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THE LETTERS

09

CHARLES L A M B.

WITUT

A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE

BY

SIR THOMAS NOON TALFOURD, D.C.L.

OXR OF HIS KX.CUTORS.

B

TO

MARY ANNE LAMB.

THESE LETTERS,

THE MEMORIALS OF MANY YEARS WHICH SHE SPENT WITH THE WRITER

IN UNDIVIDED AFFECTION;

OF TIIE SORROWS AND THE JOYS SHE SHARED, OF THE GENIUS WHICH SHE CHERISHED,

AND OF THE EXCELLENCES WHICH SHE BEST KNEW;

ARE

RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED,

BY THE EDITOR.

PREFACE.

The share of the Editor in these volumes can scarcely be regarded too slightly. The successive publications of Lamb's works form almost the only events of his life which can be recorded ; and upon these criticism has been nearly exhausted. Little, therefore, was necessary to accompany the Letters, cept such thread of narrative as might connect them together; and such explanations as might render their allusions generally understood. The reader's gratitude for the pleasure which he will derive from these memorials of one of the most delightful of English writers is wholly due to his correspondents, who have kindly entrusted the precious relics to the care of the Editor, and have permitted them to be given to the world ; and to Mr. Moxon, by whose interest and zeal they have been chiefly collected. He may be allowed to express his personal sense of the honour which he has received in such a trust from men, some of whom are among the greaiest of England's living authors, -to Wordsworth, Southey, Manning, Barton, Procter, Gilman, Patmore, Walter Wilson, Field, Robinson, Dyer, Cary, Ainsworth, to Mr. Green, the executor of Coleridge, and to the surviving relatives of Hazlitt. He is also most grateful to Lamb's esteemed schoolfellow, Mr. Le Grice, for supplying an interesting part of his history. Of the few additional facts of Lamb's history, the chief have been supplied by Mr. Moxon, in whose welfare he took a most affectionate interest to the close of his

and who has devoted some beautiful sonnets to his memory.

life;

The recentness of the period of some of the letters has rendered it necessary to omit many portions of them, in which the humour and beauty are interwoven with personal references, which, although wholly free from anything which, rightly understood, could give pain to any human being, touch on subjects too sacred for public exposure. Some of the personal allusions which have been retained, may seem, perhaps, too free to a stranger ; but they have been retained only in cases

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