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admiring disciple. The scene of these happy expanded into forms and hues of its own. meetings was a little public-house, called the Lamb's earliest poetry was not a faint Salutation and Cat, in the neighbourhood of reflection of Coleridge's, such as the young Smithfield, where they used to sup, and lustre of original genius may cast on a remain long after they had “heard the chimes polished and sensitive mind, to glow and at midnight.” There they discoursed of tremble for a season, but was streaked with Bowles, who was the god of Coleridge's delicate yet distinct traits, which proved it poetical idolatry, and of Burns and Cowper, an emanation from within. There was, who, of recent poets, in that season of com- indeed, little resemblance between the two, parative barrenness, had made the deepest except in the affection which they bore impression on Lamb. There Coleridge talked towards each other. Coleridge's mind, not of " Fate, free-will, fore-knowledge absolute,” laden as yet with the spoils of all systems to one who desired "to find no end” of the and of all times, glowed with the ardour of golden maze ; and there he recited his early uncontrollable purpose, and thirsted for poems with that deep sweetness of intonation glorious achievement and universal knowwhich sunk into the heart of his hearer. To ledge. The imagination, which afterwards these meetings Lamb was accustomed at all struggled gloriously but perhaps vainly to periods of his life to revert, as the season overmaster the stupendous clouds of German when his finer intellects were quickened into philosophies, breaking them into huge masses, action. Shortly after they had terminated, and tinting them with heavenly hues, then with Coleridge's departure from London, he shone through the simple articles of Unitarian thus recalled them in a letter :* “When I faith, the graceful architecture of Hartley's read in your little volume your nineteenth theory, and the well-compacted chain by effusion, or what you call the Sigh,' I think which Priestley and Edwards seemed to I hear you again. I imagine to myself the bind all things in necessary connexion, as little smoky room at the Salutation and Cat, through transparencies of thought; and, where we have sat together through the finding no opposition worthy of its activity winter nights beguiling the cares of life with in this poor foreground of the mind, opened Poesy." This was early in 1796! and in for itself a bright succession of fairy visions, 1818, when dedicating his works, then first wlrich it sought to realise on earth. In its collected, to his earliest friend, he thus spoke light, oppression and force seemed to vanish of the same meetings : “Some of the sonnets, like the phantoms of a feverish dream ; which shall be carelessly turned over by the mankind were disposed in the picturesque general reader, may happily awaken in you groups of universal brotherhood; and, in remembrances which I should be sorry should far distance, the ladder which Jacob saw in be ever totally extinct,—the memory of solemn vision connected earth with heaven, summer days and of delightful years,' even "and the angels of God were ascending and so far back as those old suppers at our old descending upon it.” Lamb had no sympathy Inn, — when life was fresh, and topics with these radiant hopes, except as they were exhaustless,-and you first kindled in me, part of his friend. He clung to the realities if not the power, yet the love of poetry, of life ; to things nearest to him, which the and beauty, and kindliness.” And so he force of habit had made dear; and caught talkea of these unforgotten hours in that tremblingly hold of the past. He delighted, short interval during which death divided indeed, to hear Coleridge talk of the distant them!

and future; to see the palm-trees wave, and The warmth of Coleridge's friendship the pyramids tower in the long perspective supplied the quiekening impulse to Lamb's of his style ; and to catch the prophetic notes genius ; but the germ enfolding all its nice of a universal harmony trembling in his peculiarities lay ready for the influence, and voice; but the pleasure' was only that of

admiration unalloyed by envy, and of the • This, and other passages I have interwoven with my own slender thread of narration, are from letters | generous pride of friendship. The tendency which I have thought either too personal for entire of his mind to detect the beautiful and good publication at present, or not of sufficient interest, in in surrounding things, to nestle rather than emparison with others, to occupy a portion of the Bruce, to which the letters are limited.

to roam, was cherished by all the circum

stances of his boyish days. He had become doctrine respecting moral responsibility,

and familiar with the vestiges of antiquity, both the ultimate destiny of the human race. The in his school and in his home of the Temple ; adoption of this creed arose in Lamb from and these became dear to him in his serious the accident of education ; he was brought and affectionate childhood. But, perhaps, up to receive and love it; and attended, more even than those external associations, when circumstances permitted, at the chapel the situation of his parents, as it was elevated at Hackney, of which Mr. Belsham, afterand graced by their character, moulded his wards of Essex Street, was then the minister. young thoughts to the holy habit of a liberal It is remarkable that another of Lamb's most obedience, and unaspiring self-respect, which intimate friends, in whose conversation, next led rather to the embellishment of what was to that of Coleridge, he most delighted, Mr. near than to the creation of visionary forms. Hazlitt, with whom he became acquainted He saw at home the daily beauty of a cheerful at a subsequent time, and who came from a submission to a state bordering on the servile; distant part of the country, was educated he looked upward to his father's master, and in the same faith. With Coleridge, whose the old Benchers who walked with him on early impressions were derived from the the stately terrace, with a modest erectness rites and services of the Church of England, 1 of mind; and he saw in his own humble Unitarianism was the result of a strong home how well the decencies of life could be conviction ; so strong, that with all the maintained on slender means, by the exercise ardour of a convert, he sought to win proseof generous principle. Another circumstance, lytes to his chosen creed, and purposed to akin to these, tended also to impart a tinge of spend his days in preaching it. Neither of venerableness to his early musings. His these young men, however, long continued to maternal grandmother was for many years profess it. Lamb, in his maturer life, rarely housekeeper in the old and wealthy family of alluded to matters of religious doctrine ; and the Plumers of Hertfordshire, by whom she when he did so, evinced no sympathy with was held in true esteem; and his visits to their the professors of his once-loved creed. ancient mansion, where he had the free range Hazlitt wrote to his father, who was a of every apartment, gallery and terraced-walk, Unitarian minister at Wem, with honouring gave him “a peep at the contrasting accidents affection ; and of his dissenting associates of a great fortune,” and an alliance with that with respect, but he had obviously ceased to gentility of soul, which to appreciate, is to think or feel with them; and Coleridge's share. He has beautifully recorded his own Remains indicate, what was well known to recollections of this place in the essay entitled all who enjoyed the privilege of his conver“Blakesmoor in H-shire,” in which he sation, that he not only reverted to a belief modestly vindicates his claim to partake in in the Trinitarian mysteries, but that he was the associations of ancestry not his own, and accustomed to express as much distaste for shows the true value of high lineage by Unitarianism, and for the spirit of its more detecting the spirit of nobleness which active advocates, as the benignity of his breathes around it, for the enkindling of nature would allow him to feel for

any generous affections, not only in those who human opinion honestly cherished. Perhaps may boast of its possession, but in all who this solitary approach to intolerance in the can feel its influences.

universality of Coleridge's mind arose from While the bias of the minds of Coleridge the disapproval with which he might justly and Lamb thus essentially differed, it is regard his own pride of understanding, as singular that their opinions on religion, and excited in defence of the doctrines he had on those philosophical questions which border adopted. To him there was much of devoon religious belief, and receive their colour tional thought to be violated, many reverfrom it, agreed, although probably derived ential associations, intertwined with the from various sources. Both were Unitarians, moral being, to be rent away in the struggle ardent admirers of the writings and character of the intellect to grasp the doctrines which of Dr. Priestley, and both believers in neces were alien to its nurture. But to Lamb sity, according to Priestley's exposition, and these formed the simple creed of his childin the inference which he drew from that hood; and slender and barren as they seem,

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to those who are united in religious sympathy -carried to a pitch almost of painfulnesswith the great body of their fellow-country. Lloyd has scarcely been equalled ; and his men, they sufficed for affections which had poems, though rugged in point of versification, so strong a tendency to find out resting places will be found by those who will read them for themselves as his. Those who only knew with the calm attention they require, replete him in his latter days, and who feel that if with critical and moral suggestions of the ever the spirit of Christianity breathed highest value. He and Coleridge were through a human life, it breathed in his, will, devoted wholly to literary pursuits; while nevertheless, trace with surprise the extra- Lamb's days were given to accounts, and ordinary vividness of impressions directly only at snatches of time was he able to religious, and the self-jealousy with which cultivate the faculty of which the society he watched the cares and distractions of the of Coleridge had made him imperfectly world, which might efface them, in his first conscious. letters. Ifin a life of ungenial toil, diversified Lamb's first compositions were in verse with frequent sorrow, the train of these produced slowly, at long intervals, and with solemn meditations was broken ; if he was self-distrust which the encouragements of led, in the distractions and labours of his Coleridge could not subdue. With the course, to cleave more closely to surrounding exception of a sonnet to Mrs. Siddons, whose objects than those early aspirations promised; acting, especially in the character of Lady if, in his cravings after immediate sympathy, Randolph, had made a deep impression upon he rather sought to perpetuate the social him, they were exclusively personal. The circle which he charmed, than to expatiate longest and most elaborate is that beautiful in scenes of untried being; his pious feelings piece of blank verse entitled “The Granwere only diverted, not destroyed. The dame,” in which he so affectionately celebrates stream glided still, the under current of the virtues of the “antique world” of the thought sometimes breaking out in sallies aged housekeeper of Mr. Plumer. A youthful which strangers did not understand, but passion, which lasted only a few months, and always feeding and nourishing the most which he afterwards attempted to regard exquisite sweetness of disposition, and the lightly as a folly past, inspired a few sonnets most unobtrusive proofs of self-denying of very delicate feeling and exquisite music. love.

On the death of his parents, he felt himself While Lamb was enjoying habits of the called upon by duty to repay to his sister closest intimacy with Coleridge in London, the solicitude with which she had watched he was introduced by him to a young poet ; over his infancy ;-and well indeed he perwhose name has often been associated with formed it! To her, from the age of twentyhis-Charles Lloyd—the son of a wealthy one, he devoted his existence ; seeking banker at Birmingham, who had recently thenceforth no connexion which could intercast off the trammels of the Society of Friends, fere with her supremacy in his affections, or and, smitten with the love of poetry, had impair his ability to sustain and to comfort become a student at the University of Cam- her. bridge. There he had been attracted to Coleridge by the fascination of his discourse ; and having been admitted to his regard, was introduced by him to Lamb. Lloyd was

CHAPTER II. endeared both to Lamb and Coleridge by a very amiable disposition and a pensive cast

(1796.) of thought; but his intellect bore little resemblance to that of either. He wrote, In the year 1796, Coleridge, having married, indeed, pleasing verses and with great facility, and relinquished his splendid dream of emi-a facility fatal to excellence ; but his mind gration, was resident at Bristol ; and Lamb, was chiefly remarkable for the fine power of who had quitted the Temple, and lived with analysis which distinguishes his “ London.” his father, then sinking into dotage, felt his and other of his later compositions. In this absence from London bitterly, and sought a power of discriminating and distinguishing correspondence with him as, almost, his only



comfort. “In your absence,” he writes, in profanely."* The same fervour glows in one of the earliest of his letters,* “ I feel a the sectarian piety of the following letter stupor that makes me indifferent to the hopes addressed to Coleridge, when fascinated with and fears of this life. I sometimes wish to the idea of a cottage life. introduce a religious turn of mind ; but habits are strong things, and my religious fervours are confined, alas ! to some fleeting moments of occasional solitary devotion. A

“Oct. 24th, 1796. correspondence opening with you has roused “ Coleridge, I feel myself much your debtor me a little from my lethargy, and made me for that spirit of confidence and friendship conscious of existence. Indulge me in it! I which dictated your last letter. May your will not be very troublesome.” And again, soul find peace at last in your cottage life ! a few days after: “You are the only corre- I only wish you were but settled. Do conspondent, and, I might add, the only friend, tinue to write to me. I read your letters I have in the world. I go no-where, and with my sister, and they give us both abundhave no acquaintance. Slow of speech, and ance of delight. Especially they please us reserved of manners, no one seeks or cares two, when you talk in a religious strain,for my society, and I am left alone. Cole- not but we are offended occasionally with a ridge, I devoutly wish that Fortune, which certain freedom of expression, a certain air has made sport with you so long, may play of mysticism, more consonant to the conceits one freak more, throw you into London, or of pagan philosophy, than consistent with some spot near it, and there snugify you for the humility of genuine piety. To instance life. "Tis a selfish, but natural wish for me, now in your last letter-you say, “it is by cast as I am ‘on life's wide plain friendless.'” the press, that God hath given finite spirits These appeals, it may well be believed, were both evil and good (I suppose you mean not made in vain to one who delighted in the simply bad men and good men), a portion as lavish communication of the riches of his it were of His Omnipresence!' Now, high own mind even to strangers ; but none of as the human intellect comparatively will the letters of Coleridge to Lamb have been soar, and wide as its influence, malign or preserved. He had just published his salutary, can extend, is there not, Coleridge, “ Religious Musings,” and the glittering a distance between the Divine Mind and it, enthusiasm of its language excited Lamb's which makes such language blasphemy i pious feelings, almost to a degree of pain. Again, in your first fine consolatory epistle “I dare not,” says he of this poem, criticise you say, "you are a temporary sharer in it. I like not to select any part where all human misery, that you may be an eternal is excellent. I can only admire and thank partaker of the Divine Nature.' What more you for it, in the name of a lover of true than this do those men say, who are for poetry

exalting the man Christ Jesus into the

second person of an unknown Trinity,-men, • Believe thou, O my soul, Life is a vision shadowy of truth;

whom you or I scruple not to call idolaters ? And vice, and anguish, and the wormy grave, Man, full of imperfections, at best, and subShapes of a dream,'

ject to wants which momentarily remind I thank you for these lines in the name of a

him of dependence; man, a weak and ignonecessarian.” To Priestley, Lamb repeatedly the skiey influences,' with eyes sometimes

rant being, ‘servile' from his birth to all alludes as to the object of their common admiration. “In reading your ' Religious open to discern the right path, but a head

generally too dizzy to pursue it; man, in the Musings,'” says he, “I felt a transient

superiority over you: I have seen Priestley. I pride of speculation, forgetting his nature, love to see his name repeated in your

* Je probably refers to the following lines in the writings ;-I love and honour him almost Religious Musings :

So Priestley, their patriot, and saint, and sage,

Ilim, full of years, from his loved native land, These and other passages are extracted from letters Statesmen blood-stained, and priests idolatrous, which are either too personal or not sufficiently interesting Drove with rain hate. Calm, pitying, he return'd, for entire publication.

And mused expectant on those promised years !

and hailing in himself the future God, must quite so well satisfied. You seem to me to make the angels laugh. Be not angry with have been straining your comparing faculties me, Coleridge ; I wish not to cavil; know to bring together things infinitely distant and I cannot instruct you ; I only wish to remind unlike; the feeble narrow-sphered operations you of that humility which best becometh of the human intellect ; and the everywhere the Christian character. God, in the New diffused mind of Deity, the peerless wisdom Testament (our best guide,) is represented to of Jehovah. Even the expression appears to us in the kind, condescending, amiable, me inaccurate-portion of omnipresence familiar light of a parent : and in my poor omnipresence is an attribute whose very mind 'tis best for us so to consider of him, essence is unlimitedness. How can omias our heavenly father, and our best friend, presence be affirmed of anything in part ? without indulging too bold conceptions of But enough of this spirit of disputatiousness. his nature. Let us learn to think humbly Let us attend to the proper business of human of ourselves, and rejoice in the appellation life, and talk a little together respecting our of 'dear children,' 'brethren,' and co-heirs domestic concerns. Do you continue to make with Christ of the promises,' seeking to know me acquainted with what you are doing, and po further.

how soon you are likely to be settled once "I am not insensible, indeed I am not, of for all. the value of that first letter of yours, and I “Have you seen Bowles's new poem on shall find reason to thank you for it again 'Hope ?' What character does it bear ? Has and again long after that blemish in it is he exhausted his stores of tender plaintiveforgotten. It will be a fine lesson of comfort ness? or is he the same in this last as in all to us, whenever we read it; and read it we his former pieces ? The duties of the day call often shall, Mary and I.

me off from this pleasant intercourse with my “Accept our loves and best kind wishes friend—so for the present adieu. Now for for the welfare of yourself and wife and little the truant borrowing of a few minutes from one. Nor let me forget to wish you joy on business. Have you met with a new poem your birth day, so lately past ; I thought you called the 'Pursuits of Literature ?' from haul been older. My kind thanks and remem- the extracts in the ‘ British Review' I judge brances to Lloyd.

it to be a very humorous thing, in particular "God love us all, and may He continue to I remember what I thought a very happy be the father and the friend of the whole character of Dr. Darwin's poetry. Among all human race !

“C. LAMB."

your quaint readings did you ever light upon "Sunday Evening."

'Walton's Complete Angler?' I asked you the question once before; it breathes the

very spirit of innocence, purity, and simplicity The next letter, commencing in a similar of heart; there are many choice old verses interstrain, diverges to literary topics, and espe- spersed in it; it would sweeten a man's temper cially alludes to “Walton's Angler,”—a book at any time to read it; it would Christianise which Lamb always loved as it were a living every discordant angry passion; pray make friend.

yourself acquainted with it. Have you made it

up with Southey yet ? Surely one of you two

“Oct. 28th, 1796. must have been a very silly fellow, and the "My dear friend, I am not ignorant that other not much better, to fall out like boarding to be a partaker of the Divine Nature is a school misses ; kiss, shake hands, and make phrase to be met with in Scripture: I am it up. only apprehensive, lest we in these latter “ When will he be delivered of his new day, tinctured (some of us perhaps pretty epic ? Madoc, I think, is to be the name of deeply) with mystical notions and the pride it, though that is a name not familiar to my of metaphysics, might be apt to affix to such ears. What progress do you make in your phrases a meaning, which the primitive users hymns ? What ‘Review' are you connected of them, the simple fisher of Galilee for with ? if with any, why do you delay to notice instance, never intended to convey. With White's book ? You are justly offended at that other part of your apology I am not its profaneness, but surely you have under


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