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■■im.



THE WORKS OF
CHARLES AND MARY LAMB

IV. POEMS AND PLAYS



BY THE SAME EDITOR

The Life of Charles Lamb

Mr. Ingleside

Over Bemerton's

Listener's Lure

One Day and Another

Fireside and Sunshine

Character and Comedy

Old Lamps for New

The Hambledon Men

The Open Road

The Friendly Town

Her Infinite Variety

Good Company

The Gentlest Art

The Second Post

A Swan and Her Friends

A Wanderer in London

A Wanderer in Holland

A Wanderer in Paris

Highways and Byways in Sussex

Anne's Terrible Good Nature

The Slowcoach

Sir Pulteney

and
The Pocket Edition of the Works of
Charles Lamb ; i. Miscellaneous Prose ;
II. Elia ; in. Children's Books ; iv. Poems
and Plays ; v. and vi. Letters



POEMS AND PLAYS



BY



CHARLES AND MARY LAMB



EDITED BY

E. V. LUCAS



zr v'^ / . y'



jj



WITH A FRONTISPIECE



METHUEN & GO. LTD.

36 ESSEX STREET W.G.

LONDON



First Published in this form [Fcap. 8vo) in rqiz



This



U Work was first Published in Seven Volumes (Demy Svo) in 1903-5



INTRODUCTION

THE earliest poem in this volume bears the date
1794, when Lamb was nineteen, the latest 1834,
the year of his death ; so that it covers an even longer
period of his life than Vol. I. — the " Miscellaneous
Prose." The chronological order which was strictly
observed in that volume has been only partly observed
in the following pages — since it seemed better to keep
the plays together and to make a separate section of
Lamb's epigrams. These, therefore, will be found to be
outside the general scheme. Such of Lamb's later poems
as he did not himself collect in volume form will also be
found to be out of their chronological position, partly be-
cause it has seemed to me best to give prominence to
those verses which Lamb himself reprinted, and partly
because there is often no indication of the year in which
the poem was written.

Another difficulty has been the frequency with which
Lamb reprinted some of his earlier poetry. The text of
many of his earliest and best poems was not fixed until
1818, twenty years or so after their composition. It had
to be decided whether to print these poems in their true
order as they were first published — in Coleridge's Poems
on Various Subjects, 1796; in Charles Lloyd's Poems on
the Death of Priscilla Farmer, 1796 ; in Coleridge's
Poems, second edition, 1797 ; in Blank Verse by Charles
Lloyd and Charles Lamb, 1798; and in John Woodvil,
1802 — with all their early readings; or whether to dis-



vi Introduction

regard chronological sequence, and wait until the time of
the Works — 1818 — had come, and print them all together
then. I decided, in the interests of their biographical
value, to print them in the order as they first appeared,
particularly as Crabb Robinson tells us that Lamb once
said of the arrangement of a poet's works : " There is
only one good order— and that is the order in which
they were written — that is a history of the poet's mind."
It then had to be decided whether to print them in their
first shape, which, unless I repeated them later, would
mean the relegation of Lamb's final text to the Notes, or
to print them, at the expense of a slight infringement
upon the chronological scheme, in their final 1818 state,
and relegate all earlier readings to the Notes. After
much deliberation I idecided that to print them in their
final 1 81 8 state was best, and this therefore I did in the
large edition of 1903, to which the student is referred for
all variorum readings, fuller notes and many illustrations,
and have repeated here. In order, however, that the
scheme of Lamb's 181 8 edition of his Works might be
preserved, I have indicated in the text the position in the
Works occupied by all the poems that in the present
volume have been printed earlier.

The chronological order, in so far as it has been
followed, emphasises the dividing line between Lamb's
poetry and his verse. As he grew older his poetry, for
the most part, passed into his prose. His best and truest
poems, with few exceptions, belong to the years before,
say, 1805, when he was thirty. After this, following a
long interval of silence, came the brief satirical outburst
of 1 81 2, in The Examiner, and the longer one, in 1820,
in The Champion ; then, after another interval, during
which he was busy as Elia, came the period of album
verses, which lasted to the end. The impulse to write
personal prose, which was quickened in Lamb by the
London Magazine in J820, seems to have taken the place
of his old ambition to be a poet. In his later and more



Introduction vii

mechanical period there were, however, occasional in-
spirations, as when he wrote the sonnet on "Work," in
1819; on "Leisure," in 1821; the lines in his own
Album, in 1827, and, pre-eminently, the poem "On an
Infant Dying as Soon as Born," in 1827.

This volume contains, with the exception of the verse
for children, which will be found in Vol. III. of this
edition, all the accessible poetical work of Charles and
Mary Lamb that is known to exist and several poems not
to be found in the large edition. There are probably
still many copies of album verses which have not yet seen
the light. In the London Magazine, April, 1824, is a
story entitled "The Bride of Modern Italy," which has
for motto the following couplet : —

My heart is fixt :
This is the sixt. — Elia,

but the rest of what seems to be a pleasant catalogue is
missing. In a letter to Coleridge, December 2, 1796,
Lamb refers to a poem which has apparently perished,
beginning, "Laugh, all that weep." I have left in the
correspondence the rhyming letters to Ayrton and Dibdin,
and an epigram on " Coelebs in Search of a Wife."

I have placed the dedication to Coleridge at the be-
ginning of this volume, although it belongs properly only
to those poems that are reprinted from the Works of
1818, the prose of which Lamb offered to Martin Burney.
But it is too fine to be put among the Notes, and it may
easily, by a pardonable stretch, be made to refer to the
whole body of Lamb's poetical and dramatic work,
although Album Verses, 1830, was dedicated separately to
Edward Moxon.

In Mr. Bedford's design for the cover of this edition
certain Elian symbolism will be found. The upper
coat of arms is that of Christ's Hospital, where Lamb
was at school ; the lower is that of the Inner Temple,
where he was born and spent many years. The figures
at the bells are those which once stood out from the



viii Introduction

fagade of St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street, and are
now in Lord Londesborough's garden in Regent's Park.
Lamb shed tears when they were removed. The tricksy
sprite and the candles (brought by Betty) need no ex-
planatory words of mine.

E. V. L.



CONTENTS



Dedication

Lamb's earliest poem, " Mille viae mortis " . , . .
Poems in Coleridge's Poems on Various Subjects, 1796 : —

" As when a child ..."

" Was it some sweet device ..."

' ' Methinks how dainty sweet . . . " .

"Oh! I could laugh ..."

From Charles Lloyd's Poems on the Death of Priscilla
Farmer, 1796 ; — -

The Grandame

Poems from Coleridge's Poems, 1797 : —

" When last I roved ..."

" A timid grace ..."

" If from my lips ..."

' ' We were two pretty babes . . . "

Childhood .....

The Sabbath Bells ....

Fancy Employed on Divine Subjects

The Tomb of Douglas .

To Charles Lloyd ....

A Vision of Repentance .
Poems Written in the Years 1795-98, and not Reprinted by
Lamb : —

' ' The Lord of Life . . . " .

To the Poet Cowper

Lines addressed to Sara and S. T. C.

Sonnet to a Friend ....

To a Young Lady ....

Living Without God in the World .
Poems from Blank Verse, by Charles Lloyd and Charles
Lamb, 1798 : —

To Charles Lloyd .....

Written on the Day of My Aunt's Funeral

Written a Year After the Events

Written Soon After the Preceding Poem

Written on Christmas Day, 1797 .

The Old Familiar Faces ....

Composed at Midnight ....



TEXT


NOTE


PAGE


PAGE


I


307


3


307


4


308


4


309


5


3"


S


3"



6 312

8 314

8 315

9 315
9 315
9 315

10 316

10 316

11 316

12 316

13 317



16 317

16 317

17 318

18 318

18 319

19 319



21 320

21 320

22 321

24 322

25 322

25 322

26 323



IX



Contents



Poems at the End oi John Woodvil, 1802 : —

Helen. By Mary Lamb

Ballad. From the German

Hypochondriacus

A Ballad Noting the Difference of Rich and Poor .
Poems in Charles Lamb's Works, 1818, not Previously
Printed in the Present Volume : —

Hester

Dialogue Between a Mother and Child. By Mary Lamb

A Farewell to Tobacco

To T, L. H

Salome. By Mary Lamb

Lines Suggested by a Picture of Two Females by

Lionardo da Vinci. By Mary Lamb
Lines on the Same Picture being Removed. By Mary

Lamb .........

Lines on the Celebrated Picture by Lionardo da Vinci,

called " The Virgin of the Rocks " . . . .

On the Same. By Mary Lamb

To Miss Kelly

On the Sight of Swans in Kensington Garden

The Family Name

To John Lamb, Esq. .......

To Martin Charles Burney, Esq

Album Verses, 1830: —
Album Verses : —

In the Album of a Clergyman's Lady

In the Autograph Book of Mrs. Sergeant W —

In the Album of Lucy Barton .

In the Album of Miss

In the Album of a very Young Lady

In the Album of a French Teacher

In the Album of Miss Daubeny

In the Album of Mrs. Jane Towers

In My Own Album .
Miscellaneous :—

Angel Help ....

The Christening

On an Infant Dying as Soon as Born

To Bernard Barton .

The Young Catechist

She is Going ....

To a Young Friend .

To the Same ....
Sonnets : —

Harmony in Unlikeness .

Written at Cambridge

To a Celebrated Female Performer
Boy" ....

Work

Leisure



TEXT


NOTE


PAGE


PAGE


28


323


29


324


29


324


30


324


32


325


33


325


34


325





326


39






41 327
41 327



the



Blind



42


327


42


327


43


328


43


328


44


328


44


329


45


329


46


332


46


332


47


332


48


3.32


48


332


49


332


49


333


50


333


SO


333


51


333


52


333


S3


333


5S


334


5<5


334


57


335


57


335





335


58


336


S9


336


59


336


59


336


60


336



Contents



XI



Writ



e Her



To Samuel Rogers, Esq

The Gipsy's Malison

Commendatory Verses : —

To the Author of Poems Published under the Name
of Barry Cornwall

To R. S. Knowles, Esq. .

To the Editor of the Every-Day Book
Acrostics : —

To Caroline Maria Applebee .

To Cecilia Catherine Lawton .

Acrostic, to a Lady who Desired Me to
Epitaph

Another, to Her Youngest Daughter
Translations from the Latin of Vincent Bourne :—

On a Sepulchral Statue of an Infant Sleeping

The Rival Bells

Epitaph on a Dog

The Ballad Singers .....

To David Cook .....

On a Deaf and Dumb Artist .

Newton's Principia .....

The House-keeper

The Female Orators ....
Pindaric Ode to the Tread Mill

Going or Gone

New Poems in The Poetical Works of Charles Lamb, 1836 : —

In the Album of Edith S .

To Dora W



In the Album of Rotha Q

In the Album of Catherine Orkney .
To T. Stothard, Esq. .
To a Friend on His Marriage
The Self-Enchanted

To Louisa M , whom I used to call

Cheap Gifts : a Sonnet .



■ Monkey



Free Thoughts on Several Eminent Composers
Miscellaneous Poems not collected by Lamb : —
Dramatic Fragment ....
Dick Strype ; or, The Force of Habit .
Two Epitaphs on a Young Lady .

The Ape

In tabulam eximii pictoris B. Haydoni .

Translation of Same ....

Sonnet to Miss Burney ....

To My Friend the Indicator .

On seeing Mrs. K B , aged upwards of eighty



nurse an infant
To Emma, Learning Latin, and Desponding
Lines Addressed to Lieut. R. W. H. Hardy, R.N.
Lines for a Monument ....,,



TEXT


NOTE


PAGE


PAGE


60
61


337

337


61
62
63


338
338
338


63
64


339
339


65
65


339
339


66
66
67
67
69


340
340
340
340
340


70


340


71


340


71


340


72


340


72


341


75


341


78
78


343
344


79


344


79
80
80


344
344


81
82
82
83


344
344
344
344


85
86
88
89


345
345
346
346


90


347


90


347


91
91


347
348


92
93


348
348


93


349


94


349



xii Contents

TEXT NOTE

PAGE PAGE

To C. Aders, Esq 94 349

Hercules Pacificatus 95 349

The Parting Speech of the Celestial Messenger to the

Poet 98 349

Existence, Considered in Itself, no Blessing ... 99 350

To Samuel Rogers, Esq 100 350

To Clara N loi 350

The Sisters loi 350

Love Will Come 102 351

To Margaret W 102 351

Additional Album Verses and Acrostics : —

What is an Album ? 104 351

The First Leaf of Spring 105 352

To Mrs. F 105 352

To M. L F 106 352

To Esther Field 106 352

To Mrs. Williams 107 352

To the Book 107 353

To S. F 108 353

To R. Q 108 353

To S. L 109 353

To M. L 109 353

An Acrostic Against Acrostics 109 353

On Being Asked to Write in Miss Westwood's Album . no 353

In Miss Westwood's Album. By Mary Lamb . . no 353

Un Solitaire. To Sarah Lachlan in 353

To S. T "I 354

To Mrs. Sarah Robinson in 354

To Sarah 112 354

To Joseph Vale Asbury 112 354

To D. A "3 354

To Louisa Morgan 113 354

To Sarah James of Beguildy 113 354

To Emma Button 114 354

Written upon the Cover of a Blotting Book . . .114 354
Political and Other Epigrams : —

To Sir James Mackintosh 115 357

Tvi'elfth Night Characters : —

Mr. A 115 358

Messrs. C g and F e 115 358

Count Rumford 116 358

On a Late Empiric of " Balmy " Memory . . 116 358
Epigrams : —

" Princeps his rent ..." 116 359

"Ye Politicians, tell me, pray ..." . . . 116 359

The Triumph of the Whale 116 359

Sonnet. St. Crispin to Mr. Gifford . . . .118 360

The Godlike n8 360

The Three Graves 119 360

Sonnet to Mathew Wood, Esq 119 361



Contents xiii



TEXT NOTE
PAGE PAGE



On a Projected Journey 120 361

Song for the C n 120 362

The Unbeloved 120 362

On the Arrival in England of Lord Byron's Remains . 121 362

Lines Suggested by a Sight of Waltham Cross . .121 363

For the Table Book 122 363

The Royal Wonders 122 363

" Brevis Esse Laboro " 122 363

Suum Cuique 123 363

On the Literary Gazette ....... 123 365

On the Fast-Day 123 365

Nonsense Verses 123 365

On Wawd 124 366

Six Epitaphs 124 366

Time and Eternity ....... 126 366

From the Latin 126 366

Satan in Search of a Wife 127 366

Part 1 128 —

Part II 133 —

Prologues and Epilogues : —

Epilogue to Godwin's Tragedy of " Antonio " . . 138 368

Prologue to Godwin's Tragedy of "Faulkener" . . 140 369

Epilogue to Henry Siddons' Farce, ' ' Time's a Tell-Tale " 140 369

Prologue to Coleridge's Tragedy of "Remorse" . . 142 369

Epilogue to Kenney's Farce, " Debtor and Creditor " . 143 371

Epilogue to an Amateur Performance of " Richard II." 145 371

Prologue to Sheridan Knowles' Comedy, "The Wife" . 146 372

Epilogue to Sheridan Knowles' Comedy, " The Wife" . 147 372

John Woodvil i4g 372

The Witch igg 3^2

Mr. H .......... 202 392

The Pawnbroker's Daughter 238 397

The Wife's Trial ......... 273 —

Poems in the Notes : —

Lines to Dorothy Wordsworth. By Mary Lamb . . 328

Lines on Lamb's Want of Ear. By Mary Lamb . . 345

A Lady's Sapphic. By Mary Lamb (?) ... 356

An English Sapphic. By Charles Lamb (?) . . . 357

Two Epigrams. By Charles Lamb (?) . . . . 359

The Poetical Cask. By Charles Lamb (?) . . . 363



NOTES ,07

INDEX ,309

INDEX OF FIRST LINES 409

FRONTISPIECE

Charles Lamb (age 23)

From the Drawing by Robert Hancock, now in the National Portrait

Gallery.



DEDICATION

(iSiS)
TO S. T. COLERIDGE, ESQ.

^/^Y Dear Coleridge,
1 You will smile to see the slender labors of your
friend designated by the title of Works ; but such was the
wish of the gentlemen who have kindly undertaken the trouble
of collecting them, and from their judgment could be no
appeal.

It would be a kind of disloyalty to offer to any one but
yourself a volume containing the early pieces, which were
first published among your poems, and were fairly derivatives
from you and them. My friend Lloyd and mj'self came into
our first battle (authorship is a sort of warfare) under cover of
the greater Ajax. How this association, which shall always
be a dear and proud recollection to me, came to be broken,
— who snapped the three-fold cord, — whether yourself (but I
know that was not the case) grew ashamed of your former
companions, — or whether (which is by much the more prob-
able) some ungracious bookseller was author of the separation,
— I cannot tell ; — but wanting the support of your friendly elm,
(I speak for myself,) my vine has, since that time, put forth
few or no fruits ; the sap (if ever it had any) has become,
in a manner, dried up and extinct ; and you will find your
old associate, in his second volume, dwindled into prose and
crificisin.

Am I right in assuming this as the cause.'' or is it that, as
years come upon us, (except with some more healthy-happy
spirits,) Life itself loses much of its Poetry for us .'' we trans-
cribe but what we read in the great volume of Nature ; and,

IV. — I



2 Dedication

as the characters gtovv dim, we turn off, and look another
way. You yourself write no Christabels, nor Ancient Mariners,
now.

Some of the Sonnets, which shall be carelessly turned over
by the general reader, may happily awaken in you remem-
brances, which I should be sorry should be ever totally extinct
— the memory

Of summer days and of delightful years —
even so far back as to those old suppers at our old * * * * ^
***** Inn, — when life was fresh, and topics exhaustless, —
and you first kindled in me, if not the power, yet the love of
poetry, and beauty, and kindliness. —

What words have I heard
Spoke at the Mermaid !

The world has given you many a shrewd nip and gird since
that time, but either my eyes are grown dimmer, or my old
friend is the same, who stood before me three and twenty
years ago — his hair a little confessing the hand of time, but
still shrouding the same capacious brain, — his heart not al-
tered, scarcely where it "alteration finds."

One piece, Coleridge, I have ventured to publish in its
original form, though I have heard you complain of a certain
over-imitation of the antique in the style. If I could see any
way of getting rid of the objection, without re-writing it en-
tirely, I would make some sacrifices. But when I wrote John
Woodvil, I never proposed to myself any distinct deviation
from common English. I had been newly initiated in the
writings of our elder dramatists ; Beaumont and Fletcher,
and Massinger, were then ?i first love ; and from what I was
so freshly conversant in, what wonder if my language imper-
ceptibly took a tinge ? The very time, which I have chosen
for my story, that which immediately followed the Restoration,
seemed to require, in an English play, that the English should
be of rather an older cast, than that of the precise year in which
it happened to be written. I wish it had not some faults,
which I can less vindicate than the language.

I remain,

My dear Coleridge,
Your's,

With unabated esteem,

C. LAMB,



LAMB'S EARLIEST POEM

MILLE VI vE MORTIS

(1789)

WHAT time in bands of slumber all were laid,
To Death's dark court, methought I was convey'd ;
In realms it lay far hid from mortal sight,
And gloomy tapers scarce kept out the night.

On ebon throne the King of Terrors sate ;
Around him stood the ministers of Fate ;
On fell destruction bent, the murth'rous band
Waited attentively his high command.

Here pallid Fear & dark Despair were seen.
And Fever here with looks forever lean,
Swoln Dropsy, halting Gout, profuse of woes,
And Madness fierce & hopeless of repose,

Wide-wasting Plague ; but chief in honour stood
More-wasting War, insatiable of blood ;
With starting eye-balls, eager for the word ;
Already brandish 'd was the glitt'ring sword.

Wonder and fear alike had fill'd my breast,
And thus the grisly Monarch I addrest —

" Of earth-born Heroes why should Poets sing,
" And thee neglect, neglect the greatest King 1
" To thee ev'n Caesar's self was forc'd to yield
"The glories of Pharsalia's well-fought field."

When, with a frown, "Vile caitiff, come not here,"
Abrupt cried Death ; "shall flatt'r>' soothe my ear.? "
" Hence, or thou feel'st my dart ! " the Monarch said,
Wild terror seiz'd me, & the vision fled,

3



POEMS IN COLERIDGE'S POEMS ON
VARIOUS SUBJECTS, 1796

( Written late in 1 794. Text of 1 797)

AS when a child on some long winter's night
Afifrighted clinging to its Grandam's knees
With eager wond'ring and perturb'd delight
Listens strange tales of fearful dark decrees
M utter 'd to wretch by necromantic spell ;
Or of those hags, who at the witching time
Of murky midnight ride the air sublime,
And mingle foul embrace with fiends of Hell :
Cold Horror drinks its blood ! Anon the tear
More gentle starts, to hear the Beldame tell
Of pretty babes, that lov'd each other dear,
Murder'd by cruel Uncle's mandate fell :
Ev'n such the shiv'ring joys thy tones impart,
Ev'n so thou, Siddons ! meltest my sad heart !

{Probably 1795. Text o/" 1 8 1 8)

Was it some sweet device of Faery

That mocked my steps with many a lonely glade,

And fancied wanderings with a fair-hair'd maid ?

Have these things been ? or what rare witchery,

Impregning with delights the charmed air,

Enlighted up the semblance of a smile

In those fine eyes ? methought they spake the while

Soft soothing things, which might enforce despair

To drop the murdering knife, and let go by

His foul resolve. And does the lonely glade

Still court the foot-steps of the fair-hair'd maid ?

Still in her locks the gales of summer sigh ?

While I forlorn do wander reckless where,

And 'mid my wanderings meet no Anna there.



Poems in Coleridge's Poems, 1796 5

{Probably 1795. Text of \Z\Z)

Methinks how dainty sweet it were, leclin'd

Beneath the vast out-stretching branches high

Of some old wood, in careless sort to lie,

Nor of the busier scenes we left behind

Aught envying. And, O Anna ! mild-eyed maid !

Beloved ! I were well content to play

With thy free tresses all a summer's day.

Losing the time beneath the greenwood shade.

Or we might sit and tell some tender tale

Of faithful vows repaid by cruel scorn,

A tale of true love, or of friend forgot ;

And I would teach thee, lady, how to rail

In gentle sort, on those who practise not

Or love or pity, though of woman born.

(1794. Text of \%\%)

O 1 I could laugh to hear the midnight wind,
That, rushing on its way with careless sweep,
Scatters the ocean waves. And I could weep
Like to a child. For now to my raised mind
On wings of winds comes wild-eyed Phantasy,
And her rude visions give severe delight.
O winged bark ! how swift along the night
Pass'd thy proud keel ! nor shall I let go by
Lightly of that drear hour the memory,
When wet and chilly on thy deck I stood,
Unbonnetted, and gazed upon the flood,
Even till it seemed a pleasant thing to die, —
To be resolv'd into th' elemental wave.
Or take my portion with the winds that rave.



FROM CHARLES LLOYD'S POEMS ON
THE DEATH OFPRISCILLA FARMER,
1796

THE GRANDAME

{Sjirnmer, 1796. Text of \'&\'i)

On the green hill top,
Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof.
And not distinguish'd from its neighbour-barn.
Save by a slender-tapering length of spire,
The Grandame sleeps. A plain stone barely tells
The name and date to the chance passenger.
For lowly born was she, and long had eat,
Well-earned, the bread of service : — her's was else
A mounting spirit, one that entertained
Scorn of base action, deed dishonorable.
Or aught unseemly. I remember well
Her reverend image : I remember, too.
With what a zeal she served her master's house :
And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age
Delighted to recount the oft-told tale
Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was.
And wondrous skilled in genealogies,
And could in apt and voluble terms discourse
Of births, of titles, and alliances ;
Of marriages, and intermarriages ;
Relationship remote, or near of kin ;
Of friends offended, family disgraced —
Maiden high-born, but wayward, disobeying
Parental strict injunction, and regardless
Of unmixed blood, and ancestry remote.
Stooping to wed with one of low degree.

6



The Grandame

But these are not thy praises ; and I wrong
Thy honor'd memory, recording chiefly
Things light or trivial. Better 'twere to tell,



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