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in which the Editor is well assured the parties would be rather gratified than displeased at seeing their names connected in life-like association with one so dear to their memories,
The italics and the capitals are invariably those indicated by the MSS. It is to be regretted that in the printed letters the reader must lose the curious varieties of writing with which the originals abound, and which are scrupulously adapted to the subjects.
Many letters yet remain unpublished, which will further illustrate the character of Mr. Lamb, but which must be reserved for a future time, when the Editor hopes to do more justice to his own sense of the genius and the excellence of his friend, than it has been possible for him to accomplish in these volumes.
T. N. T.
RUSSELL SQUARE, 26th June, 1857.
LETTERS, &c. OF CHARLES LAMB.
| lot, and discharging its duties with the most [1775 to 1796.)
patient assiduity, he was not without literary LAND'S PAREXTAGE, SCHOOL-DAYS, AND YOUTH, TO THE
ambition; and having written some occasional COMMENCEMENT OF HIS CORRESPONDENCE WITH COLE- verses to grace the festivities of a benefit
society of which he was a member, was CHARLES LAMB was born on 10th February, encouraged by his brother members to pub1775, in Crown Office Row, in the Inner lish, in a thin quarto, “Poetical Pieces on Temple, where he spent the first seven several occasions.” This volume contains a Fears of his life. His parents were in a lively picture of the life of a lady's footman humble station, but they were endued with of the last century; the “History of Joseph,” sentiments and with manners which might told in well-measured heroic couplets; and a well become the gentlest blood ; and fortune, pleasant piece, after the manner of “Gay's
which bad denied them wealth, enabled them Fables,” entitled the Sparrow's Wedding," I to bestow on their children some of the which was the author's favouritę, and which,
happiest intellectual advantages which wealth when he fell into the dotage of age, he ever confers. His father, Mr. John Lamb, delighted to hear Charles read.f His wife who came up a little boy from Lincoln, fortunately both for himself and his master, something better was not concerned. L. was the liveliest
excuse his interference--for L. never forgot rank, where entered into the service of Mr. Salt, one of little fellow breathing; had a face as gay as Garrick's, the benchers of the Inner Temple, a widower, whom he was said greatly to resemble ; (I have a por
trait of him which confirms it;) possessed a fine turn who, growing old within its precincts, was for humorous poetry--next to Swift and Prior; moulded enabled to appreciate and to reward his heads in clay or plaster of Paris to admiration, by the devotedness and intelligence ; and to whon dint of natural genius merely; turned cribbage-boards
and such small cabinet toys to perfection ; took a hand he became, in the language of his son, “his at quadrillo or bowls with equal facility ; made punch clerk, his good servant, his dresser, his friend, better than any m:n of his degree in England; had tho
merriest quips and conceits; and was altogether as his flapper, his guide, stop-watch, auditor, brimiul of rogueries and inventions as you could desire. treasurer." + Although contented with his He was a brother of the angle, moreover; and just such
a free, hearty, honest companion as Mr. Izaak Walton lamb has given characters of his father (under the would have chosen to go a fishing with.". Same of Lorel), and of Mr. Salt, in one of the most † The following little poem, entitled "A Letter from exquisite of all the Essays of Elia—“The Old Benchers a Child to its Grandmother,” written by Mr. Jolin Lamb of the Inner Temple." of Lovel, he says, “He was for his eldest son, though possessing no merit beyond a man of an incorrigible and losing honesty. A good simplieity of expression, may show the manner in which fellow withal, and would strike.' In the cause of the he endeavoured to discharge his parental duties : oppressed he never considered incqualities, or calculated the number of his opponents. He once wrested a sword
“ Dear Grandam, out of the hand of a man of quality that had drawn
Pray to God to bless upon him; and pummelled him severely with the hilt of
Your grandson dear, with happiness; it. The swordsman had offered insult to a femalean
That, as I do advance each year, Beasion upon which no odds against him could have
I may be taught my God to fear; prevented the interference of Lovel. He would stand
My little frame from passion free, test day bare-beaded to the same person, modestly to
To man's estate from infancy;
was a woman of appearance so matronly and master on account of his infirmity of speech. commanding, that, according to the recollec- His countenance was mild ; his complexion tion of one of Lamb's dearest schoolmates, clear brown, with an expression which might “she might be taken for a sister of Mrs. Sid- lead you to think that he was of Jewish dons.” This excellent couple were blessed descent. His eyes were not each of the same with three children, John, Mary, and Charles ; colour, one was hazel, the other had specks John being twelve and Mary ten years older of grey in the iris, mingled as we see red than Charles. John, who is vividly described spots in the blood-stone. His step was in the essay of Elia entitled “My Relations,” plantigrade, which made his walk slow and under the name of James Elia, rose to fill a peculiar, adding to the staid appearance of lucrative office in the South Sea House, and his figure. I never heard his name mendied a few years ago, having to the last tioned without the addition of Charles, fulfilled the affectionate injunction of Charles, although, as there was no other boy of the to “keep the elder brother up in state." name of Lamb, the addition was unnecessary; Mary (the Bridget of the same essay) still but there was an implied kindness in it, and survives, to mourn the severance of a life- it was a proof that his gentle manners excited long association, as free from every alloy of that kindness." selfishness, as remarkable for moral beauty, “ His delicate frame and his difficulty of as this world ever witnessed in brother and utterance, which was increased by agitation, sister.
unfitted him for joining in any boisterous On the 9th of October, 1782, when Charles sport. The description which he gives, in Lamb had attained the age of seven, he was his ‘Recollections of Christ's Hospital, of presented to the school of Christ's Hospital, the habits and feelings of the schoolboy, is a by Timothy Yeates, Esq., Governor, as “the true one in general, but is more particularly son of John Lamb, scrivener, and Elizabeth a delineation of himself—the feelings were his wife,” and remained a scholar of that all in his own heart—the portrait was lis noble establishment till he had entered into own: 'While others were all fire and play, his fifteenth year. Small of stature, delicate he stole along with all the self-concentration of frame, and constitutionally nervous and of a young monk.' These habits and feelings timid, he would seem unfitted to encounter were awakened and cherished in him by the discipline of a school formed to restrain peculiar circumstances : he had been born some hundreds of lads in the heart of the and bred in the Inner Temple ; and his metropolis, or to fight his way among them. parents continued to reside there while he But the sweetness of his disposition won him was at school, so that he passed from cloister favour from all; and although the antique to cloister, and this was all the change his peculiarities of the school tinged his opening young mind ever knew. On every halfimagination, they did not sadden his child- holiday (and there were two in the week) in hood. One of his schoolfellows, of whose ten minutes he was in the gardens, on the genial qualities he has made affectionate terrace, or at the fountain of the Temple : mention in his “ Recollections of Christ's here was his home, here his recreation ; and Hospital,” Charles V. Le Grice, now of the influence they had on his infant mind is Treriefe, near Penzance, has supplied me vividly shown in his description of the Old with some particulars of his school-days, for Benchers. He says, “I was born and passed which friends of a later date will be grateful. the first seven years of my life in the Temple:' “Lamb,” says Mr. Le Grice,“ was an amiable he might have added, that here he passed a gentle boy, very sensible and keenly observing, great portion of the second seven years of his indulged by his schoolfellows and by his life, a portion which mixed itself with all his From vice, that turns a youth aside,
habits and enjoyments, and gave a bias to And to have wisdom for my guide ;
the whole. Here he found a happy home, That I may neither lie nor swear,
affectionate parents, and a sister who watched But in the path of virtue steer ; My actions generous, firm, and just,
over him to the latest hour of his existence Be always faithful to my trust;
(God be with her !) with the tenderest soliciYour grandson dear,
tude ; and here he had access to the library John the Less." of Mr. Salt, one of the Benchers, to whose
And thee the Lord will ever bless
| memory his pen has given, in return for this success can, indeed, ever compensate for the
and greater favours--I do not think it extra- want of timely nurture beneath the shade of vagant to say-im nortality. To use his one of these venerable institutions-for the own language, here he was tumbled into a sense of antiquity shading, not checking, the spacious closet of good old English reading, joyous impulses of opening manhood-for where he browsed at will upon that fair and the refinement and the grace there interfused wholesome pasturaçıe.' He applied these into the long labour of ambitious study-for words to his sister; but there is no doubt young friendships consecrated by the assothey · browsed' together; they had walked ciations of long past time; and for liberal hand in hand from a time 'extending beyond emulation, crowned by successes restrained the period of their memory.'”
from ungenerous and selfish pride by palpable When Lamb quitted school, he was in the symbols of the genius and the learning of lower division of the second class—which in ages ? the language of the school is termed“ being On 23rd November, 1789, Lamb finally in Greek Form, but not Deputy Grecian.” quitted Christ's Hospital for the abode of his He had read Virgil, Sallust, Terence, selec- parents, who still resided in the Temple. At tions fronı Lucian's Dialogues, and Xenophon; first he was employed in the South Sea and had evinced considerable skill in the House, under his brother John; but on the niceties of Latin composition, both in prose 5th April, 1792, he obtained an appointment and verse. His docility and aptitude for the in the accountant's office of the East India attainment of classical knowledge would have Company. His salary, though then small, insured him an exhibition ; but to this the was a welcome addition to the scanty means impediment in his speech proved an insu- of his parents ; who now were unable, by perable obstacle. The exhibitions were given their own exertions, to increase it, his mother under the implied, if not expressed, condition being in ill health, which confined her to her of entering into the Church; the whole course bed, and his father sinking into dotage. On of education was preparatory to that end ; their comfort, however, this, and what was and therefore Lamb, who was unfitted by more precious to him, his little leisure, were nature for the clerical profession, was not freely bestowed ; and his recreations were adopted into the class which led to it, and confined to a delightful visit to the twoquitted school to pursue the uncongenial shilling gallery of the theatre, in company labour of the “desk’s dull wood.” To this with his sister, and an occasional supper with apparently hard lot he submitted with some of his schoolmates, when in town, from cheerfulness, and saw his schoolfellows of his Cambridge. On one of these latter occasions own standing depart, one after another, for he obtained the appellation of Guy, by which the University without a murmur. This he was always called among them ; but of acquiescence in his different fortune must which few of his late friends heard till after have been a hard trial for the sweetness of his death. “In the first year of his clerkhis disposition ; as he always, in after life, ship,” says Mr. Le Grice, in the communicaregarded the ancient seats of learning with tion with which he favoured me, “Lamb the fondness of one who had been hardly spent the evening of the 5th November divorced from them. He delighted, when with some of his former schoolfellows, who, other duties did not hinder, to pass his being amused with the particularly large and vacations in their neighbourhood, and indulge flapping brim of his round hat, pinned it up in that fancied association with them which on the sides in the form of a cocked-hat. he has so beautifully mirrored in his “Sonnet Lamb made no alteration in it, but walked written at Cambridge.". What worldly home in his usual sauntering gait towards .
the Temple. As he was going down LudgateI was not train'd in academic bowers, And to those learned streams I nothing owe
Strange forms of logic clothe my admiring speech ;. Which copious from those twin fair founts do flow; Old Ramus' ghost is busy at my brain; Mine have been anything but studious hours.
And my skull teems with notions infinite. Yet can I fancy, wandering 'mid thy towers,
Be still, ye reeds of Camus, while I teach Myself a nursling, Granta, of thy lap ;
Truths which transcend the searching schoolmen's My brow seems tightening with the doctor's cap,
vein, And I walk gowned ; feel unusual powers.
And half had stagger'd that stout Stagyrite!
, some gay young men, who seemed not to rare fancies, “all deftly masked like hoar have passed the London Tavern without antiquity'-much superior to Dr. Kenrick's resting, exclaimed, “The veritable Guy!
The work was no man of straw!' and with this exclamation neglected, although Lamb exerted all the they took him up, making a chair with their influence he subsequently acquired with arms, carried him, seated him on a post in more popular writers to obtain for it favourSt. Paul's-churchyard, and there left him. able notices, as will be seen from various This story Lamb told so seriously, that the passages in his letters. He stuck, however, truth of it was never doubted. He wore gallantly by his favourite protégé; and even his three-cornered hat many evenings, and when he could little afford to disburse retained the name of Guy ever after. Like sixpence, he made a point of buying a copy Nym, he quietly sympathised in the fun, and of the book whenever he discovered one seemed to say, 'that was the humour of it.' amidst the refuse of a bookseller's stall, and A clergyman of the City lately wrote to me, would present it to a friend in the hope of “I have no recollection of Lamb. There was making a convert. He gave me one of these a gentleman called Guy, to whom you ouce copies soon after I became acquainted with introduced me, and with whom I have occa- him, stating that he had purchased it in the sioually interchanged nods for more than morning for sixpence, and assuring me I thirty years ; but how is it that I never met should enjoy a rare treat in the perusal ; Mr. Lamb ? If I was ever introduced to but if I must confess the truth, the mask of him, I wonder that we never came in contact quaintness was so closely worn, that it during niy residence for ten years in Edmon- nearly concealed the humour. To Lamb it ton.'
Imagine this gentleman's surprise was, doubtless, vivified by the eye and voice when I informed him that his pods to Mr. of his old boon companion, forming to him Guy had been constantly reciprocated by an undying commentary; without which it Mr. Lamb!"
was comparatively spiritless. Alas! how During these years Lamb's most frequent many even of his own most delicate fancies, companion was James White, or rather, rich as they are in feeling and in wisdom, Jem White, as he always called him. Lamb, will be lost to those who have not present alwaysinsisted that for hearty joyous humour, to them the sweet broken accents, and the tinged with Shaksperian fancy, Jem never half playful, half melancholy smile of the had an equal. “Jem White !” said he, to writer! Mr. Le Grice, when they met for the last But if Jem White was the companion of time, after many years' absence, at the Bell his lighter moods, the friend of his serious at Edmonton, in June, 1833, “there never thoughts was a person of far nobler powers was his like! We never shall see such days -Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was his good as those in which Jem flourished !" All fortune to be the schoolfellow of that extrathat now remains of Jem is the celebration ordinary man; and if no particular intimacy of the suppers which he gave the young had been formed between them at Christ's chimney-sweepers in the Elia of his friend, Hospital, a foundation was there laid for a and a thin duodecimo volume, which he friendship to which the world is probably published in 1796, under the title of the indebted for all that Lamb has added to its “ Letters of Sir John Falstaff, with a dedi- sources of pleasure. Junior to Coleridge by cation (printed in black letter) to Master two years, and far inferior to him in all Samuel Irelaunde,” which those who knew scholastic acquirements, Lamb had listened Lamb at the time believed to be his. “White's to the rich discourse of “ the inspired charityLetters," said Lamb, in a letter to a friend boy” with a wondering delight, pure from all about this time, “ are near publication. His envy, and, it may be, enhanced by his sense frontispiece is a good conceit ; Sir John of his own feebleness and difficulty of learning to dance, to please Madame Page, expression. While Coleridge remained at in dress of doublet, &c., from the upper half, the University, they met occasionally on his and modern pantaloons, with shoes of the visits to London; and when he quitted it, righteenth century, from the lower half, and and came to town, full of mantling hopes the whole work is full of goodly quips and and glorious schemes, Lamb became his