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make a thousand lines as I propose com- was my travail, long my trade to win her; pleting 'en, and the substance must be with all the duty of my soul I SERVED HER.' wire-drawn.”
' Then she must love.' 'She did, but never
me: she could not love me; she would not The following letter, written at intervals, love, she hated,-more, she scorn'd me ; and will give an insight into Lamb's spirit at this in so poor and base a way abused me for all
time, in its lighter and gayer moods. It my services, for all my bounties, so bold i would seem that his acquaintance with neglects flung on me.'—' What out of love,
the old English dramatists had just com- and worthy love I gave her, (shame to her menced with Beaumont and Fletcher, and most unworthy mind,) to fools, to girls, to Massinger :
fiddlers and her boys she flung, all in disdain
of me.' One more passage strikes my eye TO MR. COLERIDGE.
from B. and F.'s 'Palamon and Arcite.'
"Tuesday evening. One of 'em complains in prison : This is all "To your list of illustrative personifica- our world ; we shall know nothing here but tions, into which a fine imagination enters, I one another ; hear nothing but the clock will take leave to add the following from that tells us our woes ; the vine shall grow, Beaumont and Fletcher’s Wife for a Month;' but we shall never see it,' &c.—Is not the 'tis the conclusion of a description of a sea- last circumstance exquisite ? I mean not to fight ;– The game of death was never played lay myself open by saying they exceed so nobly; the meagre thief grew wanton in Milton, and perhaps Collins, in sublimity. his mischiefs, and his shrunk hollow eyes But don't you conceive all poets after Shakssiniled on his ruins.' There is fancy in these peare yield to 'em in variety of genius? of a lower order, from 'Bonduca ; '-—' Then Massinger treads close on their heels ; but did I see these valiant men of Britain, like you are most probably as well acquainted boding owls creep into tods of ivy, and hoot with his writings as your humble servant. their fears to one another nightly.' Not that My quotations, in that case, will only serve it is a personification ; only it just caught to expose my barrenness of matter. Southey my eye in a little extract book I keep, which in simplicity and tenderness, is excelled is full of quotations from B. and F. in parti-decidedly only, I think, by Beaumont and F. cular, in which authors I can't help thinking in his “Maid's Tragedy,' and some parts of there is a greater richness of poetical fancy Philaster' in particular; and elsewhere than in any one, Shakspeare excepted. Are occasionally ; and perhaps by Cowper in his you acquainted with Massinger? At a 'Crazy Kate,' and in parts of his translation; hazard I will trouble you with a passage such as the speeches of Hecuba and Androfrom a play of his called 'A Very Wopian.' mache. I long to know your opinion of that The lines are spoken by a lover (disguised) to translation. The Odyssey especially is surely his faithless mistress. You will remark the very Homeric. What nobler than the appearfine effect of the double endings. You will ance of Phoebus at the beginning of the Iliad by your ear distinguish the lines, for I write the lines ending with “Dread sounding, 'em as prose. 'Not far from where my father bounding on the silver bow!! lives, a lady, a neighbour by, blest with as “I beg you will give me your opinion of great a beauty as nature durst bestow with the translation ; it afforded me high pleasure. out undoing, dwelt, and most happily, as I As curious a specimen of translation as ever thought then, and blest the house a thousand fell into my hands, is a young man's in our times she dwelt in. This beauty, in the office, of a French novel. What in the blossom of my youth, when my first fire original was literally 'amiable delusions of knew no adulterate incense, nor I no way to the fancy,' he proposed to render 'the fair flatter but my fondness; in all the bravery frauds of the imagination. I had much my friends could show me, in all the faith my trouble in licking the book into any meaning innocence could give me, in the best language at all. Yet did the knave clear fifty or sixty my true tongue could tell me, and all the pounds by subscription and selling the copybroken sighs my sick heart lend me, I sued right. The book itself not a week's work ! and served; long did I serve this lady, long To-day's portion of my journalising epistle
has been very dull and poverty-stricken. I will here end.”
“I have been drinking egg-hot and smoking Oronooko, (associated circumstances, which ever forcibly recall to my mind our evenings and nights at the Salutation,) my eyes and brain are heavy and asleep, but my heart is awake; and if words came as ready as ideas, and ideas as feelings, I could say ten hundred kind things. Coleridge, you know not my supreme happiness at having one on earth (though counties separate us) whom I can call a friend. Remember you those tender lines of Logan 7–
‘Our broken friendships we deplore,
“I am writing at random, and half-tipsy, what you may not equally understand, as you will be sober when you read it ; but my sober and my half-tipsy hours you are alike a sharer in. Good night.
“Then up rose our bard, like a prophet in drink, Craigdoroch, thou’lt soar when creation shall sink.” BURNs.”
“I am now in high hopes to be able to visit you, if perfectly convenient on your part, by the end of next month—perhaps the last week or fortnight in July. A change of scene and a change of faces would do me good, even if that scene were not to be Bristol, and those faces Coleridge's and his friends' In the words of Terence, a little altered, “Taedet me hujus quotidiani mundi.’ I am heartily sick of the every-day scenes of life. I shall half wish you unmarried (don't show this to Mrs. C.) for one evening only, to have the pleasure of smoking with you, and drinking egg-hot in some little smoky room in a pot-house, for I know not yet how I shall like you in a decent room, and looking quite happy. My best love and respects to Sara notwithstanding.
A proposal by Coleridge to print Lamb's poems with a new edition of his own (an association in which Lloyd was ultimately included) occasioned reciprocal communications of each other's verses, and many questions of small alterations suggested and argued on both sides. I have thought it better to omit much of this verbal criticism, which, not very interesting in itself, is unintelligible without a contemporary reference to the poems which are its subject. The next letter was written on hearing of Coleridge being afflicted with a painful disease.
TO Mr. COLERIDGE.
“My brother, my friend,-I am distrest for you, believe me I am ; not so much for your painful, troublesome complaint, which, I trust, is only for a time, as for those anxieties which brought it on, and perhaps even now may be nursing its malignity. Tell me, dearest of my friends, is your mind at peace, or has anything, yet unknown to me, happened to give you fresh disquiet, and steal from you all the pleasant dreams of future rest ? Are you still (I fear you are) far from being comfortably settled Would to God it were in my power to contribute towards the bringing of you into the haven where you would be ' But you are too well skilled in the philosophy of consolation to need my humble tribute of advice; in pain, and in sickness, and in all manner of disappointments, I trust you have that within you which shall speak peace to your mind. Make it, I entreat you, one of your puny comforts, that I feel for you, and share all your griefs with you. I feel as if I were troubling you about little things; now I am going to resume the subject of our last two letters, but it may divert us both from unpleasanter feelings to make such matters, in a manner, of importance. Without further apology, then, it was not that I did not relish, that I did not in my heart thank you for those little pictures of your feelings which you lately sent me, if I neglected to mention them. You may remember you had said much the same things before to me on the same subject in a former letter, and I considered those last verses as only the identical thoughts better clothed; either way (in prose ine. Rousseau, and for the same reason; the same frankness, the same openness of heart, the same disclosure of all the most hidden and delicate affections of the mind: they make me proud to be thus esteemed worthy of the place of friend-confessor, brother-confessor, to a man like Coleridge. This last is, I acknowledge, language too high for friendship; but it is also, I declare, too sincere for flattery. Now, to put on stilts, and talk magnificently about trifles. I condescend, then, to your counsel, Coleridge, and allow my first sonnet (sick to death am I to make mention of my sonnets, and I blush to be so taken up
or verse) such poetry must be welcome to 'Tis among the few verses I ever wrote, that I love them as I love the Confessions of
with them, indeed I do); I allow it to
run thus, ‘Fairy Land,’ &c. &c., as I last wrote it. “The fragments I now send you, I want printed to get rid of 'em ; for, while they stick burr-like to my memory, they tempt me to go on with the idle trade of versifying,
which I long, most sincerely I speak it, I long
to leave off, for it is unprofitable to my soul; I feel it is; and these questions about words, and debates about alterations, take me off, I am conscious, from the properer business of my life. Take my sonnets, once for all, and do not propose any re-amendments, or mention them again in any shape to me, I charge you. I blush that my mind can consider them as things of any worth. And, pray, admit or reject these fragments as you like or dislike them, without ceremony. Call 'em sketches, fragments, or what you will, and do not entitle any of my things love sonnets, as I told you to call 'em ; 'twill only make me look little in my own eyes; for it is a Passion of which I retain nothing ; 'twas a weakness, concerning which I may say, in the words of Petrarch (whose life is now open before me), “if it drew me out of some wires, it also prevented the growth of many virtues, filling me with the love of the creature rather than the Creator, which is the death of the soul.” Thank God, the folly left me for ever; not even a review of to love verses renews one wayward wish in *; and if I am at all solicitous to trim 'em
out in their best apparel, it is because they * to make their appearance in good comPony. Now to my fragments. Lest you
to Mary is another, which profit me in the recollection. God love her, and may we two never love each other less | “These, Coleridge, are the few sketches I have thought worth preserving; how will they relish thus detached Will you reject all or any of them They are thine, do whatsoever thou listest with them. My eyes ache with writing long and late, and I wax wondrous sleepy; God bless you and yours, me and mine ! Good night.
Cultivate simplicity, Coleridge; or rather, I should say, banish elaborateness; for simpli city springs spontaneous from the heart, and carries into day-light with it its own modest buds, and genuine, sweet, and clear flowers of expression. I allow no hot-beds in the gardens of Parnassus. I am unwilling to go to bed, and leave my sheet unfilled (a good piece of night-work for an idle body like me), so will finish with begging you to send me the earliest account of your complaint, its progress, or (as I hope to God you will be able to send me) the tale of your recovery, or at least amendment. My tenderest remembrances to your Sara.“Once more good night.”
A wish to dedicate his portion of the volume to his sister gave occasion to the following touching letter:
TO MR. COLEridge. “Nov. 14th, 1796. “Coleridge, I love you for dedicating your poetry to Bowles: Genius of the sacred fountain of tears, it was he who led you gently by the hand through all this valley of weeping, showed you the dark green yew trees, and the willow shades, where, by the
lave lost my Grandame, she shall be one,
fall of waters, you might indulge an uncom
plaining melancholy, a delicious regret for
THE DEDICATION. the past, or weave fine visions of that awful future,
THE FEW FOLLOWING POEMS,
CREATURES OF THE FANCY AND THE FEELING “When all the vanities of life's brief day Oblivion's hurrying hand hath swept away,
IN LIFE'S MORE VACANT HOURS, And all its sorrows, at the awful blast
PRODUCED, FOR THE MOST PART, BY of the archangel's trump, are but as shadows past.'
LOVE AND IDLENESS,
ARE, “I have another sort of dedication in my
WITH ALL A BROTHER'S FONDNESS, head for my few things, which I want to
INSCRIBED TO know if you approve of, and can insert. I
MARY ANNE LAMB,
THE AUTHOR'S BEST FRIEND AND SISTER. mean to inscribe them to my sister. It will be unexpected, and it will give her pleasure; or do you think it will look whimsical at all?! “This is the pomp and paraphernalia of as I have not spoke to her about it, I can parting, with which I take my leave of a easily reject the idea. But there is a mono-passion which has reigned so royally (so long) tony in the affections, which people living within me : thus, with its trappings of together, or, as we do now, very frequently laureatship, I fling it off, pleased and satisfied seeing each other, are apt to give in to; a with myself that the weakness troubles me sort of indifference in the expression of kind- I no longer. I am wedded, Coleridge, to the ness for each other, which demands that we fortunes of my sister and my poor old father. should sometimes call to our aid the trickery | Oh! my friend, I think sometimes, could I of surprise. Do you publish with Lloyd, or recall the days that are past, which among without him ? in either case my little portion them should I choose? not those merrier may come last, and after the fashion of orders
days, not the 'pleasant days of hope,' not to a country correspondent, I will give direc- those wanderings with a fair hair'd maid.' tions how I should like to have 'em done. I which I have so often and so feelingly The title-page to stand thus :
regretted, but the days, Coleridge, of a
mother's fondness for her school-boy. What POEMS,
would I give to call her back to earth for one
day, on my knees to ask her pardon for all CHARLES LAMB, OF THE INDIA HOUSE.
those little asperities of temper which, from
time to time, have given her gentle spirit pain; “Under this title the following motto,
and the day, my friend, I trust, will come; which, for want of room, I put over leaf, and
there will be 'time enough' for kind offices desire you to insert, whether you like it or of love, if Heaven's eternal year be ours. no. May not a gentleman choose what arms, Herearter, her meek
Hereafter, her meek spirit shall not reproach mottoes, or armorial bearings the herald will me. Oh, my friend, cultivate the filial give him leave, without consulting his repub- feelings! and let no man think himself lican friend, who might advise none? May
released from the kind 'charities of relationnot a publican put up the sign of the ship: these shall give him peace at the last; Saracen's Head, even though his undiscern- these are the best foundation for every species ing neighbour should prefer, as more genteel, of benev
of benevolence. I rejoice to hear, by certain the Cat and Gridiron ?
channels, that you, my friend, are reconciled
with all your relations, 'Tis the most kindly [MOTTO.)
and natural species of love, and we have all
the associated train of early feelings to secure *This beauty, in the blossom of my youth,
its strength and perpetuity. Send me an When my first fire knew no adulterate incense, Nor I no way to flatter but my fondness,
account of your health ; indeed I am solicitous In the best language my true tongue could tell me, about you. God love you and yours. And all the broken sighs my sick heart lend me, I sued and served. Long did I love this lady.'
“C. LAMB." MASSINGER.
The following, written about this time, alludes to some desponding expression in a
letter which is lost, and which Coleridge had hundredfold more dearly, than if she heaped combated.
' line upon line,' out Hannah-ing Hannah
More ; and had rather hear you sing 'Did TO MR. COLERIDGE.
a very little baby' by your family fire-side,
“Dec. 10th, 1796. than listen to you, when you were repeating “I had put my letter into the post rather one of Bowles's sweetest sonnets, in your hastily, not expecting to have to acknowledge sweet manner, while we two were indulging another from you so soon. This morning's sympathy, a solitary luxury, by the fire-side present has made me alive again : my last at the Salutation. Yet have I no higher night's epistle was childishly querulous; but ideas of heaven. Your company was one you have put a little life into me, and I will cordial in this melancholy vale' – the thank you for your remembrance of me, while remembrance of it is a blessing partly, and my sense of it is yet warm; for if I linger a partly a curse. When I can abstract myself day or two I may use the same phrase of from things present, I can enjoy it with a acknowledgment, or similar, but the feeling freshness of relish ; but it more constantly that dictates it now will be gone. I shall operates to an unfavourable comparison with send you a caput mortuum, not a cor vivens. the uninteresting converse I always and only Thy Watchman's, thy bellman's verses, I do can partake in. Not a soul loves Bowles retort upon thee, thou libellous varlet, --why here ; scarce one has heard of Burns ; few you cried the hours yourself, and who made but laugh at me for reading my Testament, you so proud ! But I submit, to show my —they talk a language I understand not, I humility most implicitly to your dogmas. I conceal sentiments that would be a puzzle to reject entirely the copy of verses you reject. them. I can only converse with you by With regard to my leaving off versifying you letter, and with the dead in their books. have said so many pretty things, so many My sister, indeed, is all I can wish in a fine compliments, ingeniously decked out in companion ; but our spirits are alike poorly, the garb of sincerity, and undoubtedly our reading and knowledge from the selfspringing from a present feeling somewhat same sources; our communication with the like sincerity, that you might melt the most scenes of the world alike narrow ; never un-muse-ical soul,—did you not (now for a having kept separate company, or any comRowland compliment for your profusion of pany' together-never having read separate Olivers), did you not in your very epistle, by books, and few books together—what knowthe many pretty fancies and profusion of ledge have we to convey to each other? In heart displayed in it, dissuade and discourage our little range of duties and connexions, me from attempting anything after you. At how few sentiments can take place, without present I have not leisure to make verses, friends, with few books, with a taste for nor anything approaching to a fondness for religion, rather than a strong religious habit! the exercise. In the ignorant present time, We need some support, some leading-strings who can answer for the future man? 'At to cheer and direct us ; you talk very wisely, lovers' perjuries Jove laughs' - and poets and be not sparing of your advice. Continue have sometimes a disingenuous way of for- to remember us, and to show us you do swearing their occupation. This though is remember us: we will take as lively an not my case. Publish your Burns when and interest in what concerns you and yours. how you like, it will be new to me,-my All I can add to your happiness, will be memory of it is very confused, and tainted sympathy: you can add to mine more; you with unpleasant associations. Burns was the can teach me wisdom. I am indeed an god of my idolatry, as Bowles of yours. I unreasonable correspondent ; but I was unam jealous of your fraternising with Bowles, willing to let my last night's letter go off when I think you relish him more than without this qualifier: you will perceive by Burns, or my old favourite, Cowper. But this my mind is easier, and you will rejoice. you conciliate matters when you talk of the I do not expect or wish you to write, till you
divine chit-chat' of the latter : by the are moved ; and, of course, shall not, till you expression, I see you thoroughly relish him. announce to me that event, think of writing I love Mrs. Coleridge for her excuses an myself. Love to Mrs. Coleridge and David