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Thoughts in London, written this year.

Capel Lofft's. A sonnet dated from Manchester and signed
C. L. had just appeared in a newspaper.

Your marine sonnet was Coleridge's sonnet, "Fancy in
Nubibus — a sonnet composed on the sea coast, " which appeared
in Blackwood's Magazine of November 1819. The allusion
" about Browne " I am entirely unable to explain. It is perhaps
inaccurately transcribed from the original letter.

Letters CLXXXIII and CLXXXIV (p. 33).— These letters
were first printed in Mrs. Mathews's Memoir of her Husband
in 1839 (vol. iii. p. 192). As they imply, Charles and Mary
Lamb had been invited to meet Charles Mathews, the elder,
and his wife at the Gillmans. Mrs. Mathews gives an account
of the dinner, from which the following sketch of Lamb's
outward man is worth preserving : — "Mr. Lamb's first approach
was not prepossessing. His figure was small and mean ; and
no man certainly was ever less beholden to his tailor. His
'bran' new suit of black cloth (in which he affected several
times during the day to take great pride, and to cherish as a
novelty that he had long looked for and wanted) was drolly
contrasted with his very rusty silk stockings, shown from his
knees, and his much too large thick shoes without polish. His
shirt rejoiced in a wide ill-plaited frill, and his very small,


tight, white neckcloth was hemmed to a fine point at the ends
that formed part of the little bow. His hair was black and
sleek, but not formal, and his face the gravest I ever saw, but
indicating great intellect, and resembling very much the portraits
of King Charles I. Mr. Coleridge was very anxious about his
pet Lamb's first impression upon my husband, which I believe
his friend saw ; and guessing that he had been extolled, he
mischievously resolved to thwart his panegyrist, disappoint the
strangers, and altogether to upset the suspected plan of showing
him off."

Master Mathew, a character in Beu Jonson's Every man in
his Humour.

Letter CLXXXV (p. 33).— Mr. Collier had published in
1820 his "Poetical Decameron : or, Ten Conversations on English
Poets and Poetry, particularly of the reigns of Elizabeth and
James I." ; and this is the work now acknowledged by Lamb.
The discoveries about Twelfth Night were only as to the origin
of the plot being found in a novel by Barnaby Rich. The
reference to the comedy and its performance at the Temple in
Manuingham's Diary, had not as yet been discovered by Mr.
Collier. Lamb's allusion to Osrades is very curious. I feel
no doubt that this is what he wrote in the letter, and that
it was his imperfect recollection of the actual name, Rosader,
the character corresponding to Shakspeare's Orlando in Lodge's
Rosalind, the novel on which Shakspeare built his As You
Like It. The speech of Rosader in addressing the Duke and
company in the forest is one of those cited by Mr. Collier
(vol. ii. p. 174). It begins "Whatsoever thou be that art
maister of these lustie squires, I salute thee as graciously as a
man in extreme distresse may : knowe that I and a fellow friend
of mine are here famished in the forrest for want of food : perish
we must, unless relieved by thy favours. "

The character of the Ass. A sixteenth century tract entitled
"The Nobleness of the Ass," discussed by Mr. Collier's three
"Friends in Council," is here referred to (i. 168). Lamb con-
tributed a short notice of it to his friend Hone's Every Day
Book. See Mrs. Leicester's School, etc., p. 298.

The line you cannot appropriate. The line was —

"And weep the more because I weep in vain ;"
from Gray's sonnet on the death of his friend West.

You ivill find last poem but one. Morton, one of the
speakers in Mr. Collier's Decameron, instances Sir P. Sidney
and an epitaph written on him by Sir Walter Raleigh, in which,
according to Harrington, he is called "The Scipio and the
Petrarke of our time."

Letter CLXXXVI (p. 35). The "beautiful lines" here

NOTES. 313

referred to were a copy of verses published in the London
Magazine for August 1821, signed " Olen." They were entitled
" Epistle to Elia : suggested by his Essay ' Molle atque facetum'
on New Year's Eve." Lamb's essay had appeared in the
number of the Magazine for the preceding January. See Essays
of Elia, pp. 37 aud 385. The poem was a grave protest against
the despondent and sceptical tone of Lamb's speculations on
a future state of being. It is too long to give in its entirety,
extending to nearly two hundred lines, but an extract may be
cited in proof of the eloquent earnestness of the remonstrance.
Speaking of the vagueness of Lamb's imaginings of the life to
come, the writer goes on : —

' ' No ! never dream it :
If thou but think tins error, redeem it.
The same that shadowed the green, leafy dells,
And gave them music sweeter than thy bells,
Has furnished out thy Heaven by the sweet name
Of Paradise. And thou, too, art the same :
The soul that revelled in thy Burton's page
Shall be alive with thee ; the bard and sage
Thou lovedst here, they wait but thy arrival ;
Thy death shall be a sleep, a self-survival.
Yea, thou shalt stand in pause when thou hast set
Thy foot upon heaven's threshold, and beget
Effaced remembrances of forms and times,
Greetings and partings in these earthly climes :
And there shall come a rush upon thy brain
Of recollected voices, a sweet pain
Of sudden recognition ; gentle stealings
Of wakened memory — deep, voluptuous feelings,
Pressures and kisses, that shall make thee start
At thy own consciousness, and own, Thou art."

Lamb, it will be seen, conjectured that the lines might be by
James Montgomery. They were by the late Sir Charles Elton,
of Clevedon Court, a frequent contributor at that time to the
London Magazine, and were included by him in a volume, Boy-
hood, and other Poems, published in 1835.

This letter is doubly interesting, as revealing the origin of
Lamb's famous signature. There is no sufficient reason for
supposing Lamb's explanation fictitious ; and Mr. Lowell's
conjecture that Lamb owed it to the Epistolce Ho-Eliance of
James Howell cannot seriously be entertained.

Letter CLXXXVII (p. 36).— The first of a series of letters
to Cowden Clarke, which Mrs. Cowden Clarke has most kindly
placed at my disposal. It need hardly be explained that Mrs.
Clarke was a daughter of Vincent Novello. Lamb was living


just now in country lodgings at Dalston, and was not within
easy reach of Leigh Hunt at Hampstead.

Letter CLXXXVIII (p. 37).— The first sketch of the
famous "Roast Pig" Essay, which appeared in the London
Magazine of the following September.

Letter CLXXXIX (p. 39). — Poor John's loss. Lamb's elder
brother, John, had died in the November of the previous year.
Captain Burney died in the same month.

The foul enchanter "letters four do form his name."

The quotation is from Coleridge's poem, ' ' Fire, Famine, and
Slaughter," where it is a paraphrase for Pitt. Here it is cer-
tainly intended for Joseph Hume, who had already established
his fame as an Economical Reformer, and who the year before
had cut down the salaries of the Distributors of Stamps, which
directly affected Wordsworth.

Busirane is the name of an enchanter in the Fairy Queen.
Hume was engaged in attacking the salaries, pensions, and
superannuation allowances of the public service generally.

Milton hangs over my fire-side. The portrait of Milton had
come into Lamb's possession through the death of his brother

My meeting with Dodd. See the Essay on " Some of the Old
Actors," then just printed in the London. The fortunes of
this magazine were already waning.

At this juncture I may print a short letter of Lamb to
Godwin, as yet unprinted, which came into my hands too late
for insertion in the text : —

"India House, April 13, 1822.

"Dear Godwin — I cannot imagine how you, who never in
your writings have expressed yourself disrespectfully of any one
but your Maker, can have given offence to Rickman.

" I have written to the Numberer of the People to ask when
it will be convenient to him to be at home to Mr. Booth. I
think it probable he may be out of town in the Parliamentary
recess, but doubt not of a speedy answer. Pray return my
recognition to Mr. Booth, from whose excellent Tables of In-
terest I daily receive inexpressible official facilities.

' ' Yours ever,

"C. Lamb."

Letter CXCI (p. 41).— John Clare (1793-1864), the son of
an agricultural labourer in Northamptonshire. He had pub-
lished, through Taylor and Hessey, Poems, descriptive of Rural
Life and Scenery ; and later in the same year (1821), The Village
Minstrel, and other Poems. These are the volumes, doubtless,
which are acknowledged in this letter. Clare's verse appeared

NOTES. 315

from time to time in the London Magazine, through which con-
nection he and Lamb had become acquainted.

The " sonnet " in the London for August referred to by Lamb
was unsigned.

Since I saiv you I have been in France. Charles and Mary
Lamb left London in the middle of June 1822 for a holiday in
Paris. They were for a while the guests of James Kenney, the
dramatist, at A^ersailles. From an entry in Crabb Robinson's
Diary we learn that they travelled in company with a French
gentleman, and a nurse for Miss Lamb, in readiness for any
return of her frequent illness. Charles Lamb was absent a
month, but Mary Lamb remained at the Kenneys some time
longer, returning to England on the 10th of September. See
subsequent letters to Mrs. Kenney and to Barron Field.

Letter CXCII (p. 43). — Bernard Barton. This is the
earliest of the interesting series of letters to the Quaker poet,
of Woodbridge, in Suffolk. Mr. Barton was clerk in the Bank
of the Messrs. Alexander in that town. He was a contributor
to the London Magazine, and Lamb had first met him at the
hospitable table of the publishers, Messrs. Taylor and Hessey,
who were in the habit of gathering their staff together at
periodical dinners. On one of these occasions Lamb had spoken
playfully of the inconsistency of a member of the Society of
Friends writing poetry, and out of a friendly remonstrance in
reply there arose a correspondence, long carried on with the
greatest satisfaction to both. For fuller information about
Mr. Barton, I would refer to the short biography of him
prefixed to a selection of his poems published after his
death in 1849. The memoir, a perfect model in style and
feeling of what such a thing should be, is by the late Edward
Fitzgerald, who married Mr. Barton's only daughter and child.
"Napoleon," with other poems, was the third volume of verse
published by Mr. Barton. It had just before appeared. The
sonnet here quoted is of course Lamb's own.

Letter CXCIII (p. 44). This letter lias never been printed.
The original is in the possession of my friend, Mr. W. J. Jeffer-
son of Folkestone, whose mother was the Sophy of the letter.
Mary Lamb had apparently been asked to bring home a stray
waistcoat of Crabb Robinson's that he had left behind him in
Paris. The allusions to the cow and the canary bird are to
certain disturbers of Lamb's sleep that existed at his Dalston
lodgings. Little Sophy, a daughter of the Kenneys, was one
of twin-sisters ; Lamb called her his " little wife." The allusion
to the sixpence is surely to the old nursery rhyme : —

" I love a sixpence, pretty, pretty sixpence,
I love a sixpence clearer than my life —


Letter CXCIV (p. 45).— The following independent account
of the visit to Talma was supplied to me by the late Mr.
Edward Fitzgerald : — " Lamb was staying at Paris with Kenney,
when Talma invited them, with Howard Payne, to come and
see an original picture of Shakspeare on an old pair of bellows
which he had purchased for a thousand francs, and which
proved to be a well-known imposture, of which the great
tragedian had recently become the victim. After admiring his
supposed acquisition, the party announced their intention of
seeing him that evening in the play of Regulus, and invited
him to sup with them afterwards, to which he assented. Lamb,
however, could not at all enter into the spirit of French acting,
and in his general distaste made no exception in favour of his
intended guest. This, however, did not prevent their mutual
and high relish of each other's character and conversation, nor
was any allusion made to the performance, till, on rising to go,
Talma inquired ' how he liked it ? ' Lamb shook his head and
smiled. ' Ah ! ' said Talma, ' I was not very happy to-night ;
youmust see me in Sylla.' — ' Incidit in Scyllam,' said Lamb,
'qui vult vitare Charybdim. ' — 'Ah ! you are a rogue — a great
rogue,' said Talma, shaking him cordially by the hand as they
parted. " The Shakspeare portrait imposture is exposed in an
article in Chambers's Journal of 27th September 1856, "The
Apocryphal in Portraiture."

Lamb's description of Paris in this letter may well be supple-
mented by a few notes written for his sister's guidance after his
own return to England. He advises her to walk along the
" Borough-side of the Seine," where she would find a mile and
a half of printshops and bookstalls. "Then there is a place
where the Paris people put all their dead people, and bring
them flowers and dolls and gingerbread-nuts and sonnets and
such trifles ; and that is all, I think, worth seeing as sights,
except that the streets and shops of Paris are themselves the
best sight."

Letter CXCV (p. 47).— Your letter and poem. The poem
sent was Bernard Barton's "Verses on the Death of Percy
Bysshe Shelley," just issued in pamphlet shape. Shelley had
perished on the 8th of July in this year. The line taken in the
poem was naturally one of solemn lamentation over the unhappy
principles of the late poet.

Letter CXCVI (p. 48).— Poor Godwin. "The pecuniary
troubles already mentioned assumed no serious form till the
year 1821, nor did any real crisis arrive till the year 1822. The
title to the proprietorship of the house in Skinner Street, of
which Godwin held a long lease, was disputed, and an action
for ejectment was brought against him. After considerable

NOTES. 317

litigation the suit was finally decided adversely to Godwin's
interests. The results were an enforced move from Skinner
Street, a claim for arrears of rent, which was wholly unlooked
for, the disorganisation of the whole of the business which had
been carried on with considerable and increasing success, and
finally Godwin became bankrupt." — (Kegan Paul's William
Godwin, his Friends and Contemporaries.)

Letter CXCVIII (p. 49). — The first of a short series of letters
to John Howard Payne, the American actor and playwright.
These letters appeared first, with comments by Mr. R. S.
Chilton, in the Century Magazine for October 1882. To Mr.
Chilton and the Editor I am indebted for their kind permission
to use them. Mr. Payne lived much in Paris, where presum-
ably Lamb made his acquaintance during his recent visit.
Payne had a career of great poverty and struggle, but later in
life was made United States Consul at Tunis, where he died in
1852. Among his many dramas was Clari, the Maid of
Milan, in which occurs the famous "Home, sweet Home," set
by Bishop. Lamb's letters to him deal chiefly with some of
Payne's dramas then being performed in London. The "little
wife " at Versailles is the Sophy Kenney of a preceding letter to
Mrs. Kenney.

Letter CC (p. 52). — The proposed Dedication was for the
first collected edition of the Elia Essays, published early in the
following year. It was, in accordance with Lamb's "second
thoughts" here explained, not ultimately used. The "sort of
Preface " which appeared in the forthcoming number was the
" Character of the late Elia," by a Friend.

Letter CCI (p. 53). — Mr. Walter Wilson, an early friend
of Lamb's, was engaged upon a Life of De Foe, and had written
to Lamb for guidance. Wilson's Memoirs of the Life and Times
of Daniel De Foe appeared in 1829. Lamb supplied to the
work an "Estimate of De Foe's Secondary Novels," which is, in
fact, an expanded version of the criticism contained in this
letter. See Mrs. Leicester's School, etc. etc., p. 304.

Letter CCIII (p. 56). — I have included this fragment of a
letter (here placed by accident out of its due order), because
all Lamb's opinions of contemporary poetry are worth preserv-
ing. Wordsworth's "Duddon" sonnets had been published
this year, and with them "Dion," " Artegal and Elidure,"
"The Pass of Kirkstone," " The Longest Day," and others.

Letter CCIV (p. 57). — This letter was written to Miss
Wordsworth, then on a visit to her brother, the Master of
Trinity, at Cambridge.


My new year's speculations. The memorable Essay on " New
Year's Eve." Whether the reference to the author of the
Pleasures of Hope means that Lamb now believed the lines
signed "Olen" to have been by the poet Campbell, is uncer-
tain. Possibly it is only a playful allusion to his having him-
self not indulged in these "Pleasures " in the essay in question.

Mrs. Paris, our Cambridge friend. Mrs. Paris, mother of
the eminent physician of that name, was the sister of Lamb's
friend Ayrton. It was at her house that the Lambs first made
the acquaintance of Emma Isola.

Letter CCV (p. 59).— The first of a series of letters to Mr.
John Bates Dibdin, now for the first time printed. Mr.
Dibdin was born in 1798, and died on May 11, 1828. He was
the eldest son of Charles Dibdin the Younger, author of
Young Arthur, and of innumerable plays, poems, songs, etc.,
and a grandson of Charles Dibdin, the nautical song-writer
and composer. John Bates Dibdin held a clerkship in the
office of Messrs. Railton, Rankin, and Co., Merchants, in the
Old Jewry. He for several years edited the European Maga-
zine. He went to Madeira in the hope of re-establishing his
health, but shortly after his return to England died of con-
sumption. I am indebted for this information to his nephew,
Mr. Robert W. Dibdin, who has most kindly placed the original
letters in his possession at my disposal. To him I am further
obliged for the following interesting account of Lamb's in-
troduction to his uncle. The account is mainly in the words
of a sister of John Bates Dibdin who survived him till quite
recently. It fully explains the allusions in the present letter.
Miss Dibdin (Mrs. Tonna), after mentioning that she had visited
Lamb at Islington, writes : — "My brother, who took me there,
had become very intimate with him, after a previously some-
what long acquaintance. He was himself engaged in the
city, and had constant occasion to conduct the giving or taking
of cheques, as it might be, at the India House. There he
always selected the ' little clever man ' in preference to the
other clerks. At that time the Elia Essays were appearing in
print. No one had the slightest conception who ' Elia ' was.
He was talked of everywhere, and everybody was trying to find
him out, but witrfout success. At last, from the style and
manner of conveying his ideas and opinions on different
subjects, my brother began to suspect that Lamb was the
individual so widely sought for, and wrote some lines to him,
anonymously, sending them by post to his residence, with the
hope of sifting him on the subject. Although Lamb could not
know who sent him the lines, yet he looked very hard at the
writer of them the next time they met, when he walked up, as
usual, to Lamb's desk in the most unconcerned manner, to

NOTES. 319

transact the necessary business. Shortly after, when they
were again in conversation, something dropped from Lamb's
lips which convinced his hearer, beyond a doubt, that his
suspicions were correct. He therefore wrote some more lines
(anonymously, as before), beginning —

' I've found thee out, Elia !'

and sent them to Colebrook Row. The consequence was that
at their next meeting Lamb produced the lines, and after much
laughing, confessed nimself to be Elia. This led to a warm
friendship between them."

The present letter was evidently written by Lamb on the
occasion of this mutual disclosure. Mr. Dibdin had signed
his poetic appeals to Elia with only the letter "D." Lamb's
assumption that his new friend's Christian name was Timothy
is, of course, purely gratuitous.

Letter CCVI (p. 60).— Mr. Bruton was a farmer in Hert-
fordshire, and a distant connection by marriage of Lamb. See
letter of Lamb to Manning, May 1819, "How are my cousins,
the Gladmans of Wheathamstead, and farmer Bruton ? Mrs.
Bruton is a glorious woman." These presents of pig were
among the first-fruits of Lamb's famous essay in the London of
September 1822.

Letter CCVII (p. 61). — "While Mr. Barton's poetical
labours affected his health, the first success of them for a time
disconcerted him with his clerkship ; though neither injured
health, nor hope deferred, ever overshadowed his social good
humour, or discovered themselves in repining : nay, he even
thought of quitting the bank and Woodbridge altogether, and
trusting to his pen for subsistence ; an unwise scheme in all
men, most unwise in one who had so little authorly tact as
himself. From this, however, he was fortunately diverted by
all the friends to whom he communicated his design " {Memoir,
by Edward Fitzgerald).

Letter CCIX (p. 64).— Sewett. W. Sewell's History of the
Quakers, 1725.

Abbeypony History. Sara Coleridge published in 1822 a
translation of Martin Dobrizhoffer's Latin Account of tlie Abi-
pones, a performance, in her father's judgment, "unsurpassed
for pure mother English by anything I have read for a lone

Mr. Mitford's place. The Rev. John Mitford, Rector of
Benhall, Suffolk, poet and editor of poets, a neighbour and
intimate friend of Bernard Barton.


Letter CCXI (p. 67). — An edition of " Eoxana." In the
Prologue that Lamb wrote to Godwin's play of Faulkener in
1807, he alluded to the circumstance of Godwin being indebted
to De Foe's Roxana. See Mrs. Leicester's School, etc., p. 371,
and Kegan Paul's Life of Godwin, ii. 162.

Who wrote "Quad." The authorship of Philip Quarl is
still, I believe, undetermined.

Letter CCXII (p. 68). — "A Letter to an Old Gentleman
whose education had been neglected." This ./cm d' esprit of Lamb's
was ultimately published in the London Magazine of January
1825. See Mrs. Leicester's School, etc., p. 250.

/ took up Scott. Critical Essays on the English Poets, by
John Scott, the Quaker poet of Amwell.

I dined in Parnassus. An account of this dinner is given
by Thomas Moore in his Journals. Moore gives April 4 as the
date of the dinner, so Lamb's date is one of his not uncommon
slips. Moore writes: — "Dined at Monkhouse's, a gentleman
I had never seen before, on "Wordsworth's invitation, who lives
there when he comes to town. A singular party — Coleridge,
Wordsworth and wife, Rogers, Charles Lamb (the hero at present
of the London Magazine), and his sister (the poor woman who
went mad with him in the Diligence on the way to Paris), and a
Mr. Robinson, one of the minora sidera of the constellation of
the Lakes. . . . Charles Lamb, a clever fellow certainly, but full
of villainous and abortive puns, which he miscarries of every
minute" (Moore's Journals, iv. 51).

Letter CCXI II (p. 70). — My little book. The first series of
Elia (1823).

The Quaker incident. See Essay on " Imperfect Sympathies "
{Elia, p. 76).

The discovery of roasting pigs. See also notes on this essay
in my edition of Elia, p. 405.

His friend Naylor. James Naylor, one of the most fanatical
of the disciples of George Fox ; shamefully persecuted by order
of the Parliament in 1656.

How did you like Hartley's sonnets ? Hartley Coleridge had
published in the London Magazine for February his earliest
sonnets, those addressed to his friend Robert Jameson. The
first of these, here referred to, is the one beginning —

" When we were idlers with the loitering rills."

See Hartley Coleridge's Poems, i. 5.

I borrowed a seal of a friend. The friend was Barron Field.
The letter to the "great man" was to Walter Scott, on occa-
sion of the appeal in behalf of Godwin.

NOTES. 321

Letter CCXVI (p. 74). — Your precious present. A minia-
ture of Pope, which Proctor had sent him.

i" have dined with T. Moore. See preceding letter, p. 69.

Letter CCXVII (p. 75). —Written to Miss Hutchinson
(Mrs. Wordsworth's sister), who was taking charge of an invalid
relative, Mrs. Monkhouse, at Ramsgate. Lamb's grave accusa-
tions against his sister's penmanship are merely playful.

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