Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

snakes, that hiss'd me into madness. 'Twas fell from the Doctor's mouth. White is at like St. Anthony's temptations. Mercy on Christ's Hospital, a wit of the first magnius, that God should give his favourite tude, but had rather be thought a gentleman, children, men, mouths to speak with, to like Congreve. You know Congreve's repulse discourse rationally, to promise smoothly, to which he gave to Voltaire, when he came to flatter agreeably, to encourage warmly, to visit him as a literary man, that he wished counsel wisely, to sing with, to drink with, to be considered only in the light of a private and to kiss with, and that they should turn gentleman. I think the impertinent Frenchthem into mouths of adders, bears, wolves, man was properly answered. I should just hyenas, and whistle like tempests, and emit serve any member of the French institute in breath through them like distillations of the same manner, that wished to be introaspic poison, to asperse and vilify the innocent duced to me. labours of their fellow-creatures who are “Does any one read at Canton ? Lord desirous to please them! Heaven be pleased Moira is President of the Westminster to make the teeth rot out of them all, there- Library. I suppose you might have interest fore! Make them a reproach, and all that with Sir Joseph Banks to get to be president pass by them to loll out their tongue at them! of any similar institution that should be set Blind mouths ! as Milton somewhere calls up at Canton. I think public reading-rooms them. Do you like Braham's singing ? The the best mode of educating young men. little Jew has bewitched me. I follow him Solitary reading is apt to give the headache. like as the boys follow Tom the Piper. I Besides, who knows that you do read ? There was insensible to music till he gave me a new are ten thousand institutions similar to the sense. Oh that you could go to the new opera Royal Institution which have sprung up of Kais to-night ! 'Tis all about Eastern from it. There is the London Institution, manners ; it would just suit you. It describes the Southwark Institution, the Russellthe wild Arabs, wandering Egyptians, lying square Rooms Institution, &c.—College quasi dervises, and all that sort of people, to a hair. Con-lege, a place where people read together. You needn't ha' gone so far to see what you Wordsworth, the great poet, is coming to see, if you saw it as I do every night at Drury- town ; he is to have apartments in the lane Theatre. Braham's singing, when it is Mansion-House. Well, my dear Manning, impassioned, is finer than Mrs. Siddons', or talking cannot be infinite; I have said all I Mr. Kemble's acting; and when it is not have to say; the rest is but remembrances, impassioned, it is as good as hearing a person which we shall bear in our heads of you of fine sense talking. The brave little Jew! while we have heads. Here is a packet of I made a pun the other day, and palmed it trifles nothing worth ; but it is a trifling upon Holcroft, who grinned like a Cheshire part of the world where I live ; emptiness cat. (Why do cats grin in Cheshire ?— abounds. But in fulness of affection, we Because it was once a county palatine, and remain yours,

“C. L.” the cats cannot help laughing whenever they think of it, though I see no great joke in it.) The two books referred to in this letter I said that Holcroft said, being asked who were shortly after published. “The Advenwere the best dramatic writers of the day, tures of Ulysses ” had some tinge of the 'HOOK AND I'Mr. Hook is author of quaintness of Chapman ; it gives the plot of several pieces, Tekeli, &c. You know what the earliest and one of the most charming of hooks and eyes are, don't you? Your letter romances, without spoiling its interest. The had many things in it hard to be understood: "Specimens of English Dramatic Poets who the puns were ready and Swift-like; but lived about the time of Shakspeare,” were don't you begin to be melancholy in the received with more favour than Lamb's midst of Eastern customs ! "The mind does previous works, though it was only by slow not easily conform to foreign usages, even in and imperceptible degrees that they won trifles: it requires something that it has their way to the apprehensions of the most been familiar with.' That begins one of influential minds, and wrought out the genial Dr. Hawkesworth's papers in the Adventurer, purpose of the editor in renewing a taste for and is, I think, as sensible a remark as ever the great contemporaries of Shakspeare. “The Monthly Review” vouchsafed a notice* again! Perhaps the next fleet may bring in its large print, upon the whole favourable, you a letter from Martin Burney, to say that according to the existing fashion of criticism, he writes by desire of Miss Lamb, who is but still “craftily qualified.” It will scarcely not well enough to write herself, to inform be credited, without reference to the article you that her brother died on Thursday last, itself, that on the notes the critic pronounces 14th June, &c. But I hope not. I should this judgment: “The notes before us indeed be sorry to give occasion to open a correshave nothing very remarkable, except the pondence betwen Martin and you. This style, which is formally abrupt and elabo- letter must be short, for I have driven it off rately quaint. Some of the most studied to the very moment of doing up the packets ; attempts to display excessive feeling we had and besides, that which I refer to above is a noted for animadversion, but the task is very long one ; and if you have received my unnecessary,” &c.

books, you will have enough to do to read It is easy to conceive of readers strongly them. While I think on it, let me tell you, dissenting from some of the passionate eulo- we are moved. Don't come any more to gies of these notes, and even taking offence Mitre-court Buildings. We are at 34, at the boldness of the allusions ; but that any Southampton Buildings, Chancery-lane, and one should read these essences of criticism, shall be here till about the end of May, then suggesting the profoundest thoughts, and we remove to No. 4, Inner Temple-lane, replete throughout with fine imagery, and where I mean to live and die ; for I have find in them “nothing remarkable,” is a such horror of moving, that I would not mystery which puzzles us. But when the take a benefice from the King, if I was not same critic speaks of the heroine of the indulged with non-residence. What a dis“ Broken Heart' as “the light-heeled Ca- location of comfort is comprised in that word lantha," it is easy to appreciate his fitness moving ! Such a heap of little nasty things, for sitting in judgment on the old English after you think all is got into the cart : old drama and the congenial expositor of its dredging-boxes, worn-out brushes, gallipots, grandeurs !

vials, things that it is impossible the most In this year Miss Lamb published her necessitous person can ever want, but which charming work, entitled “Mrs. Leicester's the women, who preside on these occasions, School,” to which Lamb contributed three of will not leave behind if it was to save your the tales. The best, however, are his sister's, soul; they'd keep the cart ten minutes to as he delighted to insist ; and no tales more stow in dirty pipes and broken matches, to happily adapted to nurture all sweet and show their economy. Then you can find childlike feelings in children were ever nothing you want for many days after you written. Another joint-publication, “Poetry get into your new lodgings. You must comb for Children,” followed, which also is worthy your hair with your fingers, wash your hands of its title.

without soap, go about in dirty gaiters. Was Early in 1809, Lamb removed from Mitre- I Diogenes, I would not move out of a court Buildings to Southampton Buildings, kilderkin into a hogshead, though the first but only for a few months, and preparatory had had nothing but small beer in it, and to a settlement (which he meant to be final) the second reeked claret. Our place of final in the Temple. The next letter to Manning, destination,—I don't mean the grave, but (still in China,) of 28th March, 1809, is from No. 4, Inner Temple-lane,—looks out upon a Southampton Buildings.

gloomy churchyard-like court, called Harecourt, with three trees and a pump in it. Do

you know it? I was born near it, and “Dear Manning, -I sent you a long letter Rechabite of six years old. If you see news

used to drink at that pump when I was a by the ships which sailed the beginning of last month, accompanied with books, &c. papers you will read about Mrs. Clarke. The

sensation in London about this nonsensical Since I last wrote is dead. So there is business is marvellous. I remember nothing one of your friends whom you will never see

in my life like it. Thousands of ballads, April, 1809.

caricatures, lives of Mrs. Clarke, in every

TO MR. MANNING.

blind alley. Yet in the midst of this stir, fourth floor. In my best room is a choice a sublime abstracted dancing-master, who collection of the works of Hogarth, an English attends a family we know at Kensington, painter, of some humour. In my next best being asked a question about the progress of are shelves containing a small, but wellthe examinations in the House, inquired who chosen library. My best room commands a Mrs. Clarke was? He had heard nothing court, in which there are trees and a pump, of it. He had evaded this omnipresence by the water of which is excellent cold, with utter insignificancy ! The Duke should brandy, and not very insipid without. Here make that man his confidential valet. I I hope to set up my rest, and not quit till proposed locking him up, barring him the Mr. Powell, the undertaker, gives me notice use of his fiddle and red pumps, until he had that I may have possession of my last lodging. minutely perused and committed to memory, He lets lodgings for single gentlemen. I the whole body of the examinations, which sent you a parcel of books by my last, to employed the House of Commons a fortnight, give you some idea of the state of European to teach him to be more attentive to what literature. There comes with this two concerns the public. I think I told you of volumes, done up as letters, of minor poetry, Godwin's little book, and of Coleridge's pro- a sequel to 'Mrs. Leicester ;' the best you spectus, in my last; if I did not, remind me may suppose mine ; the next best are my of it, and I will send you them, or an account coadjutor's; you may amuse yourself in of them, next fileet. I have no conveniency guessing them out; but I must tell you

mine of doing it by this. Mrs.

grows every are but one-third in quantity of the whole. day in disfavour with me. I will be buried so much for a very delicate subject. It is with this inscription over me :—Here lies hard to speak of one's self, &c. Holcroft had C. L., the woman-hater:' I mean that hated finished his life when I wrote to you, and one woman : for the rest, God bless them! Hazlitt has since finished his life; I do not How do you like the Mandarinesses ? Are mean his own life, but he has finished a life you on some little footing with any of them ? of Holcroft, which is going to press. Tuthill This is Wednesday. On Wednesdays is my is Dr. Tuthill. I continue Mr. Lamb. I levee. The Captain, Martin, Phillips, (not have published a little book for children on the Sheriff,) Rickman, and some more, are titles of honour: and to give them some idea constant attendants, besides stray visitors. of the difference of rank and gradual rising, We play at whist, eat cold meat and hot I have made a little scale, supposing myself potatoes, and any gentleman that chooses to receive the following various accessions smokes. Why do you never drop in ? You'll of dignity from the king, who is the fountain come some day, won't you ?

of honour-As at first, 1, Mr. C. Lamb; 2, “C. LAMB, &c." C. Lamb, Esq.; 3, Sir C. Lamb, Bart.; 4,

Baron Lamb of Stamford ;* 5, Viscount His next is after his removal to the Lamb; 6, Earl Lamb; 7, Marquis Lamb; 8, Temple

Duke Lamb. It would look like quibbling TO MR. MANNING.

to carry it on further, and especially as it is

“Jan, 2nd, 1810. not necessary for children to go beyond the "Dear Manning,—When I last wrote you ordinary titles of sub-regal dignity in our I was in lodgings. I am now in chambers, own country, otherwise I have sometimes in No. 4, Inner Temple Lane, where I should my dreams imagined myself still advancing, be happy to see you any evening. Bring as 9th, King Lamb; 10th, Emperor Lamb; any of your friends, the Mandarins, with 11th, Pope Innocent, higher than which is you. I have two sitting-rooms : I call them nothing. Puns I have not made many, (nor 80 par excellence, for you may stand, or loll, punch much), since the date of my last ; one or lean, or try any posture in them, but they I cannot help relating. A constable in are best for sitting ; not squatting down Salisbury Cathedral was telling me that Japanese fashion, but the more decorous eight people dined at the top of the spire mode which European usage has consecrated. of the cathedral, upon which I remarked, I have two of these rooms on the third floor,

* “Where my family came from. I have chosen that, and five sleeping, cooking, &c. rooms, on the if ever I should have my choice."

that they must be very sharp set. But in and one Phillips is engaged instead. Kate general I cultivate the reasoning part of my is vanished, but Miss B is always to be mind more than the imaginative. I am met with! stuffed out so with eating turkey for dinner, and another turkey for supper yesterday and courtly Mildred dies while country Madge survives.'

'Queens drop away, while blue-legged Maukin thrives; (Turkey in Europe and Turkey in Asia), that I can't jog on. It is New-year here. That is not my poetry, but Quarles's ; but That is, it was New-year half a-year back, haven't you observed that the rarest things when I was writing this

. Nothing puzzles are the least obvious ? Don't show anybody me more than time and space, and yet nothing the names in this letter. I write confidentially, puzzles me less, for I never think about them. and wish this letter to be considered as private. The Persian ambassador is the principal Hazlitt has written a grammar for Godwin ; thing talked of now. I sent some people to Godwin sells it bound up with a treatise of see him worship the sun on Primrose Hill, his own on language, but the grey mare is the at half past six in the morning, 28th No- better horse. I don't allude to Mrs. vember; but he did not come, which makes but to the word grammar, which comes near me think the old fire-worshippers are a to grey mare, if you observe, in sound. That sect almost extinct in Persia. The Persian figure is called paranomasia in Greek. I ambassador's name is Shaw Ali Mirza. The am sometimes happy in it. An old woman common people call him Shaw nonsense. begged of me for charity. 'Ah! sir,' said While I think of it, I have put three letters she, 'I have seen better days ;' 'So have I, besides my own three into the India post for good woman,' I replied ; but I meant liteyou, from your brother, sister, and some gen- rally, days not so rainy and overcast as that tleman whose name I forget. Will they, have on which she begged : she meant more they, did they come safe? The distance you prosperous days. Mr. Dawe is made assoare at, cuts up tenses by the root. I think you ciate of the Royal Academy. By what law said you did not know Kate * *

of association I can't guess. Mrs. Holcroft, I express her by nine stars, though she is Miss Holcroft, Mr. and Mrs. Godwin, Mr. but one. You must have seen her at her and Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. Martin and Louisa, father's. Try and remember her. Coleridge Mrs. Lum, Capt. Burney, Mrs. Burney, is bringing out a paper in weekly numbers, Martin Burney, Mr. Rickman, Mrs. Rickman, called the 'Friend,' which I would send, if Dr. Stoddart, William Dollin, Mr. Thompson, I could ; but the difficulty I had in getting Mr. and Mrs. Norris, Mr. Fenwick, Mrs. the packets of books out to you before deters Fenwick, Miss Fenwick, a man that saw you me; and you'll want something new to read at our house one day, and a lady that heard when you come home. Except Kate, I have me speak of you ; Mrs. Buffam that heard had no vision of excellence this year, and she Hazlitt mention you, Dr. Tuthill, Mrs. Tuthill, passed by like the queen on her coronation Colonel Harwood, Mrs. Harwood, Mr. Collier, day ; you don't know whether you saw her Mrs. Collier, Mr. Sutton, Nurse, Mr. Fell, or not. Kate is fifteen : I go about moping, Mrs. Fell, Mr. Marshall, are very well, and and sing the old pathetic ballad I used to occasionally inquire after you, like in my youth

“I remain yours ever,

“CH. LAMB." “She's sweet fifteen, I'm one year more.'

[ocr errors]

“Mrs. Bland sung it in boy's clothes the In the summer of 1810, Lamb and his sister first time I heard it. I sometimes think the spent their holidays with Hazlitt, who, having lower notes in my voice are like Mrs. Bland's. married Miss Stoddart, was living in a house That glorious singer, Braham, one of my belonging to his wife's family at Winterslow, lights, is fled. He was for a season. He on the border of Salisbury Plain. The was a rare composition of the Jew, the gentle- following letter of 12th July, in this year, man, and the angel, yet all these elements was addressed to Mr. Montague, who had mixed up so kindly in him, that you could urged him to employ a part of his leisure in not tell which preponderated; but he is gone, a compilation.

TO MR. MONTAGUE.

The following is Lamb's postscript to a

letter of Miss Lamb to Miss Wordsworth, “Sarum, July 12th, 1810.

after their return to London : "Dear Montague, I have turned and twisted the MSS. in my head, and can make “Mary has left a little space for me to Dothing of them. I knew when I took them fill up with nonsense, as the geographers that I could not, but I do not like to do an used to cram monsters in the voids of the act of ungracious necessity at once ; so I am maps, and call it Terra Incognita. She has ever committing myself by half engagements, told you how she has taken to water like a and total failures. I cannot make anybody hungry otter. I too limp after her in lame understand why I can't do such things; it is imitation, but it goes against me a little at a defect in my occiput. I cannot put other first. I have been acquaintance with it now people's thoughts together ; I forget every for full four days, and it seems a moon. I am paragraph as fast as I read it; and my full of cramps, and rheumatisms, and cold head has received such a shock by an all- internally, so that fire won't warm me; yet night journey on the top of the coach, that I bear all for virtue's sake. Must I then I shall have enough to do to nurse it into leave you, gin, rum, brandy, aqua-vitæ,

its natural pace before I go home. I must pleasant jolly fellows ? Hang temperance | devote myself to imbecility; I must be and he that first invented it !-some Anti| gloriously useless while I stay here. How Noahite. C has powdered his head,

is Mrs. M. ? will she pardon my inefficiency ? and looks like Bacchus, Bacchus ever sleek The city of Salisbury is full of weeping and and young. He is going to turn sober, but wailing. The bank has stopped payment; his clock has not struck yet; meantime he and everybody in the town kept money at it, pours down goblet after goblet, the second or has got some of its notes. Some have to see where the first is gone, the third to lost all they had in the world. It is the next see no harm happens to the second, a fourth thing to seeing a city with a plague within to say there is another coming, and a fifth to its walls. The Wilton people are all undone ; say he is not sure he is the last.” all the manufacturers there kept cash at the Salisbury bank; and I do suppose it to be In the autumn of this year, the establishthe unhappiest county in England this, where ment of a Quarterly Magazine, entitled the I am making holiday. We propose setting “Reflector,” opened a new sphere for Lamb's out for Oxford Tuesday fortnight, and coming powers as

a humourist and critic. Its thereby home. But no more night travelling. editor, Mr. Leigh Hunt, having been educated My head is sore (understand it of the inside) in the same school, enjoyed many associations with that deduction from my natural rest and friendships in common with him, and which I suffered coming down. Neither was thus able to excite in Lamb the greatest Mary nor I can spare a morsel of our rest : motive for exertion in the zeal of kindness. it is incumbent on us to be misers of it. In this Magazine appeared some of Lamb's Travelling is not good for us, we travel so noblest effusions ; his essay “On Garrick and seldom. If the sun be hell, it is not for the Acting,” which contains the character of fire, but for the sempiternal motion of that Lear, perhaps the noblest criticism ever miserable body of light. How much more written, and on the noblest human subject ; dignified leisure hath a mussel glued to his his delightful “Essays on Hogarth ;" his unpassable rocky limit, two inch square ! He “ Farewell to Tobacco," and several of the hears the tide roll over him, backwards and choicest of his gayer pieces. forwards twice a-day (as the Salisbury long coach goes and returns in eight-and-forty The number of the Quarterly Review, for hours), but knows better than to take an December, 1811, contained an attack upon outside night-place a top on't. He is the Lamb, which it would be difficult, as well as owl of the sea—Minerva's fish—the fish of painful, to characterise as it deserves. Mr. wisdom.

Weber, in his edition of “Ford,” had “Our kindest remembrances to Mrs. M. extracted Lamb's note on the catastrophe “ Yours truly,

C. LAMB." of “The Broken Heart,” in which Lamb,

« НазадПродовжити »