« PreviousContinue »
the Doctor, as he thought, sent it me. A, the persuasive of my own, which accompanies book of like exterior he did send, but being it, will not be thrown away; if it be, he is a disclosed, how far unlike! It was the 'Well- sloe, and no true-hearted crab, and there's bred Scholar,'—a book with which it seems an end. For that life of the German conthe Doctor laudably fills up those hours juror which you speak of, 'Colerus de Vita which he can steal from his medical avoca- Doctoris vix-Intelligibilis,' I perfectly retions. Chesterfield, Blair, Beattie, portions member the last evening we spent with from "The Life of Savage,' make up a Mrs. Morgan and Miss Brent, in Londonprettvish system of morality and the belles- street,-(by that token we had raw rabbits lettres, which Mr. Mylne, a schoolmaster, for supper, and Miss B. prevailed upon me has properly brought together, and calls the to take a glass of brandy and water after collection by the denomination above men- supper, which is not my habit,)I perfectly tioned. The Doctor had no sooner discovered' remember reading portions of that life in his error, than he dispatched man and horse their parlour, and I think it must be among to rectify the mistake, and with a pretty their packages. It was the very last evening kind of ingenuous modesty in his note, we were at that house.
What is gone of seemeth to deny any knowledge of the that frank-hearted circle, Morgan, and his “Well-bred Scholar;' false modesty surely, cos-lettuces ? He ate walnuts better than and a blush misplaced; for, what more any man I ever knew. Friendships in these pleasing than the consideration of profes- parts stagnate. sional austerity thus relaxing, thus im “I am going to eat turbot, turtle, venison, proving! But so, when a child I remember marrow pudding, --cold punch, claret, Mablushing, being caught on my knees to my deira,—at our annual feast, at half-past four Maker, or doing otherwise some pious and this day. They keep bothering me, (I'm at praiseworthy action ; now I rather love such office,) and my ideas are confused. Let me things to be seen. Henry Crabb Robinson know if I can be of any service as to books. is out upon his circuit, and his books are God forbid the Architectonican should be inaccessible without his leave and key. He sacrificed to a foolish scruple of some bookis atteading the Norfolk Circuit,-a short proprietor, as if books did not belong with term, but to him, as to many young lawyers, the highest propriety to those that undera long vacation, sufficiently dreary.* I stand 'em best.
“ C. LAMB." thought I could do no better than transmit to him, not extracts, but your very letter itself, than which I think I never read any
“ 26th August, 1814. thing more moving, more pathetic, or more “Let the hungry soul rejoice, there is corn conducive to the purpose of persuasion. The in Egypt. Whatever thou hast been told to Crab is a sour Crab if it does not sweeten the contrary by designing friends, who perhim. I think it would draw another third haps inquired carelessly, or did not inquire volume of Dodsley out of me; but you say at all, in hope of saving their money, there you don't want any English books ? Per- is a stock of 'Remorse 'on hand, enough, as haps after all, that's as well; one's romantic Pople conjectures, for seven years' consumpcredulity is for ever misleading one into tion; judging from experience of the last misplaced acts of foolery. Crab might have two years. Methinks it makes for the benefit answered by this time : his juices take a of sound literature, that the best books do long time supplying, but they'll run at last, i not always go off best. Inquire in seven -I know they will,--pure golden pippin. : years' time for the 'Rokebys' and the A fearful rumour has since reached me that| ‘Laras,' and where shall they be found ?the Crab is on the eve of setting out for fluttering fragmentally in some thread-paper France. If he is in England your letter will —whereas thy Wallenstein,' and thy 'Rereach him, and I flatter myself a touch of morse,' are safe on Longinan's or Pople's
shelves, as in some Bodleian ; there they * A mistake of Lamb's at which the excellent person shall remain ; no need of a chain to hold referred to may smile, now that lie has retired from them fast-perhaps for ages-tall copies his profession, and has no business but the offices of kinduess.
and people shan't run about hunting for
TO MR. COLERIDGE.
LETTERS TO WORDSWORTH, SOUTHEY, AND MANNING.
them as in old Ezra's shrievalty they did for want any books that I can procure for a Bible, almost without effect till the great- Old Jimmy Boyer is dead at last. Trollope great-grand-niece (by the mother's side) of has got his living, worth 10001. a-year net. Jeremiah or Ezekiel (which was it ?) re- See, thou sluggard, thou heretic-sluggard, membered something of a book, with odd what mightest thou rot have arrived at. realing in it, that used to lie in the green Lay thy animosity against Jimmy in the closet in her aunt Judith's bedchamber. grave. Do not entail it on thy posterity. * Thy caterer, Price, was at Hamburgh
« CHARLES LAMB." when last Pople heard of him, laying up for thee like some miserly old father for his generous hearted son to squander.
"Mr. Charles Aders, whose books also pant for that free circulation which thy custody is sure to give them, is to be heard of
CHAPTER X. at his kinsmen, Messrs. Jameson and Aders, No. 7, Laurence Pountney-lane, London,
(1815 to 1817.) according to the information which Crabius with his parting breath left me. Crabius is It was at the beginning of the year 1815 gone to Paris.
I prophesy he and the that I had first the happiness of a personal Parisians will part with mutual contempt. acquaintance with Mr. Lamb. With his His head has a twist Allemagne, like thine, scattered essays and poems I had become dear mystic.
familiar a few weeks before, through the “I have been reading Madame Stael on instrumentality of Mr. Baron Field, now Germany. An impudent clever woman. Chief Justice of Gibraltar, who had been But if 'Faust' be no better than in her brought into close intimacy with Lamb by abstract of it, I counsel thee to let it alone. the association of his own family with How canst thou translate the language of Christ's Hospital, of which his father was cat-monkeys ? Fie on such fantasies! But the surgeon, and by his own participation in I will not forget to look for Proclus. It is a the “Reflector.” Living then in chambers in kind of book when one meets with it one Inner Temple-lane, and attending those of shuts the lid faster than one opened it. Yet Mr. Chitty, the special pleader, which were I have some bastard kind of recollection that on the next staircase to Mr. Lamb's, I had some where, some time ago, upon some stall been possessed some time by a desire to or other, I saw it. It was either that or become acquainted with the writings of my Plotinus, or Saint Augustine's ‘City of God.' gifted neighbour, which my friend was able So little do some folks value, what to others, only partially to gratify. “John Woodvil,” &c. to you, 'well used,' had been the ‘Pledge and the number of the "Reflector” enriched of Immortality. Bishop Bruno I never with Lamb's article, he indeed lent me, but
Stuffing too good for the he had no copy of “Rosamund Gray,” which brains of such 'a Hare'as thou describest. I was most anxious to read, and which, after May it burst his pericranium, as the gobbets earnest search through all the bookstalls of fat and turpentine (a nasty thought of the within the scope of my walks, I found, exseer) did that old dragon in the Apocrypha ! hibiting proper marks of due appreciation, May be
go mad in trying to understand his in the store of a little circulating library author! May he lend the third volume of near Holborn. There was something in this him before he has quite translated the second, little romance so entirely new, yet breathing to a friend who shall lose it, and so spoil the the air of old acquaintance; a sense of publication, and may his friend find it and beauty so delicate and so intense ; and a send it him just as thou or some such less morality so benignant and so profound, that, dilatory spirit shall have announced the as I read it, my curiosity to see its author whole for the press ; lastly, may he be hunted rose almost to the height of pain. The by Reviewers, and the devil jug him. Canst' commencement of the new year brought think of any other queries in the solution of me that gratification ; I was invited to meet which I can give thee satisfaction ? Do you Lamb at dinner, at the house of Mr. William
Evans, a gentleman holding an office in Lamb insisted on my sitting with him while the India House, who then lived in Wey- he smoked “ one pipe ”—for, alas ! for poor mouth-street, and who was a proprietor of human nature-he had resumed his acquaintthe “ Pamphleteer,” to which I had con- lance with his "fair traitress.” How often tributed some idle scribblings. My duties the pipe and the glasses were replenished, I at the office did not allow me to avail myself will not undertake to disclose; but I can of this invitation to dinner, but I went up at never forget the conversation : though the ten o'clock, through a deep snow, palpably first, it was more solemn, and in higher congealing into ice, and was amply repaid mood, than any I ever after had with Lamb when I reached the hospitable abode of my through the whole of our friendship. How friend. There was Lamb, preparing to de- it took such a turn between two strangers, part, but he staid half an hour in kindness one of them a lad of not quite twenty, I to me, and then accompanied me to our cannot tell; but so it happened. We discommon home--the Temple.
coursed then of life and death, and our antiMethinks I see him before me now, as he cipation of a world beyond the grave. Lamb appeared then, and as he continued, with spoke of these awful themes with the simplest scarcely any perceptible alteration to me, piety, but expressed his own fond cleavings during the twenty years of intimacy which to life-to all well-known accustomed things followed, and were closed by his death. A -and a shivering (not shuddering) sense of light frame, so fragile that it seemed as if a that which is to come, which he so finely breath would overthrow it, clad in clerk-like indicated in his “New Year's Eve,” years black, was surmounted by a head of form afterwards. It was two o'clock before we and expression the most noble and sweet. parted, when Lamb gave me a hearty invita His black hair curled crisply about an ex- tion to renew my visit at pleasure ; but two panded forehead; his eyes, softly brown, or three months elapsed before I saw him twinkled with varying expression, though again. In the meantime, a number of the the prevalent feeling was sad ; and the nose Pamphleteer” contained an Essay on the slightly curved, and delicately carved at the Chief Living Poets,” among whom on the nostril, with the lower outline of the face title appeared the name of Lamb, and some regularly oval, completed a head which was page or two were expressly devoted to his finely placed on the shoulders, and gave praises. It was a poor tissue of tawdry importance, and even dignity, to a diminutive eulogies—a shallow outpouring of young and shadowy stem. Who shall describe his enthusiasm in fine words, which it mistakes countenance-catch its quivering sweetness for thoughts ; yet it gave Lamb, who had --and fix it for ever in words? There are hitherto received scarcely civil notice from none, alas ! to answer the vain desire of reviewers, great pleasure to find that any one friendship. Deep thought, striving with recognised him as having a place among humour; the lines of suffering wreathed into poets. The next time I saw him, he came cordial mirth ; and a smile of painful sweet- almost breathless into the office, and proness, present an image to the mind it can as posed to give me what I should have chosen little describe as lose. His personal appear as the greatest of all possible honours and ance and manner are not unfitly characterised delights- an introduction to Wordsworth, by what he himself says in one of his letters who I learned, with a palpitating heart, was to Manning of Braham-"a compound of the actually at the next door. I hurried out Jew, the gentleman, and the angel.” He with my kind conductor, and a minute after took my arm, and we walked to the Temple, was presented by Lamb to the person whom Lamb stammering out fine remarks as we in all the world I venerated most, with this walked ; and when we reached his staircase, preface :-“Wordsworth, give me leave to he detained me with an urgency which introduce to you my only admirer.” would not be denied, and we mounted to the top story, where an old petted servant, called Becky, was ready to receive us.
The following letter was addressed to soon seated beside a cheerful fire; hot water Wordsworth, after his return to Westmore And its better adjuncts were before us ; and land from this visit:
TO MR. WORDSWORTII.
business from our department; which, if it
take place, will produce me more time, i.e.
“Aug. 9th, 1815. my evenings free. It may be a means of " Dear Wordsworth, - Mary and I felt ' placing me in a more conspicuous situation, quite queer after your taking leave (you which will knock at my nerves another way, W. W.) of us in St. Giles's. We wished we but I wait the issue in submission. If I can had seen more of you, but felt we had scarce but begin my own day at four o'clock in the been sufficiently acknowledging for the share afternoon, I shall think myself to have Eden we had enjoyed of your company. We felt days of peace and liberty to what I have had. as if we had been not enough expressive of As you say, how a man can fill three volumes our pleasure. But our manners both are a up with an essay on the drama, is wonderful; little too much on this side of too-much- I am sure a very few sheets would hold all I cordiality. We want presence of mind and had to say on the subject. presence of heart. What we feel comes too “Did you ever read 'Charon on Wisdom ?' late, like an after-thought impromptu. But or ' Patrick's Pilgrim ?' If neither, you have perhaps you observed nothing of that which two great pleasures to come. I mean some we have been painfully conscious of, and are day to attack Caryl on Job, six folios. What every day in our intercourse with those we any man can write, surely I may read. If I stand affected to through all the degrees of do but get rid of auditing warehousekeepers' love. Robinson is on the circuit. Our pane- accounts and get no worse e-harassing task in gyrist I thought had forgotten one of the the place of it, what a lord of liberty I shall be ! objects of his youthful admiration, but I was I shall dance, and skip, and make mouths at agreeably removed from that scruple by the the invisible event, and pick the thorns out laundress knocking at my door this morning, of my pillow, and throw 'em at rich men's almost before I was up, with a present of fruit night-caps, and talk blank verse, hoity, toity, from my young friend, &c. There is some- and sing—' A clerk I was in London gay, thing inexpressibly pleasant to me in these 'Ban, ban, Ca-Caliban,' like the emancipated presents, be it fruit, or fowl, or brawn, or monster, and go where I like, up this street what not. Books are a legitimate cause of or down that alley. Adieu, and pray that it acceptance. If presents be not the soul of may
luck. friendship, undoubtedly they are the most “Good bye to you all. C. LAMB." spiritual part of the body of that intercourse. There is too much narrowness of thinking in this point. The punctilio of acceptance,
The following letter was inclosed in the methinks, is too confined and strait-laced. I could be content to receive money, or clothes,
same parcel with the last. or a joint of meat from a friend. Why should he not send me a dinner as well as a dessert ? I would taste him in the beasts of the field,
Aug. 9th, 1815. and through all creation. Therefore did the “Dear Southey,-Robinson is not on the brisket of fruit of the juvenile Talfourd not circuit, as I erroneously stated in a letter to displease me; not that I have any thoughts W. W., which travels with this, but is gone of bartering or reciprocating these things. to Brussels, Ostend, Ghent, &c. But his To send him anything in return, would be to friends, the Colliers, whom I consulted reflect suspicion of mercenariness upon what respecting your friend's fate, remember I know he meant a free-will offering. Let have heard him say, that Father Pardo had him overcome me in bounty. In this strife effected his escape (the cunning greasy rogue), a generous nature loves to be overcome. You and to the best of their belief is at present in wish me some of your leisure. I have a Paris. To my thinking, it is a small matter glimmering aspect, a chink-light of liberty whether there be one fat friar more or less before me, which I pray God prove not in the world. I have rather a taste for fallacious. My remonstrances have stirred clerical executions, imbibed from early recolup others to remonstrate, and, altogether, lections of the fate of the excellent Dodd. I there is a plan for separating certain parts of hear Bonaparte has sued his habeas corpus,
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
TO MR. SOUTHEY.
and the twelve judges are now sitting upon
“May 6th, 1815, of its kind. Poet Settle presided at the last “Dear Southey,–I have received from great thing of the kind in London, when the Longman a copy of 'Roderick, with the pope was burnt in form. Do you provide author's compliments, for which I much any verses on this occasion ? Your fear for thank you. I don't know where I shall put Hartley's intellectuals is just and rational. all the noble presents I have lately received Could not the Chancellor be petitioned to in that way; the 'Excursion,' Wordsworth's remove him? His lordship took Mr. Betty two last vols., and now ‘Roderick,' have come from under the paternal wing. I think at pouring in upon me like some irruption from least he should go through a course of Helicon. The story of the brave Maccabee matter-of-fact with some sober man after was already, you may be sure, familiar to me the mysteries. Could not he spend a week in all its parts. I have, since the receipt of at Poole’s before he goes back to Oxford ? your present, read it quite through again, Tobin is dead. But there is a man in my and with no diminished pleasure. I don't office, a Mr. H., who proses it away from know whether I ought to say that it has morning to night, and never gets beyond given me more pleasure than any of your corporal and material verities.
He'd get long poems.
'Kehama' is doubtless more these crack-brain metaphysics out of the powerful, but I don't feel that firm footing young gentleman's head as soon as any one in it that I do in ‘Roderick;' my imagination I know. When I can't sleep o’nights, I goes sinking and floundering in the vast imagine a dialogue with Mr. H., upon any spaces of unopened-before systems and faiths; given subject, and go prosing on in fancy I am put out of the pale of my old sympathies; with him, till I either laugh or fall asleep. my moral sense is almost outraged; I can't I have literally found it answer. I am going believe, or, with horror am made to believe, to stand godfather; I don't like the business ; such desperate chances against omnipotences, I cannot muster up decorum for these occa- such disturbances of faith to the centre; the sions ; I shall certainly disgrace the font. I more potent the more painful the spell
. was at Hazlitt's marriage, and had like to Jove, and his brotherhood of gods, tottering have been turned out several times during with the giant assailings, I can bear, for the the ceremony. Any thing awful makes me soul's hopes are not struck at in such conlaugh. I misbehaved once at a funeral. Yet tests; but your Oriental almighties are too I can read about these ceremonies with pious much types of the intangible prototype to be and proper feelings. The realities of life meddled with without shuddering. One never only seem the mockeries. I fear I must get connects what are called the attributes with cured along with Hartley, if not too invete- Jupiter. I mention only what diminishes my rate. Don't you think Louis the Desirable delight at the wonder-workings of ' Kehama' is in a sort of quandary?
not what impeaches its power, which I con“After all, Bonaparte is a fine fellow, as fess with trembling; but 'Roderick' is a my barber says, and I should not mind comfortable poem. It reminds me of the standing bareheaded at his table to do him delight I took in the first reading of the service in his fall. They should have given 'Joan of Arc.' It is maturer and better him Hampton Court or Kensington, with a than that, though not better to me now than tether extending forty miles round London. that was then. It suits me better than Madoc. Qu. Would not the people have ejected the I am at home in Spain and Christendom. I Brunswicks some day in his favour? Well, have a timid imagination, I am afraid. I do we shall see.
not willingly admit of strange beliefs, or outof-the-way creeds or places. I never read
books of travels, at least not farther than The following was addressed to Southey in Paris, or Rome. I can just endure Moors, acknowledgment of his “ Roderick," the most because of their connection as foes with sustained and noble of his poems.
Christians; but Abyssinians, Ethiops, Esquimaux, Dervises, and all that tribe, I hate.