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For who can confute
memory does not deceive me, you have had A body that's mute ?
some knowledge heretofore as editor of The Or who would fight With a senseless sprite ?
Statesman,' a man of talent, and patriotic.
If you can show him any facilities in his
arduous undertaking, you will oblige us And stiff as stone,
much. Well, and how does the land of To convince him with arguments pro
con, thieves use you ? and how do you pass your As if some live logician, Bred up at Merton,
time, in your extra-judicial intervals? Going Or Mr. Hazlitt, the metaphysician,
about the streets with a lantern, like Hey, Mr. Ayrton ! With all your rare tone..
Diogenes, looking for an honest man? You
may look long enough, I fancy. Do give me For tell me how should an apparition List to your call,
some notion of the manners of the inhabitThough you talk'd for ever,
ants where you are. They don't thieve all Ever so clever :
day long do they? No human property When his ear itself, By which he must hear, or not hear at all, could stand such continuous battery. And Is laid on the shelf ?
what do they do when they an't stealing ? Or put the case (For more grace),
“Have you got a theatre ? What pieces It were a female spectre
are performed ? Shakspeare's, I suppose ; How could you expect her To take much gust
not so much for the poetry, as for his having In long speeches,
once been in danger of leaving his country With her tongue as dry as dust,
on account of certain 'small deer.'
“ Have you poets among you ? Cursed
would not trust an idea, or a pocket-handkerWith their sweet drench,
chief of mine, among 'em. You are almost The fiery pangs which the worms inflict,
competent to answer Lord Bacon's problem, With their endless nibblings, Like quibblings,
whether a nation of atheists can subsist Which the corpse may dislike, but can ne'er contradict-- together. You are practically in one :
Hey, Mr. Ayrton ?
So thievish 'tis, that the eighth commandment itself
Scarce seemeth there to be.'
Our old honest world goes on with little One of Lamb's most intimate friends and perceptible variation. Of course you have warmest admirers, Barron Field, disappeared heard of poor Mitchell's death, and that from the circle on being appointed to a G. Dyer is one of Lord Stanhope's residuaries. judicial situation in New South Wales. In I am afraid he has not touched much of the the following letter to him, Lamb renewed residue yet. He is positively as lean as the feeling with which he had addressed Cassius. Barnes is going to Demerara, or Manning at the distance of a hemisphere. Essequibo, I am not quite certain which,
A— is turned actor. He came out in
genteel comedy at Cheltenham this season,
" Aug. 31st, 1817. and has hopes of a London engagement. “My dear Barron,-The bearer of this “For my own history, I am just in the letter far
the seas is Mr. same spot, doing the same thing, (videlicet, Lawrey, who comes out to you as a mis- little or nothing,) as when you left me ; only sionary, and whom I have been strongly I have positive hopes that I shall be able to importuned to recommend to you as a most conquer that inveterate habit of smoking worthy creature by Mr. Fenwick, a very old, which you may remember I indulged in. I honest friend of mine; of whom, if my think of making a beginning this evening,
viz., Sunday, 31st Aug., 1817, not Wednesday, From this it may at first appear, that the author meant to ascribe vocal talents to his friend, the Director 2nd Feb., 1818, as it will be perhaps when you of the Italian Opera; but it is merely a “line for read this for the first time. There is the rhyme.” For, though the public were indebted to difficulty of writing from one end of the Mr. A. for many fine foreign singers, we believe that he nerer claimed to be himself a singer.
globe (hemispheres I call 'em) to another!
TO MR. FIELD.
LETTERS TO WORDSWORTH, SOUTHEY, MANNING, AND
Why, half the truths I have sent you in this Bow-street, where the thieves are examined, letter will become lies before they reach you, within a few yards of us. Mary had not and some of the lies (which I have mixed been here four-and-twenty hours before she for variety's sake, and to exercise your saw a thief. She sits at the window working; judgment in the finding of them out) may and casually throwing out her eyes, she sees be turned into sad realities before you shall a concourse of people coming this way, with be called upon to detect them. Such are the a constable to conduct the solemnity. These defects of going by different chronologies. little incidents agreeably diversify a female Your now is not my now; and again, your life. then is not my then ; but my now may be “Mary has brought her part of this letter your then, and vice versa. Whose head is to an orthodox and loving conclusion, which competent to these things ?
is very well, for I have no room for pansies “How does Mrs. Field get on in her and remembrances. What a nice holyday I geography? Does she know where she is by got on Wednesday by favour of a princess this time? I am not sure sometimes you dying !
C. L." are not in another planet ; but then I don't like to ask Capt. Burney, or any of those that know anything about it, for fear of exposing my ignorance. “Our kindest remembrancos, bowever, to
CHAPTER XI. Mrs. F., if she will accept of reminiscences
[1818 to 1820.) from another planet, or at least another hemisphere.
LAMB, now in the immediate neighbourLamb's intention of spending the rest of hood of the theatres, renewed the dramatic his days in the Middle Temple was not to be associations of his youth, which the failure of realised. The inconveniences of being in one experiment had not chilled. Although he chambers began to be felt as he and rather loved to dwell on the recollections of his sister grew older, and in the autumn the actors who had passed from the stage, of this year they removed to lodgings in than to mingle with the happy crowds who Russell-street, Covent Garden, the corner hailed the successive triumphs of Mr. Kean, house, delightfully situated between the two he formed some new and steady theatrical great theatres. In November, 1817, Miss attachments. His chief favourites of this Lamb announced the removal to Miss Words- time were Miss Kelly, Miss Burrell of the worth in a letter, to which Lamb added the Olympic, and Munden. The first, then the following :
sole support of the English Opera, became a
frequent guest in Great Russell-street, and TO MISS WORDSWORTH.
charmed the circle there by the heartiness
Nov. 21st, 1817. of her manners, the delicacy and gentleness * Dear Miss Wordsworth, -Here we are, of her remarks, and her unaffected sensibility, transplanted from our native soil. I thought as much as she had done on the stage. Miss we never could have been torn up from the Burrell, a lady of more limited powers, but Temple. Indeed it was an ugly wrench, but with a frank and noble style, was discovered like a tooth, now 'tis out, and I am easy. by Lamb on one of the visits which he paid, We never can strike root so deep in any other on the invitation of his old friend Elliston, ground. This, where we are, is a light bit of to the Olympic, where the lady performed gardener's mould, and if they take us up the hero of that happy parody of Moncrieff's, from it, it will cost no blood and groans, Giovanni in London. To her Lamb devoted like man-drakes pulled up. We are in the a little article, which he sent to the Exaindividual spot I like best, in all this great miner, in which he thus addresses her :city. The theatres, with all their noises. “But Giovanni, free, fine, frank-spirited, Covent Garden, dearer to me than any single-hearted creature, turning all the misgardens of Alcinoüs, where we are morally chief into fun as harmless as toys, or sure of the 'earliest peas and 'sparagus. children's make believe, what praise can we
TO MRS, WORDSWORTH.
repay to you adequate to the pleasure which Miss Burrell's singing, or a gleam of Fanny you have given us? We had better be silent, Kelly’s divine plain face. The two operafor you have no name, and our mention will tions might be going on at the same time but be thought fantastical. You have taken without thwarting, as the sun's two motions out the sting from the evil thing, by what (earth's I mean), or, as I sometimes turn magic we know not, for there are actresses round till I am giddy, in my back parlour, of greater merit and likelihood than you. while my sister is walking longitudinally in
and your Giovanni our spirits will the front; or, as the shoulder of veal twists hold communion, whenever sorrow or suffer- round with the spit, while the smoke wreathes ing shall be our lot. We have seen you up the chimney. But there are a set of triumph over the infernal powers; and pain amateurs of the Belles Lettres—the gay and Erebus, and the powers of darkness, science—who come to me as a sort of renare shapes of a dream.” Miss Burrell soon dezvous, putting questions of criticism, of married a person named Gold, and disap- British Institutions, Lalla Rookhs, &c.—what peared from the stage. To Munden in prose, Coleridge said at the lecture last night-who and Miss Kelly in verse, Lamb has done have the form of reading men, but, for any ample justice.
possible use reading can be to them, but to Lamb's increasing celebrity, and universal talk of, might as well have been Antekindness, rapidly increased the number of Cadmeans born, or have lain sucking out the his visitors. He thus complained, in way- sense of an Egyptian hieroglyph as long as ward mood, of them to Mrs. Wordsworth :- the pyramids will last, before they should
find it. These pests worrit me at business,
and in all its intervals, perplexing my “East-India House, 18th Feb., 1818. accounts, poisoning my little salutary warm“My dear Mrs. Wordsworth,—I have ing-time at the fire, puzzling my paragraphs repeatedly taken pen in hand to answer your if I take a newspaper, cramming in between kind letter. My sister should more properly my own free thoughts and a column of have done it, but she having failed, I consider figures, which had come to an amicable myself answerable for her debts. I am now compromise but for them. Their noise trying to do it in the midst of commercial ended, one of them, as I said, accompanies noises, and with a quill which seems more me home, lest I should be solitary for a ready to glide into arithmetical figures and moment; he at length takes his welcome names of gourds, cassia, cardemoms, aloes, leave at the door ; up I go, mutton on table, ginger, or tea, than into kindly responses and hungry as hunter, hope to forget my cares, friendly recollections. The reason why I can- and bury them in the agreeable abstraction not write letters at home, is, that I am never of mastication ; knock at the door, in comes alone. Plato's—(I write to W. W. now)- Mr.
or Demi-gorgon, or my Plato's double-animal parted never longed brother, or somebody, to prevent my eating more to be reciprocally re-united in the alone—a process absolutely necessary to my system of its first creation, than I sometimes poor wretched digestion. O, the pleasure of do to be but for a moment single and separate. eating alone!-eating my dinner alone ! let Except my morning's walk to the office, me think of it. But in they come, and make which is like treading on sands of gold for it absolutely necessary that I should open a that reason, I am never so. I cannot walk bottle of orange—for my meat turns into home from office, but some officious friend stone when any one dines with me, if I have offers his unwelcome courtesies to accompany not wine. Wine can mollify stones ; then me. All the morning I am pestered. I could that wine turns into acidity, acerbity, misansit and gravely cast up sums in great books, thropy, a hatred of my interrupters—(God or compare sum with sum, and write “paid's bless 'em! I love some of 'em dearly), and against this, and “unpaid' against tother, with the hatred, a still greater aversion to and yet reserve in some corner of my mind, their going away. Bad is the dead sea they - some darling thoughts all my own'—faint bring upon me, choking and deadening, but memory of some passage in a book, or the worse is the deader dry sand they leave me tone of an absent friend's voice—a snatch of on, if they go before bed-time. Come never,
I would say to these spoilers of my dinner ; away the harpy solitude from me. I like but if you come, never go ! The fact is, 'em, and cards, and a cheerful glass ; but I this interruption does not happen very often, mean merely to give you an idea between but every time it comes by surprise, that office confinement and after-office society, present bane of my life, orange wine, with how little time I can call my own. I mean all its dreary stifling consequences, follows. only to draw a picture not to make an Evening company I should always like had I inference. I would not that I know of have any mornings, but I am saturated with it otherwise. I only wish sometimes I could human faces (divine forsooth !) and voices, exchange some of my faces and voices for all the golden morning ; and five evenings in the faces and voices which a late visitation a week, would be as much as I should covet brought most welcome, and carried away, to be in company, but I assure you that is a leaving regret but more pleasure, even a wonderful week in which I can get two, or kind of gratitude, at being so often favoured one to myself. I am never C. L., but always with that kind northern visitation. My C. L. & Co. He, who thought it not good London faces and noises don't hear me-I for man to be alone, preserve me from the mean no disrespect, or I should explain more prodigious monstrosity of being never myself, that instead of their return 220 times by myself! I forget bed-time, but even there a year, and the return of W. W., &c., seven these sociable frogs clamber up to annoy times in 104 weeks, some more equal distrime. Once a week, generally some singular bution might be found. I have scarce room evening that being alone, I go to bed at the to put in Mary's kind love, and my poor hour I ought always to be a-bed ; just close name,
C. LAMB." to my bed-room window is the club-room of a public-house, where a set of singers, I “S. T. C. is lecturing with success. I mean take them to be chorus singers of the two to hear some of the course, but lectures are theatres (it must be both of them), begin their not much to my taste, whatever the lecturer orgies. They are a set of fellows (as I con- may be. If read, they are dismal flat, and ceive) who, being limited by their talents to you can't think why you are brought togethe burthen of the song at the play-houses, ther to hear a man read his works, which in revenge have got the common popular you could read so much better at leisure airs by Bishop, or some cheap composer, yourself; if delivered extempore, I am always arranged for choruses, that is, to be sung all in pain, lest the gift of utterance should sudin chorus. At least I never can catch any denly fail the orator in the middle, as it did of the text of the plain song, nothing but the me at the dinner given in honour of me at Babylonish choral howl at the tail on't. the London Tavern. 'Gentlemen,' said I, "That fury being quenched'—the howl I mean and there I stopped ; the rest my feelings -a burden succeeds of shouts and clapping, were under the necessity of supplying. Mrs. and knocking of the table. At length over- Wordsworth will go on, kindly haunting us tasked nature drops under it, and escapes with visions of seeing the lakes once more, for a few hours into the society of the sweet which never can be realised. Between us silent creatures of dreams, which go away there is a great gulf, not of inexplicable with mocks and mows at cockcrow. And moral antipathies and distances, I hope, as then I think of the words Christabel's father there seemed to be between me and that used (bless me, I have dipt in the wrong gentleman concerned in the stamp-office, ink) to say every morning by way of variety that I so strangely recoiled from at Haydon's
. when he awoke:
I think I had an instinct that he was the
head of an office. I hate all such people * Every knell, the Baron saith, Wakes us up to a world of death
accountants' deputy accountants. The dear
abstract notion of the East India Company, or something like it. All I mean by this as long as she is unseen, is pretty, rather senseless interrupted tale, is, that by my poetical ; but as she makes herself manifest central situation I am a little over-companied. by the persons of such beasts, 1 loathe and Not that I have any animosity against the detest her as the scarlet what-do-you-call-her good creatures that are so anxious to drive of Babylon. I thought, after abridging us
of all our red-letter days, they had done promise pressed hard upon him, and he protheir worst, but I was deceived in the length cured the requisite quantity of verse from to which heads of offices, those true liberty- a very inferior hand. Kenney, who had haters, can go. They are the tyrants, not married Holcroft's widow, had more than Ferdinand, nor Nero—by a decree passed succeeded to him in Lamb's regards. Holcroft this week, they have abridged us of the had considerable dramatic skill ; great force immemorially-observed custom of going at and earnestness of style, and noble sincerity one o'clock of a Saturday, the little shadow and uprightness of disposition ; but he was of a holiday left us. Dear W. W. be thank- an austere observer of morals and manners; ful for liberty."
and even his grotesque characters were hardly
and painfully sculptured; while Kenney, Among Lamb's new acquaintances was with as fine a perception of the ludicrous Mr. Charles Ollier, a young bookseller of and the peculiar, was more airy, more indulconsiderable literary talent, which he has gent, more graceful, and exhibited more since exhibited in the original and beautiful frequent glimpses of "the gayest, happiest tale of "Inesilla," who proposed to him the attitude of things.” The comedy met with publication of his scattered writings in a less success than the reputation of the author collected form. Lamb acceded ; and nearly and brilliant experience of the past had all he had then written in prose and verse, rendered probable, and Lamb had to perform were published this year by Mr. Ollier and the office of comforter, as he had done on his brother, in two small and elegant volumes. the more unlucky event to Godwin. To this Early copies were despatched to Southey and play Lamb refers in the following note to Wordsworth ; the acknowledgments of the Coleridge, who was contemplating a course former of whom produced a reply, from of lectures on Shakspeare, and who sent which the following is an extract: Lamb a ticket, with sad forebodings that the
course would be his last.
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
Monday, Oct. 26th, 1818.
TO MR. COLERIDGE. “Dear Southey,–I am pleased with your
“Dec, 24th, 1818. friendly remembrances of my little things. “My dear Coleridge, I have been in a I do not know whether I have done a silly state of incessant hurry ever since the receipt thing or a wise one, but it is of no great of your ticket. It found me incapable of consequence. I run no risk, and care for no attending you, it being the night of Kenney's censures. My bread and cheese is stable as new comedy. You know my local aptitudes the foundations of Leadenhall-street, and if at such a time; I have been a thorough it hold out as long as the 'foundations of rendezvous for all consultations; my head our empire in the East,' I shall do pretty begins to clear up a little, but it has had well. You and W. W. should have had bells in it. Thank you kindly for your your presentation copies more ceremoniously ticket, though the mournful prognostic which sent, but I had no copies when I was leaving accompanies it certainly renders its permatown for my holidays, and rather than delay, nent pretensions less marketable; but I trust commissioned my bookseller to send them to hear many a course yet. You excepted thus nakedly. By not hearing from W. W. Christmas week, by which I understood next or you, I began to be afraid Murray had not week ; I thought Christmas week was that sent them. I do not see S. T. C. so often as which Christmas Sunday ushered in. We I could wish. I am better than I deserve to are sorry it never lies in your way to come be. The hot weather has been such a treat! to us; but, dear Mahomet, we will come to Mary joins in this little corner in kindest you. Will it be convenient to all the good remembrances to you all.
C. L.” people at Highgate, if we take a stage up, not
next Sunday, but the following, viz., 3rd Lamb's interest was strongly excited for January, 1819_shall we be too late to catch Mr. Kenney, on the production of his comedy a skirt of the old out-goer ?-how the years entitled " A Word to the Ladies." Lamb had crumble from under us! We shall hope to engaged to contribute the prologue ; but the see you before then ; but, if not, let us know