as my brother or Rickman,—but no Atlas tall she is, and that she visits pranked up nor Hercules, nor yet so long as Dubois, the like a Queen of the May, with green * The daughter of a friend, whom Lamb exceedingly streamers : a good-natured woman though, liked from a child, and always called by this epithet.



clown of Sadler's Wells. This was judicious, and franks. Luck to Ned Search and the taking the spirit of the story rather than new art of colouring. Monkey sends her the fact ; for doubtless God could communi- love ; and Mary especially. cate national salvation to the trust of flax

Yours truly,

C. LAMB.” and tow as well as hemp and cordage, and could draw down a temple with a golden tress as soon as with all the cables of the British Lamb introduced Hazlitt to Godwin ; and navy.

we find him early in the following year thus “Wasn't you sorry for Lord Nelson? I writing respecting the offer of Hazlitt's work have followed him in fancy ever since I saw to Johnson, and his literary pursuits. him walking in Pall Mall, (I was prejudiced against him before,) looking just as a hero should look; and I have been very much

“Jan. 15th, 1806. cut about it indeed. He was the only pre “Dear Hazlitt,-Godwin went to Johnson's tence of a great man we had. Nobody is yesterday about your business. Johnson left of any name at all. His secretary died would not come down, or give any answer, by his side. I imagined him, a Mr. Scott, to but has promised to open the manuscript, be the man you met at Hume's; but I learnt and to give you an answer in one month. from Mrs. Hume that it is not the same. I Godwin will punctually go again (Wednesday met Mrs. H. one day and agreed to go on is Johnson's open day) yesterday four weeks the Sunday to tea, but the rain prevented us, next: i. e. in one lunar month from this and the distance. I have been to apologise, time. Till when, Johnson positively declines and we are to dine there the first fine giving any answer. I wish you joy on ending Sunday! Strange perverseness. I never your Search. Mrs. H. was naning somewent while you stayed here, and now I go to thing about a ‘Life of Fawcett,' to be by find you. What other news is there, Mary? you undertaken : the great Fawcett, as she What puns have I made in the last fort-explained to Manning, when he asked, 'What night? You never remember them. You Fawcett ?' He innocently thought Fawcett have no relish of the comic. Oh! tell the Player. But Fawcett the divine is known Hazlitt not to forget to send the American to many people, albeit unknown to the Farmer. I dare say it is not so good as he Chinese inquirer. I should think, if you fancies ; but a book's a book. I have not liked it, and Johnson declined it, that Phillips heard from Wordsworth or from Malta since. is the man. He is perpetually bringing out Charles Kemble, it seems, enters into pos- biographies, Richardson, Wilks, Foot, Lee session to-morrow. We sup at 109, Russell- Lewis, without number: little trim things street, this evening. I wish your friend in two easy volumes, price 123. the two, made would not drink. It's a blemish in the up of letters to and from, scraps, posthumous greatest characters. You send me a modern trifles, anecdotes, and about forty pages of quotation poetical. How do you like this in hard biography; you might dish up a Fawan old play? Vittoria Corombona, a spunky cettiad in three months and ask 60l. or 801. Italian lady, a Leonardo one, nick-named for it. I dare say that Phillips would catch the White Devil, being on her trial for at it. I wrote you the other day in a great murder, &c.—and questioned about seducing hurry. Did you get it? This is merely a a duke from his wife and the state, makes letter of business at Godwin's request. Lord

Nelson is quiet at last. His ghost only keeps Condemn you me for that the Duke did love me?

a slight fluttering in odes and elegies in newsSo may you blame some fair and crystal river, papers, and impromptus, which could not be

got ready before the funeral. Hath drown'd himself in it.'

is coming to town on “N. B. I shall expect a line from you, if Monday (if no kind angel intervene) to but a bare line, whenever you write to surrender himself to prison. He hopes to Russell-street, and a letter often when you get the rules of the Fleet. On the same, or do not. I pay no postage. But I will have nearly the same day, F-, my other quondam consideration for you until Parliament time co-friend and drinker, will go to Newgate,


For that some melancholic distracted man

As for news,

and his wife and four children, I suppose, to Gallery. Don't your mouth water to be the parish. Plenty of reflection and motives here? T'other night Loftus called, whom of gratitude to the wise Disposer of all we have not seen since you went before. things in us, whose prudent conduct has We meditate a stroll next Wednesday, fasthitherto ensured us a warm fire and snug day. He happened to light upon Mr. Holcroft, roof over our heads. Nullum numen abest si wife, and daughter, their first visit at our sit Prudentia. Alas! Prudentia is in the house. Your brother called last night. We last quarter of her tutelary shining over me. keep up our intimacy. He is going to begin A little time and I —; but maybe I may, a large Madonna and child from Mrs. H. and at last, hit upon some mode of collecting baby. I fear he goes astray after ignes fatui. some of the vast superfluities of this money. He is a clever man. By-the-by I saw a voiding town. Much is to be got, and I do miniature of his as far excelling any in his not want much. All I ask is time and leisure; show cupboard (that of your sister not and I am cruelly off for them. When you excepted) as that show cupboard excels the have the inclination, I shall be very glad to show things you see in windows — an old have a letter from you. Your brother and woman-hang her name—but most superlaMrs. H., I am afraid, think hardly of us for tive; he has it to clean—I'll ask him the not coming oftener to see them, but we are name—but the best miniature I ever saw. distracted beyond what they can conceive But for oil pictures !—what has he to do with visitors and visitings. I never have an with Madonnas ?—if the Virgin Mary were hour for my head to work quietly its own alive and visitable, he would not hazard workings ; which you know is as necessary himself in a Covent-Garden-pit-door-crowd to the human system as sleep. Sleep, too, to see her. It an't his style of beauty, is it? I can't get for these winds of a night: and But he will go on painting things he ought without sleep and rest what should ensue? not to paint, and not painting things he Lunacy. But I trust it won't.

ought to paint. Manning not gone to China, “Yours, dear H., C. LAMB.” but talks of going this spring. God forbid.

Coleridge not heard of. I am going to leave off smoke. In the meantime I am so smoky

with last night's ten pipes, that I must leave

“Feb. 19th, 1806. off. Mary begs her kind remembrances. “Dear H.-Godwin has just been here in Pray write to us. This is no letter, but I his way from Johnson's. Johnson has had a supposed you grew anxious about Johnson. fire in his house ; this happened about five weeks ago ; it was in the day-time, so it did “N. B. Have taken a room at three shilnot burn the house down, but it did so much lings a-week, to be in between five and eight damage that the house must come down, to at night, to avoid my nocturnal alias knockbe repaired. His nephew that we met on eternal visitors. The first-fruits of my retireHampstead Hill put it out. Well, this fire ment has been a farce which goes to manager has put him so back, that he craves one to-morrow. Wish my ticket luck. God bless more month before he gives you an answer. you and do write.-Yours, fumosissimus, I will certainly goad Godwin (if necessary) to

“C. LAMB." go again this very day four weeks ; but I am confident he will want no goading. Three or The farce referred to in the foregoing four most capital auctions of pictures adver- letter is the delightful jeu-d'esprit, “MR. H.,' tised in May, Wellbore Ellis Agars, the first destined to only one night's stage existence, private collection in England, so Holcroft but to become “good jest for ever.” It must says. In March, Sir George Young's in be confessed that it has not substance enough Stratford-place (where Cosway lives), and a for a dramatic piece in two acts—a piece Mr. Hulse's at Blackheath, both very capital which must present a show of real interest, collections, and have been announced for involve its pair of young lovers in actual some months. Also the Marquis of Lans- perplexities—and terminate in the seriousdowne's pictures in March ; and though infe- ness of marriage! It would be rare sport rior to mention, lastly, the Tructhsessian in Milton's “Limbo of Vanity,” but is too


airy for the ponderous sentimentalism of a few days, as the same is not in my hands, the modern school of farce. As Swift, in but with the proprietors. “Gulliver," brings everything to the standard 'I am, sir, your obedient servant, of size, so in this farce everything is reduced

"RICHARD WROUGHTON.' to an alphabetical standard. Humour is [Dated)

666, Gower Street, sent to school to learn its letters; or, rather,

Wednesday, June 11, 1806.' letters are made instinct with the most delicate humour. It is the apotheosis of the

“On the following Sunday Mr. Tobin alphabet, and teaches the value of a good

comes. The scent of a manager's letter name without the least hint of moral purpose. brought him. He would have gone further This mere pleasantry—this refining on sounds and letters—this verbal banter, and watery letter to him. He deems it authentic and

any day on such a business. I read the collision of the pale reflexions of words,

peremptory. Our conversation naturally could not succeed on a stage which had

fell begun to require interest, moral or immoral, what is the best way of offering a piece, how

upon pieces, different sorts of pieces ; to be interwoven with the web of all its far the caprice of managers is an obstacle in actions ; which no longer rejoiced in the riot the way of a piece, how to judge of the of animal spirits and careless gaiety ; which

merits of a piece, how long a piece may no longer permitted wit to take the sting remain in the hands of the managers before from evil

, as well as the load from care; but it is acted ; and my piece, and your piece, infected even its prince of rakes, Charles and my poor brother's piece - my poor Surface, with a cant of sentiment which brother was all his life endeavouring to makes us turn for relief to the more honest

get a piece accepted. hypocrite his brother. Mr. H.“ could never

“I wrote that, in mere wantonness of do ;" but its composition was pleasant, and

triumph. Have nothing more to say about its acceptance gave Lamb some of the hap- it. The managers, I thank my stars, have piest moments he ever spent. Thus he decided its merits for ever. They are the announces it to Wordsworth, in reply to a best judges of pieces, and it would be insenletter communicating to him that the poet sible in me to affect a false modesty after was a father.

the very flattering letter which I have

received. “Dear Wordsworth,—We are pleased, you may be sure, with the good news of Mrs. W Hope all is well over by this time. "A fine boy !-have you any more,

BOXES. more and a girl-poor copies of me!' vide Mr. H., a farce which the proprietors have

Ninth Night. done me the honour; but I will set down Mr. Wroughton's own words. N. B. The ensuing letter was sent in answer to one which I wrote, begging to know if my piece “I think this will be as good a pattern for had any chance, as I might make alterations, orders as I can think on. A little thin flowery &c. I, writing on Monday, there comes this border, round, neat, not gaudy, and the letter on the Wednesday. Attend !

Drury-lane Apollo, with the harp at the

top. Or shall I have no Apollo ?—simply [Copy of a Letter from Mr. R. Wroughton.] nothing? Or perhaps the comic muse ?

“The same form, only I think without 'Sir,—Your piece of Mr. H., I am desired the Apollo, will serve for the pit and galleries. to say, is accepted at Drury-Lane Theatre, I think it will be best to write my name at by the proprietors, and, if agreeable to you, full length ; but then if I give away a great will be brought forwards when the proper many, that will be tedious. Perhaps Ch. Lamb opportunity serves. The piece shall be sent will do. to you, for your alterations, in the course of “ BOXES, now I think on it, I'll have in





MR. H.



[ocr errors]

capitals. The rest, in a neat Italian hand. doing your commission will prove we do not Or better, perhaps Bores, in old English quite forget you.

C. L.” characters, like Madoc or Thalaba ? "A-propos of Spenser (you will find him

The interval between the completion of mentioned a page or two before, near enough the farce, “ and its first acting,” though full for an a-propos), I was discoursing on poetry of bright hopes of dramatic success, was not (as one's apt to deceive one's self, and when a person is willing to talk of what one likes, to

all a phantom. The following two letters to believe that he also likes the same, as lovers

Mr. Rickman, now one of the Clerks of the do) with a young gentleman of my office,

House of Commons, show Lamb's unwearied

kindness. who is deep read in Anacreon Moore, Lord Strangford, and the principal modern poets, and I happened to mention Epithalamiums, Dear Rickman,-You do not happen to and that I could show him a very fine one of have any place at your disposal which would Spenser's. At the mention of this, my gentle- suit a decayed Literatus? I do not much man, who is a very fine gentleman, pricked expect that you have, or that you will go up his ears and expressed great pleasure, and much out of the way to serve the object, begged that I would give him leave to copy when you hear it is F. But the case is, by a it: he did not care how long it was (for I mistaking of his turn, as they call it, he is objected the length), he should be very happy reduced, I am afraid, to extremities, and to see anything by him. Then pausing, and would be extremely glad of a place in an looking sad, he ejaculated 'Poor SPENCER !' office. Now it does sometimes happen, that I begged to know the reason of his ejacula- just as a man wants a place, a place wants tion, thinking that time had by this time him; and though this is a lottery to which softened down any calamities which the bard none but G. B. would choose to trust his all, might have endured. Why, poor fellow !' there is no harm just to call in at Despair's said he, he has lost his wife !' 'Lost his office for a friend, and see if his number is wife !' said I, 'who are you talking of ?' come up (B.'s further case I enclose by way "Why, Spencer!' said he ; 'I've read the of episode). Now, if you should happen, or "Monody” he wrote on the occasion, and a anybody you know, to want a hand, here is very pretty thing it is.' This led to an ex- a young man of solid but not brilliant genius, planation (it could be delayed no longer), who would turn his hand to the making out that the sound Spenser, which, when poetry dockets, penning a manifesto, or scoring a is talked of, generally excites an image of antally, not the worse (I hope) for knowing old bard in a ruff, and sometimes with it dim Latin and Greek, and having in youth connotions of Sir P. Sydney, and perhaps Lord versed with the philosophers. But from Burleigh, had raised in my gentleman a quite these follies I believe he is thoroughly contrary image of the Honourable William awakened, and would bind himself by a terSpencer, who has translated some things rible oath never to imagine himself an from the German very prettily, which are l'extraordinary genius again. published with Lady Di. Beauclerk's designs.

“Yours, &c. C. LAMB." Nothing like defining of terms when we talk. What blunders might I have fallen into of quite inapplicable criticism, but for this timely explanation.

“ March, 1806. “N.B. At the beginning of Edm. Spenser, “Dear Rickman, I send you some papers (to prevent mistakes,) I have copied from my about a salt-water soap, for which the own copy, and primarily from a book of inventor is desirous of getting a parliaChalmers' on Shakspeare, a sonnet of Spen- mentary reward, like Dr. Jenner. Whether ser's never printed among his poems. It is such a project be feasible, I mainly doubt, curious, as being manly, and rather Miltonic, taking for granted the equal utility. I should and as a sonnet of Spenser's with nothing suppose the usual way of paying such proin it about love or knighthood. I have no jectors is by patents and contracts. The room for remembrances; but I hope our patent, you see, he has got. A contract he

[ocr errors]


« НазадПродовжити »