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TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
if then will be convenient. Can we secure a he would have call'd for the bull for a relief. coach home?
Neither could Lycidas, or the Chorics (how “ Believe me ever yours,
like the word ?) of Samson Agonistes, “ C. LAMB." have been written with two inks. Your
couplets with points, epilogues to Mr. H.'s, “I have but one holiday, which is Christ- &c., might be even benefited by the twymas-day itself nakedly: no pretty garnish fount, where one line (the second) is for and fringes of St. John's-day, Holy Inno- point, and the first for rhyme. I think the cents, &c., that used to bestud it all around alternation would assist, like a mould. I in the calendar. Improbe labor! I write maintain it, you could not have written your six hours every day in this candle-light fog- stanzas on pre-existence with two inks. Try den at Leadenhall.”
another; and Rogers, with his silver standish,
having one ink only, I will bet my Ode on In the next year (1819) Lamb was greatly Tobacco,' against the ‘Pleasures of Memory,' pleased by the dedication to him of Words--and 'Hope,' too, shall put more fervour of worth's poem of “The Waggoner," which enthusiasm into the same subject than you Wordsworth had read to him in MS. thirteen can with your two; he shall do it stans pede years before. On receipt of the little volume, in uno, as it were. Lamb acknowledged it as follows :
“The Waggoner' is very ill put up in boards, at least it seems to me always to open
at the dedication; but that is a mechanical
“June 7th, 1819. fault. I re-read the White Doe of Ryl“My dear Wordsworth, – You cannot stone;' the title should be always written imagine how proud we are here of the at length, as Mary Sabilla N-, a very dedication. We read it twice for once that nice woman of our acquaintance, always we do the poem. I mean all through ; yet signs hers at the bottom of the shortest note.
Benjamin' is no common favourite ; there Mary told her, if her name had been Mary | is a spirft of beautiful tolerance in it; it is Ann, she would have signed M. A.N-, or
as good as it was in 1806; and it will be as M. only, dropping the A.; which makes me good in 1829, if our dim eyes shall be awake think, with some other trifles, that she unto peruse it. Methinks there is a kind of derstands something of human nature. My shadowing affinity between the subject of pen goes galloping on most rhapsodically, the narrative and the subject of the dedica- glad to have escaped the bondage of two tion ;-but I will not enter into personal inks. themes, else, substituting
“Manning has just sent it home, and it for Ben, and the Honourable United Com- came as fresh to me as the immortal creature pany of Merchants trading to the East Indies, it speaks of. M. sent it home with a note, for the master of the misused team, it might having this passage in it: 'I cannot help seem, by no far-fetched analogy, to point its writing to you while I am reading Wordsdim warnings hitherward; but I reject the worth's poem. I am got into the third canto, omen, especially as its import seems to have and say that it raises my opinion of him very been diverted to another victim.
much indeed.* 'Tis broad, noble, poetical, “I will never write another letter with with a masterly scanning of human actions, alternate inks. You cannot imagine how it absolutely above common readers. What a cramps the flow of the style. I can conceive, manly (implied) interpretation of (bad) partyPindar (I do not mean to compare myself to actions, as trampling the Bible, &c.,' and so him), by the command of Hiero, the Sicilian he goes on. tyrant (was not he the tyrant of some place ? "I do not know which I like best,—the fie on my neglect of history); I can conceive prologue (the latter part especially) to P. him by command of Hiero or Perillus set Bell, or the epilogue to Benjamin. Yes, 1 down to pen an Isthmian or Nemean pane- tell stories; I do know I like the last best; gyric in lines, alternate red and black. I maintain he couldn't have done it; it would fourteen years behind in his knowledge of who has or
• "N.B.-M., from his peregrinations, is twelve or have been a strait-laced torture to his muse; has not written gond verse of late.”
and the Waggoner'altogether is a pleasanter from bed. He came staggering under his remembrance to me than the 'Itinerant.' If double burthen, like trees in Java, bearing at it were not, the page before the first page once blossom, fruit, and falling fruit, as I would and ought to make it so.
have heard you or some other traveller tell, “ If, as you say, the 'Waggoner,' in some with his face literally as blue as the bluest sort, came at my call, oh for a potent voice to firmament; some wretched calico that he call forth the 'Recluse' from his profound had mopped his poor oozy front with had dormitory, where he sleeps forgetful of his rendered up its native dye, and the devil a foolish charge-the world. :
bit would he consent to wash it, but swore it “Had I three inks, I would invoke him ! was characteristic, for he was going to the Talfourd has written a most kind review of sale of indigo, and set up a laugh which I did J. Woodvil, &c., in the 'Champion.' He is not think the lungs of mortal man were your most zealous admirer, in solitude and competent to. It was like a thousand people in crowds. H. Crabb Robinson gives me laughing, or the Goblin Page. He imagined any dear prints that I happen to admire, and afterwards hat the whole office had been I love him for it and for other things. laughing at him, so strange did his own Alsager shall have his copy, but at present I sounds strike upon his nonsensorium. But have lent it for a day only, not choosing to has laughed his last laugh, and awoke part with my own. Mary's love. How do the next day to find himself reduced from you all do, amanuenses both-marital and an abused income of 6001. per annum to onesororal ?
C. LAMB." sixth of the sum, after thirty-six years'
tolerably good service. The quality of mercy The next letter which remains is addressed was not strained in his behalf; the gentle to Manning (returned to England, and domi- dews dropt not on him from heaven. It just ciled in Hertfordshire), in the spring of 1819. came across me that I was writing to Canton.
Will you drop in to-morrow night ? Fanny
Kelly is coming, if she does not cheat us. “My dear M., - I want to know how your the lovers about Wheathamstead would say.
Mrs. Gold is well, but proves ‘uncoined,' as brother is, if you have heard lately. I want
“I have not had such a quiet half hour to to know about
sit down to a quiet letter for many years. I
I wrote a letter the other day, in alternate
lines, black ink and red, and you cannot Hail, Mackery End'
think how it chilled the flow of ideas. Next This is a fragment of a blank verse poem Monday is Whit-Monday. What a reflection! which I once meditated, but got no further. Twelve years ago, and I should have kept The E. I. H. has been thrown into a quan- that and the following holiday in the fields dary by the strange phenomenon of poor'a Maying. All of those pretty pastoral
whom I have known man and delights are over. This dead, everlasting mad-man twenty-seven years, he being elder dead desk,-how it weighs the spirit of a here than myself by nine years and more. gentleman down! This dead wood of the He was always a pleasant, gossiping, half-desk, instead of your living trees ! But then headed, muzzy, dozing, dreaming, walk-about, again, I hate the Joskins, a name for Hertinoffensive chap; a little too fond of the fordshire bumpkins. Each state of life has creature ; who isn't at times ? but - had its inconvenience; but then again, mine has not brains to work off an over-night's surfeit more than one. Not that I repine, or by ten o'clock next morning, and unfortu- grudge, or murmur at my destiny. I have nately, in he wandered the other morning meat and drink, and decent apparel ; I shall, drunk with last night, and with a super- at least, when I get a new hat. fætation of drink taken in since he set out “A red-haired man just interrupted me.
He has broke the current of my thoughts. • See “Mackery End, in Hertfordshire,"— Essays of I haven't a word to add. I don't know why Elia, p. 100,- for a charming account of a visit to their cousin in the country with Mr. Barron Field.
I send this letter, but I have had a hankering
TO MR. MANNING.
TO MISS WORDSWORTH.
to hear about you some days. Perhaps it exchange this transitory world for another, will go off before your reply comes. If it or none. But again, there was a golden don't, I assure you no letter was ever wel- eagle (I do not mean that of Charing) which comer from you, from Paris or Macao. did much arride and console him. William's
“ C. LAMB."
genius, I take it, leans a little to the figura
tive; for, being at play at tricktrack (a kind The following letter, dated 25th November, of minor billiard-table which we keep for 1819, is addressed to Miss Wordsworth, on smaller wights, and sometimes refresh our Wordsworth’s youngest son visiting Lamb own mature fatigues with taking a hand at), in London.
not being able to hit a ball he had iterate aimed at, he cried out, “I cannot hit that
beast.' Now the balls are usually called “Dear Miss Wordsworth, —You will think men, but he felicitously hit upon a middle me negligent: but I wanted to see more of term; a term of approximation and imaginaWilly before I ventured to express a pre- tive reconciliation ; a something where the diction. Till yesterday I had barely seen two ends of the brute matter (ivory), and him, Virgilium tantum vidi,—but yesterday their human and rather violent personificahe gave us his small company to a bullock's tion into men, might meet, as I take it : heart, and I can pronounce him a lad of illustrative of that excellent remark, in a promise. He is no pedant, nor bookworm ; certain preface about imagination, explaining so far I can answer. Perhaps he has hitherto 'Like a sea-beast that had crawled forth to paid too little attention to other men's inven- sun himself!' Not that I accuse William tions, preferring, like Lord Foppington, the Minor of hereditary plagiary, or conceive the “natural sprouts of his own.' But he has image to have come ex traduce. Rather he observation, and seems thoroughly awake. seemeth to keep aloof from any source of I am ill at remembering other people's bon imitation, and purposely to remain ignorant mots, but the following are a few —Being of what mighty poets have done in this kind taken over Waterloo Bridge, he remarked, before him ; for, being asked if his father that if we had no mountains, we had a fine had ever been on Westminster Bridge, he river at least; which was a touch of the answered that he did not know ! comparative: but then he added, in a strain “It is hard to discern the oak in the acorn, which augured less for his future abilities as or a temple like St. Paul's in the first stone a political economist, that he supposed they which is laid ; nor can I quite prefigure what must take at least a pound a week toll. destination the genius of William Minor hath Like a curious naturalist, he inquired if the to take. Some few hints I have set down, tide did not come up a little salty. This to guide my future observations. He hath being satisfactorily answered, he put another the power of calculation, in no ordinary question, as to the flux and reflux; which degree for a chit. He combineth figures, being rather cunningly evaded than artfully after the first boggle, rapidly; as in the solved by that she-Aristotle, Mary,—who tricktrack board, where the hits are figured, muttered something about its getting up an at first he did not perceive that 15 and 7 hour sooner and sooner every day,-he made 22, but by a little use he could comsagely replied, “Then it must come to the bine 8 with 25, and 33 again with 16, which same thing at last;' which was a speech approacheth something in kind (far let me worthy of an infant Halley! The lion in be from flattering him by saying in degree) the 'Change by no means came up to his to that of the famous American boy. I am ideal standard ; so impossible is it for sometimes inclined to think I perceive the Nature, in any of her works, to come up to future satirist in him, for he hath a subthe standard of a child's imagination! The sardonic smile which bursteth out upon occawhelps (lionets) he was sorry to find were sion; as when he was asked if London were dead; and, on particular inquiry, his old as big as Ambleside; and indeed no other friend the ourang outang had gone the way answer was given, or proper to be given, to of all flesh also. The grand tiger was also so ensnaring and provoking a question. "In sick, and expected in no short time to the contour of skull, certainly I discern
something paternal. But whether in all tears. He went home “ a gayer and a wiser respects the future man shall transcend his man;" returned again to the theatre, whenfather's fame, Time, the trier of Geniuses, ever the healing enjoyments could be renewed must decide. Be it pronounced peremptorily there; and sought the acquaintance of the at present, that Willy is a well-mannered actor who had broken the melancholy spell child, and though no great student, hath yet in which he was enthralled, and had restored a lively eye for things that lie before him. the pulses of his nature to their healthful
“Given in haste from my desk at Leaden- beatings. The year 1820 gave Lamb an hall.
interest in Macready beyond that which he “Yours, and yours most sincerely, had derived from the introduction of Lloyd,
arising from the power with which he animated the first production of one of his oldest friends—"Virginius.” Knowles had been a friend and disciple of Hazlitt from a boy ;
and Lamb had liked and esteemed him as a CHAPTER XIL.
hearty companion; but he had not guessed [1820 to 1823.)
at the extraordinary dramatic power which LETTERS TO Wordsworth, COLERIDUE, FIELD, Wilson, lay ready for kindling in his brain, and still
less at the delicacy of tact with which he had The widening circle of Lamb's literary unveiled the sources of the most profound friends now embraced additional authors and affections. Lamb had almost lost his taste actors,-famous, or just bursting into fame. for acted tragedy, as the sad realities of life He welcomed in the author of the “Dramatic had pressed more nearly on him; yet he Scenes,” who chose to appear in print as made an exception in favour of the first and Barry Cornwall, a spirit most congenial with happiest part of “ Virginius,” those paternal his own in its serious moods,—one whose scenes, which stand alone in the modern genius he had assisted to impel towards its drama, and which Macready informed with kindred models, the great dramatists of the fulness of a father's affection. Elizabeth's time, and in whose success he The establishment of the “ London Magareceived the first and best reward of the zine,” under the auspices of Mr. John Scott, efforts he had made to inspire a taste for occasioned Lamb's introduction to the public these old masters of humanity. Mr. Macready, by the name, under colour of which he who had just emancipated himself from the acquired his most brilliant reputationdrudgery of representing the villains of tra “ Elia." The adoption of this signature was gedy, by his splendid performance of Richard, purely accidental. His first contribution to was introduced to him by his old friend the magazine was a description of the Old Charles Lloyd, who had visited London for South-Sea House, where Lamb had passed a change of scene, under great depression of few months' noviciate as a clerk, thirty years spirits. Lloyd owed a debt of gratitude to before, and of its inmates who had long Macready which exemplified the true uses of passed away; and remembering the name of the acted drama with a force which it would a gay, light-hearted foreigner, who fluttered take many sermons of its stoutest opponents there at that time, he subscribed his name to to reason away. A deep gloom had gradually the essay. It was afterwards affixed to subovercast his mind, and threatened wholly to sequent contributions ; and Lamb used it encircle it, when he was induced to look in until, in his “ Last Essays of Elia,” he bade at Covent-Garden Theatre and witness the it a sad farewell. performance of Rob Roy. The picture which The perpetual influx of visitors whom he he then beheld of the generous outlaw,-the could not repel ; whom indeed he was always frank, gallant, noble bearing;-the air and glad to welcome, but whose visits unstrung movements, as of one free of mountain him, induced him to take lodgings at Dalston, solitudes,"—the touches of manly pathos and to which he occasionally retired when he irresistible cordiality, delighted and melted wished for repose. The deaths of some who him, won him from his painful introspections were dear to him cast a melancholy tinge on and brought to him the unwonted relief of his mind, as may be seen in the following :
for a few years between the grave and the TO MR. WORDSWORTH.
desk : they are the same, save that at the “ March 20th, 1822. latter you are the outside machine.
The “My dear Wordsworth,—A letter from foul enchanter letters four do form his you is very grateful ; I have not seen a name '-Busirare is his name in hell—that Kendal postmark so long! We are pretty has curtailed you of some domestic comforta, well, save colds and rheumatics, and a certain hath laid a heavier hand on me, not in deadness to everything, which I think I may present infliction, but in the taking away the date from poor John's loss, and another hope of enfranchisement. I dare not whisper accident or two at the same time, that has to myself a pension on this side of absolute made me almost bury myself at Dalston, incapacitation and infirmity, till years have where yet I see more faces than I could wish. sucked me dry ;-Otium cum indignitate. I Deaths overset one, and put one out long had thought in a green old age (Oh green after the recent grief. Two or three have thought !) to have retired to Ponder's End, died within this last two twelvemonths, and emblematic name, how beautiful! in the so many parts of me have been numbed. Ware Road, there to have made up my One sees a picture, reads an anecdote, starts accounts with Heaven and the company, a casual fancy, and thinks to tell of it to this toddling about between it and Cheshunt, person in preference to every other: the anou stretching, on some fine Isaac Walton person is gone whom it would have peculiarly morning, to Hoddesdon or Amwell, careless suited. It won't do for another. Every as a beggar ; but walking, walking ever till departure destroys a class of sympathies. I fairly walked myself off my legs, dying There's Capt. Burney gone! What fun has walking! The hope is gone. I sit like whist now? what matters it what you lead, Philomel all day (but not singing), with my if you can no longer fancy him looking over breast against this thorn of a desk, with the you? One never hears anything, but the only hope that some pulmonary affliction image of the particular person occurs with may relieve me. Vide Lord Palmerston's whom alone almost you would care to share report of the clerks in the War-office, the intelligence—thus one distributes oneself (Debates this morning's "Times,') by which abont-and now for so many parts of me I it appears, in twenty years as many clerks have lost the market. Common natures do have been coughed and catarrhed out of it not suffice me. Good people, as they are into their freer
for called, won't serve. I want individuals. I asking about the pictures. Milton hangs am made up of queer points, and I want so over my fire-side in Covent Garden, (when many answering needles. The going away I am there,) the rest have been sold for an of friends does not make the remainder more old song, wanting the eloquent tongue that precious. It takes so much from them as should have set them off! You have gratified there was a common link. A. B. and C. me with liking my meeting with Dodd.* For make a party. A. dies. B. not only loses the Malvolio story—the thing is become in A.; but all A.'s part in C. C. loses A.'s part verity a sad task, and I eke it out with anyin B., and so the alphabet sickens by subtrac- thing. If I could slip out of it I should be tion of interchangeables. I express myself happy, but our chief-reputed assistants have muddily, capite dolente. I have a dulling cold. forsaken us. The Opium-Eater crossed us My theory is to enjoy life, but my practice once with a dazzling path, and hath is against it. I grow ominously tired of suddenly left us darkling; and, in short, I official confinement. Thirty years have I shall go on from dull to worse, because I served the Philistines, and my neck is not cannot resist the booksellers' importunitysubdued to the yoke. You don't know how the old plea you know of authors, but I wearisome it is to breathe the air of four believe on my part sincere. Hartley I do pent walls, without relief, day after day, all not so often see ; but I never see him in the golden hours of the day between ten and unwelcome hour. I thoroughly love and four, without ease or interposition. Tædet me harum quotidianarum formarum, these pesti- Jem White
, in Elia's Essay, "On some of the old
• See the account of the meeting between Dodd and lential clerk-faces always in one's dish. Oh Actors.”