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better than 'Windsor Forest,' 'Dying Chris“ Accountant's Office, 26th April, 1816."

tian's Address,' &c. Coleridge has sent his “Dear W.,-I have just finished the tragedy to D. L. T.; it cannot be acted this pleasing task of correcting the revise of the season, and by their manner of receiving, I poems and letter. I hope they will come hope he will be able to alter it to make them out faultless. One blunder I saw and accept it for next. He is, at present, under shuddered at. The hallucinating rascal had the medical care of a Mr. Gilman (Killman ?) printed battered for battened, this last not at Highgate, where he plays at leaving off conveying any distinct sense to his gaping laud-m; I think his essentials not touched; soul. The Reader (as they call 'em) had dis- he is very bad, but then he wonderfully picks covered it, and given it the marginal brand, up another day, and his face, when he repeats but the substitutory n had not yet appeared. his verses, hath its ancient glory; an archI accompanied his notice with a most pathetic angel a little damaged. Will Miss H. address to the printer not to neglect the cor pardon our not replying at length to her rection. I know how such a blunder would kind letter ? We are not quiet enough; 'batter at your peace.' With regard to the Morgan is with us every day, going betwixt works, the Letter I read with unabated Highgate and the Temple. Coleridge is satisfaction. Such a thing was wanted ; absent but four miles, and the neighbourhood called for, The parallel of Cotton with of such a man is as exciting as the presence Burns I heartily approve. Iz. Walton hal- of fifty ordinary persons. 'Tis enough to be lows any page in which bis reverend name within the whiff and wind of his genius for appears. 'Duty archly bending to purposes us not to possess our souls in quiet. If I of general benevolence' is exquisite. The lived with him or the Author of the Excursion, poems I endeavoured not to understand, but I should, in a very little time, lose my own to read them with my eye alone, and I think identity, and be dragged along in the current I succeeded. Some people will do that of other people's thoughts, hampered in a when they come out, you'll say.) As if I net. How cool I sit in this office, with no were to luxuriate to-morrow at some picture- possible interruption further than what I gallery I was never at before, and going by may term material! There is not as much to-day by chance, found the door open, and metaphysics in thirty-six of the people here having but five minutes to look about me, as there is in the first page of Locke's peeped in ; just such a chastised peep I took · Treatise on the Human Understanding,' with my mind at the lines my luxuriating or as much poetry as in any ten lines of the eye was coursing over unrestrained, not to Pleasures of Hope,' or more natural 'Beganticipate another day's fuller satisfaction. gar's Petition.' I never entangle myself in Coleridge is printing 'Christabel,' by Lord any of their speculations. Interruptions, if Byron's recommendation to Murray, with I try to write a letter even, I have dreadful. what he calls a vision, 'Kubla Khan,' which Just now, within four lines, I was called off said vision he repeats so enchantingly that it for ten minutes to consult dusty old books irradiates and brings heaven and elysian for the settlement of obsolete errors. I hold bowers into my parlour while he sings or you a guinea you don't find the chasm where says it ; but there is an observation, 'Never I left off, so excellently the wounded sense tell thy dreams,' and I am almost afraid that closed again and was healed. "Kubla Khan' is an owl that won't bear day-light. I fear lest it should be discovered “N.B.-Nothing said above to the conby the lantern of typography and clear re- trary, but that I hold the personal presence ducting to letters no better than nonsense of the two mentioned potent spirits at a rate or no sense. When I was young, I used to as high as any ; but I pay dearer ; what chant with ecstacy MILD ARCADIANS EVER amuses others robs me of myself; my mind BLOOMING,' till somebody told me it was is positively discharged into their greater meant to be nonsense. Even yet I have a currents, but flows with a willing violence. lingering attachment to it, and I think it As to your question about work; it is far • This is shown by the postmark to be an error

less oppressive to me than it was, from circumstances; it takes all the golden part of

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the day away, a solid lump, from ten to four; matters, but in a judicious and steady superbut it does not kill my peace as before. Some intendence of the whole ; with a wise allowday or other I shall be in a taking again. My ance of the occasional excesses of wit and head aches, and you have had enough. God genius. In this respect, Mr. Scott differed bless you!

C. LAMB." entirely from a celebrated poet, who was

induced, just a year after, to undertake the Editorship of the "New Monthly Magazine," an office for which, it may be said, with all veneration for his poetic genius, he was the

most unfit person who could be found in the CHAPTER VII.

wide world of letters—who regarded a maga“LONDON MAGAZINE "---CHARACTER AND FATE OF zine as if it were a long affidavit, or a short

answer in Chancery, in which the absolute MISCELLANEOUS LETTERS or LAMB TO WONDSWORTH, truth of every sentiment and the propriety of

every jest were verified by the editor's oath [1818 to 1825.)

or solemn affirmation ; who stopped the press LAMB’s association with Hazlitt in the year for a week at a comma ; balanced contending 1820 introduced him to that of the “ London epithets for a fortnight; and, at last, grew Magazine,” which supplied the finest sti- rash in despair, and tossed the nearest, and mulus his intellect had ever received, and often the worst article, “unwhipped of induced the composition of the Essays fondly justice,” to the impatient printer. Mr. Scott, and familiarly known under the fantastic indeed, was more fit to preside over a little title of Elia. Never was a periodical work commonwealth of authors than to hold a commenced with happier auspices, numbering despotic rule over subject contributors ; he a list of contributors more original in thought, had not the airy grace of Jeffrey by which more fresh in spirit, more sportive in fancy, he might give a certain familiar liveliness to or directed by an editor better qualified by the most laborious disquisitions, and shed nature and study to preside, than this the glancing light of fancy among party “ London.” There was Lamb, with humanity manifestoes ;-nor the boisterous vigour of ripened among town-bred experiences, and Wilson, riotous in power, reckless in wisdom, pathos matured by sorrow, at his wisest, fusing the production of various intellects, sagest, airiest, indiscreetest, best ; Barry into one brilliant reflection of his own masterCornwall, in the first bloom of his modest mind;- and it was well that he wanted and enduring fame, streaking the darkest these weapons of a tyranny which his chief passion with beauty ; John Hamilton Rey- contributors were too original and too sturdy nolds, lighting up the wildest eccentricities to endure. He heartily enjoyed his position ; and most striking features of many-coloured duly appreciated his contributors and himlife with vivid fancy; and, with others of self; and when he gave audience to some less note, Hazlitt, whose pen, unloosed from young aspirant for periodical honours at a the chain which earnest thought and meta- late breakfast, amidst the luxurious conphysical dreamings had woven, gave radiant fusion of newspapers, reviews, and uncut expression to the results of the solitary novels, lying about in fascinating litter, and musings of many years. Over these con- carelessly enunciated schemes for bright suctributors John Scott presided, himself a cessions of essays, he seemed destined for critic of remarkable candour, eloquence, and many years of that happy excitement in discrimination, unfettered by the dogmas of which thought perpetually glows into uncontending schools of poetry and art; apt to rutiled but energetic language, and is assured discern the good and beautiful in all, and by the echoes of the world. having, as editor, that which Kent recog Alas! a few days after he thus appeared nised in Lear, which subjects revere in the object of admiration and envy to a young kings, and boys admire in schoolmasters, visitor, in his rooms in York-street, he was and contributors should welcome in editors stretched on a bed of mental agony - the -authority ;-not manifested in a worrying, foolish victim of the guilty custom of a teasing, intolerable interference in small world which would have laughed at him for

regarding himself as within the sphere of its of an English Opium Eater,” held a distinopinion, if he had not died to shame it! In guished place. Mr. De Quincy, whose youth a luckless hour, instead of seeking to oppose had been inspired by enthusiastic admiration the bitter personalities of “Blackwood” by of Coleridge, shown in contributions to "The the exhibition of a serener power, he rushed Friend,” not unworthy of his master, and with spurious chivalry into a personal con- substantial contributions of the blessings of test ; caught up the weapons which he had fortune, came up to London, and found an himself denounced, and sought to unmask admiring welcome from Messrs. Taylor and his opponents and draw them beyond the Hessey, the publishers into whose hands the pale of literary courtesy ; placed himself “ London Magazine” had passed. After the thus in a doubtful position in which he could good old fashion of the GREAT TRADE, these neither consistently reject an appeal to the genial booksellers used to assemble their conventional arbitrament of violence nor contributors round their hospitable table in embrace it ; lost his most legitimate oppor- Fleet Street, where Mr. De Quincy was introtunity of daring the unhallowed strife, and duced to his new allies. Among the contrifound another with an antagonist connected butors who partook of their professional with the quarrel only by too zealous a festivities, was a gentleman whose subsefriendship; and, at last, met his death almost quent career has invested the recollection by lamentable accident, in the uncertain of his appearances in the familiarity of glimmer of moonlight, from the hand of one social life with fearful interest—Mr. Thomas who went out resolved not to harm him ! Griffiths Wainwright. He was then a young Such was the melancholy result-first of a man ; on the bright side of thirty ; with a controversy too envenomed—and afterwards sort of undress military air, and the converof enthralment in usages, absurd in all, but sation of a smart, lively, clever, heartless, most absurd when applied by a literary man voluptuous coxcomb. It was whispered that to a literary quarrel. Apart from higher he had been an officer in the Dragoons ; had considerations, it may befit a life destined for spent more than one fortune; and he now the listless excesses of gaiety to be cast on condescended to take a part in periodical an idle brawl ;—"a youth of folly, an old literature, with the careless grace of an age of cards” may be no great sacrifice to amateur who felt himself above it. He was preserve the hollow truce of fashionable an artist also ; sketched boldly and graphisociety ; but for men of thought-whose cally; exhibited a portfolio of his own minds are their possession, and who seek to drawings of female beauty, in which the live in the minds of others by sympathy with voluptuous trembled on the borders of the their thoughts-for them to hazard a thought. indelicate ; and seized on the critical departful being because they dare not own that ment of the Fine Arts, both in and out of they prefer life to death-contemplation to the Magazine, undisturbed by the presence the grave—the preparation for eternity to or pretensions of the finest critic on Art the unbidden entrance on its terrors, would who ever wrote-William Hazlitt. On this be ridiculous if it did not become tragical. subject, he composed, for the Magazine, “Sir, I am a metaphysician !” said Hazlitt under the signature of “ Janus Weatheronce, when in a fierce dispute respecting the cock,” articles of fashy assumption - in colours of Holbein and Vandyke, words ' which disdainful notices of living artists were almost became things ; “ and nothing makes set off by fascinating references to the peran impression upon me but abstract ideas ;” sonal appearance, accomplishments, and luxuand woeful, indeed, is the mockery when rious appliances of the writer, ever the first thinkers condescend to be duellists !

hero of his essay. He created a new sensaThe Magazine did not perish with its tion in the sedate circle, not only by his Editor; though its unity of purpose was lost, braided surtouts, jewelled fingers, and variit was still rich in essays of surpassing indi- ous neck-handkerchiefs, but by ostentatious vidual merit ; among which the masterly contempt for everything in the world but vindication of the true dramatic style by elegant enjoyment. Lamb, who delighted to Darley; the articles of Cary, the admirable find sympathy in dissimilitude, fancied that translator of Dante ; and the “Confessions he really liked him ; took, as he ever did,


the genial side of character; and, instead of For its matter I mean. I cannot say the disliking the rake in the critic, thought it style of it quite satisfies me. It is too pleasant to detect so much taste and good-lyrical. The auditors to whom it is feigned nature in a fashionable roué; and regarded to be told, do not arride me. I had rather all his vapid gaiety, which to severer observ- it had been told me, the reader, at once. ers looked like impertinence, as the playful ‘Hartleap Well' is the tale for me; in effusion of a remarkably guileless nature. matter as good as this, in manner infinitely We lost sight of him when the career of the before it, in my poor judgment. Why did “ London Magazine” ended ; and Lamb did you not add "The Waggoner'? - Have I not live to learn the sequel of his history. thanked you, though, yet, for 'Peter Bell'?

I would not not have it for a good deal of

money. C is very foolish to scribble In 1819, Mr. Wordsworth, encouraged by about books. Neither his tongue nor fingers the extending circle of his earnest admirers, are very retentive. But I shall not say anyannounced for publication his “Peter Bell” thing to him about it. He would only begin a -a poem written in the first enthusiasm of very long story with a very long face, and I his system, and exemplifying, amidst beauty see him far too seldom to teaze him with and pathos of the finest essence, some of its affairs of business or conscience when I do most startling peculiarities. Some wicked' see him. He never comes near our house, jester gifted with more ingenuity and bold- and when we go to see him he is generally ness than wit, anticipated the real “Simon writing, or thinking: he is writing in his Pure," by a false one, burlesquing some of study till the dinner comes, and that is the characteristics of the poet's homeliest scarce over before the stage summons style. This grave hoax produced the follow- away. The mock ‘P. B.' had only this effect ing letter from Lamb, appropriately written on me, that after twice reading it over in in alternate lines of red and black ink, till hopes to find something diverting in it, I the last sentence, in which the colours are reached your two books off the shelf, and alternated, word by word—even to the sig- set into a steady reading of them, till I had nature--and “Mary's love,” at the close ; so nearly finished both before I went to bed. that “Mary” is black, and her "love" red. The two of your last edition, of course, I mean.

And in the morning I awoke determined TO MR. WORDSWORTH.

to take down the 'Excursion.' I wish the

scoundrel imitator could know this. But “ Dear Wordsworth,-I received a copy of why waste a wish on him? I do not believe * Peter Bell’ a week ago, and I hope the that paddling about with a stick in a pond, author will not be offended if I say I do not and fishing up a dead author, whom his much relish it. The humour, if it is meant intolerable wrongs had driven to that deed for humour, is forced ; and then the price!, of desperation, would turn the heart of one -sixpence would have been dear for it. of these obtuse literary BELLS. There is no Mind I do not mean your 'Peter Bell,' but Cock for such Peters ;-hang 'em! I am a 'Peter Bell,' wbich preceded it about a glad this aspiration came upon the red ink week, and is in every bookseller's shop line. It is more of a bloody curse. I have window in London, the type and paper delivered over your other presents to nothing differing from the true one, the Alsager and G. D. A., I am sure, will value preface signed W. W., and the supplemen- it, and be proud of the hand from which it tary preface quoting as the author's words came. To G. D. a poem is a poem. His an extract from the supplementary preface own as good as anybody's, and, God bless to the ‘Lyrical Ballads.' Is there no law him ! anybody's as good as his own ; for I against these rascals? I would have this do not think he has the most distant guess Lambert Simnel whipt at the cart's tail. of the possibility of one poem being better Who started the spurious P. B.' I have not than another. The gods, by denying him heard. I should guess, one of the sneering the very faculty itself of discrimination, have

; but I have heard no name mentioned. effectually cut off every seed of envy in his ‘Peter Bell’ (not the mock one) is excellent. bosom. But with envy, they excided curiosity

“ 1819.

« Ever yours,

also ; and if you wish the copy again, which closed. The dreary sea is filled up. He has you destined for him, I think I shall be able lately been at work 'telling again,' as they to find it again for you, on his third shelf, call it, a most gratuitous piece of mischief, where he stuffs his presentation copies, and has caused a coolness betwixt me and a uncut, in shape and matter resembling a (not friend exactly, but) intimate acquaintlump of dry dust; but on carefully removing auce. I suspect also, he saps Manning's that stratum, a thing like a pamphlet will faith in me, who am to Manning more than emerge. I have tried this with tifty different an acquaintance. Still I like his writing poetical works that have been given G. D. verses about you. Will your kind host and in return for as many of his own per- hostess give us a dinner next Sunday, and formances, and I confess I never had any better still, not expect us if the weather scruple in taking my own again, wherever I is very bad. Why you should refuse twenty found it, shaking the adherences off--and by guineas per sheet for Blackwood's or any this means one copy of my works' served other magazine passes my poor comprehenfor G. D.-and, with a little dusting, was sion. But, as Strap says, you know best.' made over to my good friend Dr. G- I have no quarrel with you about præpranwho little thought whose leavings he was dial avocations, so don't imagine one. That taking when he made me that graceful bow. Manchester sonnet* I think very likely is By the way, the Doctor is the only one of Capel Loffts. Another sonnet appeared with my acquaintance who bows gracefully, my the same initials in the same paper, which town acquaintance, I mean. How do you turned out to be P-'s. What do the like my way of writing with two inks? I rascals mean? Am I to have the fathering think it is pretty and motley. Suppose of what idle rhymes every beggarly poetMrs. W. adopts it, the next time she holds aster pours forth! Who put your marine the pen for you. My dinner waits. I have sonnet about Browne’into Blackwood'? no time to indulge any longer in these I did not. So no more, till we meet. laborious curiosities. God bless you, and

C. L.” cause to thrive and burgeon whatsoever you write, and fear no inks of miserable poetasters. Yours truly,

The following letter (of post-mark 1822) is “ CHARLES LAMB. addressed to Trinity College, Cambridge, “Mary's love."

when Miss Wordsworth was visiting her

brother, Dr. Wordsworth. The following letter, probably written about this time, is entirely in red ink.

“ Mary perfectly approves of the appro

priation of the feathers, and wishes them “ Dear Coleridge,-A letter written in the peacock's for your fair niece's sake. blood of your poor friend would indeed be of a nature to startle you ; but this is nought but harmless red ink, or, as the witty mer

“Dear Miss Wordsworth, I had just cantile phrase hath it, clerk’s blood. Hang written the above endearing words when 'em! my brain, skin, flesh, bone, carcase, M— tapped me on the shoulder with an soul, time is all theirs. The Royal Exchange, invitation to cold goose pie, which I was Gresham's Folly, hath me body and spirit. not bird of that sort enough to decline. I admire some of —'s lines on you, and I Mrs. MM, I am most happy to say, is adurire your postponing reading them. He better. Mary has been tormented with a is a sad tattler, but this is under the rose. rheumatism, which is leaving her. I am Twenty years ago he estranged one friend suffering from the festivities of the season. I from me quite, whom I have been regretting, wonder how my misused carcase holds it out, but never could regain since ; he almost I have played the experimental philosopher alienated you also from me, or me from you,

• A sonnet in “ Blackwood," dated Manchester, and I don't know which. But that breach is signed C. L.



“ 1822.

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