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TO BERNARD BARTON.
of infidelity, in the Quarterly article,' Pro “I heard of you from Mr. Pulham this gress of Infidelity. I had not, nor have seen morning, and that gave a fillip to my laziness, the Monthly. He might have spared an old which has been intolerable ; but I am so friend such a construction of a few careless taken up with pruning and gardening, quite flights, that meant no harm to religion. If a new sort of occupation to me. I have all his unguarded expressions on the subject gathered my jargonels, but my Windsor were to be collected—but I love and respect pears are backward. The former were of Southey, and will not retort. I hate his exquisite raciness. I do now sit under my review, and his being a reviewer. The hint own vine, and contemplate the growth of he has dropped will knock the sale of the vegetable nature. I can now understand in book on the head, which was almost at a what sense they speak of father Adam. I stop before. Let it stop,—there is corn in recognise the paternity, while I watch my Egypt, while there is cash at Leadenhall ! tulips. I almost fell with him, for the first You and I are something besides being day I turned a drunken gardener (as he let writers, thank God !
in the serpent) into my Eden, and he laid “ Yours truly,
C. L." about him, lopping off some choice boughs,
&c., which hung over from a neighbour's
garden, and in his blind zeal laid waste a This feeling was a little diverted by the shade, which had sheltered their window execution of a scheme, rather suddenly from the gaze of passers-by. The old gentleadopted, of removing to a neat cottage at woman (fury made her not handsome) could Islington, where Lamb first found hiv self scarcely be reconciled by all my fine words. installed in the dignity of a householder. There was no buttering her parsnips. She He thus describes his residence :
talked of the law. What a lapse to commit on the first day of my happy'garden-state !'
“I hope you transmitted the Fox-Journal “September 2nd, 1823. to its owner, with suitable thanks. Mr. Cary, “Dear B. B., -What will you not say for the Dante-man, dines with me to-day. He my not writing? You cannot say, I do not is a model of a country parson, lean (as a write now. When you come London-ward, curate ought to be), modest, sensible, no you will find me no longer in Covent Garden; obtruder of church dogmas, quite a different I have a cottage, in Colebrook Row, Islington; man from You would like him. Pray a cottage, for it is detached ; a white house, accept this for a letter, and believe me, with with six good rooms; the New River (rather sincere regards,
C. L." elderly by this time) runs (if a moderate walking pace can be so termed) close to the foot of the house ; and behind is a
In the next letter to Barton, Lamb referred spacious garden with vines (I assure you), to an intended letter to Southey in the pears, strawberries, parsnips, leeks, carrots, Magazine. cabbages, to delight the heart of old Alcinous. You enter without passage into a cheerful dining-room, all studded over and rough
“ September 17th, 1823. with old books; and above is a lightsome “ Dear Sir,-I have again been reading drawing-room, three windows, full of choice your “Stanzas on Bloomfield,' which are the prints. I feel like a great lord, never having most appropriate that can be imagined, had a house before.
sweet with Doric delicacy. I like that,“The 'London,' I fear, falls off. I linger among its creaking rafters, like the last rat; it will topple down if they don't get some just hinting at the fault of the Grecian. I buttresses. They have pulled down three ; love that stanza ending with, Hazlitt, Procter, and their best stay, kind, light-hearted Wainwright, their Janus. The
"Words, phrases, fashions, pass away;
But truth and nature live through all.' best is, neither of our fortunes is concerned in it.
But I shall omit in my own copy the one
TO BERNARD BARTON.
Our own more chaste Theocritus'
stanza which alludes to Lord B. I suppose. It spoils the sweetness and oneness of the
LETTER OF ELIA TO ROBERT SOUTHEY, ESQ. feeling. Cannot we think of Burns, or Thom Sir,—You have done me an unfriendly son, without sullying the thought with a office, without perhaps much considering reflection out of place upon Lord Rochester ? what you were doing. You have given an These verses might have been inscribed upon ill name to my poor lucubrations. In a recent a tomb; are in fact an epitaph ; satire does paper on Infidelity, you usher in a conditional not look pretty upon a tomb-stone. Besides, commendation of them with an exception : there is a quotation in it, always bad in which, preceding the encomium, and taking verse, seldom advisable in prose. I doubt if up nearly the same space with it, must their having been in a paper will not prevent impress your readers with the notion, that T. and H. from insertion, but I shall have a the objectionable parts in them are at least thing to send in a day or two, and shall try equal in quantity to the pardonable. The them. Omitting that stanza, a very little censure is in fact the criticism; the praisealteration is wanting in the ginning of the a concession merely. Exceptions usually next. You see, I use freedom. How happily, follow, to qualify praise or blame. But there (I flatter not) you have brought in his stands your reproof, in the very front of your subjects; and (I suppose) his favourite notice, in ugly characters, like some bugbear, measure, though I am not acquainted with to frighten all good Christians from purany of his writings but the 'Farmer's Boy.' chasing. Through you I become an object of He dined with me once, and his manners suspicion to preceptors of youth, and fathers took me exceedingly.
of families. 'A book, which wants only a " I rejoice that you forgive my long silence. sounder religious feeling to be as delightful as I continue to estimate my own-roof comforts it is original. With no further explanation, highly. How could I remain all my life a what must your readers conjecture, but that lodger? My garden thrives (I am told), my little volume is some vehicle for heresy though I have yet reaped nothing but some or infidelity? The quotation, which you tiny salad, and withered carrots. But a honour me by subjoining, oddly enough, is of garden's a garden anywhere, and twice a a character which bespeaks a temperament garden in London.
in the writer the very reverse of that your "Do you go on with your 'Quaker Son- reproof goes to insinuate. Had you been nets ?' have 'em ready with Southey's Book taxing me with superstition, the passage of the Church. I meditate a letter to S. in would have been pertinent to the censure. the ‘London,' which perhaps will meet the Was it worth your while to go so far out of fate of the Sonnet.
your way to affront the feelings of an old "Excuse my brevity, for I write painfully friend, and commit yourself by an irrelevant at office, liable to a hundred callings off; and quotation, for the pleasure of reflecting upon I can never sit down to an epistle elsewhere. a poor child, an exile at Genoa ? I read or walk. If you return this letter “I am at a loss what particular essay you to the Post-office, I think they will return had in view (if my poor ramblings amount fourpence, seeing it is but half a one. Believe to that appellation) when you were in such a me, though, Entirely yours,
C. L.” hurry to thrust in your objection, like bad
news, foremost.—Perhaps the paper on 'Say
ing Graces' was the obnoxious feature. I The contemplated expostulation with have endeavoured there to rescue a voluntary Southey was written, and appeared in the duty-good in place, but never, as I remember, " London Magazine for October 1823.” Lamb literally commanded-from the charge of an did not print it in any subsequent collection undecent formality. Rightly taken, sir, that of his essays; but I give it now, as I have paper was not against graces, but want of reason to know that its publication will cause grace; not against the ceremony, but the no painful feelings in the mind of Mr. Southey, carelessness and slovenliness so often observed and as it forms the only ripple on the kindli- in the performance of it. Dess of Lamb's personal and literary life. “ Or was it that on the New Year'-in
which I have described the feelings of the
merely natural man, on a consideration of the to be desperate. Others (with stronger amazing change, which is supposable to take optics), as plainly as with the eye of flesh, place on our removal from this fleshly scene? shall behold a given king in bliss, and a given If men would honestly confess their mis- chamberlain in torment; even to the eternising givings (which few men will) there are times of a cast of the eye in the latter, his own when the strongest Christian of us, I believe, self-mocked and good-humouredly-borne dehas reeled under questions of such staggering formity on earth, but supposed to aggravate obscurity. I do not accuse you of this weak- the uncouth and hideous expression of his ness. There are some who tremblingly reach pangs in the other place. That one man can out shaking hands to the guidance of Faith presume so far, and that another would with -others who stoutly venture into the dark shuddering disclaim such confidences, is, I (their Human Confidence their leader, whom believe, an effect of the nerves purely. they mistake for Faith); and, investing “ If in either of these papers, or elsewhere, themselves beforehand with cherubic wings, I have been betrayed into some levities—not as they fancy, find their new robes as fami- affronting the sanctuary, but glancing perhaps liar, and fitting to their supposed growth and at some of the outskirts and extreme edges, stature in godliness, as the coat they left off the debateable land between the holy and yesterday—some whose hope totters upon profane regions—(for the admixture of man's crutches others who stalk into futurity upon inventions, twisting themselves with the name stilts.
of the religion itself, has artfully made it "The contemplation of a Spiritual World, difficult to touch even the alloy, without, in —which, without the addition of a misgiving some men's estimation, soiling the fine gold) conscience, is enough to shake some natures --if I have sported within the purlieus of to their foundation—is smoothly got over by serious matter-it was, I dare say, a humour others, who shall float over the black billows —be not startled, sir,—which I have unwitin their little boat of No-Distrust, as uncon- tingly derived from yourself. You have all cernedly as over a summer sea. The differ- your life been making a jest of the Devil. ence is chiefly constitutional.
Not of the scriptural meaning of that dark “One man shall love his friends and his essence-personal or allegorical; for the friends' faceş ; and, under the uncertainty of nature is nowhere plainly delivered. I acquit conversing with them again, in the same you of intentional irreverence. But indeed manner and familiar circumstances of sight, you have made wonderfully free with, and speech, &c. as upon earth——in a moment of been mighty pleasant upon, the popular idea no irreverent weakness—for a dream-while and attributes of him. A Noble Lord, your no more-would be almost content, for a brother Visionary, has scarcely taken greater . reward of a life of virtue (if he could ascribe liberties with the material keys, and merely such acceptance to his lame performances), Catholic notion of St. Peter.—You have to take up his portion with those he loved, flattered him in prose : you have chanted and was made to love, in this good world, him in goodly odes. You have been his which he knows—which was created so lovely, Jester ; volunteer Laureat, and self-elected beyond his deservings. Another, embracing Court Poet to Beelzebub. a more exalted vision—80 that he might “You have never ridiculed, I believe, what receive indefinite additaments of power, you thought to be religion, but you are knowledge, beauty, glory, &c.—is ready to always girding at what some pious, but perforego the recognition of humbler indivi- haps mistaken folks, think to be so. For dualities of earth, and the old familiar faces. this reason I am sorry to hear, that you are The shapings of our heavens are the modi- engaged upon a life of George Fox. I know fications of our constitution ; and Mr. Feeble you will fall into the error of intermixing Mind, or Mr. Great Heart, is born in every some comic stuff with your seriousness. The one of us.
Quakers tremble at the subject in your hands. " Some (and such have been accounted The Methodists are shy of you, upon account the safest divines) have shrunk from pro- of their founder. But, above all, our Popish nouncing upon the final state of any man; brethren are most in your debt. The errors nor dare they pronounce the case of Judas of that Church have proved a fruitful source
to your scoffing vein. Their Legend has There is and whom you never been a Golden one to you. And here your heard of, but exemplary characters both, and friends, sir, have noticed a notable incon- excellent church-goers; and N., mine and sistency. To the imposing rites, the solemn my father's friend for nearly half a century; penances, devout austerities of that commu- and the enthusiast for Wordsworth's poetry, nion; the affecting though erring piety of a little tainted with Socinianism, it is their hermits ; the silence and solitude of the to be feared, but constant in his attachments, Chartreux-their crossings, their holy waters and a capital critic; and
a sturdy old -their Virgin, and their saints—to these, Athanasian, so that sets all to rights again ; they say, you have been indebted for the best and W., the light, and warm-as-light hearted, feelings, and the richest imagery, of your Janus of the London; and the translator of Epic poetry. You have drawn copious drafts Dante, still a curate, modest and amiable C. ; upon Loretto. We thought at one time you and Allan C., the large-hearted Scot; and were going post to Rome—but that in the P-r, candid and affectionate as his own facetious commentaries, which it is your poetry ; and A-p, Coleridge's friend ; and custom to append so plentifully, and (some G-n, his more than friend ; and Coleridge say) injudiciously, to your loftiest perform- himself, the same to me still, as in those old ances in this kind, you spurn the uplifted evenings, when we used to sit and speculate toe, which you but just now seemed to court; (do you remember them, sir ?) at our old leave his holiness in the lurch ; and show Salutation tavern, upon Pantisocracy and him a fair pair of Protestant heels under golden days to come on earth ; and W-th your Romish vestment. When we think you (why, sir, I might drop my rent-roll here ; already at the wicket, suddenly a violent such goodly farms and manors have I reckcross wind blows you transverse
oned up already. Iu what possession has not
this last name alone estated me!-but I will . Ten thousand leagues awry -- Then might we see
go on)-and M., the noble-minded kinsman, Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost by wedlock, of W—th; and H. C. R., And flutter'd into rags; then reliques, beads, unwearied in the offices of a friend ; and Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, The sport of winds.'
Clarkson, almost above the narrowness of
that relation, yet condescending not seldom You pick up pence by showing the hallowed heretofore from the labours of his worldbones, shrine, and crucifix; and you take embracing charity to bless my humble roof; money a second time by exposing the trick and the gall-less and single-minded Dyer ; of them afterwards. You carry your verse and the high-minded associate of Cook, the to Castle Angelo for sale in a morning ; and veteran Colonel, with his lusty heart still swifter than a pedlar can transmute his pack, sending cartels of defiance to old Time; and, you are at Canterbury with your prose not least, W. A., the last and steadiest left ware before night.
to me of that little knot of whist-players, “Sir, is it that I dislike you in this merry that used to assemble weekly, for so many vein? The very reverse. No countenance years, at the Queen's Gate (you remember becomes an intelligent jest better than your them, sir ?) and called Admiral Burney own. It is your grave aspect, when you look friend. awful upon your poor friends, which I would "I will come to the point at once. I deprecate.
believe you will not make many exceptions * In more than one place, if I mistake to my associates so far. But I have purposely not, you have been pleased to compliment omitted some intimacies, which I do not yet me at the expense of my companions. I repent of having contracted, with two gentlecannot accept your compliment at such a men, diametrically opposed to yourself in price. The upbraiding a man's poverty principles. You will understand me to naturally makes him look about him, to see allude to the authors of · Rimini' and of the whether he be so poor indeed as he is pre- 'Table Talk.' And first of the former.sumed to be. You have put me upon counting " It is an error more particularly incident my riches. Really, sir, I did not know I was to persons of the correctest principles and 80 wealthy in the article of friendships. habits, to seclude themselves from the rest
The fearful Dwarf.'
of mankind, as from another species, and which this would not be quite the proper form into knots and clubs. The best people place for explicating. At all events, you herding thus exclusively, are in danger of have no cause to triumph ; you have not contracting a narrowness. Heat and cold, been proving the premises, but refer for dryness and moisture, in the natural world, satisfaction therein to very long and laborious do not fly asunder, to split the globe into works, which may well employ the sceptic a sectarian parts and separations; but mingling, twelvemonth or two to digest, before he can as they best may, correct the malignity of possibly be ripe for your conclusion. When any single predominance. The analogy he has satisfied himself about the premises, holds, I suppose, in the moral world. If all he will concede to you the inference, I dare the good people were to ship themselves off say, most readily.—But your latter deduction, to Terra Incognita, what, in humanity's viz. that because 8 has written a book conname, is to become of the refuse ? If the cerning 9, therefore 10 and 11 was certainly persons, whom I have chiefly in view, have his meaning, is one of the most extraordinary not pushed matters to this extremity yet, conclusions per saltum, that I have had the they carry them as far as they can go. Instead good fortune to meet with. As far as 10 is of mixing with the infidel and the free- verbally asserted in the writings, all sects thinker-in the room of opening a negocia- must agree with you ; but you cannot be tion, to try at least to find out at which gate ignorant of the many various ways in which the error entered—they huddle close together, the doctrine of the ******* has been underin a weak fear of infection, like that pusil- stood, from a low figurative expression (with lanimous underling in Spenser
the Unitarians) up to the most mysterious * This is the wandering wood, this Error's den ;
actuality ; in which highest sense alone you A monster vile, whom God and man does hate : and your church take it. And for 11, that Therefore, I reed, beware. Fly, fly, quoth then
there is no other possible conclusion—to hazard
this in the face of so many thousands of And, if they be writers in orthodox journals Arians and Socinians, &c., who have drawn addressing themselves only to the irritable so opposite a one, is such a piece of theological passions of the unbeliever-they proceed in hardihood, as, I think, warrants me in conà safe system of strengthening the strong cluding that, when you sit down to pen hands, and confirming the valiant knees; of theology, you do not at all consider your converting the already converted, and prose- opponents; but have in your eye, merely lyting their own party. I am the more con- and exclusively, readers of the same way of vinced of this from a passage in the very thinking with yourself, and therefore have treatise which occasioned this letter. It is no occasion trouble yourself with the where, having recommended to the doubter quality of the logic to which you treat them. the writings of Michaelis and Lardner, you “Neither can I think, if you had had the ride triumphant over the necks of all infidels, welfare of the poor child-over whose hopesceptics, and dissenters, from this time to the less condition you whine so lamentably and world's end, upon the wheels of two un- (I must think) unseasonably—seriously at answerable deductions. I do not hold it heart, that you could have taken the step of meet to set down, in a miscellaneous com- sticking him up by name—T. H. is as good as pilation like this, such religious words as you naming him—to perpetuate an outrage upon have thought fit to introduce into the pages the parental feelings, as long as the 'Quarof a petulant literary journal. I therefore terly Review'shall last. Was it necessary beg leave to substitute numerals, and refer to to specify an individual case, and give to the Quarterly Review' (for January) for Christian compassion the appearance of filling of them up. 'Here,' say you, “as in personal attack? Is this the way to conthe history of 7, if these books are authentic, ciliate unbelievers, or not rather to widen the the events which they relate must be true; breach irreparably? if they were written by 8, 9 is 10 and 11.' "I own I could never think so considerably Your first deduction, if it means honestly, of myself as to decline the society of an agree rests upon two identical propositions ; though able or worthy man upon difference of opinion I suspect an unfairness in one of the terms, only. The impediments and the facilitations