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BARABAS.

extract or two that might not displease you ; and antique invention, that at first reminded but I will not do that; and whether it will me of your old description of cruelty in hell, come to anything, I know not, for I am as which was in the true Hogarthian style. I slow as a Fleming painter when I compose need not tell you that Marlow was author of anything—I will crave leave to put down a that pretty nuadrigal, ‘Come live with me few lines of old Christopher Marlow's; I and be my Love, and of the tragedy of take them from his tragedy, “The Jew of Edward II., in which are certain lines Malta.' The Jew is a famous character, unequalled in our English tongue. Honest quite out of nature ; but, when we consider Walton mentions the said madrigal under the terrible idea our simple ancestors had of the denomination of certain smooth verses a Jew, not more to be discommended for a made long since by Kit Marlow.' certain discolouring (I think Addison calls “I am glad you have put me on the scent it) than the witches and fairies of Marlow's after old Quarles. If I do not put up those mighty successor. The scene is betwixt eclogues, and that shortly, say I am no trueBarabas, the Jew, and Ithamore, a Turkish nosed hound. I have had a letter from captive, exposed to sale for a slave.

Lloyd ; the young metaphysician of Caius is well, and is busy recanting the new heresy,

metaphysics, for the old dogma, Greek. My (A precious rascal.)

sister, I thank you, is quite well. As for myself, I walk abroad a-nights, And kill sick people groaning under walls :

“ Yours sincerely, “ C. LAMB." Sometimes I go about, and poison wells; And now and then, to cherish Christian thieves, I am content to lose some of my crowns, That I may, walking in my gallery,

The following letters, which must have See 'm go pinioned along by my door.

been written after a short interval, show a Being young, I studied physic, and began To practise first upon the Italian :

rapid change of opinion, very unusual with There I enriched the priests with burials,

Lamb (who stuck to his favourite books as And always kept the sexton's arms in use With digging graves, and ringing dead men's knelis; he did to his friends), as to the relative And, after that, was I an engineer,

merits of the “ Emblems" of Wither and of And in the wars 'twixt France and Germany

Quarles :
Under pretence of serving Charles the Fifth,
Slew friend and enemy with my stratagems.

TO MR. SOUTHEY.
Then after that was I an usurer,

"Oct. 18th, 1798. And with extorting, cozening, forfeiting, And tricks belonging unto brokery,

“Dear Southey, I have at last been so I fill'd the jails with bankrupts in a year,

fortunate as to pick up Wither's Emblems And with young orphans planted hospitals, And every moon made some or other mad ;

for you, that 'old book and quaint,' as the And now and then one hang himself for grief, brief author of Rosamund Gray hath it ; it Pinning upon his breast a long great scroll,

is in a most detestable state of preservation, How I with interest had tormented him.

and the cuts are of a fainter impression than (Now hear Ithamore, the other gentle I have seen. Some child, the curse of antinature.)

quaries and bane of bibliopical rarities, hath

been dabbling in some of them with its paint (A comical dog.)

and dirty fingers; and, in particular, hath a Faith, master, and I have spent my time

little sullied the author's own portraiture, In setting Christian villages on fire, Chaining of eunuchs, binding galley-slaves.

which I think valuable, as the poem that One time I was an hostler in an inn,

accompanies it is no common one; this last And in the night-time secretly would I steal To travellers' chambers, and there out their throats.

excepted, the Emblems are far inferior to Once at Jerusalem, where the pilgrims kneeld, old Quarles. I once told you otherwise, but I strewed powder on the marble stones,

I had not then read old Q. with attention. And therewithal their knees would rankle so, That I have laugh'd a good to see the cripples

I have picked up, too, another copy of Go limping home to Christendom on stilts.

Quarles for ninepence !!! O tempora ! O

lectores ! so that if you have lost or parted Wby, this is something

with your own copy, say so, and I can furnish

you, for you prize these things more than I « There is a mixture of the ludicrous and do. You will be amy

mused, I think, with the terrible in these lines, brimful of genius honest Wither's 'Supersedeas to all them

ITHAMORE,

BARABAS,

TO MR. SOUTHEY.

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whose custom it is, without any deserving, is too metaphysical, and your taste too to importune authors to give unto them correct; at least I must allege something their books.' I am sorry 'tis imperfect, as against you both, to excuse my own dotagethe lottery board annexed to it also is. Methinks you might modernise and elegantise

"So lonely 'twas, that God himself

Scarce seemed there to be!'-&c., &c.
this Supersedeas, and place it in front of
your Joan of Arc, as a gentle hint to Messrs.

But
you

allow some elaborate beauties—you Parke, &c. One of the happiest emblems, should have extracted 'em. “The Ancient and comicalest cuts, is the owl and little Marinere' plays more tricks with the mind chirpers, page 63.

than that last poem, which is yet one of the “Wishing you all amusement, which your finest written. But I am getting too dogtrue emblem-fancier can scarce fail to find in matical; and before I degenerate into abuse, even bad emblems, I remain your caterer to I will conclude with assuring you that I am command, “ C. LAMB.

Sincerely yours,

“ C. LAMB. " Love and respects to Edith. I hope she is well. How does your Calendar prosper ?”

“ I am going to meet Lloyd at Ware on Saturday, to return on Sunday. Have you

any commands or commendations to the

“Nov. 8th, 1798. “I perfectly accord with your opinion of metaphysician ? I shall be very happy if old Wither ; Quarles is a wittier writer, but you will dine or spend any time with me in Wither lays more hold of the heart. Quarles your way through the great ugly city; but

I know you have other ties upon you in thinks of his audience when he lectures ;

these parts. | Wither soliloquises in company with a full

“Love and respects to Edith, and friendly heart. What wretched stuff are the 'Divine

remembrances to Cottle." Fancies' of Quarles! Religion appears to him no longer valuable than it furnishes matter for quibbles and riddles ; he turns

In this year, Mr. Cottle proposed to publish God's grace into wantonness. Wither is like

an annual volume of fugitive poetry by an old friend, whose warm-heartedness and various hands, under the title of the “ Annual estimable qualities make us wish he possessed Anthology;" to which Coleridge and Southey more genius, but at the same time make us

were principal contributors, the first volume willing to dispense with that want. I always of which was published in the following year. love W., and sometimes admire Q. Still that To this little work Lamb contributed a short portrait poem is a fine ope; and the extract religious effusion in blank verse, entitled from 'Shepherds’ Hunting' places him in a “Living without God in the World.” The starry height far above Quarles. If you following letter to Southey refers to this wrote that review in 'Crit. Rev.,' I am sorry poem by its first words, “Mystery of God,” you are so sparing of praise to the 'Ancient and recurs to the rejected sonnet to his Marinere ;'-so far from calling it as you sister ; and alludes to an intention, afterdo, with some wit, but more severity, ‘A wards changed, of entitling the proposed Duteh Attempt,' &c., I call it a right English collection “Gleanings.” attempt, and a successful one, to dethrone German sublimity. You have selected a passage fertile in unmeaning miracles, but

“ Nov. 28th, 1798. have passed by fifty passages as miraculous “I can have no objection to your printing as the miracles they celebrate. I never so · Mystery of God' with my name, and all deeply felt the pathetic as in that part, due acknowledgments for the honour and

favour of the communication ; indeed, 'tis a A spring of love gush'd from my heart, And I bless'd them unaware

poem that can dishonour no name. Now,

that is in the true strain of modern modestoIt stung me into high pleasure through vanitas. .... But for the sonnet, I heartily sufferings. Lloyd does not like it ; his head wish it, as I thought it was, dead and

TO MR. SOUTHEY

forgotten. If the exact circumstances under by a caricature of Gilray's, in which Colewhich I wrote could be known or told, it ridge and Southey were introduced with would be an interesting sonnet; but, to an asses' heads, and Lloyd and Lamb as toad indifferent and stranger reader, it must and frog. In the number for July appeared appear a very bald thing, certainly inadmis- the well-known poem of the “New Morality," sible in a compilation. I wish you could in which all the prominent objects of the affix a different name to the volume; there hatred of these champions of religion and is a contemptible book, a wretched assort- order were introduced as offering homage to ment of vapid feelings, entitled Pratt's Glean- Lepaux, a French charlatan, of whose ings, which hath damned and impropriated existence Lamb had never even heard. the title for ever. Pray think of some other. The gentleman is better known (better had

“ Couriers and Stars, scdition's evening host,

Thou Morning Chronicle, and Morning Post, he remained unknown) by an Ode to Bene

Whether ye make the 'Rights of Man' your theme, volence, written and spoken for and at the Your country libel, and your God blaspheme, annual dinner of the Humane Society, who

Or dirt on private worth and virtue throwo,

Still blasphemous or blackguard, praise Lepaux. walk in procession once a-year, with all the objects of their charity before them, to return

And ye five other wandering bards, that move

In sweet accord of harmony and love, God thanks for giving them such benevolent

-dge and s—thấy, 1-d, and band Co., hearts."

Tune all your mystic harps to praise Lepaux ! "

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66

Not content with thus confounding persons At this time Lamb's most intimate asso- of the most opposite opinions and the most ciates were Lloyd and Jem White, the author' various characters in one common libel, the of the Falstaff Letters. When Lloyd was in party returned to the charge in the number town, he and White lodged in the same for September, and thus denounced the house, and were fast friends, though no two young poets, in a parody on the “Ode men could be more unlike, Lloyd having no to the Passions,” under the title of “The drollery in his nature, and White nothing Anarchists." else. “You will easily understand," observes

“Next H-10-ft vow'd in dolcful tone, Mr. Southey, in a letter with which he

No more to fire a thankless age : favoured the publisher, “how Lamb could Oblivion mark'd his labours for her own,

Neglected from the press, and damn'd upon sympathise with both.”

The literary association of Lamb with Coleridge and Southey drew down

See ! faithful to their mighty dam, upon

-dge, S--th-y, 1-d, and L-b the hostility of the young scorners of the In splay-foot madrigals of love, Anti-Jacobin," who luxuriating in boyish

Soft moaning like the widow'd dove,

Pour, side-by-side, their sympathetic notes; pride and aristocratic patronage, tossed the

or equal rights, and civic feasts, arrows of their wit against all charged with And tyrant kings, and knarish priests, innovation, whether in politics or poetry,

Swift through the land the tuneful mischief floats. and cared little whom they wounded. No And now to softer strains they struck the lyre, one could be more innocent than Lamb of

They sung the beetle or the mole,

The dying kid, or ass's foal, political heresy; no more strongly By cruel man permitted to expire." opposed to new theories in morality, which he always regarded with disgust; and yet These effusions have the palliation which he not only shared in the injustice which the excess of sportive wit, impelled by youthaccused his friends of the last, but was con- ful spirits and fostered by the applause of founded in the charge of the first,—his only the great, brings with it; but it will be crime being that he had published a few difficult to palliate the coarse malignity of a poems deeply coloured with religious enthu- passage in the prose department of the same siasm, in conjunction with two other men of work, in which the writer added to a stategenius, who were dazzled by the glowing ment that Mr. Coleridge was dishonoured at phantoms which the French Revolution had Cambridge for preaching Deism: “Since then raised. The very first number of the“ Anti- he has left his native country, commenced Jacobin Magazine and Review” was adorned citizen of the world, left his poor children

one

fatherless, and his wife destitute. Ex his the future happiness of mankind, not with disce, his friends Lamb and Southey.” It the inspiration of the poet, but with the was surely rather too much even for partisans, grave and passionless voice of the oracle. when denouncing their political opponents There was nothing better calculated at once as men who “dirt on private worth and to feed and to make steady the enthusiasm virtue threw," thus to slander two young of youthful patriots than the high speculamen of the most exemplary character—one, tions, in which he taught them to engage on of an almost puritanical exactness of demea- the nature of social evils and the great nour and conduct—and the other, persevering destiny of his species. No one would have in a life of noble self-sacrifice, chequered suspected the author of those wild theories, only by the frailties of a sweet nature, which which startled the wise and shocked the endeared him even to those who were not prudent, in the calm, gentlemanly person admitted to the intimacy necessary to appre- who rarely said anything above the most ciate the touching example of his severer gentle common-place, and took interest in virtues !

little beyond the whist-table. His peculiar If Lamb's acquaintance with Coleridge and opinions were entirely subservient to his love Southey procured for him the scorn of the of letters. He thought any man who had more virulent of the Anti-Jacobin party, he written a book had attained a superiority showed by his intimacy with another dis- over his fellows which placed him in another tinguished object of their animosity, that he class, and could scarcely understand other was not solicitous to avert it. He was distinctions. Of all his works Lamb liked introduced by Mr. Coleridge to one of the his “ Essay on Sepulchres ” the best—a short most remarkable persons of that stirring development of a scheme for preserving in time-the author of “Caleb Williams," and one place the memory of all great writers of the “ Political Justice.” The first meeting deceased, and assigning to each his proper between Lamb and Godwin did not wear a station, quite chimerical in itself, but promising aspect. Lamb grew warm as the accompanied with solemn and touching conviviality of the evening advanced, and musings on life and death and fame, embodied indulged in some freaks of humour which in a style of singular refinement and beauty. had not been dreamed of in Godwin's philosophy; and the philosopher, forgetting the equanimity with which he usually looked on the vicissitudes of the world or the whisttable, broke into an allusion to Gilray's caricature, and asked, “Pray, Mr. Lamb, are

CHAPTER V. you toad or frog ?” Coleridge was appre

(1799, 1800.) hensive of a rupture ; but calling the next morning on Lamb, he found Godwin seated at breakfast with him ; and an interchange The year 1799 found Lamb engaged during of civilities and card-parties was established, his leisure hours in completing his tragedy of which lasted through the life of Lamb, whom John Woodvil, which seems to have been Godwin only survived a few months. Indif- finished about Christmas, and transmitted to ferent altogether to the politics of the age, Mr. Kemble. Like all young authors, who Lamb could not help being struck with pro- are fascinated by the splendour of theatrical ductions of its new-born energies, so remark- representation, he longed to see his concepable as the works and the charrcter of tions embodied on the stage, and to receive Godwin. He seemed to realise in himself his immediate reward in the sympathy of a what Wordsworth long afterwards described, crowd of excited spectators. The hope was " the central calm at the heart of all agita- vain ;—but it cheered him in many a lonely tion.” Through the medium of his mind the hour, and inspired him to write when stormy convulsions of society were seen exhausted with the business of the day, and “ silent as in a picture.” Paradoxes the when the less powerful stimulus of the press most daring wore the air of deliberate would have been insufficient to rouse him. wisdom as he pronounced them. He foretold In the mean time he continued to correspond

LETTERS TO SOUTHEY, COLERIDGE, MANNING, AND

WORDSWORTH.

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with Mr. Southey, to send him portions of Seeing such hope and virtue in the boy,

Disclosed their ranks to let him pass unhurt, his play, and to reciprocate criticisms with

Checking their swords' uncivil injuries, him. The following three letters, addressed As loth to mar that curious workmanship to Mr. Suuthey in the spring of this year,

Of Valour's beauty pourtray'd in his face.' require no commentary.

Lloyd objects to 'pourtrayed in his face,'

do you? I like the line.
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
* Jan. 21st, 1799.

“I shall clap this in somewhere. I think “I am to blame for not writing to you there is a spirit through the lines ; perhaps before on my own account ; but I know you

the 7th, 8th, and 9th owe their origin to can dispense with the expressions of grati- Shakspeare, though no image is borrowed. tude or I should have thanked you before for He says in Henry the Fourthall May's kindness." He has liberally supplied

This infant Hotspur, the person I spoke to you of with money,

Mars in swathing clothes.' and had procured him a situation just after himselt had lighted upon a similar one, and But pray did Lord Falkland die before engaged too far to recede. But May's kind- Worcester fight ? In that case I must make ness was the same, and my thanks to you and bold to unclify some other nobleman. him are the same. May went about on this “ Kind love and respects to Edith. business as if it had been his own.

“ C. LAMB." knew John May before this, so I will be silent.

TO MR. SOUTHEY. “I shall be very glad to hear from you:

“ March 15th, 1799. when convenient. I do not know how your “Dear Sonthey,-I have received your Calendar and other affairs thrive; but above little volume, for which I thank you, though all, I have not heard a great while of your I do not entirely approve of this sort of interMadoc—the opus magnum. I would willingly course, where the presents are all on one side. send you something to give a value to this I have read the last Eclogue again with letter ; but I have only one slight passage great pleasure. It hath gained considerably to send you, scarce worth the sending, which by abridgment, and now I think it wants I want to edge in somewhere into my play, nothing but enlargement. You will call this whichi, by the way, hath not received the one of tyrant Procrustes' criticisms, to cut addition of ten lines, besides, since I saw you. and pull so to his own standard ; but the A father, old Walter Woodvil, (the witch's old lady is so great a favourite with me, I PROTÉGÉ) relates this of his son John, who want to hear more of her ; and of' Joanna' 'fought in adverse armies,' being a royalist, you have given us still less. But the picture and his father a parliamentary man. of the rustics leaning over the bridge, and

the old lady travelling abroad on summer I saw him in the day of Worcester fight, Whither he came at twice seven years,

evening to see her garden watered, are Under the discipline of the Lord Falkland,

images so new and true, that I decidedly (Ilis uncle by the mother's side,

prefer this ‘Ruin’d Cottage' to any poem in Who gave his youthful politics a bent Quite from the principles of his father's house ;)

the book. Indeed I think it the only one There did I see this valiant Lamb of Mars,

that will bear comparison with your ‘Hymn This sprig of honour, this unbearded John, This veteran in green years, this sprout, this Woodvil,

to the Penates,' in a former volume. (With dreadless ease guiding a fire-hot steed,

“I compare dissimilar things, as one would Which seem'd to scorn the manage of a boy,)

a rose and a star, for the pleasure they give Prick forth with such a mirth into the field, To mingle rivnlship and acts of war

us, or as a child soon learns to choose between Even with the sinewy masters of the art,

a cake and a rattle ; for dissimilars have You would have thought the work of blood had been A play-game merely, and the rabid Mars

mostly some points of comparison. The next Had put his harmful hostile nature off,

best poem, I think, is the first Eclogue ; 'tis To instruct raw youth in images of war,

very complete, and abounding in little picAnd practice of the unedged players' foils. The rough fanatic and blood-practised soldiery

tures and realities. The remainder Eclogues,

excepting only the 'Funeral,'I do not greatly . See ante, p. 31.

admire. I miss one, which had at least as

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