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speaking of that which he regarded as the Than ceaseless thus to till a thankless vein :
Still teasing muses, which are still denying; highest exhibition of tragic suffering which
Making a stretching-leather of your brain. human genius had depicted, dared an allusion
St. Crispin's Eve. which was perhaps too bold for those who did not understand the peculiar feeling by Lamb, as we have seen, cared nothing for which it was suggested, but which no unpre-politics; yet his desire to serve his friends judiced mind could mistake for the breathing sometimes induced him to adopt for a short of other than a pious spirit. In reviewing time their view of public affairs, and assist Mr. Weber, the critic, who was also the them with a harmless pleasantry. The editor of the Review, thus complains of the following epigram, on the disappointment of quotation.—“We have a more serious charge the Whig associates of the Regent appeared to bring against the editor than the omission in the “Examiner.” of points, or the misapprehension of words. Ye politicians, tell me, pray, He has polluted his pages with the blas
Why thus with woe and care rent? phemies of a poor maniac, who, it seems,
This is the worst that you can say,
Some wind has blown the Wig away once published some detached scenes of the And left the Hair Apparent.
Broken Heart.' For this unfortunate creature, every feeling mind will find an The following, also published in the same apology in his calamitous situation ; but for paper would probably have only caused a Mr. Weber, we know not where the warmest smile if read by the Regent himself, and may of his friends will find palliation or excuse.” now be republished without offence to any It would be unjust to attribute this paragraph one. At the time when he wrote it, Lamb to the accidental association of Lamb in used to stop any passionate attacks upon
the literary undertakings with persons like prince, with the smiling remark, “ I love my Mr. Hunt, strongly opposed to the political Regent." opinions of Mr. Gifford. It seems rather
THE TRIUMPH OF THE WHALE. the peculiar expression of the distaste of a
Io ! Pwan! Io! sing, small though acute mind for an original
To the finny people's king. power which it could not appreciate, and
Not a mightier whale than this which disturbed the conventional associations
In the vast Atlantic is,
Not a fatter fish than he of which it was master, aggravated by bodily Flounders round the Polar sea. weakness and disease. Notwithstanding this
See his blubber-at his gills
What a world of drink he swills! attack, Lamb was prompted by his admiration
From his trunk, as from a spout, for Wordsworth's “Excursion" to contribute
Which next moment he pours out. a review of that work, on its appearance, to
Such his person.-Next declare,
Muse, who his companions are : the Quarterly, and he anticipated great
Every fish of generous kind pleasure in the poet's approval of his criti Scuds aside, or slinks behind ;
But about his presence keep cism ; but when the review appeared, the
All the monsters of the deep; article was so mercilessly mangled by the
Mermaids, with their tails and singing editor, that Lamb entreated Wordsworth
His delighted fancy stinging ;
Crooked dolphins, they surround him ; not to read it. For these grievances Lamb
Dog-like seals, they fawn around him; at length took a very gentle revenge in the Following hard, the progress mark
of the intolerant salt sea shark ; following
For his solace and relief,
Flat-fish are his courtiers chief;
Last, and lowest in his train,
Their black liquor shed in spite :
(Such on earth the things that write.) Lured by aspiring thoughts, my son, you daft
In his stomach, some do say, The lowly labours of the "Gentle Craft”
No good thing can ever stay: For learned toils, which blood and spirits sour.
Had it been the fortune of it All things, dear pledge, are not in all men's power ;
To have swallow'd that old prophet, The wiser sort of shrub affects the ground;
Three days there he'd not have dwellid, And sweet content of mind is oftener found
But in one have been expellid. In cobbler's parlour than in critic's bower.
Hapless mariners are they, The sorest work is what doth cross the grain;
Who beguiled (as seamen say) And better to this hour you had been plying
Deeming him some rock or island, The obsequious awl, with well-waxed finger flying,
Footing sure, safe spot, and dry land,
SAINT CRISPIN TO MR, GIFFORD.
Anchor in his scaly rind
erected by the public spirit of Watson, who Soon the difference they find;
keeps the Adam and Eve at Pancras, (the Sudden, plumb ! he sinks beneath them, Does to ruthless seas bequeath them.
ale-houses have all emigrated, with their Name or title what has he?
train of bottles, mugs, cork-screws, waiters, Is he Regent of the Sea ? From this difficulty free us,
into Hyde Park—whole ale-houses, with all Buffon, Banks, or sage Linnæus.
their ale !) in company with some of the With his wondrous attributes
Guards that had been in France, and a fine
French girl, habited like a princess of ban-
ditti, which one of the dogs had transported This (or else my eyesight fails), This should be the Prince of Whales.
from the Garonne to the Serpentine. The
unusual scene in Hyde Park, by candleThe devastation of the Parks in the summer light, in open air,-good tobacco, bottled of 1814, by reason of the rejoicings on the stout,-made it look like an interval in a visit of the Allied Sovereigns, produced the campaign, a repose after battle. I almost following letter from Lamb to Wordsworth. fancied scars smarting, and was ready to
club a story with my comrades, of some of TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
my lying deeds. After all, the fireworks
“ Aug. 9th, 1814. were splendid ; the rockets in clusters, in “Save for a late excursion to Harrow, and trees and all shapes, spreading about like a day or two on the banks of the Thames young stars in the making, floundering about this summer, rural images were fast fading in space (like unbroke horses,) till some of from my mind, and by the wise provision of Newton's calculations should fix them; but the Regent all that was countryfied in the then they went out. Any one who could parks is all but obliterated. The very colour see 'em, and the still finer showers of gloomy of green is vanished, the whole surface of rain-fire that fell sulkily and angrily from Hyde Park is dry crumbling sand (Arabia 'em, and could go to bed without dreaming Arenosa), not a vestige or hint of grass ever of the last day, must be as hardened an having grown there ; booths and drinking- atheist as — places go
all round it, for a mile and a half I “ Again let me thank you for your present, am confident-I might say two miles, in and assure you that fireworks and triumphs circuit—the stench of liquors, bad tobacco, have not distracted me from receiving a calm dirty people and provisions, conquers the air, and noble enjoyment from it, (which I trust and we are all stifled and suffocated in Hyde I shall often,) and I sincerely congratulate Park. Order after order has been issued by you on its appearance. Lord Sidmouth in the name of the Regent
“ With kindest remembrances to you and (acting in behalf of his Royal father) for the household, we remain, yours sincerely, dispersion of the varlets, but in vain. The
“ C. LAMB and Sister.” vis unita of all the publicans in London, Westminster, Marylebone, and miles round,
The following are fragments of letters to is too powerful a force to put down. The Coleridge in the same month. The first is Regent has raised a phantom which he in answer to a solicitation of Coleridge for a cannot lay. There they'll stay probably for supply of German books. ever. The whole beauty of the place is gone -that lake look of the Serpentine—it has
TO MR. COLERIDGE. got foolish ships upon it—but something
“13th Aug. 1814. whispers to have confidence in nature and “Dear Resuscitate,—There comes to you its revival
by the vehicle from Lad-lane this day a At the coming of the milder day,
volume of German; what it is I cannot These monuments shall all be overgrown. justly say, the characters of those northern
nations having been always singularly harsh Meantime I confess to have smoked one and unpleasant to me. It is a contribution delicious pipe in one of the cleanliest and of Dr. towards your wants, and you goodliest of the booths; a tent rather
would have had it sooner but for an odd "Oh call it not a booth!'
accident. I wrote for it three days ago, and shelves, as in some Bodleian ; there they * As mistake of Lamb's at which the excellent person shall remain ; no need of a chain to hold referred to may smile, now that he has retired from them fast-perhaps for ages-tall copies his profession, and has no business but the offices of kindness.
the Doctor, as he thought, sent it me. A the persuasive of my own, which accompanies book of like exterior he did send, but being it, will not be thrown away; if it be, he is a disclosed, how far unlike! It was the 'Well- sloe, and no true-hearted crab, and there's bred Scholar, —a book with which it seems an end. For that life of the German conthe Doctor laudably fills up those hours juror which you speak of, ' Colerus de Vitâ which he can steal from his medical avoca- Doctoris vix-Intelligibilis,' I perfectly retions. Chesterfield, Blair, Beattie, portious member the last evening we spent with from "The Life of Savage,' make up a Mrs. Morgan and Miss Brent, in Londonprettyish system of morality and the belles- street,—(by that token we had raw rabbits lettres, which Mr. Mylne, a schoolmaster, for supper, and Miss B. prevailed upon me has properly brought together, and calls the to take a glass of brandy and water after collection by the denomination above men- supper, which is not my habit,)-I perfectly tioned. The Doctor had no sooner discovered remember reading portions of that life in his
error, than he dispatched man and horse their parlour, and I think it must be among to rectify the mistake, and with a pretty their packages. It was the very last evening kind of ingenuous modesty in his note, we were at that house. What is gone of seemeth to deny any knowledge of the that frank-hearted circle, Morgan, and his Well-bred Scholar;' false modesty surely, cos-lettuces ? He ate walnuts better than and a blush misplaced; for, what more any man I ever knew. Friendships in these pleasing than the consideration of profes- parts stagnate. sional austerity thus relaxing, thus im- “I am going to eat turbot, turtle, venison, proving ! But so, when a child I remember marrow pudding,-cold punch, claret, Mablushing, being caught on my knees to my deira,—at our annual feast, at half-past four Maker, or doing otherwise some pious and this day. They keep bothering me, (I'm at praiseworthy action ; now I rather love such office,) and my ideas are confused. Let me things to be seen. Henry Crabb Robinson know if I can be of any service as to books. is out upon his circuit, and his books are God forbid the Architectonican should be inaccessible without his leave and key. He sacrificed to a foolish scruple of some bookis attending the Norfolk Circuit,—a short proprietor, as if books did not belong with term, but to him, as to many young lawyers, the highest propriety to those that undera long vacation, sufficiently dreary.* I stand 'em best.
“ C. LAMB." thought I could do no better than transmit to him, not extracts, but your very letter itself, than which I think I never read any
“ 26th August, 1814. thing more moving, more pathetic, or more “Let the hungry soul rejoice, there is corn conducive to the
purpose of persuasion. The in Egypt. Whatever thou hast been told to Crab is a sour Crab if it does not sweeten the contrary by designing friends, who perhim. I think it would draw another third haps inquired carelessly, or did not inquire volume of Dodsley out of me; but you say at all, in hope of saving their money, there you don't want any English books ? Per- is a stock of ‘Remorse' on hand, enough, as haps after all, that's as well ; one's romantic Pople conjectures, for seven years' consumpcredulity is for ever misleading one into tion; judging from experience of the last misplaced acts of foolery. Crab might have two years. Methinks it makes for the benefit answered by this time : his juices take a of sound literature, that the best books do long time supplying, but they'll run at last, not always go off best. Inquire in seven -I know they will,-pure golden pippin. years' time for the 'Rokebys' and the A fearful rumour has since reached me that 'Laras,' and where shall they be found ?the Crab is on the eve of setting out for fluttering fragmentally in some thread-paper France. If he is in England your letter will -whereas thy Wallenstein,' and thy 'Rereach him, and I flatter myself a touch of morse,' are safe on Longman's or Pople's
and people shan't run about hunting for
TO MR. COLERIDGE.
them as in old Ezra's shrievalty they did for want any books that I can procure for you? a Bible, almost without effect till the great- Old Jimmy Boyer is dead at last. Trollope great-grand-niece (by the mother's side) of has got his living, worth 10001. a-year net. Jeremiah or Ezekiel (which was it ?) re- See, thou sluggard, thou heretic-sluggard, membered something of a book, with odd what mightest thou rot have arrived at. reading in it, that used to lie in the green Lay thy animosity against Jimmy in the closet in her aunt Judith's bedchamber. grave. Do not entail it on thy posterity. “Thy caterer, Price, was at Hamburgh
“ CHARLES LAMB.". when last Pople heard of him, laying up for thee like some miserly old father for his generous hearted son to squander.
“Mr. Charles Aders, whose books also pant for that free circulation which thy custody is sure to give them, is to be heard of
CHAPTER X. at his kinsmen, Messrs. Jameson and Aders, No. 7, Laurence Pountney-lane, London,
[1815 to 1817.) according to the information which Crabius LETTERS TO WORDSWORTH, SOUTHEY, AND MANNING. with his parting breath left me. Crabius is It was at the beginning of the year 1815 gone to Paris. I prophesy he and the that I had first the happiness of a personal Parisians will part with mutual contempt. acquaintance with Mr. Lamb. With his His head has a twist Allemagne, like thine, scattered essays and poems I had become
familiar a few weeks before, through the "I have been reading Madame Stael on instrumentality of Mr. Baron Field, now Germany. An impudent clever woman. Chief Justice of Gibraltar, who had been But if ‘Faust' be no better than in her brought into close intimacy with Lamb by abstract of it, I counsel thee to let it alone. the association of his own family with How canst thou translate the language of Christ's Hospital, of which his father was cat-monkeys? Fie on such fantasies ! But the surgeon, and by his own participation in I will not forget to look for Proclus. It is a the “Reflector.” Living then in chambers in kind of book when one meets with it one Inner Temple-lane, and attending those of shuts the lid faster than one opened it. Yet Mr. Chitty, the special pleader, which were I have some bastard kind of recollection that on the next staircase to Mr. Lamb's, I had some where, some time ago, upon some stall been possessed some time by a desire to or other, I saw it. It was either that or become acquainted with the writings of my Plotinus, or Saint Augustine’s ‘City of God.' gifted neighbour, which my friend was able So little do some folks value, what to others, only partially to gratify. “John Woodvil,” sc. to you, 'well used,' had been the 'Pledge and the number of the “Reflector ” enriched of Immortality. Bishop Bruno I never with Lamb's article, he indeed lent me, but touched upon. Stuffing too good for the he had no copy of “ Rosamund Gray,” which brains of such a Hare'as thou describest. I was most anxious to read, and which, after May it burst his pericranium, as the gobbets earnest search through all the bookstalls of fat and turpentine (a nasty thought of the within the scope of my walks, I found, exseer) did that old dragon in the Apocrypha ! hibiting proper marks of due appreciation, May he go mad in trying to understand his in the store of a little circulating library author! May he lend the third volume of near Holborn. There was something in this him before he has quite translated the second, little romance so entirely new, yet breathing to a friend who shall lose it, and so spoil the the air of old acquaintance; a sense of publication, and may his friend find it and beauty so delicate and so intense ; and a send it him just as thou or some such less morality so benignant and so profound, that, dilatory spirit shall have announced the as I read it, my curiosity to see its author whole for the press ; lastly, may he be hunted rose almost to the height of pain. The by Reviewers, and the devil jug him. Canst commencement of the new year brought think of any other queries in the solution of me that gratification ; I was invited to meet which I can give thee satisfaction ? Do you Lamb at dinner, at the house of Mr. William
Evans, a gentleman holding an office in Lamb insisted on my sitting with him while the India House, who then lived in Wey- he smoked " one pipe "—for, alas ! for poor mouth-street, and who was a proprietor of human nature—he had resumed his acquaintthe “Pamphleteer,” to which I had con- ance with his “fair traitress.” How often tributed some idle scribblings. My duties the pipe and the glasses were replenished, I at the office did not allow me to avail myself will not undertake to disclose; but I can of this invitation to dinner, but I went up at never forget the conversation : though the ten o'clock, through a deep snow, palpably first, it was more solemn, and in higher congealing into ice, and was amply repaid mood, than any I ever after had with Lamb when I reached the hospitable abode of my through the whole of our friendship. How friend. There was Lamb, preparing to de- it took such a turn between two strangers, part, but he staid half an hour in kindness one of them a lad of not quite twenty, I to me, and then accompanied me to our cannot tell; but so it happened. We discommon home-the Temple.
coursed then of life and death, and our antiMethinks I see him before me now, as he cipation of a world beyond the grave. Lamb appeared then, and as he continued, with spoke of these awful themes with the simplest scarcely any perceptible alteration to me, piety, but expressed his own fond cleavings during the twenty years of intimacy which to life to all well-known accustomed things followed, and were closed by his death. A -and a shivering (not shuddering) sense of light frame, so fragile that it seemed as if a that which is to come, which he so finely breath would overthrow it, clad in clerk-like indicated in his “New Year's Eve,” years black, was surmounted by a head of form afterwards. It was two o'clock before we and expression the most noble and sweet. parted, when Lamb gave me a hearty invitaHis black hair curled crisply about an ex- tion to renew my visit at pleasure ; but two panded forehead ; his eyes, softly brown, or three months elapsed before I saw him twinkled with varying expression, though again. In the meantime, a number of the the prevalent feeling was sad ; and the nose Pamphleteer” contained an Essay on the slightly curved, and delicately carved at the Chief Living Poets,” among whom on the nostril, with the lower outline of the face title appeared the name of Lamb, and some regularly oval, completed a head which was page or two were expressly devoted to his finely placed on the shoulders, and gave praises. It was a poor tissue of tawdry importance, and even dignity, to a diminutive eulogies—a shallow outpouring of young and shadowy stem. Who shall describe his enthusiasm in fine words, which it mistakes countenance-catch its quivering sweetness for thoughts ; yet it gave Lamb, who had -and fix it for ever in words? There are hitherto received scarcely civil notice from none, alas! to answer the vain desire of reviewers, great pleasure to find that any one friendship. Deep thought, striving with recognised him as having a place among humour; the lines of suffering wreathed into poets. The next time I saw him, he came cordial mirth ; and a smile of painful sweet- almost breathless into the office, and proness, present an image to the mind it can as posed to give me what I should have chosen little describe as lose. His personal appear as the greatest of all possible honours' and ance and manner are not unfitly characterised delights - an introduction to Wordsworth, by what he himself says in one of his letters who I learned, with a palpitating heart, was to Manning of Braham—"a compound of the actually at the next door. I hurried out Jew, the gentleman, and the angel.” He with my kind conductor, and a minute after took my arm, and we walked to the Temple, was presented by Lamb to the person whom Lamb stammering out fine remarks as we in all the world I venerated most, with this walked ; and when we reached his staircase, preface :-“Wordsworth, give me leave to he detained me with an urgency which introduce to you my only admirer.” would not be denied, and we mounted to the top story, where an old petted servant, called Becky, was ready to receive us.
The following letter was addressed to soon seated beside a cheerful fire ; hot water Wordsworth, after his return to Westmoreand its better adjuncts were before us ; and land from this visit :