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of Christmas Day, which we always spent in the Temple.
It was an old thing, and spoke of the flat bottoms of our
foes, and the possibility of their coining over in darkness,
and alluded to threats of an invasion many years blown
over ; and when he came to the part —

" We'll still make 'em run, and we'll still make 'em sweat,
In spite of the Devil and Brussels Gazette,"

his eyes would sparkle as with the freshness of an im-
pending event. And what is the Brussels Gazette now 1
I cry while I enumerate these trifles. " How shall we
tell them in a stranger's ear?" His poor good girls will
now have to receive their afflicted mother in an unsuc-
cessful hovel in an obscure village in Herts, where they
have been long struggling to make a school without



160 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

effect ; and poor deaf Richard, and the more helpless for
being so, is thrown on the wide world.

My first motive in writing, and indeed in calling on
you, was to ask if you were enough acquainted with any
of the Benchers to lay a plain statement before them of
the circumstances of the family. I almost fear not, for
you are of another hall. But if you can oblige me and
my poor friend, who is now insensible to any favours,
pray exert yourself. You cannot say too much good of
poor Norris and his poor wife.

Yours ever, Charles Lamb.

To THOMAS ALLSOP.

Letter CCLXXXVI.] January 25, 1827.

My dear Allsop — I cannot forbear thanking you for
your kind interference with Taylor, whom I do not expect
to see in haste at Islington.

It is hardly weather to ask a dog up here, but I need
hardly say how happy we shall be to see you. I cannot
be out of evenings till John Frost be routed. We came
home from Newman St. the other night late, and I was
crampt all night.

Loves to Mrs. Allsop.

Yours truly, C. L.

To WILLIAM HONE.

L i-.tter CCLXXX VII. J January 27, 1 827.

Dear Sir — It is not unknown to you, that about
sixteen years since I published " Specimens of English
Dramatic Poets who lived about the time of Shakspeare."
For the scarcer plays, I had recourse to the collection
bequeathed to the British Museum by Mr. Garrick.
But my time was but short ; and my subsequent leisure
has discovered in it a treasure rich and exhaustless beyond
what I then imagined. In it is to be found almost every



TO HONE. 161

production, in the shape of a play, that has appeared in
print since the time of the old mysteries and moralities
to the days of Crown and D'Urfey. Imagine the luxury
to one like me, — who, above every other form of poetry,
have ever preferred the dramatic, — of sitting in the
princely apartments, for such they are, of poor, condemned
Montagu House, — which, I predict, will not soon be
followed by a handsomer, — and culling at will the flowers
of some thousand dramas ! It is like having the range
of a nobleman's library, with the librarian to your friend.
Nothing can exceed the courteousness and attentions of
the gentleman who has the chief direction of the reading-
rooms here ; and you have scarce to ask for a volume
before it is laid before you. If the occasional extracts
which I have been tempted to bring away may find an
appropriate place in your " Table Book," some of them
are weekly at your service. By those who remember the
" Specimens," these must be considered as mere after-
gleanings, supplementary to that work, only comprising a
longer period. You must be content with sometimes a
scene, sometimes a song, a speech, a passage, or a poetical
image, as they happen to strike me. I read without
order of time ; I am a poor hand at dates ; and, for any
biography of the dramatists, I must refer to writers who
are more skilful in such matters. My business is with
their poetry only.

Your well-wisher, C. Lamb.



Letter CCLXXXVIII.] [February 5, 1827.]

For God's sake be more sparing of your poetry : your
this week's Number has an excess of it.

In haste, C. L.

Mr. Hone,

22, Belvidere Place,
near Suffolk Street,
Borough.
VOL. IT. M



162 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.



Letter CCLXXXIX.] [March 20, 1827.]

Damnable erratum (can't you notice it 1) in the last
line but two of the last Extract in No. 9, Garrick
Plays —

" Blushing forth golden hair and glorious red :"

A sun-bright line spoil'd.
67. Blush for Blushing.

N.B. — The general Number was excellent. Also a
few lines higher —

" Restrained Liberty attain'd is sweet "

should have a full stop. Tis the end of the old man's
speech. These little blemishes kill such delicate things :
prose feeds on grosser punctualities. You have now 3
Numbers in hand ; one I sent you yesterday. Of course
I send no more till Sunday week.

P.S.— Omitted above—" Dear Hone." 0. L.

Mr. Hone,

No. 22, Belvidere Place,
South wark.



To B. R HAYDON.

Letter CCXC] March 1827.

Dear Raffaele Haydon — Did the maid tell you I came
to see your picture, not on Sunday but the day before ?
I think the face and bearing of the Bucephalus tamer
very noble, his flesh too effeminate or painty. The skin
of the female's back kneeling is much more carnous. I
had small time to pick out praise or blame, for two lord-
like Bucks came in, upon whose strictures my presence
seemed to impose restraint ; I plebeian'd off therefore.



TO NOVELLO. 163

I think I have hit on a subject for you, but can't
swear it was never executed — I never heard of its being
— " Chaucer beating a Franciscan Friar in Fleet Street."
Think of the old dresses, houses, etc. " It seemeth that
both these learned men (Gower and Chaucer) were of the
Inner Temple ; for not many years since Master Buckley
did see a record in the same house where Geoffry Chaucer
was fined two shillings for beating a Franciscan Friar in
Fleet Street."

Yours in haste (salt fish waiting), C. Lamb.



To VINCENT NOVELLO.

Letter CCXCL] April 1827.

Dear Sir — I conjure you, in the name of all the Sylvan
Deities, and of the Muses, whom you honour, and they
reciprocally love and honour you, rescue this old and
passionate Ditty — the very flower of an old, forgotten
Pastoral, which, had it been in all parts equal, the
Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher had been but a second
name in this sort of Writing — rescue it from the profane
hands of every Common Composer ; and in one of your
tranquillest moods, when you have most leisure from
those sad thoughts which sometimes unworthily beset
you — yet a mood in itself not unallied to the better sort
of melancholy — laying by, for once, the lofty Organ, with
which you shake the Temples, attune, as to the Pipe of
Paris himself, to some milder and love-according instru-
ment, this pretty Courtship between Paris and his (then-
not-as-yet-forsaken) 03none. Oblige me, and all more
knowing Judges of Music and of Poesy, by the adaptation
of fit musical numbers, which it only wants, to be the
rarest Love Dialogue in our Language.

Your Implorer C. L.



164 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.



To WILLIAM HONE.

Letter CCXCII.] [May 1827.]

Sir — A correspondent in your last number rather
hastily asserts that there is no other authority than
Davenport's Tragedy for the poisoning of Matilda by
King John. It oddly enough happens, that in the same
number appears an extract from a j)lay of Heywood's, of
an older date, in two parts, in which play the fact of
such poisoning, as well as her identity with Maid Marian,
are equally established. Michael Drayton, also, hath a
legend confirmatory (so far as poetical authority can go)
of the violent manner of her death. But neither he nor
Davenport confounds her with Robin's mistress. Besides
the named authorities, old Fuller, I think, somewhere
relates, as matter of chronicle-history, that old Fitzwater
(he is called Fitzwater both in Heywood and in Daven-
port), being banished after his daughter's murder, — some
years subsequently, King John, at a tournament in
France, being delighted with the valiant bearing of a
combatant in the lists, and enquiring his name, was told
it was his old servant, the banished Fitzwater, who
desired nothing more heartily than to be reconciled to
his liege ; and an affecting reconciliation followed. In
the common collection, called " Robin Hood's Garland "
(I have not seen Ritson's), no mention is made, if I
remember, of the nobility of Marian. Is she not the
daughter of old Squire Gamwell, of Gamwell Hall 1
Sorry that I cannot gratify the curiosity of your " dis-
embodied spirit" (who, as such is, methinks, sufficiently
"veiled" from our notice) with more authentic testi-
monies, I rest,

Your humble Abstractor, C. L.



TO BARTON. 165



To BERNARD BARTON.

Letter CCXCIII.] Enfield, and for some weeks to come,

June 11, 1827.

Dear B. B. — One word more of the picture verses,
and that for good and all ; pray with a neat pen alter
one line

" His learning seems to lay small stress on "
to

" His learning lays no mighty stress on "

to avoid the unseemly recurrence (ungrammatical also)
of " seems " in the next line, besides the nonsense of
" but " there, as it now stands. And I request you, as
a personal favour to me, to erase the last line of all,
which I should never have written from myself. The
fact is, it was a silly joke of Hood's, who gave me the
frame (you judged rightly it was not its own) with the
remark that you would like it because it was b— d b — d ;
and I lugged it in : but I shall be quite hurt if it stands,
because tho' you and yours have too good sense to
object to it, I would not have a sentence of mine seen
that to any foolish ear might seem unrespectful to thee.
Let it end at " appalling " : the joke is coarse and useless,
and hurts the tone of the rest. Take your best " ivory-
handled " and scrape it forth.

Your specimen of what you might have written is
hardly fair. Had it been a present to me, I should have
taken a more sentimental tone : but of a trifle from me
it was my cue to speak in an underish tone of commenda-
tion. Prudent givers (what word for such a nothing)
disparage their gifts j 'tis an art we have. So you see
you wouldn't have been so wrong taking a higher tone.
But enough of nothing. By the by, I suspected M. of
being the disparager of the frame : hence a certain line.

For the frame, 'tis as the room is where it hangs.



166 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

It hung up fronting my old cobwebby folios and battered
furniture (the fruit piece has resumed its place), and was
much better than a spick and span one. But if your -
room be very neat and your other pictures bright with
gilt, it should be so too. I can't judge, not having seen,
but my dingy study it suited.

Martin's "Belshazzar" (the picture) I have seen.
Its architectural effect is stupendous ; but the human
figures, the squalling contorted little antics that are
playing at being frightened, like children at a sham
ghost, who half know it to be a mask, are detestable.
Then the letters are nothing more than a transparency
lighted up, such as a Lord might order to be lit up on a
sudden at a Christmas gambol, to scare the ladies. The
type is as plain as Baskerville's : they should have been dim,
full of mystery, letters to the mind rather than the eye.

Rembrandt has painted only Belshazzar and a courtier
or two (taking a part of the banquet for the whole), not
fribbled out a mob of fine folks. Then everything is so
distinct, to the very necklaces, and that foolish little
prophet. What one point is there of interest? The
ideal of such a subject is, that you the spectator should
see nothing but what at the time you would have seen, —
the hand, and the King, — not to be at leisure to make
tailor-remarks on the dresses, or, Dr. Kitchener-like, to
examine the good things at table.

Just such a confused piece is his " Joshua," frittered
into a thousand fragments, little armies here, little armies
there — you should see only the Sun and Joshua. If I
remember, he has not left out that luminary entirely ;
but for Joshua, I was ten minutes a finding him out.
Still he is showy in all that is not the human figure
or the preternatural interest : but the first are below a
drawing-school girl's attainment, and the last is a phan-
tasmagoric trick, — " Now you shall see what you shall
see, dare is Balshazar and dare is Daniel."

You have my thoughts of M., and so adieu !

C. Lamb.



TO HONE. 167



To WILLIAM HONE.

Letter CCXCIV.] [June 1827.]

Dear Sir — Somebody has fairly play'd a hoax on you
(I suspect that pleasant rogue Moxon) in sending you
the sonnet in my name inserted in your last number.
True it is that I must own to the verses being mine, but
not written on the occasion there pretended ; for I have
not yet had the pleasure of seeing the lady in the part of
Emmeline ; and I have understood that the force of her
acting in it is rather in the expression of new-born sight,
than of the previous want of it. The lines were really
written upon her performance in the " Blind Boy," and
appeared in the " Morning Chronicle " some years back.
I suppose our facetious friend thought they would serve
again, like an old coat new-turned.

Yours (and his, nevertheless), C. Lamb.



To Mr. PATMORE.

Letter CCXCV.] Londres, Julie 19, 1827.

Dear P. — I am so poorly. I have been to a funeral,
where I made a pun, to the consternation of the rest of
the mourners. And we had wine. I can't describe to
you the howl which the widow set up at proper intervals.
Dash could, for it was not unlike what he makes.

The letter I sent you was one directed to the care of

E. W , India House, for Mrs. H[azlitt]. Which Mrs.

H I don't yet know ; but A has taken it to

France on speculation. Really it is embarrassing. There
is Mrs. present H., Mrs. late H, and Mrs. John H., and
to which of the three Mrs. Wigginses it appertains, I
know not. I wanted to open it, but 'tis transportation.

I am sorry you are plagued about your book. I would
strongly recommend you to take for one story Massinger's
" Old Law." It is exquisite. I can think of no other.



168 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

Dash is frightful this morning. He whines and
stands up on his hind legs. He misses Becky, who is
gone to town. I took him to Barnet the other day,
and he couldn't eat his vittles after it. Pray God his
intellectuals be not slipping.

Mary is gone out for some soles. I suppose 'tis no
use to ask you to come and partake of 'em ; else there is
a steam vessel.

I am doing a tragi-comedy in two acts, and have got
on tolerably ; but it will be refused, or worse. I never
had luck with anything my name was put to.

0, I am so poorly ! I waked it at my cousin's the
bookbinder, who is now with God ; or, if he is not, 'tis
no faidt of mine.

"We hope the Frank wines do not disagree with Mrs.

P . By the way, I like her.

Did you ever taste frogs 1 Get them if you can. They
are like little Lilliput rabbits, only a thought nicer.

How sick I am ! — not of the world, but of the widow's
shrub. She's sworn under £6000, but I think she
perjured herself. She howls in E la, and I comfort her
in B flat. You understand music 1

If you hav'n't got Massinger, you have nothing to do
but go to the first Bibliotheque you can light upon at
Boulogne, and ask for it (Gifford's edition) ; and if they
hav'n't got it you can have "Athalie" par Monsieur
Racine, and make the best of it. But that " Old Law "
is delicious.

"No shrimps !" (that's in answer to Mary's question
about how the soles are to be done).

I am uncertain where this wandering letter may reach
you. What you mean by Poste Restante, God knows. Do
you mean I must pay the postage 1 So I do, to Dover.

We had a merry passage with the widow at the
Commons. She was howling — part howling and part
giving directions to the proctor — when crash ! down went
my sister through a crazy chair, and made the clerks
grin, and I grinned, and the widow tittered, and then I



TO MRS. SHELLEY. 169

knew that she was not inconsolable. Mary was more
frightened than hurt.

She'd make a good match for anybody (by she, I
mean the widow).

" If he bring but a relict away,
He is happy, nor heard to complain."

Shenstone.

Procter has got a wen growing out at the nape of his
neck, which his wife wants him to have cut off; but I
think it is rather an agreeable excrescence : like his
poetry, redundant. Hone has hanged himself for debt.
Godwin was taken up for picking pockets. Moxon has
fallen in love with Emma, our nut-brown maid. Becky
takes to bad courses. Her father was blown up in a
steam machine. The coroner found it "insanity." I
should not like him to sit on my letter.

Do you observe my direction. Is it Gallic — classical 1
Do try and get some frogs. You must ask for "grenouilles "
(green eels). They don't understand " frogs," though 'tis
a common phrase with us.

If you go through Bulloign (Boulogne), inquire if old
Godfrey is living, and how he got home from the crusades.
He must be a very old man.

If there is anything new in politics or literature in
France, keep it till I see you again, for I'm in no hurry.
Chatty Briant is well I hope.

I think I have no more news ; only give both our

loves (all three, says Dash), to Mrs. P , and bid her

get quite well, as I am at present, bating qualms, and
the grief incident to losing a valuable relation. C. L.



To Mrs. SHELLEY.

Letter CCXCVI.] Enfield, July 26, 1827.

Dear Mrs. Shelley — At the risk of throwing away
some fine thoughts, I must write to say how pleased we



170 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

were with your very kind remembering of us (who have
unkindly run away from all our friends) before you go.
Perhaps you are gone, and then my tropes are wasted.
If any piece of better fortune has lighted upon you than
you expected, but less than we wish you, we are rejoiced.
We are here trying to like solitude, but have scarce
enough to justify the experiment. We get some, how-
ever. The six days are our Sabbath ; the seventh — why,
Cockneys will come for a little fresh air, and so —

But by your month, or October at furthest, we hope
to see Islington : I, like a giant refreshed with the leaving
off of wine ; and Mary, pining for Mr. Moxon's books
and Mr. Moxon's society. Then we shall meet.

I am busy with a farce in two acts; the incidents
tragi-comic. I can do the dialogue commey for : but the
damned plot — I believe I must omit it altogether. The
scenes come after one another like geese, not marshalling
like cranes or a Hyde Park review. The story is as
simple as G[eorge] D[yer], and the language plain as
his spouse. The characters are three women to one
man ; which is one more than laid hold on him in the
"Evangely." I think that prophecy squinted towards
my drama.

I want some Howard Paine to sketch a skeleton of
artfully succeeding scenes through a whole play, as the
courses are arranged in a cookery book : I to find wit,
passion, sentiment, character, and the like trifles : to lay
in the dead colours,— I'd Titianesque 'em up : to mark
the channel in a cheek (smooth or furrowed, yours or
mine), and where tears should course I'd draw the waters
down : to say where a joke should come in or a pun be
left out : to bring my personce on and off like a Beau
Nash ; and I'd Frankenstein them there : to bring three
together on the stage at once ; they are so shy with me,
that I can get no more than two ; and there they stand
till it is the time, without being the season, to withdraw
them.

I am teaching Emma Latin to qualify her for a superior



TO STODDART. 171

governess-ship ; which we see no prospect of her getting.
'Tis like feeding a child with chopped hay from a spoon.
Sisyphus his labours were as nothing to it.

Actives and passives jostle in her nonsense, till a
deponent enters, like Chaos, more to embroil the fray.
Her prepositions are suppositions ; her conjunctions copu-
lative have no connection in them ; her concords disagree ;
her interjections are purely English "Ah !" and "Oh !"
with a yawn and a gape in the same tongue ; and she
herself is a lazy, blockheadly supine. As I say to her,
ass in prcesenti rarely makes a wise man in futuro.

But I daresay it was so with you when you began
Latin, and a good while after.

Good-by ! Mary's love.

Yours truly, C. Lamb.



To Sir JOHN STODDART.

Letter CCXC VII.] [August 9, 1827.]

Dear Knight — Old Acquaintance — 'Tis with a violence
to the pure imagination {vide the " Exclusion " passim)
that I can bring myself to believe I am writing to Dr.
Stoddart once again, at Malta. But the deductions of
severe reason warrant the proceeding. I write from
Enfield, where we are seriously weighing the advantages
of didness over the over-excitement of too much company,
but have not yet come to a conclusion. What is the
news ? for we see no paper here ; perhaps you can send
us an old one from Malta. Only, I heard a butcher in
the market-place whisper something about a change of
ministry. I don't know who's in or out, or care, only as
it might affect you. For domestic doings, I have only
to tell, with extreme regret, that poor Elisa Fenwick
(that was) — Mrs. Rutherford — is dead ; and that we
have received a most heart-broken letter from her mother
— left with four grandchildren, orphans of a living
scoundrel lurking about the pothouses of Little Russell



172 LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB.

Street, London : they and she — God help 'em ! — at New
York. I have just received Godwin's third volume of
the Republic, which only reaches to the commencement
of the Protectorate. I think he means to spin it out to
his life's thread. Have you seen Fearn's Anti-Tooke ?
I am no judge of such things — you are ; but I think it
very clever indeed. If I knew your bookseller, I'd order
it for you at a venture : 'tis two octavos, Longman and
Co. Or do you read now ? Tell it not in the Admiralty
Court, but my head aches hesterno vino. I can scarce
pump up words, much less ideas, congruous to be sent so
far. But your son must have this by to-night's post. . . .
Manning is gone to Rome, Naples, etc., probably to touch
at Sicily, Malta, Guernsey, etc. ; but I don't know the
map. Hazlitt is resident at Paris, whence he pours his
lampoons in safety at his friends in England. He has
his boy with him. I am teaching Emma Latin. By the
time you can answer this, she will be qualified to instruct
young ladies : she is a capital English reader : and S. T. C.
acknowledges that a part of a passage in Milton she read
better than he, and part he read best, her part being the

shorter. But, seriously, if Lady St (oblivious

pen, that was about to write Mrs. /) could hear of such
a young person wanted (she smatters of French, some
Italian, music of course), we'd send our loves by her. My
congratulations and assurances of old esteem. C. L.



•&■



To BERNARD BARTON.

Letter CCXCVIIL] August 10, 1827.

Dear B. B. — I have not been able to answer you, for
we have had and are having (I just snatch a moment)
our poor quiet retreat, to which we fled from society,
full of company — some staying with us; and this
moment, as I write, almost, a heavy importation of two
old ladies has come in. Whither can I take wing from
the oppression of human faces? Would I were in a



TO BARTON. 173

wilderness of apes, tossing cocoa-nuts about, grinning and
grinned at !

Mitford was hoaxing you, surely, about my engraving ;
'tis a little sixpenny thing, too like by half, in which the
draughtsman has done his best to avoid flattery. There
have been two editions of it, which I think are all gone,
as they have vanished from the window where they
hung — a print-shop, corner of Great and Little Queen
Streets, Lincoln's Inn Fields, where any London friend
of yours may inquire for it ; for I am (though you won't
understand it) at Enfield Chase (Mrs. Irishman's). We
have been here near three months, and shall stay two
more, if people will let us alone ; but they persecute us
from village to village. So, don't direct to Islington
again, till further notice. I am trying my hand at a
drama, in two acts, founded on Crabbe's " Confidant,"
mutatis mutandis. You like the Odyssey. Did you ever
read my " Adventures of Ulysses," founded on Chapman's
old translation of it 1 For children or men. Chapman
is divine, and my abridgment has not quite emptied him
of his divinity. When you come to town I'll show it to
you. You have well described your old-fashioned grand
paternal hall. Is it not odd that every one's earliest
recollections are of some such place ! I had my Blakes-
ware (Blakesmoor in the London). Nothing fills a child's
mind like a large old mansion ; better if un — or partially



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