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List or Portraits v 'i

Correspondence with Coleridge — continued I

Correspondence with Southey 26

Correspondence with the Wordsworths 68

Correspondence with Manning 1 59

Correspondence with the Hazlitts 25 2

Correspondence with Barton 278

Correspondence with Hone 3°3

Correspondence with Procter 375

Correspondence with Cart 3^°

Correspondence with Moxon 395

Correspondence with the Gilmans 4 12

Correspondence with Wilson 4 ZI

Correspondence with Miss Hltchinson 43°


Lamb, after Hazlitt frontispiece

Southey face page 66

Wordsworth „ „ 136

Correspondence with S. T. Coleridge. —

Letter XLVIII.] May 27th, 1803.

My dear Coleridge, — The date of my last was one day
prior to the receipt of your letter, full of foul omens.
I explain this lest you should have thought mine
too light a reply to such a sad matter. I seriously
hope by this time you have given up all thoughts of
journeying to the green Islands of the Bless'd, —
(voyages in time of war are very precarious) — or at
least, that you will take them in your way to the
Azores. Pray be careful of this letter till it has done
its duty, for it is to inform you that I have booked off
your watch, (laid in cotton like an untimely fruit,)
and with it Condillac, and al! other books of yours which
were left here. These will set out on Monday next,
the 29th May, by Kendal waggon, from White Horse,
Cripplegate. You will make seasonable inquiries, for
a watch mayn't come your way again in a hurry. I
have been repeatedly after Tobin, and now hear that
he is in the country, not to return till the middle of
June. I will take care and see him with the earliest.
But cannot you write pathetically to him, enforcing a
speeding mission of your books for literary purposes?
vol 11. B


He is too good a retainer to Literature to let her in-
terests suffer through his default. And why, in the
name of Beelzebub, are your books to travel from
Barnard's Inn to the Temple, and thence circuitously
to Cripplegate, when their business is to take a short
cut down Holborn Hill, up Snow ditto, on to Wood
Street, &c. ? The former mode seems a sad super-
stitious subdivision of labour. Well ! the " Man of
Ross " is to stand ; Longman begs for it ; the printer
stands with a wet sheet in one hand, and a useless
Pica in the other, in tears, pleading for it ; I relent.
Besides, it was a Salutation poem, and has the mark
of the beast "Tobacco " upon it. Thus much I have
done ; I have swept off the lines about widows and
orphans in the second edition, which (if you remem-
ber) you most awkwardly and illogically caused to be
inserted between two Ifs, to the great breach and
disunion of said Ifs, which now meet again, (as in
the first edition,) like two clever lawyers arguing a
case. Another reason for subtracting the pathos
was, that the " Man of Ross " is too familiar to need
telling what he did, especially in worse lines than
Pope told it, and it now stands simply as " Reflec-
tions at an Inn about a known Character," and suck-
ing an old story into an accommodation with present
feelings. Here is no breaking spears with Pope, but
a new, independent, and really a very pretty poem.
In fact 'tis as I used to admire it in the first volume,
and I have even dared to restore

" If neath this roof thy ivine cheer" J moments pass,"


" Beneath this roof if thy cheer'd moments pass."

" Cheer'd " is a sad general word, " wine -cheer'd " I'm
sure you'd give me, if I had a speaking trumpet to


sound to you 300 miles. But I am your factotum •
and that, (save in this instance, which is a single
case, and I can't get at you,) shall be next to a fac-
nihil — at most a facsimile. I have ordered "Imita-
tion of Spenser" to be restored on Wordsworth's
authority; and now, all that you will miss will be
"Flicker and Flicker's Wife," "The Thimble,"
" Breathe dear harmonist," and / believe, " The Child
that was fed with Manna." Another volume will
clear off all your Anthologic Morning-Postian Epis-
tolary Miscellanies ; but pray don't put " Christabel "
therein ; don't let that sweet maid come forth attended
with Lady Holland's mob at her heels. Let there be
a separate volume of Tales, Choice Tales, " Ancient
Mariners," &c. A word of your health will be richly
acceptable. C. Lamb.

Letter XLIX.] June 7th, 1809.

Dear Coleridge, — I congratulate you on the appear-
ance of the Friend. 1 Your first Number promises
well, and I have no doubt the succeeding Numbers
will fulfil the promise. I had a kind letter from you
some time since, which I have left unanswered. I
am also obliged to you, I believe, for a review in the
Annual, am I not ? The Monthly Review sneers at
me, and asks " if Comns is not good enough for
Mr. Lamb ?" because I have said no good serious

1 The Friend ran to twenty-seven numbers, and was afterwards
revised and included in the author's works. — H.

B 2


dramas have been written since the death of Charles
the First, except Samson Agonistes. So because they
do not know, or won't remember, that Comus was
written long before, I am to be set down as an under-
valuer of Milton ! O Coleridge, do kill those reviews,
or they will kill us ; kill all we like. Be a friend to
all else, but their foe. I have been turned out of my
chambers in the Temple by a landlord who wanted
them for himself, but I have got other at No. 4, Inner
Temple Lane, far more commodious and roomy. I
have two rooms on the third floor and five rooms
above, with an inner staircase to myself, and all new
painted, &c, and all for £30 a year ! I came into
them on Saturday week ; and on Monday following
Mary was taken ill with the fatigue of moving ; and
affected, I believe, by the novelty of the home she
could not sleep, and I am left alone with a maid quite
a stranger to me, and she has a month or two's sad
distraction to go through. What sad large pieces it
cuts out of life ! — out of her life, who is getting rather
old ; and we may not have many years to live together.
I am weaker, and bear it worse than I ever did.
But I hope we shall be comfortable by-and-by. The
rooms are delicious, and the best look backwards into
Hare Court, where there is a pump always going.
Just now it is dry. Hare Court trees come in at the
window, so that 'tis like living in a garden. I try to
persuade myself it is much pleasanter than Mitre
Court; but, alas! the household gods are slow to
come in a new mansion. They are in their infancy
to me ; I do not feel them yet ; no hearth has blazed
to them yet. How I hate and dread new places !

I was very glad to see Wordsworth's book adver-
tised : I am to have it to-morrow lent me, and if


Wordsworth don't send me an order for one upon
Longman, I will buy it. It is greatly extolled and
liked by all who have seen it. Let me hear from some
of you, for I am desolate. I shall have to send you,
in a week or two, two volumes of Juvenile Poetry,
done by Mary and me within the last six months, and
that tale in prose which Wordsworth so much liked,
which was published at Christmas, with nine others,
by us, and has reached a second edition. There's for
you ! We have almost worked ourselves out of child's
work, and I don't know what to do. Sometimes I
think of a drama, but I have no head for play-making;
I can do the dialogue, and that's all. I am quite
aground for a plan ; but I must do something for
money. Not that I have immediate wants, but I have
prospective ones. O money, money, how blindly thou
hast been worshipped, and how stupidly abused !
Thou art health and liberty and strength ; and he
that has thee may rattle his pockets at the Devil.

Nevertheless, do not understand by this that I have
not quite enough for my occasions for a year or two to
come. While I think on it, Coleridge, I fetch'd away
my books which you had at the Courier Office, and
found all but a third volume of the old plays, con-
taining the White Devil, Green's Tu Quoque, and the
Honest Whore, perhaps the most valuable volume of
them all — that I could not find. Pray, if you can,
remember what you did with it, or where you took it
out with you a walking perhaps ; send me word, for,
to use the old plea, it spoils a set. I found two other
volumes (you had three), the Arcadia, and Daniel,
enriched with manuscript notes. I wish every book
I have were so noted. They have thoroughly con-
verted me to relish Daniel, or to say I relish him, for


after all, I believe I did relish him. You well call him
sober-minded. Your notes are excellent. Perhaps
you've forgot them. I have read a review in the
Quarterly, by Southey, on the Missionaries, which is
most masterly. I only grudge its being there. It is
quite beautiful. Do remember my Dodsley ; and,
pray, do write, or let some of you write. Clarkson
tells me you are in a smoky house. Have you cured
it ? It is hard to cure any thing of smoking. Our
little poems are but humble, but they have no name.
You must read them, remembering they were task-
work ; and perhaps you will admire the number of
subjects, all of children, picked out by an old Bachelor
and an old Maid. Many parents would not have
found so many. Have you read Calebs ? It has
reached eight editions in so many weeks, yet literally
it is one of the very poorest sort of common novels,
with the draw-back of dull religion in it. Had the
religion been high and flavoured, it would have been
something. I borrowed this Calebs in Search of a
Wife, of a very careful, neat lady, and returned it with
this stuff written in the beginning: —

" If ever I marry a wife

" I'll marry a landlord's daughter,
" For then I may sit in the bar,

" And drink cold brandy and water."

I don't expect you can find time from your Friend
to write to me much ; but write something, for there
has been a long silence. You knowHolcroft is dead.
Godwin is well. He has written a very pretty, absurd
book about sepulchres. He was affronted because I
told him it was better than Hervey, but not so good
as Sir T. Browne. This letter is all about books ;


but my head aches, and I hardly know what I write ,
but I could not let the Friend pass without a con-
gratulatory epistle. I won't criticise till it comes to a
volume. Tell me how I shall send my packet to you ?
— by what conveyance ? — by Longman, Short-man,
or how ? Give my kindest remembrances to
Wordsworth. Tell him he must give me a book.
My kind love to Mrs. W. and to Dorothy separately
and conjointly. I wish you could all come and see
me in my new rooms. God bless you all.

C. L.

LETTER L.j Monday, Oct. 30th, 1809.

Dear Coleridge, — I have but this moment received
your letter, dated the gth instant, having just come
off a journey from Wiltshire, where I have been with
Mary on a visit to Hazlitt. The journey has been of
infinite service to her. We have had nothing but
sunshiny days, and daily walks from eight to twenty
miles a-day ; have seen Wilton, Salisbury, Stone-
henge, &c. Her illness lasted but six weeks ; it left
her weak, but the country has made us whole. We
came back to our Hogarth Room. I have made
several acquisitions since you saw them, — and found
Nos. 8, g, 10 of the Friend. The account of Luther
in the Warteburg is as fine as any thing I ever read. 1

1 The Warteburg is a Castle, standing on a lofty rock, about two
miles from the city of Eisenach, in which Luther was confined, under
the friendly arrest of the Elector of Saxony, after Charles V. had pro-
nounced against him the Ban in the Imperial Diet ; where he composed
some of his greatest works, and translated the New Testament ; and
where he is recorded as engaged in the personal conflict with the Prince


God forbid that a man who has such things to say
should be silenced for want of £100. This Custom-
and-Duty Age would have made the Preacher on the
Mount take out a licence, and St. Paul's Epistles
would not have been missible without a stamp. O
that you may find means to go on ! But alas ! where
is Sir G. Beaumont ? — Sotheby ? What is become

of Darkness, of which the vestiges are still shown in a black stain on
the wall, from the inkstand hurled at the Enemy. In the Essay referred
to, Coleridge accounts for the story, depicting the state of the great
prisoner's mind in most vivid colours, and then presenting the follow-
ing picture, which so nobly justifies Lamb's eulogy, that I venture to
gratify myself by inserting it here : —

" Methinks I see him sitting, the heroic student, in his chamber in
the Warteburg, with his midnight lamp before him, seen by the late
traveller in the distant plain of Bischofsroda, as a star on the moun-
tain ! Below it lies the Hebrew Bible open, on which he gazes ; his
brow pressing on his palm, brooding over some obscure text, which he
desires to make plain to the simple boor and to the humble artizan, and
to transfer its whole force into their own natural and living tongue.
And he himself does not understand it ! Thick darkness lies on the
original text ; he counts the letters, he calls up the roots of each sepa-
rate word, and questions them as the familiar Spirits of an Oracle. In
vain ; thick darkness continues to cover it ; not a ray of meaning
dawns through it. With sullen and angry hope he reaches for the
Vulgate, his old and sworn enemy, the treacherous confederate of the
Roman Antichrist, which he so gladly, when he can, rebukes for idola
trous falsehood, that had dared place

' Within the sanctuary itself their shrines,
' Abominations — '

Now (O thought of humiliation !) he must entreat its aid. See! there
has the sly spirit of apostacy worked in a phrase, which favours the
doctrine of purgatory, the intercession of saints, or the efficacy of
prayers for the dead ; and what is worst of all, the interpretation is
plausible. The original Hebrew might be forced into this meaning ;
and no other meaning seems to lie in it, none to hover above it in the
heights of allegory, none to lurk beneath it even in the depths of
Cabala 1 This is the work of the Tempter ; it is a cloud of darkness
conjured up between the truth of the sacred letters and the eyes of his
understanding, by the malice of the Evil One, and for a trial of his
faith ! Must he then at length confess, must he subscribe the name of
Luther to an exposition which consecrates a weapon for the hand of
the idolatrous Hierarchy ? Never ! Never 1


of the rich Auditors in Albemarle Street ? Your
letter has saddened me.

I am so tired with my journey, being up all night,
that I have neither things nor words in my power. I
believe I expressed my admiration of the pamphlet.
Its power over me was like that which Milton's
pamphlets must have had on his contemporaries,

" There still remains one auxiliary in reserve, the translation of the
Seventy. The Alexandrine Greeks, anterior to the Church itself, could
intend no support to its corruptions. The Septuagint will have pro-
faned the Author of Truth with no incense for the nostrils of the uni-
versal Bishop to snuff up. And here again his hopes are baffled!
Exactly at this perplexed passage had the Greek translator given his
understanding a holiday, and made his pen supply its place. O
honoured Luther ! as easily mightest thou convert the whole City of
Rome, with the Pope and the conclave of Cardinals inclusively, as
strike a spark of light from the words, and nothing but words, of the
Alexandrine version. Disappointed, despondent, enraged, ceasing to
think, yet continuing his brain on the stretch in solicitation of z.
thought; and gradually giving himself up to angry fancies, to recollec-
tions of past persecutions, to uneasy fears, and inward defiances, and
floating images of the Evil Being, their supposed personal author, he
sinks, without perceiving it, into a trance of slumber ; during which his
brain retains its waking energies, excepting that what would have
been mere thoughts before, now (the action and counterweight of his
senses and of their impressions being withdrawn) shape and condense
themselves into things, into realities ! Repeatedly half-wakening, and
his eye-lids as often reclosing, the objects which really surround him
form the place and scenery of his dream. All at once he sees the arch-
fiend coming forth on the wall of the room, from the very spot, per-
haps, on which his eyes had been fixed vacantly, during the perplexed
moments of his former meditation. The inkstand which he had at the
same time been using, becomes associated with it ; and in that struggle
of rage, which in these distempered dreams almost constantly precedes
the helpless terror by the pain of which we are finally awakened, he
imagines that he hurls it at the intruder ; or not improbably in the
first instant of awakening, while yet both his imagination and his eyes
are possessed by the dream, he actually hurls it. Some weeks^ after
perhaps, during which interval he had often mused on the incident,
undetermined whether to deem it a visitation of Satan to him in the
body or out of the body, he discovers for the first time the dark spot
on his wall, and receives it as a sign and pledge vouchsafed to him of
the event having actually taken place." — T.


who were tuned to them. What a piece of prose !
Do you hear if it is read at all ? I am out of the
world of readers. I hate all that do read, for they
read nothing but reviews and new books. I gather
myself up unto the old things.

I have put up shelves. You never saw a book-case
in more true harmony with the contents than what
I've nailed up in a room, which, though new, has
more aptitudes for growing old than you shall often
see — as one sometimes gets a friend in the middle of
life, who becomes an old friend in a short time. My
rooms are luxurious ; one is for prints and one for
books ; a Summer and a Winter parlour. When
shall I ever see you in them ?

C. L.

Letter LI.] 13th Aug., 1 8 14.

Dear Resuscitate, — There comes to you by the
vehicle from Lad Lane this day a volume of German ;
what it is I cannot justly say, the characters of those
northern nations having been always singularly harsh
and unpleasant to me. It is a contribution of Dr.
Southey's towards your wants, and you would have
had it sooner but for an odd accident. I wrote
for it three days ago, and the Doctor, as he
thought, sent it me. A book of like exterior he
did send, but being disclosed, how far unlike ! It
wa6 the Well-bred Scholar, — a book with which it
seems the Doctor laudably fills up those hours which
he can steal from his medical avocations. Chester-
field, Blair, Beattie, portions from the Life of Savage,
make up a prettyish system of morality and the belles-


lettres, which Mr. Mylius, a schoolmaster, has pro-
perly brought together, and calls the collection by the
denomination above mentioned. The Doctor had no
sooner discovered his error, than he dispatched man
and horse to rectify the mistake, and with a pretty
kind of ingenuous modesty in his note, seemeth to
deny any knowledge of the Well-bred Scholar; false
modesty surely, and a blush misplaced : for what
more pleasing than the consideration of professional
austerity thus relaxing, thus improving ! But so,
when a child, I remember blushing, being caught on
my knees to my Maker, or doing otherwise some
pious and praiseworthy action : now I rather love
such things to be seen. Henry Crabb Robinson
is out upon his circuit, and his books are inaccessible
without his leave and key. He is attending the
Norfolk Circuit, — a short term, but to him, as to
many young lawyers, a long vacation, sufficiently
dreary. 1 I thought I could do no better than trans-
mit to him, not extracts, but your very letter itself,
than which I think I never read any thing more
moving, more pathetic, or more conducive to the pur-
pose of persuasion. The Crab is a sour Crab if it
does not sweeten him. I think it would draw another
third volume of Dodsley out of me ; but you say you
don't want any English books. Perhaps, after all,
that's as well ; one's romantic credulity is for ever
misleading one into misplaced acts of foolery. Crab
might have answered by this time : his juices take a
long time supplying, but they'll run at last — I know

' A mistake of Lamb's, at which the excellent person referred to
may smile, now that he has retired from his profession , and has no
business but the offices of kindness. — T.


they will — pure golden pippin. A fearful rumour has
since reached me that the Crab is on the eve of setting
out for France. If he is in England your letter will
reach him, and I flatter myself a touch of the per-
suasive of my own, which accompanies it, will not be
thrown away ; if it be, he is a sloe, and no true-
hearted Crab, and there's an end. For that life of the
German conjuror which you speak of, Colerus de Vita
Doctoris vix-Intelligibilis, I perfectly remember the
last evening we spent with Mrs. Morgan and Miss
Brent, in London Street, — (by that token we had raw
rabbits for supper, and Miss B. prevailed upon me to
take a glass of brandy and water, which is not my
habit,) — I perfectly remember reading portions of that
life in their parlour, and I think it must be among
their packages. It was the very last evening we
were at that house. What is gone of that frank-
hearted circle, Morgan, and his cos-lettuces ? He ate
walnuts better than any man I ever knew. Friend-
ships in these parts stagnate.

I am going to eat turbot, turtle, venison, marrow
pudding, — cold punch, claret, Madeira, — at our
annual feast, at half-past four this day. They keep
bothering me, (I'm at office,) and my ideas are con-
fused. Let me know if I can be of any service as to
books. God forbid the Architectonican should be
sacrificed to a foolish scruple of some book proprietor,
as if books did not belong with the highest propriety
to those that understand 'em best.

C. Lamb.


Letter LII.] 26th August, i 8 14.

Let the hungry soul rejoice, there is corn in Egypt.
Whatever thou hast been told to the contrary by
designing friends, who perhaps inquired carelessly,
or did not inquire at all, in hope of saving their
money, there is a stock of " Remorse " on hand,
enough, as Pople conjectures, for seven years' con-
sumption ; judging from experience of the last two
years. Methinks it makes for the benefit of sound
literature, that the best books do not always go off
best. Inquire in seven years' time for the Rokebys
and the haras, and where shall they be found ? —
fluttering fragmentally in some thread-paper ; whereas
thy Wallenstein and thy Remorse are safe on Long-
man's or Pople's shelves, as in some Bodleian ; there
they shall remain ; no need of a chain to hold them
fast — perhaps for ages — tall copies — and people shan't
run about hunting for them as in old Ezra's
shrievalty they did for a Bible, almost without effect
till the great-great-grand-niece (by the mother's side)
of Jeremiah or Ezekiel (which was it?) remembered
something of a book, with odd reading in it, that
used to lie in the green closet in her aunt Judith's

Thy caterer, Price, was at Hamburgh when last
Pople heard of him, laying up for thee like some
miserly old father for his generous-hearted son to

Mr. Charles Aders, whose books also pant for that
free circulation which thy custody is sure to give
them, is to be heard of at his kinsmen, Messrs.
Jameson and Aders, No. 7, Laurence Pountney
Lane, London, according to the information which


Crabius with his parting breath left me. Crabius is
gone to Paris. I prophesy he and the Parisians will
part with mutual contempt. His head has a twist
Allemagne, like thine, dear mystic.

I have been reading Madame Stael on Germany :
an impudent clever woman. But if Faust be no
better than in her abstract of it, I counsel thee to let
it alone. How canst thou translate the language of
cat-monkeys ? Fie on such fantasies ! But I will

Online LibraryCharles LambThe life, letters, and writings of Charles Lamb (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 28)