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what a distinction should I keep up between
him and our less fortunate friend, H. C. R. Decent respect shall always be the Crabb's —but, somehow, short of reverence. “Well, of my old friends, I have lived to see two knighted, one made a judge, another in a fair way to it. Why am I restive 1 why stands my sun upon Gibeah 7 “Variously, my dear Mrs. Talfourd, [I can be more familiar with her J Mrs. Serjeant Talfourd—my sister prompts me—(these ladies stand upon ceremonies)—has the congratulable news affected the members of our small community. Mary comprehended it at once, and entered into it heartily. Mrs. W– was, as usual, perverse; wouldn't, or couldn't, understand it. A Serjeant She thought Mr.T. was in the law. Didn't know that he ever listed. “Emma alone truly sympathised. She had a silk gown come home that very day, and has precedence before her learned sisters accordingly. “We are going to drink the health of Mr. and Mrs. Serjeant, with all the young serjeantry—and that is all that I can see that I shall get by the promotion. “Valete, et mementote amici quondam vestri humillimi, C. L.”
The following note to Mr. Moxon, on some long forgotten occasion of momentary disPleasure, the nature and object of which is uncertain;-contains a fantastical exaggeration of anger, which, judged by those who knew the writer, will only illustrate the entire absence of all the bad passions of hatred and contempt it feigns.
TO MR. MOxON. “ 1833. “Dear M.–Many thanks for the books; but most thanks for one immortal sentence: ‘If I do not cheat him, never trust me again.'
I do not know whether to admire most, the wit or justness of the sentiment. It has my cordial approbation. My sense of meum and tuum applauds it. I maintain it, the eighth commandment hath a secret special reservation, by which the reptile is exempt from any protection from it. As a dog, or a nigger, he is not a holder of property. Not a ninth of what he detains from the world is his own. Keep your hands from picking and stealing, is no ways referable to his acquists. I doubt whether bearing false witness against thy neighbour at all contemplated this possible scrub. Could Moses have seen the speck in vision ? An er post facto law alone could relieve him ; and we are taught to expect no eleventh commandment. The outlaw to the Mosaic dispensation s—unworthy to have seen Moses behind —to lay his desecrating hands upon Elia' Has the irreverent ark-toucher been struck blind, I wonder The more I think of him, the less I think of him. His meanness is invisible with aid of solar microscope. My moral eye smarts at him. The less flea that bites little fleas . The great BEAST . The beggarly NIT “More when we meet; mind, you'll come, two of you; and couldn't you go off in the morning, that we may have a day-long curse at him, if curses are not dishallowed by descending so low Amen. Maledicatur in extremis' C. L.”
In the spring of 1833, Lamb made his last removal from Enfield to Edmonton. He was about to lose the society of Miss Isola, on the eve of marriage, and determined to live altogether with his sister, whether in her sanity or her madness. This change was announced in the following letter
To M.R. WordSWORTH.
“Dear Wordsworth, Your letter, save in what respects your dear sister's health, cheered me in my new solitude. Mary is ill again. Her illnesses encroach yearly. The last was three months, followed by two of depression most dreadful. I look back upon her earlier attacks with longing. Nice little durations of six weeks or so, followed by complete restoration,-shocking as they were
to me then. In short, half her life she is dead to me, and the other half is made anxious with fears and lookings forward to the next shock. With such prospects, it seemed to me necessary that she should no longer live with me, and be fluttered with continual removals; so I am come to live with her, at a Mr. Walden's, and his wife, who take in patients, and have arranged to lodge and board us only. They have had the care of her before. I see little of her, alas ! I too often hear her. Sunt lachrymae rerum ! and you and I must bear it. “To lay a little more load on it, a circumstance has happened, cujus pars magna fui, and which, at another crisis, I should have more rejoiced in. I am about to lose my old and only walk-companion, whose mirthful spirits were the ‘youth of our house,' Emma Isola. I have her here now for a little while, but she is too nervous, properly to be under
such a roof, so she will make short visits, be no more an inmate. With my perfect approval, and more than concurrence, she is to be wedded to Moxon, at the end of August—so ‘perish the roses and the flowers'—how is it ! “Now to the brighter side. I am emancipated from Enfield. I am with attentive people, and younger. I am three or four miles nearer the great city; coaches half. price less, and going always, of which I avail myself. I have few friends left there, one or two though, most beloved. But London streets and faces cheer me inexpressibly, though of the latter, there should be not one known one remaining. “Thank you for your cordial reception of “Elia.’ Inter nos, the “Ariadne’ is not a darling with me; several incongruous things are in it, but in the composition it served me as illustrative. “I want you in the “Popular Fallacies’ “ to like the “Home that is no home,' and “Rising with the lark.” “I am feeble, but cheerful in this my genial hot weather. Walked sixteen miles yesterday. I can't read much in summer time. “With my kindest love to all, and prayers for dear Dorothy, “I remain most affectionately yours, “C. LAMB.
• A series of articles contributed, under this title, by
Lamb, to the “New Monthly Magazine.”
“At Mr. Walden's, Church-street, Edmonton, Middlesex.
“Moxon has introduced Emma to Rogers, and he smiles upon the project. I have given E. my MILTON, (will you pardon me?") in part of a portion. It hangs famously in his Murray-like shop.”
On the approach of the wedding-day, fixed for 30th July, Lamb turned to the account of a half-tearful merriment, the gift of a watch to the young lady whom he was about to lose.
to Mr. MOxON. “July 24th, 1833. “For God's sake give Emma no more watches; one has turned her head. She is arrogant and insulting. She said something very unpleasant to our old clock in the passage, as if he did not keep time, and yet he had made her no appointment. She takes it out every instant to look at the momenthand. She lugs us out into the fields, because there the bird-boys ask you, ‘Pray, sir, can you tell us what's o'clock 2' and she answers them punctually. She loses all her time looking to see ‘what the time is.' I overheard her whispering, “Just so many hours, minutes, &c., to Tuesday; I think St. George's goes too slow.’ This little present of Time !—why, 'tis Eternity to her “What can make her so fond of a gingerbread watch “She has spoiled some of the movements. Between ourselves, she has kissed away ‘half-past twelve,” which I suppose to be the canonical hour in Hanover Square. “Well, if ‘love me, love my watch,' answers, she will keep time to you. “It goes right by the Horse Guards.
TO MR. MOXON. “ 1833. “Dear M., Mary and I are very poorly. We have had a sick child, who, sleeping or not sleeping, next me, with a pasteboard partition between, killed my sleep. The little bastard is gone. My bedfellows are cough and cramp; we sleep three in a bed. Domestic arrangements (baker, butcher, and all) devolve on Mary. Don't come yet to this house of pest and age We propose, when you and E. agree on the time, to come up and meet you at the B–’s, say a week hence, but do you make the appointment. “Mind, our spirits are good, and we are happy in your happinesses. C. L.
“Our old and ever loves to dear Emma.”
The following is Lamb's reply to a welcome communication of Sonnets, addressed by the bridegroom to the fair object of Lamb's regard—beautiful in themselves— and endeared to Lamb by honoured memories and generous hopes:–
TO MR. MOXON.
“Mary is of opinion with me, that two of these Sonnets are of a higher grade than any poetry you have done yet. The one to Emma is so pretty I have only allowed myself to transpose a word in the third line. Sacred shall it be from any intermeddling of mine. But we jointly beg that you will make four lines in the room of the four last. Read ‘Darby and Joan,’ in Mrs. Moxon's first
album. There you’ll see how beautiful in age the looking back to youthful years in an
old couple is. But it is a violence to the
feelings to anticipate that time in youth. I
hope you and Emma will have many a quarrel
and many a make-up (and she is beautiful in reconciliation 1) before the dark days
shall come, in which ye shall say “there is
small comfort in them.’ You have begun a
sort of character of Emma in them, very sweetly ; carry it on, if you can through the last lines. “I love the sonnet to my heart, and you shall finish it, and I'll be hanged if I furnish a line towards it. So much for that. The next best is to the Ocean.
‘Ye gallant winds, if eler your Lusty cheeks
is spirited. The last line I altered, and have re-altered it as it stood. It is closer. These two are your best. But take a good deal of time in finishing the first. How proud should Emma be of her poets “Perhaps “O Ocean' (though I like it) is too much of the open vowels, which Pope objects to. “Great Ocean ' ' is obvious. To save sad thoughts I think is better (though not good) than for the mind to save herself. But 'tis a noble Sonnet. ‘St. Cloud' I have no fault to find with. “If I return the Sonnets, think it no dis. respect, for I look for a printed copy. You have done better than ever. And now for a reason I did not notice 'em earlier. On Wednesday they came, and on Wednesday I was a-gadding. Mary gave me a holiday, and I set off to Snow Hill. From Snow Hill I deliberately was marching down, with noble Holborn before me, framing in mental cogi-, tation a map of the dear London in prospect
thinking to traverse Wardour-street, &c., when, diabolically, I was interrupted by TO MR. ROGERS. * Dec. 1833.
Emma knows him—and prevailed on to spend the day at his sister's, where was an album, and (O, march of intellect () plenty of literary conversation, and more acquaintance with the state of modern poetry than I could keep up with. I was positively distanced. Knowles' play, which, epilogued by me, lay on the PLANo, alone made me hold up my head. When I came home, I read your letter, and glimpsed at your beautiful sonnet,
‘Fair art thou as the morning, my young bride,”
and dwelt upon it in a confused brain, but determined not to open them all next day, being in a state not to be told of at Chatteris. Tell it not in Gath, Emma, lest the daughters triumph! I am at the end of my tether. I wish you could come on Tuesday with your fair bride. Why can't you ! Do. We are thankful to your sister for being of the party. Come, and bring a sonnet on Mary's birthday. Love to the whole Moxonry, and tell E. I every day love her more, and miss her less. Tell her so, from her loving uncle, as she has let me call myself. I bought a fine embossed card yesterday, and wrote for the Pawnbrokeress's album. She is a Miss Brown, engaged to a Mr. White. One of the lines was (I forgot the rest—but she had them at twenty-four hours' notice; she is going out to India with her husband):
“May your fame, And fortune, Frances, WHITEN with your name !”
Not bad as a pun. I will expect you before two on Tuesday. I am well and happy, tell E.”
The following is Lamb's letter of acknowledgment to the author of the “Pleasures of Memory,” for an early copy of his “Illustrated Poems,” of a share in the publication of which, Mr. Moxon was “justly vain.” The artistical allusions are to Stothard; the allusions to the poet's own kindnesses need no explanation to those who have been enabled by circumstances, which now and then transpire, to guess at the generous course of his life.
“My dear Sir-Your book, by the unremitting punctuality of your publisher, has •reached me thus early. I have not opened it, nor will till to-morrow, when I promise myself a thorough reading of it. The “Pleasures of Memory’ was the first schoolpresent I made to Mrs. Moxon; it has those nice woodcuts, and I believe she keeps it still. Believe me, that all the kindness you have shown to the husband of that excellent person seems done unto myself. I have tried my hand at a sonnet in the ‘Times.” But the turn I gave it, though I hoped it would not displease you, I thought might not be equally agreeable to your artist. I met that dear old man at poor Henry's, with you, and again at Cary's, and it was sublime to see him sit, deaf, and enjoy all that was going on in mirth with the company. He reposed upon the many graceful, many fantastic images he had created ; with them he dined, and took wine. I have ventured at an antagonist copy of verses, in the ‘Athenaeum,” to him, in which he is as everything, and you as nothing. He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides. But I am jealous of the combination of the sister arts. Let them sparkle apart. What injury (short of the theatres) did not Boydell's Shakspeare Gallery do me with Shakspeare 7 to have Opie's Shakspeare, Northcote's Shakspeare, light-headed Fuseli's Shakspeare, heavy-headed Romney's Shakspeare, wooden-headed West's Shakspeare (though he did the best in Lear), deaf-headed Reynolds's Shakspeare, instead of my, and everybody's Shakspeare; to be tied down to an authentic face of Juliet ! to have Imogen's portrait ! to confine the illimitable ! I like you and Stothard (you best), but “out upon this half-faced fellowship !' Sir, when I have read the book, I may trouble you, through Moxon, with some faint criticisms. It is not the flatteringest compliment in a letter to an author to say, you have not read his book yet. But the devil of a reader he must be, who prances through it in five minutes; and no longer have I received the parcel. It was a little tantalising to me to receive a letter from Landor, Gebir Landor, from Florence, to say he was just sitting down to read my “Elia, just received; but