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Treasure 'Room 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 








v. b 

Copyright, 1906, by 
The Bibliophile Societt 

All rights reserved 

4 7 9 1/S 



September 30, 1825. 

Dear H., — I came home in a week from 
Enfield, worse than I went. My sufferings have 
been intense, but are abating. I begin to know 
what a little sleep is. My sister has sunk under 
her anxieties about me. She is laid up, deprived 
of reason for many weeks to come, I fear. She 
is in the same house, but we do not meet. It 
makes both worse. I can just hobble down as 
far as the " Angel " once a day ; further kills 
me. When I can stretch to Copenh [agen] Street 
I will. If you come this way any morning I can 
only just shake you by the hand. This gloomy 
house does not admit of making my friends wel- 
come. You have come off triumphant with 
Bartholomew Fair. Yours (writ with difficulty), 

C. Lamb 


October, 1825. 

Dear Ayrton, — I am not nor can be forget- 
ful of you. All this summer almost I have been 
ill. I have been laid up (the second nervous 
attack) now six weeks. I have only known what 


sleep is, and that imperfect, for a week past. I 
have a medical attendant on me daily, and am 
brought low, though recovering. In the midst of 
my sufferings Mary was overcome with anxiety 
and nursing, and is ill of her old complaint which 
will last for many weeks to come ; she is with 
me in the house. I have neither place at present 
to receive old friends, but for a minute's chat 
or so, nor strength for some time I fear to 
stretch to them. Mr. Burney, who is come 
home, will corroborate this. But I hope again 
to see you and Mrs. A., for whose restoration 
I heartily pray. No longer reproach me, who 
never was but yours truly, C. Lamb 


October 5, 1825. 

Dear A., — Have received your drafts. We 
will talk that over Sunday morning. I am strong- 
ish, but have not good nights, and cannot settle 
my inside. 

Farewell till Sunday. 

I have no possible use for the first draft, so 
shall keep them as above. 

Yours truly, C. L. 

I only trouble you now because, if the 
drafts had miscarried, any one might have 
cash'd 'em. Remember at home. Ludlow is 



October 18, 1825. 

Dear H., — The first bit of writing I have 
done these many weeks. The quotations from 
both the Colliers are correct, I assure you. 

C. Lamb, getting well, but weak 


October 24, 1825. 

Who is your compositor ? I cannot praise 
enough the beauty and accuracy of the Garrick 
Play types. That of Zelidaura and Felisbravo, 
two or three numbers back, was really a poser. 
He must be no ordinary person who got through 
it (so quaint) without a slip. Not one in 10,000 
would have done it. Moxon (of the great House 
of Longman, Shortman & Co.) is a little fretful 
that youhave extracted a bit (only) from his friend 
Cole's book about Hervey and Weston Favell. 
C. is gaping for it, and has sent M. a very curi- 
ous old man's will for your book, which M. only 
keeps till you gratify him by a tiny notice : any- 
thing about the meditator among ye Tombs. 


October 24, 1825. 

I send a scrap. Is it worth postage ? My friends 
are fairly surprised that you should set me down 
so unequivocally for an ass, as you have done. 


Here he is 

what follows ? 

The Ass 

Call you this friendship ? Mercy ! What a dose 

you have sent me of Burney ! — a perfect opening 

(a pun here is intended) draught. 


[This is written on the back of the MS. " In re Squirrels " 
for Hone's Every-Day Book. Lamb's previous contribution 
had been The Ass which Hone had introduced with a few words. 
— E. V. Lucas.] 


December 5, 1825. 

Dear A., — You will be glad to hear that we 
are at home to visitors ; not too many or noisy. 
Some fine day shortly Mary will surprise Mrs. 
Allsop. The weather is not seasonable for formal 
engagements. Yours most ever, C. Lamb 


December 10, 1825. 

My dear M., — We have had sad ups and 
downs since you saw us, but are at present in 
untroubled waters, though not by them, for our 
old New River has taken a jaundice of the muds 
and rains, and looks as yellow as Miss 

Your red trunk (not hose, tho' a flame-coloured 
pair was once esteem' d a luxury) is safe deposited 


at the Peacock, who by the by is worth your 
seeing. She has had her tail brush' d up, and 
looks as pert as A-goose with a hundred eyes in 
My-thology : I don't know what yours says of it. 
Your gown will be at the Bell, Totteridge, by 
the Telegraph on Monday ; time enough, I hope, 
to go out to the curate's to an early tea in it. 
We have a corner at double dumbee for you, 
whenever you are dispos'd to change your Inn. 
Believe us yours as ever, 

Ch. and Mary Lamb 


December, 1825. 

Dear O., — I leave it entirely to Mr. Colburn ; 
but if not too late, I think the Proverbs had 
better have L. sign'd to them and reserve Elia 
for Essays more Eliacal. May I trouble you to 
send my Magazine, not to Norris, but H. C. 
Robinson, Esq., King's Bench Walks, instead. 
Yours truly, C. Lamb 

My friend Hood, a prime genius and hearty 
fellow, brings this. 


Early, 1826. 

Dear Oilier, — I send you two more proverbs, 
which will be the last of this batch, unless I send 


you one more by the post on Thursday ; none 
will come after that day ; so do not leave any 
open room in that case. Hood sups with me 
to-night. Can you come and eat grouse ? *T is 
not often I offer at delicacies. 

Yours most kindly, C. Lamb 


January, 1826. 

Dear O., — We lamented your absence last 
night. The grouse were piquant, the backs in- 
comparable. You must come in to cold mutton 
and oysters some evening. Name your evening ; 
though I have qualms at the distance. Do you 
never leave early ? My head is very queerish, 
and indisposed for much company ; but we will 
get Hood, that half Hogarth, to meet you. The 
scrap I send should come in after the Rising with 
the Lark. 

Colburn, I take it, pays postages. 

Yours truly 


January 25, 1826. 

Dear O., — I send you eight more jests, with 
the terms which my friend asks, which you will 
be so kind as to get an answer to from Mr. Col- 
burn, that I may tell him whether to go on with 
them. You will see his short note to me at the 

end, and tear it off. It is not for me to judge, but, 
considering the scarceness of the materials, what 
he asks is, I think, mighty reasonable. Do not 
let him be even known as a friend of mine. You see 
what he says about five going in first as a taste, 
but these will make thirteen in all. Tell me by 
what time he need send more ; I suppose not 
for some time (if you do not bring them out this 

Keep a place for me till the middle of the 
month, for I cannot hit on anything yet. I 
mean nothing by my crotchets but extreme 
difficulty in writing. But I will go on as long 
as I can. C. Lamb 


February i, 1826. 

Sir, — I was requested by Mr. Godwin to en- 
quire about a nurse that you want for a lady who 
requires constraint. The one I know does not go 
out now ; but at Whitmore House, Mr. War- 
burton's, Hoxton (to which she belongs), I dare 
say you may be very properly provided. The terms 
are eight-and-twenty shillings a week, with her 
board ; she finding her beer and washing : which 
is less expensive than for a female patient to be 
taken into a house of that description with any 
tolerable accommodation. 

I am, Sir, your humble servant, 

C. Lamb 
l 5 


February 4, 1826. 

Dear O., — I send a proverb, and a common 
saying, which is all I shall have against next 
month. What may I say of terms to my Chinese 
friend ? He will be on the fret, thinking he has 
ask'd more than Mr. C. will give, and he won't 
know whether to go on translating. Be explicit. 
Yours truly, C. Lamb 

Don't lose these : I keep no copies. Re- 
member I don't want to palm a friend upon the 
Magazine. I am quite content with my single 
reception in it. 



Dear O., — We dine at four on Monday. As 
I expect the authoress to tea, pray have a bit of 
opinion to give on her manuscript, or she will 
haunt me. 

Could you let me have the last magazine I 
wrote in, and which I had not about July or 
August last, containing the Essay on Sulkiness, 
being the last of the Popular Fallacies. 

Till I see you. A-Dieu. 

C. Lamb 




Dear H., — Lest you should come to-morrow, 
I write to say that Mary is ill again. The last 
thing she read was the Thursday Nights, which 
seem'd to give her unmixed delight, and she 
was sorry for what she said to you that night. 
The Article is a treasure to us for ever. Stoddart 
sent over the magazine to know if it were yours, 
and says it is better than Hogarth's Mod. Midn. 
Conversation, with several other most kind men- 
tions of it: he signs his note, An old Mitre 
Courtian. C. Lamb 


February 7, 1826. 

Dear B. B., — I got your book not more than 
five days ago, so am not so negligent as I must 
have appeared to you with a fortnight's sin upon 
my shoulders. I tell you with sincerity that I 
think you have completely succeeded in what 
you intended to do. What is poetry may be 
disputed. These are poetry to me at least. They 
are concise, pithy, and moving. Uniform as they 
are, and unhistorify'd, I read them thro' at two 
sittings without one sensation approaching to 
tedium. I do not know that among your many 
kind presents of this nature this is not my favour- 
ite volume. The language is never lax, and there 


is a unity of design and feeling : you wrote them 
with love — to avoid the cox-combical phrase 
con amore. I am particularly pleased with the 
Spiritual Law, pages 34-5. It reminded me of 
Quarles, and Holy Mr. Herbert, as Izaak Walton 
calls him : the two best, if not only, of our de- 
votional poets, tho' some prefer Watts, and some 
To?n Moore. 

I am far from well or in my right spirits, and 
shudder at pen and ink work. I poke out a 
monthly crudity for Colburn in his magazine, 
which I call Popular Fallacies, and periodically 
crush a proverb or two, setting up my folly 
against the wisdom of nations. Do you see the 
New Monthly ? 

One word I must object to in your little 
book, and it recurs more than once — fadeless is 
no genuine compound ; loveless is, because love 
is a noun as well as verb, but what is a fade? — 
and I do not quite like whipping the Greek 
drama upon the back of "Genesis," page 8. I 
do not like praise handed in by disparagement ; 
as I objected to a side censure on Byron, &c, in 
the lines on Bloomfield : with these poor cavils 
excepted, your verses are without a flaw. 

C. Lamb 

My kind remembrances to your daughter and 
A. K. always. 



March 16, 1826. 

Dear Oilier, — If not too late, pray omit the 
last paragraph in Actors' Religion, which is 
clumsy. It will then end with the word Mug- 
gletonian. I shall not often trouble you in this 
manner, but I am suspicious of this article as 
lame. C. Lamb 


March 20, 1826. 

Dear B. B., — You may know my letters by 
the paper and the folding. For the former, I 
live on scraps obtained in charity from an old 
friend whose stationery is a permanent perquisite ; 
for folding, I shall do it neatly when I learn 
to tye my neckcloths. I surprise most of my 
friends by writing to them on ruled paper, 
as if I had not got past pothooks and hangers. 
Sealing wax, I have none on my establishment. 
Wafers of the coarsest bran supply its place. 
When my Epistles come to be weighed with 
Pliny's, however superior to the Roman in deli- 
cate irony, judicious reflexions, &c, his gilt post 
will bribe over the judges to him. 

All the time I was at the East India House 
I never mended a pen; I now cut 'em to the 
stumps, marring rather than mending the primi- 
tive goose quill. I cannot bear to pay for articles 


I used to get for nothing. When Adam laid out 
his first penny upon nonpareils at some stall in 
Mesopotamos, I think it went hard with him, 
reflecting upon his old goodly orchard, where 
he had so many for nothing. When I write to 
a great man, at the Court end, he opens with 
surprise upon a naked note, such as Whitechapel 
people interchange, with no sweet degrees of 
envelope : I never inclosed one bit of paper in 
another, nor understand the rationale of it. 
Once only I seal'd with borrow'd wax, to set 
Walter Scott a-wondering, sign'd with the im- 
perial quarter' d arms of England, which my 
friend Field gives in compliment to his descent 
in the female line from O. Cromwell. It must 
have set his antiquarian curiosity upon watering. 
To your questions upon the currency, I refer 
you to Mr. Robinson's last speech, where, if you 
can find a solution, I cannot. I think this, tho', 
the best ministry we ever stumbled upon. Gin 
reduced four shillings in the gallon, wine two 
shillings in the quart. This comes home to 
men's minds and bosoms. My tirade against 
visitors was not meant particularly at you or 
A. K. I scarce know what I meant, for I do not 
just now feel the grievance. I wanted to make 
an article. So in another thing I talk'd of some- 
body's insipid wife, without a correspondent object 
in my head : and a good lady, a friend's wife, 
whom I really love (don't startle, I mean in a 
licit way) has looked shyly on me ever since. 


The blunders of personal application are ludi- 
crous. I send out a character every now and 
then, on purpose to exercise the ingenuity of my 
friends. Popular Fallacies will go on ; that word 
" concluded "is an erratum, I suppose, for con- 
tinued. I do not know how it got stuff' d in 
there. A little thing without name will also be 
printed on the Religion of the Actors, but it is out 
of your way, so I recommend you, with true 
author's hypocrisy, to skip it. We are about to 
sit down to roast beef, at which we could wish 
A. K., B. B., and B. B.'s pleasant daughter to 
be humble partakers. So much for my hint at 
visitors, which was scarcely calculated for drop- 
pers in from Woodbridge. The sky does not 
drop such larks every day. 

My very kindest wishes to you all three, with 
my sister's best love. C. Lamb 


March 22, 1826. 

Dear C, — We will with great pleasure be 
with you on Thursday in the next week early. 
Your finding out my style in your nephew's pleas- 
ant book is surprising to me. I want eyes to 
descry it. You are a little too hard upon his 
morality, though I confess he has more of Sterne 
about him than of Sternhold. But he saddens 
into excellent sense before the conclusion. Your 
query shall be submitted to Miss Kelly, though 


it is obvious that the pantomime, when done, 
will be more easy to decide upon than in pro- 
posal. I say, do it by all means. 

I have Decker's play by me, if you can filch 
anything out of it. Miss Gray, with her kitten 
eyes, is an actress, though she shows it not at all, 
and pupil to the former, whose gestures she 
mimics in comedy to the disparagement of her 
own natural manner, which is agreeable. It is 
funny to see her bridling up her neck, which is 
native to F. K. ; but there is no setting another's 
manners upon one's shoulders any more than their 
head. I am glad you esteem Manning, though 
you see but his husk or shrine. He discloses 
not, save to select worshippers, and will leave the 
world without any one hardly but me knowing 
how stupendous a creature he is. I am perfect- 
ing myself in the Ode to Eton College against 
Thursday, that I may not appear unclassic. I 
have just discovered that it is much better than 
the Elegy. In haste, C. L. 

P. S. — I do not know what to say to your 
latest theory about Nero being the Messiah, 
though by all accounts he was a 'nointed one. 


April 3, 1826. 

Dear Sir, — It is whispered me that you will 
not be unwilling to look into our doleful hermit- 


age. Without more preface, you will gladden 
our cell by accompanying our old chums of the 
London, Darley and Allan Cunningham, to En- 
field on Wednesday. You shall have hermit's fare, 
with talk as seraphical as the novelty of the di- 
vine life will permit, with an innocent retrospect 
to the world which we have left, when I will 
thank you for your hospitable offer at Chiswick, 
and with plain hermit reasons evince the ne- 
cessity of abiding here. 

Without hearing from you, then, you shall 
give us leave to expect you. I have long had it 
on my conscience to invite you, but spirits have 
been low ; and I am indebted to chance for this 
awkward but most sincere invitation. 

Yours, with best love to Mrs. Cary, 

C. Lamb 

Darley knows all about the coaches. Oh, for 
a Museum in the wilderness! 


April, 1826. 

Dear O., — Will you let the fair bearer have 
a magazine for me for this month (April) — 
and can you let me have for my Chinese friend 
one of last month (March) and of this (in case 
only that something of his is inserted) ? Is such 
a privilege conceded to occasional contributors 
of having the numbers they appear in ? I do not 

2 3 

want it, if not usual, . . . and send a line if he 
may go on with the jests. Yours, 

C. Lamb 

Write, if but a line. 

i Mag. for me, Apr. 

i for Chinaman, March. 

i Do. (if jests are in) Apr. 

3 books, or at least i for me. If you are out, 
I '11 call to-morrow. 


[p. m. May 9, 1826.] 

Dear N., — You will not expect us to-morrow, 
I am sure, while these damn'd Northeasters con- 
tinue. We must wait the Zephyrs' pleasures. By 
the bye, I was at Highgate on Wensday, the only 
one of the Party. Yours truly, C. Lamb 

Summer, as my friend Coleridge waggishly 
writes, has set in with its usual severity. 
Kind remembrances to Mrs. Novello, &c. 


May 16, 1826. 

Dear B. B., — I have had no spirits lately to 
begin a letter to you, though I am under obliga- 
tions to you (how many!) for your neat little 
poem. 'Tis just what it professes to be, a simple 


tribute in chaste verse, serious and sincere. I do 
not know how Friends will relish it, but we out- 
lyers, Honorary Friends, like it very well. I have 
had my head and ears stufFd up with the east 
winds. A continual ringing in my brain of bells 
jangled, or the spheres touch'd by some raw 
angel. It is not George Third trying the hun- 
dredth psalm ? I get my music for nothing. But 
the weather seems to be softening, and will thaw 
my stunnings. Coleridge writing to me a week 
or two since begins his note — " Summer has set 
in with its usual severity." A cold summer is all 
I know of disagreeable in cold. I do not mind 
the utmost rigour of real winter, but these smil- 
ing hypocrites of Mays wither me to death. My 
head has been a ringing chaos, like the day the 
winds were made, before they submitted to the 
discipline of a weathercock, before the quarters 
were made. 

In the street, with the blended noises of life 
about me, I hear, and my head is lightened, but 
in a room the hubbub comes back, and I am 
deaf as a sinner. Did I tell you of a pleasant 
sketch Hood has done, which he calls Very 
Deaf Indeed? It is of a good-natur'd stupid- 
looking old gentleman, whom a footpad has 
stopt, but for his extreme deafness cannot make 
him understand what he wants ; the unconscious 
old gentleman is extending his ear-trumpet very 
complacently, and the fellow is firing a pistol 
into it to make him hear, but the ball will 


pierce his skull sooner than the report reach his 
sensorium. I chuse a very little bit of paper, for 
my ear hisses when I bend down to write. I 
can hardly read a book, for I miss that small 
soft voice which the idea of articulated words 
raises (almost imperceptibly to you) in a silent 
reader. I seem too deaf to see what I read. But 
with a touch or two of returning Zephyr my 
head will melt. What lyes you Poets tell about 
the May ! It is the most ungenial part of the 
year, cold crocuses, cold primroses, you take 
your blossoms in ice, a painted sun, — 

Unmeaning joy around appears, 
And Nature smiles as if she sneers. 

It is ill with me when I begin to look which 
way the wind sits. Ten years ago I literally did 
not know the point from the broad end of the 
vane, which it was that indicated the quarter. 
I hope these ill winds have blow'd over you, as 
they do thro' me. Kindest remembrances to 
you and yours. C. L. 


June I, 1826. 

Dear Coleridge, — If I know myself, nobody 
more detests the display of personal vanity which 
is implied in the act of sitting for one's picture 
than myself. But the fact is, that the likeness 
which accompanies this letter was stolen from 
my person at one of my unguarded moments by 


some too partial artist, and my friends are pleased 
to think that he has not much nattered me. 
Whatever its merits may be, you, who have so 
great an interest in the original, will have a sat- 
isfaction in tracing the features of one that has 
so long esteemed you. There are times when in 
a friend's absence these graphic representations 
of him almost seem to bring back the man him- 
self. The painter, whoever he was, seems to 
have taken me in one of those disengaged mo- 
ments, if I may so term them, when the native 
character is so much more honestly displayed 
than can be possible in the restraints of an 
enforced sitting attitude. Perhaps it rather de- 
scribes me as a thinking man than a man in the 
act of thought. Whatever its pretensions, I know 
it will be dear to you, towards whom I should 
wish my thoughts to flow in a sort of an undress 
rather than in the more studied graces of diction. 
I am, dear Coleridge, yours sincerely, 

C. Lamb 


Enfield, June 17, 1826. 

Dear Louisa, — I think I know the house 
you have in view. It is a capital old manor 
house lately in possession of Lord Cadogan. But 
whether it be that or another, we shall have in 
the meantime a small room and bed to let, 
pretty cheap, only two smiles a week, and find 


your own washing. If you are not already on 
the road, set out from the Bell, Holborn, at 
half-past four, and ask to be set down at Mr. 
Lamb's on the Chase. Mary joins in the hope 
of seeing you very speedily, and in love to you 
all. Yours truly, C. Lamb 

Mary has left off writing letters ; I do all. 


June 30, 1826. 

Dear D., — My first impulse upon opening 
your letter was pleasure at seeing your old neat 
hand, nine parts gentlemanly, with a modest dash 
of the clerical : my second a thought, natural 
enough this hot weather, Am I to answer all 
this? why 'tis as long as those to the Ephesians 
and Galatians put together — I have counted the 
words for curiosity. But then Paul has nothing 
like the fun which is ebullient all over yours. 
I don't remember a good thing (good like yours) 
from the 1st Romans to the last of the Hebrews. 
I remember but one pun in all the Evangely, 
and that was made by his and our Master : Thou 
art Peter (that is Doctor Rock) and upon this 
rock will I build, &c. ; which sanctifies punning 
with me against all gainsayers. I never knew an 
enemy to puns who was not an ill-natured man. 

Your fair critic in the coach reminds me of 
a Scotchman who assured me that he did not see 


much in Shakspeare. I replied, I dare say not. 
He felt the equivoke, look'd awkward, and red- 
dish, but soon return' d to the attack, by saying 
that he thought Burns was as good as Shakspeare: 
I said that I had no doubt he was — to a Scotch- 
man. We exchang'd no more words that day. 
Your account of the fierce faces in the Hanging, 
with the presumed interlocution of the eagle and 
the tiger, amused us greatly. You cannot be so 
very bad, while you can pick mirth off from rot- 
ten walls. But let me hear you have escaped out 
of your oven. May the Form of the Fourth 
Person who clapt invisible wet blankets about 
the shoulders of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed- 
nego, be with you in the fiery trial. But get out 
of the frying-pan. Your business, I take it, is 
bathing, not baking. 

Let me hear that you have clamber'd up to 
Lover's Seat ; it is as fine in that neighbourhood 
as Juan Fernandez, as lonely too, when the fish- 
ing-boats are not out ; I have sat for hours, star- 
ing upon a shipless sea. The salt sea is never so 
grand as when it is left to itself. One cockboat 
spoils it. A sea-mew or two improves it. And 
go to the little church, which is a very protestant 
Loretto, and seems dropt by some angel for the 
use of a hermit, who was at once parishioner 
and a whole parish. It is not too big. Go in 
the night, bring it away in your portmanteau, 
and I will plant it in my garden. It must have 
been erected in the very infancy of British Chris- 


tianity, for the two or three first converts ; yet 
hath it all the appertenances of a church of the 
first magnitude; its pulpit, its pews, its baptismal 
font — a cathedral in a nutshell. Seven people 
would crowd it like a Caledonian Chapel. The 
minister that divides the word there, must give 
lumping pennyworths. It is built to the text 
of "two or three assembled in my name." It 
reminds me of the grain of mustard seed. If the 
glebe land is proportionate, it may yield two 
potatoes. Tythes out of it could be no more split 
than a hair. Its first-fruits must be its last, for 
'twould never produce a couple. It is truly the 
strait and narrow way, and few there be (of Lon- 
don visitants) that find it. The still small voice 
is surely to be found there, if anywhere. A 
sounding-board is merely there for ceremony. 
It is secure from earthquakes, not more from 
sanctity than size, for 'twould feel a mountain 
thrown upon it no more than a taper-worm would. 
Go and see, but not without your spectacles. 

By the way, there 's a capital farm-house two- 
thirds of the way to the Lover's Seat, with in- 
comparable plum cake, ginger-beer, &c. Mary 
bids me warn you not to read the Anatomy of 
Melancholy in your present low way. You '11 fancy 
yourself a pipkin, or a headless bear, as Burton 
speaks of. You '11 be lost in a maze of remedies 
for a labyrinth of diseasements, a plethora of cures. 
Read Fletcher ; above all the Spanish Curate, the 
Thief, or Little Nightwalker, the Wit Without 


Money, and the Lover s Pilgrimage. Laugh and 
come home fat. Neither do we think Sir T. 
Browne quite the thing for you just at present. 
Fletcher is as light as soda-water. Browne and 
Burton are too strong potions for an invalid. 
And don't thumb or dirt the books. Take care 
of the bindings. Lay a leaf of silver paper under 
'em, as you read them. And don't smoke to- 
bacco over 'em, — the leaves will fall in and 
burn or dirty their namesakes. If you find any 
dusty atoms of the Indian weed crumbled up in 
the Beaumont and Fletcher, they are mine. But 
then, you know, so is the folio also. A pipe and 
a comedy of Fletcher's the last thing of a night 
is the best recipe for light dreams and to scatter 
away nightmares. Probatum est. But do as you 
like about the former. Only cut the Baker's. 
You will come home else all crust ; Rankings 
must chip you before you can appear in his 

And my dear Peter Fin, Junr., do contrive to 
see the sea at least once before you return. You '11 
be ask'd about it in the Old Jewry. It will 
appear singular not to have seen it. And rub up 
your Muse, the family Muse, and send us a 
rhyme or so. Don't waste your wit upon that 
damn'd Dry Salter. I never knew but one Dry 
Salter, who could relish those mellow effusions, 
and he broke. You knew Tommy Hill, the 
wettest of dry salters. Dry Salters, what a word 
for this thirsty weather ! I must drink after it. 

3 1 

Here 's to thee, my dear Dibdin, and to our 
having you again snug and well at Colebrooke. 
But our nearest hopes are to hear again from 
you shortly. An epistle only a quarter as agree- 
able as your last, would be a treat. 

Yours most truly, C. Lamb 


[Dibdin, who was in delicate health, had gone to Hastings 
to recruit, with a parcel of Lamb's books for company. He 
seems to have been lodged above the oven at a baker's. This 
letter contains Lamb's crowning description of Hollingdon 
Rural Church. — E. V. Lucas.] 


July 14, 1826. 

Because you boast poetic Grandsire, 

And rhyming kin, both Uncle and Sire, 

Dost think that none but their Descendings 

Can tickle folks with double endings ? 

I had a Dad, that would for half a bet 

Have put down thine thro' half the alphabet. 

Thou, who would be Dan Prior the second, 

For Dan Posterior must be reckon'd. 

In faith, dear Tim, your rhymes are slovenly, 

As a man may say, dough-baked and ovenly ; 

Tedious and long as two long Acres, 

And smell most vilely of the Baker's. 

(I have been cursing every limb o' thee, 

Because I could not hitch in Timothy. 

Jack, Will, Tom, Dicjc 's, a serious evil, 

But Tim, plain Tim's — the very devil.) 

Thou most incorrigible scribbler, 

Right Watering place and cockney dribbler, 

3 2 

What child, that barely understands A, 

B, C, would ever dream that Stanza 

Would tinkle into rhyme with " Plan, Sir " ? 

Go, go, you are not worth an answer. 

I had a Sire, that at plain Crambo 

Had hit you o'er the pate a damn'd blow. 

How now ? may I die game, and you die brass, 

But I have stol'n a quip from Hudibras. 

'T was thinking on that fine old Suttler, "j 

That was in faith a second Butler; > 

Had as queer rhymes as he, and subtler. ) 

He would have put you to 't this weather 

For rattling syllables together ; 

Rhym'd you to death, like " rats in Ireland," 

Except that he was born in High'r Land. 

His chimes, not crampt like thine, and rung ill, 

Had made Job split his sides on dunghill. 

There was no limit to his merryings 

At christ'nings, weddings, nay at buryings. 

No undertaker would live near him, 

Those grave practitioners did fear him ; 

Mutes, at his merry mops, turned " vocal," 

And fellows, hired for silence, " spoke all." 

No body could be laid in cavity, 

Long as he lived, with proper gravity. 

His mirth-fraught eye had but to glitter, 

And every mourner round must titter. 

The Parson, prating of Mount Hermon, 

Stood still to laugh, in midst of sermon. 

The final Sexton (smile he must for him) 

Could hardly get to " dust to dust " for him. 

He lost three pall-bearers their livelyhood, 

Only with simp'ring at his lively mood : 

Provided that they fresh and neat came, 

All jests were fish that to his net came. 

He 'd banter Apostolic castings, 

As you jeer fishermen at Hastings. 

When the fly bit, like me, he leapt-o'er-all, 

And stood not much on what was scriptural. 



I had forgot, at Small Bohemia 

(Enquire the way of your maid Euphemia) 

Are sojourning, of all good fellows 

The prince and princess, — the Novellas. 

Pray seek 'em out, and give my love to 'em ; 

You '11 find you '11 soon be hand and glove to 'em. 

In prose, Little Bohemia, about a mile from 
Hastings in the Hollington road, when you can 
get so far. Dear Dib, I find relief in a word or 
two of prose. In truth my rhymes come slow. 
You have "routh of 'em." It gives us pleasure 
to find you keep your good spirits. Your letter 
did us good. Pray heaven you are got out at 
last. Write quickly. 

This letter will introduce you, if 'tis agree- 
able. Take a donkey. 'Tis Novello the com- 
poser and his wife, our very good friends. 

C. L. 


July 19, 1826. 

Dear Sir, — It was not till to-day that I 
learned the extent of your kindness to my 
friend's child. I never meant to ask a favour 
of that magnitude. I begged a civility merely, 
not an important benefit. But you have done it, 
and S. T. C, who is about writing to you, will 
tell you better than I can how I feel upon the 
occasion. It is an alleviation to any uneasy sense 
of obligation, which will sometimes be upper- 


most, to reflect that you could not have served 
a more worthy creature than I believe Samuel 
Bloxam to be. That must be my poor com- 

I remain, your faithful beadsman, in less hon- 
est phrase, tho' less homely, your obliged humble 
servant, Ch. Lamb 


September 6, 1826. 

My dear Wordsworth, — The bearer of this 
is my young friend Moxon, a young lad with 
a Yorkshire head, and a heart that would do 
honour to a more Southern county : no offence 
to Westmoreland. He is one of Longman's best 
hands, and can give you the best account of the 
Trade as 't is now going ; or stopping. For my 
part, the failure of a bookseller is not the most 
unpalatable accident of mortality, — 

sad but not saddest 
The desolation of a hostile city. 

When Constable fell from heaven, and we all 

hoped Baldwin was next, I tuned a slight stave 

to the words in Macbeth (Davenant's) to be sung 

by a chorus of authors, — 

What should we do when Booksellers break? 
We should rejoyce. 

Moxon is but a tradesman in the bud yet, and 
retains his virgin honesty ; Esto perpetua, for he 
is a friendly serviceable fellow, and thinks no- 


thing of lugging up a cargo of the newest novels 
once or twice a week from the Row to Cole- 
brooke to gratify my sister's passion for the new- 
est things. He is her Bodley. He is author 
besides of a poem which for a first attempt is 
promising. It is made up of common images, 
and yet contrives to read originally. You see the 
writer felt all he pours forth, and has not palmed 
upon you expressions which he did not believe 
at the time to be more his own than adoptive. 
Rogers has paid him some proper compliments, 
with sound advice intermixed, upon a slight 
introduction of him by me; for which I feel 
obliged. Moxon has petition'd me by letter (for 
he had not the confidence to ask it in London) 
to introduce him to you during his holydays ; 
pray pat him on the head, ask him a civil ques- 
tion or two about his verses, and favour him with 
your genuine autograph. He shall not be further 
troublesome. I think I have not sent any one 
upon a gaping mission to you a good while. 

We are all well, and I have at last broke the 
bonds of business a second time, never to put 
'em on again. I pitch Colburn and his maga- 
zine to the divil. I find I can live without the 
necessity of writing, tho' last year I fretted my- 
self to a fever with the hauntings of being 
starved. Those vapours are flown. All the dif- 
ference I find is that I have no pocket money: 
that is, I must not pry upon an old book-stall, 
and cull its contents as heretofore, but shoulders 


of mutton, Whitbread's entire, and Booth's best, 
abound as formerly. 

I don't know whom or how many to send 
our love to, your household is so frequently 
divided, but a general health to all that may be 
fixed or wandering stars, wherever. We read 
with pleasure some success (I forget quite what) 
of one of you at Oxford. Mrs. Monkhouse 
(* * * was one of you) sent us a kind letter some 
months back], and we had the pleasure to [see] 
ler in tolerable spirits, looking well and kind as 
in bygone days. 

Do take pen, or put it into good-natured 
hands Dorothean or Wordsworthian-female, or 
Hutchinsonian, to inform us of your present 
state, or possible proceedings. I am ashamed 
that this breaking of the long ice should be a 
letter of business. There is none circum praecordia 
nostra I swear by the honesty of pedantry, that 
wil I nil I pushes me upon scraps of Latin. We 
are yours cordially, 

Chas. and Mary Lamb 


[The following is an abstract of what seems to be Lamb's 
first letter to Edward Moxon, obviously written before this 
date, but not out of place here. The letter seems to have ac- 
companied the proof of an article on Lamb which he had 
corrected and was returning to Moxon. I quote from 
Sotheby's catalogue, May 13, 1903: "Were my own feel- 
ings consulted I should print it verbatim, but I won't hoax 
you, else I love a lye. My biography, parentage, place of 
birth, is a strange mistake, part founded on some nonsense 


I wrote about Elia, and was true of him, the real Elia, whose 
name I took. * * * C. L. was born in Crown Office Row, 
Inner Temple, in 1775. Admitted into Christ's Hospital, 
1782, where he was contemporary with T. F. M. [Thomas 
Fanshawe Middleton], afterwards Bishop of Calcutta, and 
with S. T. C. ; with the last of these two eminent scholars 
he has enjoyed an intimacy through life. On quitting this 
foundation he became a junior clerk in the South Sea House 
under his elder brother, who died accountant there some years 
since. * * * I am not the author of the Opium Eater, &c." — 
E. V. Lucas.] 


September 9, 1826. 

An answer is requested. 
Dear D., — I have observed that a letter is 
never more acceptable than when received upon 
a rainy day ; especially a rainy Sunday ; which 
moves me to send you somewhat, however short. 
This will find you sitting after breakfast, which 
you will have prolonged as far as you can with 
consistency to the poor handmaid that has the 
reversion of the tea leaves ; making two nibbles 
of your last morsel of stale roll (you cannot have 
hot new ones on the Sabbath), and reluctantly 
coming to an end, because when that is done, 
what can you do till dinner ? You cannot go to 
the beach, for the rain is drowning the sea, turn- 
ing rank Thetis fresh, taking the brine out of 
Neptune's pickles, while mermaids sit upon rocks 
with umbrellas, their ivory combs sheathed for 
spoiling in the wet of waters foreign to them. 


You cannot go to the library, for it 's shut. You 
are not religious enough to go to church. O it 
is worth while to cultivate piety to the gods, to 
have something to fill the heart up on a wet Sun- 
day ! You cannot cast accounts, for your ledger 
is being eaten up with moths in the Ancient 
Jewry. You cannot play at draughts, for there 
is none to play with you, and besides there is not 
a draught board in the house. You cannot go to 
market, for it closed last night. You cannot look 
into the shops, their backs are shut upon you. 
You cannot read the Bible, for it is not good 
reading for the sick and the hypochondriacal. 
You cannot while away an hour with a friend, 
for you have no friend round that Wrekin. You 
cannot divert yourself with a stray acquaintance, 
for you have picked none up. You cannot bear 
the chiming of bells, for they invite you to a 
banquet, where you are no visitant. You cannot 
cheer yourself with the prospect of a to-morrow's 
letter, for none come on Mondays. You cannot 
count those endless vials on the mantelpiece with 
any hope of making a variation in their numbers. 
You have counted your spiders: your Bastile is 
exhausted. You sit and deliberately curse your 
hard exile from all familiar sights and sounds. 
Old Ranking poking in his head unexpectedly 
would just now be as good to you as Grimaldi. 
Anything to deliver you from this intolerable 
weight of ennui. You are too ill to shake it off: 
not ill enough to submit to it, and to lie down 


as a lamb under it. The Tyranny of Sickness is 
nothing to the Cruelty of Convalescence: 'tis to 
have Thirty Tyrants for one. That pattering rain 
drops on your brain. You '11 be worse after din- 
ner, for you must dine at one to-day, that Betty 
may go to afternoon service. She insists upon 
having her chopped hay. And then when she 
goes out, who was something to you, something 
to speak to — what an interminable afternoon 
you '11 have to go thro'. You can't break your- 
self from your locality: you cannot say "To- 
morrow morning I set off for Banstead,by God; " 
for you are book'd for Wednesday. Foreseeing 
this, I thought a cheerful letter would come in 
opportunely. If any of the little topics for mirth 
I have thought upon should serve you in this utter 
extinguishment of sunshine, to make you a little 
merry, I shall have had my ends. I love to make 
things comfortable. [Here is an erasure.] This, 
which is scratch'd out, was the most material 
thing I had to say, but on maturer thoughts I 
defer it. 

P. S. — We are just sitting down to dinner 
with a pleasant party, Coleridge, Reynolds the 
dramatist, and Sam Bloxam: to-morrow (that 
is, to-day), Liston, and Wyat of the Wells, dine 
with us. May this find you as jolly and freakish 
as we mean to be. 

C. Lamb 



September 26, 1826. 

Dear B. B., — I don't know why I have delay'd 
so long writing. 'T was a fault. The under-cur- 
rent of excuse to my mind was that I had heard of 
the vessel in which Mitford's jars were to come; 
that it had been obliged to put into Batavia to 
refit (which accounts for its delay), but was daily 
expectated. Days are past, and it comes not, and 
the mermaids may be drinking their tea out of 
his china for aught I know ; but let 's hope not. 
In the meantime I have paid ^28, &c, for the 
freight and prime cost (which I a little expected 
he would have settled in London). But do not 
mention it. I was enabled to do it by a receipt 
of ^30 from Colburn, with whom, however, 
I have done. I should else have run short. For 
I just make ends meet. We will wait the arrival 
of the trinkets, and to ascertain their full expence, 
and then bring in the bill. (Don't mention it, 
for I daresay 'twas mere thoughtlessness). 

I am sorry you and yours have any plagues 
about dross matters. I have been sadly puzzled 
at the defalcation of more than one third of my 
income, out of which when entire I saved no- 
thing. But cropping off wine, old books, &c, 
and in short all that can be call'd pocket-money, 
I hope to be able to go on at the cottage. Re- 
member, I beg you not to say anything to Mit- 
ford, for if he be honest it will vex him : if not, 


which I as little expect as that you should be, 
I have a hank still upon the jars. 

Colburn had something of mine in last month, 
which he has had in hand these seven months, 
and had lost, or could n't find room for : I was 
used to different treatment in the London, and 
have forsworn periodicals. 

I am going thro' a course of reading at the 
Museum : the Garrick plays, out of part of 
which I formed my Specimens : I have two 
thousand to go thro' ; and in a few weeks have 
despatch'd the tythe of 'em. It is a sort of office 
to me ; hours, ten to four, the same. It does me 
good. Man must have regular occupation, that 
has been used to it. So A[nna] K [night] keeps 
a school ! She teaches nothing wrong, I '11 an- 
swer for 't. I have a Dutch print of a school- 
mistress ; little old-fashioned Fleminglings, with 
only one face among them. She a princess of 
schoolmistress, wielding a rod for form more 
than use ; the scene an old monastic chapel, with 
a Madonna over her head, looking just as seri- 
ous, as thoughtful, as pure, as gentle, as herself. 
'T is a type of thy friend. 

Will you pardon my neglect ? Mind, again I 
say, don't shew this to M. ; let me wait a little 
longer to know the event of his luxuries. (I am 
sure he is a good fellow, tho' I made a serious 
Yorkshire lad, who met him, stare when I said 
he was a clergyman. He is a pleasant layman 
spoiled.) Heaven send him his jars uncrack'd, 


and me my . Yours with kindest wishes to 

your daughter and friend, in which Mary joins, 

C. L. 


[No date.] 

Dear B. B., — If you have a convenient con- 
veyance, pray transmit this to your friend Mr. 
Mitford. I have a prelibation of his china for 
him. It is coming home by the James Scott from 
Singapore, which I cannot learn is yet arrived. 
I copy my friend's letter dated Canton, Decem- 
ber ; he himself I find is in England, having 
prevented his own letter : 

1 2 flower stands i o}4 
42 " pots . \y 2 

1 o cases . 

Chinese duties . 3^ 

Cost in China 27 dollars at 4/6 £6 1 6 
Freight — Tons feet 

1 2ij^at £16 per ton 22 14 4 

28 15 10 

There will be duties here to pay ; I do not 
know what. My friend says he is afraid Mr. M. 
will think them expensive. The articles them- 
selves, he will see, at prime cost, are little or 
nothing, but the freight is most heavy, and 


would have been half as much more by a Com- 
pany's ship. I shall keep my eye upon the arrival 
of the "James Scott, and take measures accord- 
ingly. Yours truly, Chs. Lamb 

I want a particular direction to Mr. M., that 
the jars, when they come, may be duly sent. 


September, 1826. 

I have had much trouble to find Field to-day. 
No matter. He was packing up for out of town. 
He has writ a handsomest letter, which you will 
transmit to Murray with your proof-sheets. 
Seal it. Yours, C. L. 

Mrs. Hood will drink tea with us on Thurs- 
day at half-past five at latest. 

N. B. I have lost my Museum reading to-day, 
— a day with Titus, — owing to your dam'd 
bisness. I am the last to reproach anybody. I 
scorn it. If you shall have the whole book ready 
soon, it will be best for Murray to see. 


No date. Soon after preceding letter to Barton. 1826. 

Dear B. B., — The Busy Bee, as Hood after 
Dr. Watts apostrophises thee, and well dost thou 
deserve it for thy labours in the Muses' gardens, 


wandering over parterres of think-on-me's and 
forget-me-nots, to a total impossibility of for- 
getting thee, — thy letter was acceptable, thy 
scruples may be dismissed, thou art rectus in Curia, 
not a word more to be said, verbum sapienti and 
so forth, the matter is decided with a white 
stone, classically, mark me, and the apparitions 
vanish'd which haunted me, only the cramp, 
Caliban's distemper, clawing me in the calvish 
part of my nature, makes me ever and anon roar 
bullishly, squeak cowardishly, and limp cripple- 
ishly. Do I write quakerly and simply ? 't is my 
most Master Mathew-like intention to do it. See 
Ben Jonson. I think you told me your acquaint- 
ance with the drama was confin'd to Shakspeare 
and Miss Bailly : some read only Milton and 
Croly. The gap is as from an ananas to a turnip. 

I have fighting in my head the plots, charac- 
ters, situations, and sentiments of four hundred 
old plays (bran new to me) which I have been 
digesting at the Museum, and my appetite sharp- 
ens to twice as many more, which I mean to 
course over this winter. I can scarce avoid dia- 
logue fashion in this letter. I soliloquise my 
meditations, and habitually speak dramatic blank 
verse without meaning it. 

Do you see Mitford ? he will tell you some- 
thing of my labours. Tell him I am sorry to have 
mist seeing him, to have talk'd over those Old 
Treasures. I am still more sorry for his missing 
pots. But I shall be sure of the earliest intelli- 


gence of the Lost Tribes. His Sacred Specimens 
are a thankful addition to my shelves. Marry, 
I could wish he had been more careful of corri- 
genda. I have discover'd certain which have 
slipt his errata. I put 'em in the next page, as 
perhaps thou canst transmit them to him. For 
what purpose but to grieve him (which yet I 
should be sorry to do), but then it shews my 
learning, and the excuse is complimentary, as it 
implies their correction in a future edition. His 
own things in the book are magnificent, and as 
an old Christ's Hospitaller I was particularly 
refresh'd with his eulogy on our Edward. Many 
of the choice excerpta were new to me. 

Old Christmas is a-coming, to the confusion 
of Puritans, Muggletonians, Anabaptists, Quakers, 
and that Unwassailing Crew. He cometh not 
with his wonted gait, he is shrunk nine inches 
in the girth, but is yet a lusty fellow. Hood's 
book is mighty clever, and went off six hun- 
dred copies the first day. Sioris Songs do not dis- 
perse so quickly. The next leaf is for Rev. J. M. 
In this Adieu thine briefly in a tall friendship, 

C. Lamb 


January, 1827. 

Dear Allsop, — Mary will take her chance of 
an early lunch or dinner with you on Thursday : 
she can't come on Wednesday. If I can, I will 


fetch her home. But I am near killed with 
Christmasing ; and, if incompetent, your kind- 
ness will excuse me. I can scarce set foot to 
ground for a cramp that I took me last night. 
Yours, C. Lamb 


January 20, 1827. 

Dear Robinson, — I called upon you this 
morning, and found that you were gone to visit 
a dying friend. I had been upon a like errand. 
Poor Norris has been lying dying for now al- 
most a week, such is the penalty we pay for hav- 
ing enjoyed a strong constitution ! Whether he 
knew me or not, I know not, or whether he saw 
me through his poor glazed eyes ; but the group 
I saw about him I shall not forget. Upon the 
bed, or about it, were assembled his wife and 
two daughters, and poor deaf Richard, his son, 
looking doubly stupified. There they were, and 
seemed to have been sitting all the week. I could 
only reach out a hand to Mrs. Norris. Speak- 
ing was impossible in that mute chamber. By 
this time I hope it is all over with him. In him 
I have a loss the world cannot make up. He 
was my friend and my father's friend all the life 
I can remember. I seem to have made foolish 
friendships ever since. Those are friendships 
which outlive a second generation. Old as I am 
waxing, in his eyes I was still the child he first 


knew me. To the last he called me Charley. I 
have none to call me Charley now. He was the 
last link that bound me to the Temple. You are 
but of yesterday. In him seem to have died the 
old plainness of manners and singleness of heart. 
Letters he knew nothing of, nor did his reading 
extend beyond the pages of the Gentleman s Maga- 
zine. Yet there was a pride of literature about 
him from being amongst books (he was librarian), 
and from some scraps of doubtful Latin which he 
had picked up in his office of entering students, 
that gave him very diverting airs of pedantry. 
Can I forget the erudite look with which, when 
he had been in vain trying to make out a black- 
letter text of Chaucer in the Temple Library, 
he laid it down and told me that — "in those 
old books, Charley, there is sometimes a deal of 
very indifferent spelling;" and seemed to con- 
sole himself in the reflection ! His jokes (for he 
had his jokes) are now ended, but they were old 
trusty perennials, staples that pleased after decks 
repetita, and were always as good as new. One 
song he had, which was reserved for the night 
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 
coming over in darkness, and alluded to threats 
of an invasion many years blown over ; and when 
he came to the part, — 

We '11 still make 'em run, and we '11 still make 'em sweat, 
In spite of the devil and Brussels Gazette ! 


his eyes would sparkle as with the freshness of an 
impending event. And what is the Brussels Ga- 
zette now ? 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 inaccessible hovel in 
an obscure village in Herts, where they have 
been long struggling to make a school without 
effect; and poor deaf Richard — and the more 
helpless for being so — is thrown on the wide 

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 


[This letter, describing the death of Randall Norris, Sub- 
Treasurer and Librarian of the Inner Temple, was printed 
with only very slight alterations in Hone's Table Book, 1827, 
and again in the Last Essays of E/ia, 1833, under the title 
" A Death-Bed." It was, however, taken out of the second 
edition, and " Confessions of a Drunkard " substituted, in 
deference to the wishes of Norris's family. Mrs. Norris 
was a native of Widford, where she had known Mrs. Field, 
Lamb's grandmother. With her son Richard, who was deaf 
and peculiar, Mrs. Norris moved to Widford again, where the 


daughters, Miss Betsy and Miss Jane, had opened a school 
— Goddard House ; which they retained until a legacy re- 
stored the family prosperity. Soon after that they both mar- 
ried, each a farmer named Tween. They survived until quite 
recently. Mrs. Coe, an old scholar at the Misses Norris's 
school in the twenties, gave me, in 1902, some reminiscences 
of those days, from which I quote a passage or so : 

When he joined the Norrises' dinner-table he kept every one laughing. 
Mr. Richard sat at one end, and some of the school children would be there 
too. One day Mr. Lamb gave every one a fancy name all round the table, 
and made a verse on each. " You are so-and-so," he said, " and you are 
so-and-so," adding the rhyme. " What * s he saying ? What are you laugh- 
ing at ? " Mr. Richard asked testily, for he was short-tempered. Miss 
Betsy explained the joke to him, and Mr. Lamb, coming to his turn, 
said — only he said it in verse — "Now, Dick, it's your turn. I shall 
call you Gruborum ; because all you think of is your food and your 
stomach." Mr. Richard pushed back his chair in a rage and stamped out 
of the room. "Now I've done it," said Mr. Lamb : "I must go and 
make friends with my old chum. Give me a large plate of pudding to 
take to him." When he came back he said, "It's all right. I thought 
the pudding would do it." Mr. Lamb and Mr. Richard never got on 
very well, and Mr. Richard didn't like his teasing ways at all ; but Mr. 
Lamb often went for long walks with him, because no one else would. 
He did many kind things like that. 

There used to be a half-holiday when Mr. Lamb came, partly because 
he would force his way into the schoolroom and make seriousness impos- 
sible. His head would suddenly appear at the door in the midst of les- 
sons, with "Well, Betsy ! How do, Jane ?" " O, Mr. Lamb !" they 
would say, and that was the end of work for that day. He was really 
rather naughty with the children. One of his tricks was to teach them 
a new kind of catechism (Mrs. Coe does not remember it, but we may 
rest assured, I fear, that it was secular), and he made a great fuss with 
Lizzie Hunt for her skill in saying the Lord's Prayer backwards, which 
he had taught her. — E. V. Lucas.] 


January 20, 1827. 

Dear R., — N. is dead. I have writ as nearly 
as I could to look like a letter meant for your eye 
only. Will it do ? 

Could you distantly hint (do as your own judg- 


ment suggests) that if his son could be got in as 
clerk to the new subtreasurer, it would be all his 
father wish'd ? But I leave that to you. I don't 
want to put you upon anything disagreeable. 
Yours thankfully, C. L. 


January 25, 1827. 

My dear Allsop, — I cannot forbear thanking 
you foryour 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 Street 
the other night late, and I was crampt all night. 

Love to Mrs. Allsop. Yours truly, C. L. 


January 27, 1827. 

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 Mu- 
seum 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 

5 1 

production, in the shape of a play, that has ap- 
peared in print since the time of the old mys- 
teries 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 noble- 
man's library, with the librarian to your friend. 
Nothing can exceed the courteousness and atten- 
tions of the gentleman who has the chief direc- 
tion 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 com- 
prising 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 



January 29, 1827. 

Dear Robinson, — If you have not seen Mr. 
Gurney, leave him quite alone for the present, I 
have seen Mr. Jekyll, who is as friendly as heart 
can desire ; he entirely approves of my formula of 
petition, and gave your very reasons for the pro- 
priety of the "little village of Hertfordshire." 
Now, Mr. G. might not approve of it, and then 
we should clash. Also, Mr. J. wishes it to be pre- 
sented next week, and Mr. G. might fix earlier, 
which would be awkward. Mr. J. was so civil 
to me that I think it would be better not for you to 
show him that letter you intended. Nothing can in- 
crease his zeal in the cause of poor Mr. Norris. 
Mr. Gardiner will see you with this, and learn 
from you all about it, and consult, if you have 
seen Mr. G. and he has fixed a time, how to put 
it off. Mr. J. is most friendly to the boy : I think 
you had better not tease the treasurer any more 
about him, as it may make him less friendly to 
the petition. Yours ever, C. L. 


January, 1827. 

Dear R., — Do not say anything to Mr. G. 
about the day or petition, for Mr. Jekyll wishes 
it to be next week, and thoroughly approves of 
my formula, and Mr. G. might not, and then they 


will clash. Only speak to him of Gardner's wish to 
have the lad. Mr. Jekyll was excessive friendly. 

C. L. 


February 2, 1827. 

My dear friend, — I went to Highgate this 
day. I gave to S. T. C. your letter which he 
immediately answered, and to which Mrs. G. 
insisted upon adding her own. They seem to 
me all exceedingly to partake in your troubles. 
Pray get over your reluctance to paying him 
a visit, see and talk with him. Hear what he has 
to say, connected closely with his own expecta- 
tions, as to your desire. Something, I believe, is 
doing for him. But hear him himself, look him 
and your affairs in the face. Older men than you 
have surmounted worse difficulties. I should have 
written straight to you from Highgate, but we 
have had a source of troubles this last week or two, 
and yours added to it, have broke my spirits. I 
could hardly drag to and from Highgate. If you 
don't like to go, better appoint him your, my 
house, or anywhere, but meet him. I am sure 
there is great reason you should not shun him, 
for I found him thinking on your perplexities 
and wanting to see you. 

Mary's and my best love to Mrs. Allsop, 
Yours ever, C. Lamb 



February 2, 1827. 

Dear Cowden, — Your books are as the gush- 
ing of streams in a desert. By the way, you have 
sent no autobiographies. Your letter seems to 
imply you had. Nor do I want any. Cowden, 
they are of the books which I give away. What 
damn'd Unitarian skewer-soul'd things the gen- 
eral biographies turn out. 

Rank and Talent you shall have when Mrs. 
Mary has done with 'em. Mary likes Mrs. Bedin- 
Jield much. For me I read nothing but Astrea 

— it has turn'd my brain — I go about with 
a switch turn'd up at the end for a crook • and 
Lambs being too old, the butcher tells me, my 
cat follows me in a green ribband. Becky and 
her cousin are getting pastoral dresses, and then 
we shall all four go about Arcadizing. O cruel 
Shepherdess ! Inconstant yet fair, and more in- 
constant for being fair ! Her gold ringlets fell 
in a disorder superior to order ! 

Come and join us. I am called the Black 
Shepherd — you shall be Cowden with the Tuft. 
Prosaically, we shall be glad to have you both 

— or any two of you — drop in by surprise some 
Saturday night. 

This must go off. Loves to Vittoria. 

C. L. 



February 5, 1827. 

For God's sake be more sparing of your po- 
etry: your this week's number has an excess 
of it. In haste, 

C. L. 


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 there- 

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 Fran- 
ciscan Friar in Fleet Street." Think of the old 
dresses, houses, &c. "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." 


Chaucer s Life by T. Speght, prefixed to the black 
letter folio of Chaucer, 1598. 
Yours in haste (salt fish waiting), C. Lamb 


March 20, 1827. 

Damnable erratum (can't you notice it ?) in the 
last line but two of the last Extract in No. 9, Gar- 
rick 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, — 

Restrain'd Liberty attain'd is sweet 

should have a full stop. 'T is the end of the old 
man's speech. These little blemishes kill such 
delicate things ; prose feeds on grosser punctual- 
ities. You have now three numbers in hand ; 
one I sent you yesterday. Of course I send no 
more till Sunday week. 

P.S. Omitted above, Dear Hone. C. L. 


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 Shep- 
herdess of Fletcher had been but a second name 
in this sort of writing — rescue it from the pro- 
fane hands of every common composer ; and in 
one of your tranquillest moods, when you have 
most leisure from those sad thoughts which some- 
times unworthily beset you — yet a mood in it- 
self 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-accord- 
ing instrument, this pretty courtship between 
Paris and his (then-not-as-yet-forsaken) QEnone. 
Oblige me, and all more knowing judges of mu- 
sic and of poesy by the adaptation of fit musical 
numbers, which it only wants, to be the rarest 
love dialogue in our language. 

Your Implore, C. L. 


April, 1827. 

Dear H., — Never come to our house and not 
come in. I was quite vex'd. 

Yours truly, C. L. 

There is in Blackwood this month an article 
most affecting indeed called Le Revenant, and 


would do more towards abolishing capital pun- 
ishments than 400,000 Romillies or Montagues. 
I beg you read it and see if you can extract any 
of it, — the 'Trial scene in particular. 


May, 1827. 

Dearest Hood, — Your news has spoil'd us 
a merry meeting. Miss Kelly and we were com- 
ing, but your letter elicited a flood of tears from 
Mary, and I saw she was not fit for a party. God 
bless you and the mother (or should be mother) 
of your sweet girl that should have been. I have 
won sexpence of Moxon by the sex of the dear 
gone one. 

Yours most truly and hers, C. L. 



My dear B. B., — A gentleman I never saw 
before brought me your welcome present — 
imagine a scraping, fiddling, fidgeting, petit- 
maitre of a dancing-school advancing into my 
plain parlour with a coupee and a sidling bow, 
and presenting the book as if he had been hand- 
ing a glass of lemonade to a young miss — 
imagine this, and contrast it with the serious 
nature of the book presented ! Then task your 
imagination, reversing this picture, to conceive 


of quite an opposite messenger, a lean, straight- 
locked, whey-faced Methodist, for such was he 
in reality who brought it, the genius (it seems) 
of the Wesleyan Magazine. 

Certes, friend B., thy Widow's Tale is too 
horrible, spite of the lenitives of religion, to 
embody in verse : I hold prose to be the appro- 
priate expositor of such atrocities ! No offence, 
but it is a cordial that makes the heart sick. Still 
thy skill in compounding it I do not deny. I 
turn to what gave me less mingled pleasure. I 
find mark'd with pencil these pages in thy pretty 
book, and fear I have been penurious : 

Pa g e 5 2 > 53. capital. 

59, 6th stanza exquisite simile. 
6i, nth stanza equally good. 

108, 3d stanza, I long to see Van Balen. 

1 1 1 , a downright good sonnet. Dixi. 

153, lines at the bottom. 
So you see, I read, hear, and mark, if I don't 
learn ; in short this little volume is no discredit 
to any of your former, and betrays none of the 
senility you fear about. Apropos of Van Balen, 
an artist who painted me lately had painted a 
blackamoor praying, and not filling his canvas, 
stuff 'd in his little girl aside of blacky, gaping 
at him unmeaningly ; and then did n't know 
what to call it. Now for a picture to be pro- 
moted to the Exhibition (Suffolk Street) as His- 
torical, a subject is requisite. What does me ? I 
but christen it the Young Catechist and furbish'd 


it with dialogue following, which dubb'd it an 
historical painting. Nothing to a friend at need. 

While this tawny Ethiop prayeth, 

Painter, who is she that stayeth 

By, with skin of whitest lustre ; 

Sunny locks, a shining cluster ; 

Saintlike seeming to direct him 

To the Power that must protect him ? 

Is she of the heav'nborn Three, 

Meek Hope, strong Faith, sweet Charity ? 

Or some cherub ? 

They you mention 
Far transcend my weak invention. 
'T is a simple Christian child, 
Missionary young and mild, 
From her store of script'ral knowledge 
(Bible-taught without a college) 
Which by reading she could gather, 
Teaches him to say Our Father 
To the common Parent, who 
Colour not respects nor hue. 
White and black in him have part, 
Who looks not to the skin, but heart. 

When I 'd done it, the artist (who had clapt in 
Miss merely as a fill-space) swore I exprest his 
full meaning, and the damosel bridled up into 
a missionary's vanity. I like verses to explain 
pictures: seldom pictures to illustrate poems. 
Your woodcut is a rueful lignum mortis. By the 
by, is the widow likely to marry again ? 

I am giving the fruit of my Old Play reading 
at the Museum to Hone, who sets forth a por- 
tion weekly in the Table Book. Do you see it ? 
How is Mitford ? 


I '11 just hint that the pitcher, the chord and 
the bowl are a little too often repeated [passim) in 
your book, and that on page seventeen last line 
but four him is put for he, but the poor widow I 
take it had small leisure for grammatical niceties. 
Don't you see there 's He, myself, and him ; why 
not both him? likewise imperviously is cruelly 
spelt imperiously. These are trifles, and I honestly 
like your book, and you for giving it, tho' I 
really am ashamed of so many presents. 

I can think of no news, therefore I will end 
with mine and Mary's kindest remembrances to 
you and yours, C. L. 


May, 1827. 

Sir, — A correspondent in your last number 
rather hastily asserts that there is no other au- 
thority than Davenport's Tragedy for the poison- 
ing of Matilda by King John. It oddly enough 
happens, that in the same number appears an 
extract from a play 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 Dray- 
ton, 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, some- 


where relates, as matter of chronicle-history, 
that old Fitzwater (he is called Fitzwater both 
in Hey wood and in Davenport), being banished 
after his daughter's murder, — some years subse- 
quently, 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 com- 
mon 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 ? Sorry that I cannot gratify 
the curiosity of your "disembodied spirit" (who, 
as such is, methinks, sufficiently " veiled " from 
our notice) with more authentic testimonies, I 
rest, Your humble Abstractor, C. L. 


End of May, 1827. 

Dear H., — In the forthcoming New Monthly 
are to be verses of mine on a picture about angels. 
Translate 'em to the Table-Book. I am off for 
Enfield. Yours, C. L. 



June, 1827. 

Dear Hone, — I should like this in your next 
book. We are at Enfield, where (when we have 
solituded a while) we shall be glad to see you. 
Yours, C. Lamb 


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 — 

His learning lays no mighty stress on — 

to avoid the unseemly recurrence (ungrammat- 
ical 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 judg'd rightly it was not its own), with the 
remark that you would like it, because it was 
b — d b — d, — and I lugg'd 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 sound 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 commendation. 
Prudent givers (what a word for such a nothing) 
disparage their gifts ; 't is an art we have. So 
you see you would n't have been so wrong, 
taking a higher tone. But enough of nothing. 

By the bye, I suspected M. of being the dis- 
parager of the frame ; hence a certain line. 

For the frame, 'tis as the room is where it 
hangs. It hung up fronting my old cobwebby 
folios and batter'd furniture (the fruit piece has 
resum'd 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 frighten' d, 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 Xmas 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 band — and the King — not to be at 
leisure to make taylor-remarks on the dresses, 
or Doctor Kitchener-like to examine the good 
things at table. 

Just such a confus'd piece is his Joshua, frit- 
ter' d 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 phantasmagoric trick, " Now 
you shall see what you shall see, dare is Balshaz- 
zar and dare is Daniel." 

You have my thoughts of M. and so adieu, 

C. Lamb 



June 26, 1827. 

Dear H. C, — We are at Mrs. Leishman's, 
Chase, Enfield. Why not come down by the 
Green Lanes on Sunday ? Picquet all day. Pass 
the church, pass the " Rising Sun," turn sharp 
round the corner, and we are the sixth or 
seventh house on the Chase: tall elms darken 
the door. If you set eyes on M. Burney, bring 
him. Yours truly, C. Lamb 


June, 1827. 

Dear Sir, — Somebody has fairly play'd a hoax 
on you (I suspect that pleasant rogue M-x-n) in 
sending 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 occa- 
sion 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 expres- 
sion 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 years back. I suppose 
our facetious friend thought that they would 
serve again, like an old coat new turned. 

Yours (and his nevertheless), C. Lamb 


Early July, 1827. 

Dear H., — This is Hood's, done from the 
life, of Mary getting over a stile here. Mary, 
out of a pleasant revenge, wants you to get it 
engrav'd in Table Book to surprise H., who I 
know will be amus'd with you so doing. 

Append some observations about the awk- 
wardness of country stiles about Edmonton, and 
the difficulty of elderly ladies getting over 'em. 

That is to say, if you think the sketch good 

I take on myself the warranty. 

Can you slip down here some day and go 
a-Green-dragoning ? C. L. 

If you do, send Hood the number, No. 2 
Robert Street, Adelphi, and keep the sketch for 


July 17, 1827. 

Dear M., — Thanks for your attentions of 
every kind. Emma will not fail Mrs. Hood's 
kind invitation, but her aunt is so queer a one 
that we cannot let her go with a single gentle- 
man singly to Vauxhall; she would withdraw 

1 An autograph facsimile of this note, together with sketch, appears 
in its chronological order in the back of Vol. I. 


her from us altogether in a fright ; but if any 
of the Hoods' family accompany you, then there 
can be small objection. 

I have been writing letters till too dark to see 
the marks. I can just say we shall be happy to 
see you any Sunday after the next: say, the Sun- 
day after, and perhaps the Hoods will come too 
and have a merry other day, before they go hence. 
But next Sunday we expect as many as we can 
well entertain. 

With ours and Emma's acknowledgments, 
Yours, C. L. 


Londres, Julie 19, 1827. 

Dear P., — I am so poorly ! I have been to 
a funeral, where I made a pun, to the consterna- 
tion 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. White, India House, for Mrs. Hazlitt. 
Which Mrs. Hazlitt 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. Wiggins's it appertains, I don't 
know. I wanted to open it, but it 's transporta- 


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. 

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

Mary is gone out for some soles. I suppose 
't is no use to ask you to come and partake of 
'em ; else there 's 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. 

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

We hope the Frank wines do not disagree with 
Mrs. Patmore. By the way, I like her. 

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

Christ, 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 ? 

" 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 post- 
age ? So I do to Dover. 

We had a merry passage with the widow at 
the Commons. She was howling — part howl- 
ing 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 knew that she 
was not inconsolable. Mary was more frightened 
than hurt. She 'd make a good match for any- 
body (by she, I mean the widow). 

If he brings 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 rather an agreeable ex- 
crescence — 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. Beckey 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 ? 

Do try and get some frogs. You must ask for 
" grenouilles " (green-eels). They don't under- 
stand " frogs," though it's a common phrase with 

7 1 

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

If there is anything new in politics or litera- 
ture 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. Pat- 
more, and bid her get quite well, as I am at 
present, bating qualms, and the grief incident to 
losing a valuable relation. C. L. 


July 21, 1827. 

I think it is not quite the etiquette for me 
to answer my sister's letter, but she is no great 
scribe, and I know will be glad to find it done 
for her. We are both very thankful to you for 
your thinking about Emma, whom for the last 
seven weeks I have been teaching Latin, and she 
is already qualified to impart the rudiments to 
a child. 

We shall have much pleasure in seeing Mr. 
Dillon and you again, but I don't know when 
that may be, as we find ourselves very comfort- 
able at Enfield. 

My sister joins in acknowledgments, and kind- 
est respects to Mr. Dillon and yourself. 

Your obliged, C. Lamb 



July 25, 1827. 

Dear Mrs. Shelley, — At the risk of throwing 
away some fine thoughts, I must write to say how 
pleased we were with your very kind remember- 
ing 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 ex- 
pected, 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, however. 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 inci- 
dents tragi-comic. I can do the dialogue commy 
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 skele- 
ton of artfully succeeding scenes through a whole 
play, as the courses are arranged in a cookery 
book : I to find wit, passion, sentiment, char- 
acter, 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 personae 
on and off like a Beau Nash ; and I 'd Franken- 
stein 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 governess-ship ; which we see no 
prospect of her getting. 'T is like feeding a child 
with chopped hay from a spoon. Sisyphus — his 
labours were nothing to it. 

Actives and passives jostle in her numscull, 
till a deponent enters, like Chaos, more to em- 
broil the fray. Her prepositions are suppositions ; 
her conjunctions copulative 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, block-headly supine. As I say to 
her, ass in praesenti rarely makes a wise man in 


But I daresay it was so with you when you 
began Latin, and a good while after. Good-bye ! 
Mary's love. Yours truly, C. Lamb 


August i, 1827. 

My dear White, — Never was man so puzzl'd 
about mortal letter as I about that you sent. Be- 
sides the two Mrs. Hazlitts, there was a third, 
Mrs. John Hazlitt, who has a boy abroad, and 
on that ground was a candidate, but my sagacity 
snuff'd out the true Mrs. Wiggins, and Allsop 
has by this time deposited it at its destination, at 

I could but admire the quirk by which you at- 
tempt to saddle me with the postage. You come 
into my lodgings, and expect me to pay your rent, 
because if I had not quitted you would not have 
been charged with it. When I threw off my post, 
I resigned with it both emoluments and incum- 
brances. You are welcome to all. Mrs. Hazlitt 
the second might just as well charge Mrs. H. the 
second with the postage. It is a perfect insult 
upon my understanding. Besides, 't is mean in 
a gentleman on the establishment and not to be 
thought on. Well, I forgive you and heartily 
commending you to mind your ledger, and keep 
your eye on Mr. Chambers' balances, which you 
understand better than these matters, subscribe 
your friend, C. L. 



Summer, 1827. 

Dear Madam, — I return your list with my 
name. I should be sorry that any respect should 
be going on towards [Clarkson], and I be left out 
of the conspiracy. Otherwise I frankly own that 
to pillarize a man's good feelings in his lifetime 
is not to my taste. Monuments to goodness, even 
after death, are equivocal. I turnawayfrom How- 
ard's, I scarce know why. Goodness blows no 
trumpet, nor desires to have it blown. We should 
be modest for a modest man — as he is for him- 
self. The vanities of life — art, poetry, skill mili- 
tary, are subjects for trophies; not the silent 
thoughts arising in a good man's mind in lonely 
places. Was I C[larkson], I should never be able 

to walk or ride near again. Instead of bread, 

we are giving him a stone. Instead of the local- 
ity recalling the noblest moment of his existence, 
it is a place at which his friends (that is, him- 
self) blow to the world, "What a good man is 
he ! " I sat down upon a hillock at Forty Hill 
yesternight — a fine contemplative evening, — 
with a thousand good speculations about man- 
kind. How I yearned with cheap benevolence ! 
I shall go and inquire of the stone-cutter, that 
cuts the tombstones here, what a stone with a 
short inscription will cost ; just to say — " Here 
C. Lamb loved his brethren of mankind." Ev- 
erybody will come there to love. As I can't well 


put my own name, I shall put about a subscrip- 
tion : 

s. d. 

Mrs. . .50 

Procter . . .26 
G. Dyer . .10 
Mr. Godwin . o o 
Mrs. Godwin . o o 
Mr. Irving . . a watch-chain. 


the proceeds of - 

first edition, — a cap- 
n s ital book, by the bye, 
but not over saleable. 

I scribble in haste from here, where we shall 
be some time. Pray request Mr. M[ontagu] to 
advance the guinea for me, which shall faith- 
fully be forthcoming; and pardon me that I 
don't see the proposal in quite the light that he 
may. The kindness of his motives, and his power 
of appreciating the noble passage, I thoroughly 
agree in. 

With most kind regards to him, I conclude, 
Dear Madam, yours truly, 

C. Lamb 


[The explanation of Lamb's joke about a watch-chain is to 
be found in Carlyle's Reminiscences. Irving had put down as 
his contribution to some subscription list, at a public meeting, 
" an actual gold watch, which he said had just arrived to him 


from his beloved brother lately dead in India." This rather 
theatrical action had evidently amused Lamb as it had dis- 
gusted Carlyle. — E. V. Lucas.] 


August 9, 1827. 

Dear Knight-old-acquaintance, — 'T is with 
a violence to the pure imagination (vide the Ex- 
cursion passim) that I can bring myself to believe 
I am writing to Dr. Stoddart once again, at 
Malta. But the deductions of severe reason war- 
rant the proceeding. I write from Enfield, where 
we are seriously weighing the advantages of 
dulness over the over-excitement of too much 
company, but have not yet come to a conclu- 
sion. 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 min- 
istry. I don't know who 's in or out, or care, 
only as it might affect you. For domestic tidings, 
I have only to tell, with extreme regret, that poor 
Eliza 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 lurk- 
ing about the pothouses of Little Russell 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 : 't is 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. I am sorry to 
say that he does not conduct himself so well as 
we could wish. He absented himself four days 
this week (this is Tuesday) from the Charter 
House, and was found tippling at an obscure 
public house at Barnet with a chorus singer of 
the Coburg Theatre. Mr. Hine and I with diffi- 
culty got him away ; but Doctor Raine, the 
head-master, hushed it up with a slight imposi- 
tion — viz: the translation of Gray's Elegy into 
Greek elegiacs — which I partly did for him. 
I write this with reluctance to offend the feel- 
ings of a father. I might a' been one if * * * * * 
had let me. 

Manning is gone to Rome, Naples, &c, prob- 
ably to touch at Sicily, Malta, Guernsey, &c; 
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 

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 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. 


August 10, 1827. 

My dear Hone, — We are both excessively 
grieved at dear Matilda's illness, whom we have 
ever regarded with the greater respect. Pray 
God, your next news, which we shall expect 
most anxiously, shall give hopes of her recov- 

Mary keeps her health very well, and joins in 
kind remembrances and best wishes. 

A few more numbers (about seven) will 
empty my Extract Book ; then we will consult 
about the Specimens. By then, I hope you will 
be able to talk about business. How you con- 
tinue your book at all, and so well, in trying 
circumstances, I know not. But don't let it stop. 
Would to God I could help you ! — but we 
have the house full of company, which we came 
to avoid. — God bless you. C. L. 



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

Mitford was hoaxing you surely about my 
engraving ; 't is 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 vanish' d 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 (tho' you won't understand it) at Enfield 
(Mrs. Leishman's, Chase). We have been here 
near three months, and shall stay two or more, 
if people will let us alone, but they persecute us 
from village to village. So don't direct to Isling- 
ton 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 ? For children or men, Chapman 
is divine, and my abridgment has not quite 
emptied him of his divinity. When you come 
to town I '11 show it 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 Blakesware (Blakesmoor in 
the London). Nothing fills a child's mind like 
a large old mansion [one or two words wafered 
over] ; better if un-or-partially-occupied ; peo- 
pled with the spirits of deceased members of the 
County and Justices of the Quorum. Would 
I were buried in the peopled solitude of one, 
with my feelings at seven years old. 

Those marble busts of the Emperors, they 
seem'd as if they were to stand forever, as they 
had stood from the living days of Rome, in that 
old marble hall, and I to partake of their per- 
manency ; Eternity was, while I thought not of 
Time. But he thought of me, and they are 
toppled down, and corn covers the spot of 
the noble old dwelling and its princely gardens. 
I feel like a grasshopper that chirping about 
the grounds escaped his scythe only by my 
littleness. Ev'n now he is whetting one of his 
smallest razors to clean wipe me out, perhaps. 



August 28, 1827. 

Dear B. B., — I am thankful to you for your 
ready compliance with my wishes. Emma is 
delighted with your verses, to which I have 
appended this notice " The 6 th line refers to 
the child of a dear friend of the author's, named 
Emma," without which it must be obscure ; and 
have sent it with four album poems of my own 
(your daughter's with your heading, requesting 
it a place next mine) to a Mr. Fraser, who is to 
be editor of a more superb pocket-book than 
has yet appeared by far ! the property of some 
wealthy booksellers, but whom, or what its 
name, I forgot to ask. It is actually to have in 
it schoolboy exercises by his present Majesty and 
the late Duke of York, so Lucy will come to 
Court ; how she will be stared at ! Wordsworth 
is named as a contributor. Frazer, whom I have 
slightly seen, is editor of a forth-come or com- 
ing Review of foreign books, and is intimately 
connected with Lockhart, &c, so I take it that 
this is a concern of Murray's. Walter Scott also 
contributes mainly. I have stood off a long time 
from these annuals, which are ostentatious trump- 
ery, but could not withstand the request of Jame- 
son, a particular friend of mine and Coleridge. 

I shall hate myself in frippery, strutting along, 
and vying finery with beaux and belles, — 

with " Future Lord Byrons and sweet L. E. L.'s." 

Your taste I see is less simple than mine, which 
the difference of our persuasions has doubtless 
effected. In fact, of late you have so frenchify'd 
your style, larding it with hors de combats, and 
au desopoirs, that o' my conscience the Foxian 
blood is quite dried out of you, and the skipping 
Monsieur spirit has been infused. Doth Lucy 
go to balls ? I must remodel my lines, which I 
write for her. I hope A. K. keeps to her Prim- 
itives. If you have anything you'd like to send 
further, I don't know Frazer's address, but I 
sent mine thro' Mr. Jameson, 1 9 or 90 Cheyne 
Street, Totnam Court road. I dare say an hon- 
ourable place wou'd be given to them ; but I 
have not heard from Frazer since I sent mine, 
nor shall probably again, and therefore I do not 
solicit it as from him. 

Yesterday I sent off my tragi-comedy to 
Mr. Kemble. Wish it luck. I made it all ('t is 
blank verse, and I think, of the true old dra- 
matic cut) or most of it, in the green lanes about 
Enfield, where I am and mean to remain, in 
spite of your peremptory doubts on that head. 

Your refusal to lend your poetical sanction to 
my Icon, and your reasons to Evans, are most 
sensible. Maybe I may hit on a line or two of 
my own jocular. Maybe not. 

Do you never Londonize again ? I should like 
to talk over old poetry with you, of which I 
have much, and you I think little. Do your 
Drummonds allow no holydays ? I would will- 


ingly come and work for you a three weeks or 
so, to let you loose. Would I could sell or give 
you some of my leisure ! Positively, the best 
thing a man can have to do is nothing, and next 
to that perhaps — good works. 

I am but poorlyish, and feel myself writing a 
dull letter ; poorlyish from company, not gener- 
ally, for I never was better, nor took more walks, 

— fourteen miles a day on an average, with a 
sporting dog — Dash — you would not know 
the plain poet, any more than he doth recognize 
James Nay lor trick' d out au deserpoy (how do 
you spell it). 

En passant, J'aime entendre da mon bon homme 
sur surveillance de croix, ma pas V homme figuratif 

— do you understand me ? 

C. Lamb 

I have left a place for a wafer, but can't find 
it again. 


September 2, 1827. 

Dear Hone, — By the verses in yesterday's 
Table Book sign'd *, I judge you are going on 
better ; but / want to be resolv'd. Allsop promised 
to call on you, and let me know, but has not. 
Pray attend to this ; and send me the number 
before the present (pages 225 to 256), which 
my newsman has neglected. Your book im- 


proves every week. I have written here a thing 
in two acts, and sent it to Covent Garden. 

Yours, C. Lamb 


September, 1827. 

Dear Patmore, — Excuse my anxiety — but how 
is Dash ? (I should have asked if Mrs. Patmore 
kept her rules, and was improving — but Dash 
came uppermost. The order of our thoughts 
should be the order of our writing.) Goes he 
muzzled, or aperto ore ? Are his intellects sound, 
or does he wander a little in his conversation ? 
You cannot be too careful to watch the first 
symptoms of incoherence. The first illogical 
snarl he makes, to St. Luke's with him ! All 
the dogs here are going mad, if you believe the 
overseers ; but I protest they seem to me very 
rational and collected. But nothing is so de- 
ceitful as mad people to those who are not used 
to them. Try him with hot water. If he won't 
lick it up, it is a sign he does not like it. Does 
his tail wag horizontally or perpendicularly ? 
That has decided the fate of many dogs in Enfield. 
Is his general deportment cheerful ? I mean when 
he is pleased — for otherwise there is no judging. 
You can't be too careful. Has he bit any of the 
children yet ? If he has, have them shot, and 
keep him for curiosity, to see if it was the hydro- 
phobia. They say all our army in India had it 


at one time — but that was in Hyder- Ally's time. 
Do you get paunch for him ? Take care the 
sheep was sane. You might pull out his teeth (if 
he would let you), and then you need not mind 
if he were as mad as a Bedlamite. It would be 
rather fun to see his odd ways. It might amuse 
Mrs. Patmore and the children. They 'd have 
more sense than he ! He 'd be like -a fool kept in 
the family, to keep the household in good humour 
with their own understanding. You might teach 
him the mad dance set to the mad howl. Madge 
Owl-et would be nothing to him. "My, how he 
capers ! " [In the margin is written:] One of the 
children speaks this. 

[Three lines here are erased?^ What I scratch 
out is a German quotation from Lessing on the 
bite of rabid animals ; but, I remember, you don't 
read German. But Mrs. Patmore may, so I wish 
I had let it stand. The meaning in English is, 
" Avoid to approach an animal suspected of mad- 
ness, as you would avoid fire or a precipice," 
which I think is a sensible observation. The 
Germans are certainly profounder than we. 

If the slightest suspicion arises in your breast 
that all is not right with him (Dash), muzzle 
him, and lead him in a string (common pack- 
thread will do ; he don't care for twist) to Hood's, 
his quondam master, and he '11 take him in at any 
time. You may mention your suspicion or not, 
as you like, or as you think it may wound or not 
Mr. H.'s feelings. Hood, I know, will wink at a 


few follies in Dash, in consideration of his former 
sense. Besides, Hood is deaf, and if you hinted 
anything, ten to one he would not hear you. Be- 
sides, you will have discharged your conscience, 
and laid the child at the right door, as they say. 

We are dawdling our time away very idly and 
pleasantly, at a Mrs. Leishman's, Chace, Enfield, 
where, if you come a-hunting, we can give you 
cold meat and a tankard. Her husband is a 
tailor ; but that, you know, does not make her 
one. I knew a jailor (which rhymes), but his 
wife was a fine lady. 

Let us hear from you respecting Mrs. Pat- 

more's regimen. I send my love in a to 

Dash. C. Lamb 

[On the outside of the letter was written:} 

Seriously, I wish you would call upon Hood 
when you are that way. He 's a capital fellow. 
I sent him a couple of poems — one ordered by 
his wife, and written to order ; and 't is a week 
since, and I 've not heard from him. I fear some- 
thing is the matter. 

Omitted within : 

Our kindest remembrance to Mrs. P. 


September 5, 1827. 

Dear Dib, — Emma Isola, who is with us, has 
opened an album : bring some verses with you 


for it on Saturday evening. Any fun will do. I 
am teaching her Latin ; you may make some- 
thing of that. Don't be modest. For in it you 
shall appear, if I rummage out some of your old 
pleasant letters for rhymes. But an original is 

Has your pa — the infantile word for father 
— any scrap ? C. L. 

We shall be most glad to see your sister or 
sisters with you. Can't you contrive it ? Write 
in that case. 


September 13, 1827. 

Dear "John, — Your verses are very pleasant, 
and have been adopted into the splendid Emmatic 
constellation, where they are not of the least mag- 
nitude. She is delighted with their merit and 
readiness. They are just the thing. The 14th 
line is found. We advertised it. Hell is cooling 
for want of company. We shall make it up along 
with our kitchen fire to roast you into our new 
house, where I hope you will find us in a few 
Sundays. We have actually taken it, and a com- 
pact thing it will be. 

Kemble does not return till the month's end. 
My heart sometimes is good, sometimes bad, 
about it, as the day turns out wet or walky. 

Emma has just died, choak'd with a gerund in 


dum. On opening her we found a participle in 
rus in the pericordium. The king never dies, 
which may be the reason that it always reigns 
here. We join in loves. 

C. L., his orthograph 

What a pen ! 

The umbrella is cum bak. 


September 18, 1827. 

My dear, and now more so, "John, — How that 
name smacks ! what an honest, full, English, 
and yet withal holy and apostolic sound it bears, 
above the methodistical priggish bishoppy name 
of Timothy, under which I had obscured your 
merits ! 

What I think of the paternal verses, you shall 
read within, which I assure you is not pen praise 
but heart praise. It is the gem of the Dibdin 

I have got all my books into my new house, 
and their readers in a fortnight will follow, to 
whose joint converse nobody shall be more 
welcome than you, and any of yours. The house 
is perfection to our use and comfort. 

Milton is come. I wish Wordsworth were 
here to meet him. The next importation is of 
pots and saucepans, window curtains, crockery 
and such base ware. The pleasure of moving, 
when Becky moves for you. O the moving 


Becky ! I hope you will come and warm the 
house with the first. 

From my temporary domicile, Enfield, 

Eli a, that "is to go" 


September 18, 1827. 

Dear Hood, — If I have anything in my head, 

I will send it to Mr. Watts. Strictly speaking 

he should have had my album-verses, but a very 

intimate friend importun'd me for the trifles, and 

I believe I forgot Mr. Watts, or lost sight at the 

time of his similar souvenir. Jamieson conveyed 

the farce from me to Mrs. C. Kemble ; he will 

not be in town before the 27th. Give our kind 

loves to all at Highgate, and tell them that we 

have finally torn ourselves out right away from 

Colebrooke, where I had no health, and are about 

to domiciliate for good at Enfield, where I have 

experienced good. 

Lord, what good hours do we keep ! 
How quietly we sleep ! 

See the rest in the Complete Angler. We have 
got our books into our new house. I am a dray- 
horse if I was not asham'd of the indigested 
dirty lumber, as I toppled 'em out of the cart, 
and blest Becky that came with 'em for her 
having an unstufF'd brain with such rubbish. 
We shall get in by Michael's mass. 'T was with 
some pain we were evuls'd from Colebrook. 


You may find some of our flesh sticking to the 
door-posts. To change habitations is to die to 
them, and in my time I have died seven deaths. 
But I don't know whether every such change 
does not bring with it a rejuvenescence. 'Tis an 
enterprise, and shoves back the sense of death's 
approximating, which, tho' not terrible to me, 
is at all times particularly distasteful. My house- 
deaths have generally been periodical, recurring 
after seven years, but this last is premature by 
half that time. Cut off in the flower of Cole- 
brook. The Middletonian stream and all its 
echoes mourn. Even minnows dwindle. A par- 
vis jiunt minimi. 

I fear to invite Mrs. Hood to our new man- 
sion, lest she envy it, and hate us. But when we 
are fairly in, I hope she will come and try it. 
I heard she and you were made uncomfortable 
by some unworthy-to-be-cared-for attacks, and 
have tried to set up a feeble counteraction thro' 
the Table Book of last Saturday. Has it not reach'd 
you, that you are silent about it ? Our new domi- 
cile is no manor-house, but new, and externally 
not inviting, but furnish'd within with every 
convenience. Capital new locks to every door, 
capital grates in every room, with nothing to 
pay for incoming; and the rent £10 less than 
the Islington one. It was built a few years since 
at ^noo expence, they tell me, and I perfectly 
believe it. And I get it for j[^5 exclusive of 
moderate taxes. We think ourselves most lucky. 


It is not our intention to abandon Regent Street 
and West End perambulations (monastic and ter- 
rible thought!) but occasionally to breathe the 
fresher air of the metropolis. We shall put up 
a bedroom or two (all we want) for occasional 
ex-rustication, where we shall visit, not be vis- 
ited. Plays too we '11 see, — perhaps our own. 
Urbani Sylvani and Sylvan Urbanuses in turns. 
Courtiers for a spurt, then philosophers. Old 
homely tell-truths and learn-truths in the virtu- 
ous shades of Enfield, liars again and mocking 
gibers in the coffee-houses and resorts of London. 
What can a mortal desire more for his bi-parted 
nature ? 

O the curds — and — cream you shall eat with 
us here ! 

O the turtle-soup and lobster-salads we shall 
devour with you there ! 

O the old books we shall peruse here ! 

O the new nonsense we shall trifle over there ! 

O Sir T. Browne, here ! 

O Mr. Hood and Mr. Jerdan, there ! 
Thine, C(urbanus) L(syfoanus) (Eli A ambo) 

Inclos'd are verses which Emma sat down to 
write, her first, on the eve after your departure. 
Of course they are only for Mrs. H.'s perusal. 
They will shew at least, that one of our party is 
not willing to cut old friends. What to call 'em 
I don't know. Blank verse they are not, because 
of the rhymes — rhymes they are not, because of 


the blank verse. Heroics they are not, because 
they are lyric — lyric they are not, because of the 
heroic measure. They must be call'd Etnmaics. 


September 25, 1827. 

Dear Sir, — I beg leave, in the warmest manner, 
to recommend to your notice, Mr. Moxon, the 
bearer of this, if by any chance yourself should 
want a steady hand in your business, or know of 
any publisher that may want such a one. He is 
at present in the house of Messrs. Longman & 
Co., where he has been established for more than 
six years, and has the conduct of one of the four 
departments of the country line. A difference 
respecting salary, which he expected to be a little 
raised on his last promotion, makes him wish to 
try to better himself. I believe him to be a young 
man of the highest integrity, and a thorough 
man of business ; and should not have taken 
the liberty of recommending him, if I had not 
thought him capable of being highly useful. 

I am, Sir, with great respect, 
Your humble servant, Charles Lamb 


September 25, 1827. 

Dear Allsop, — Your kindness pursues us ev- 
erywhere. That 81.4.6. is a substantial proof, 


I think ; I never should have ask'd for it. Pray 
keep it, when you get it, till we see each other. 
I have plenty of current cash ; thank you over 
and over for your offer. 

We came down on Monday with Miss James. 
The first night I lay broad awake like an owl 
till eight o'clock, then got a poor doze. Have 
had something like sleep and a forgetting last 
night. We go on tolerably in this deserted house. 
It is melancholy, but I could not have gone into 
a quite strange one. 

Newspapers come to you here. Pray stop 
them. Shall I send what have come ? 

Give mine and Mary's kindest love to Mrs. 
Allsop, with every good wish to Elizabeth and 
Rob. This house is not what it was. May we 
all meet chearful some day soon. 

Yours gratefully and sincerely, C. Lamb 

How long a letter have I written with my own 

Jane says she has sent a cradle yesterday morn- 
ing ; she does for us very well. 


September 26, 1827. 

Dear M., — Our pleasant meetings for some 
time are suspended. My sister was taken very ill in 
a few hours after you left us (I had suspected it), — 
and I must wait eight or nine weeks in slow hope 


of her recovery. It is her old complaint. You 
will say as much to the Hoods, and to Mrs. Love- 
kin, and Mrs. Hazlitt, with my kind love. 

We are in the house, that is all. I hope one 
day we shall both enjoy it, and see our friends 
again. But till then I must be a solitary nurse. 

I am trying Becky's sister to be with her, so 
don't say anything to Miss James \wbo was Mary 
Lamb's regular nurse\. 

Yours truly, Ch. Lamb 

Monday. Pray, send me the Table Book. I will 
send your books soon. 


October i, 1827. 

Dear R., — I am settled for life I hope, at 
Enfield. I have taken the prettiest, compactest 
house I ever saw, near to Antony Robinson's, but 
alas ! at the expence of poor Mary, who was taken 
ill of her old complaint the night before we got 
into it. So I must suspend the pleasure I expected 
in the surprise you would have had in coming 
down and finding us householders. 

Farewell, till we can all meet comfortable. 
Pray, apprise Martin Burney. Him I longed to 
have seen with you, but our house is too small 
to meet either of you without her knowledge. 

God bless you. C. Lamb 



October 2, 1827. 

My dear Dibdin, — It gives me great pain to 
have to say that I cannot have the pleasure of 
seeing you for some time. We are in our house, 
but Mary has been seized with one of her peri- 
odical disorders — a temporary derangement — 
which commonly lasts for two months. You 
shall have the first notice of her convalescence. 
Can you not send your manuscript by the coach ? 
directed to Chase Side, next to Mr. Westwood's 
Insurance Office. I will take great care of it. 
Yours most truly, C. Lamb 


October 4, 1827. 

I am not in humour to return a fit reply to 
your pleasant letter. We are fairly housed at 
Enfield, and an angel shall not persuade me to 
wicked London again. We have now six sabbath- 
days in a week for — none ! The change has 
worked on my sister's mind, to make her ill ; and 
I must wait a tedious time before we can hope to 
enjoy this place in unison. Enjoy it, when she 
recovers, I know we shall. I see no shadow, but 
in her illness, for repenting the step ! 

For Mathews — I know my own utter unfitness 
for such a task. I am no hand at describing cos- 
tumes, a great requisite in an account of man- 


nered pictures. I have not the slightest acquaint- 
ance with pictorial language even. An imitator 
of me, or rather pretender to be me, in his Re- 
jected Articles, has made me minutely describe 
the dresses of the poissardes at Calais ! — I could 
as soon resolve Euclid. I have no eye for forms 
and fashions. I substitute analysis, and get rid 
of the phenomenon by slurring in for it its im- 
pression. I am sure you must have observed 
this defect, or peculiarity, in my writings ; else 
the delight would be incalculable in doing such 
a thing for Mathews, whom I greatly like — and 
Mrs. Mathews, whom I almost greatlier like. 
What a feast 't would be to be sitting at the pic- 
tures painting 'em into words; but I could al- 
most as soon make words into pictures. I speak 
this deliberately, and not out of modesty. I pretty 
well know what I can't do. 

My sister's verses are homely, but just what 
they should be ; I send them, not for the poetry, 
but the good sense and good will of them. I was 
beginning to transcribe ; but Emma is sadly jeal- 
ous of its getting into more hands, and I won't 
spoil it in her eyes by divulging it. Come to 
Enfield, and read it. As my poor cousin, the book- 
binder, now with God, told me, most sentiment- 
ally, that having purchased a picture of fish at 
a dead man's sale, his heart ached to see how the 
widow grieved to part with it, being her dear 
husband's favourite ; and he almost apologised 
for his generosity by saying he could not help 


telling the widow she was "welcome to come 
and look at it" — e. g. at his house — "as often 
as she pleased." There was the germ of gener- 
osity in an uneducated mind. He had just reading 
enough from the backs of books for the " nee 
sink esse feros " — had he read inside, the same 
impulse would have led him to give back the 
two-guinea thing — with a request to see it, now 
and then, at her house. We are parroted into 
delicacy. Thus you have a tale for a sonnet. 
Adieu! with (imagine both) our loves. 

C. Lamb 


October 7, 1827. 

Let us meet if possible when you hobble to 
town. Enfield Chase, nearly opposite to the first 
chapel ; or better to define it, east side opposite 
a white house in which a Mrs. Vaughan (in ill 
health) still resides. 

My dear Dodwell, — Your little pig found 
his way to Enfield this morning without his 
feet, or rather his little feet came first, and as 
I guessed the rest of him soon followed. He 
is quite a beauty. It was a pity to kill him, 
or rather, as Rice would say, it would have been 
a pity not to kill him in his state of innocence. 
He might have lived to be corrupted by the 
ways of the world, and for all his delicate 


promise have turned out, like an old tea broker 
you and I remember, a lump of fat rusty Bacon. 
Bacon was a beast, my friend at Calne, Marsh, 
used to say — or was it Bendry ? A rasher of the 
latter still hangs up in Leadenhall. Your kind 
letter has left a relish upon my taste ; it read 
warm and short as to-morrow's crackling. 

I am not quite so comfortable at home yet as 
I should be else in the neatest, compactest house 
I ever got — a perfect God-send ; but for some 
weeks I must enjoy it alone. She always comes 
round again. It is a house of a few years' stand- 
ing, built (for its size with every convenience) 
by an old humourist for himself, which he tired 
of as soon as he got warm in it. Grates, locks, 
a pump, convenience indescribable, and cheap as 
if it had been old and craved repairs. For me, 
who always take the first thing that offers, how 
lucky that the best should first offer itself! My 
books, my prints are up, and I seem (so like this 
room I write in is to a room there) to have 
come here transported in the night, like Gul- 
liver in his flying house ; and to add to the 
deception, the New River has come down from 
Islington with me. 'Twas what I wished — to 
move my house, and I have realised it. Only in- 
stead of company seven nights in the week, I see 
my friends on the first day of it, and enjoy six 
real Sabbaths. The Museum is a loss, but I am 
not so far but I can visit it occasionally; and 
I have exhausted the plays there. 


" Indisputably I shall allow no sage and onion 
to be cramm'd into the throat of so tender 
a suckling. 

" Bread and milk with some odoriferous mint, 
and the liveret minced. 

" Come and tell me when he cries, that I 
may catch his little eyes. 

" And do it nice and crips." (That 's the 
cook's word.) You '11 excuse me, I have been 
only speaking to Becky about the dinner to- 
morrow. After it, a glass of seldom-drunk wine 
to my friend Dodwell, and, if he will give 
a stranger leave, to Mrs. Dodwell: then to the 
memory of the last, and of the last but one, 
learned Dodwell, of whom, but not whom, I have 
read so much. The next to the " Outward and 
Homeward bound ships " — and, if the bottle 
lasts, to the Chairman, Deputy-Chairman, the 
Court of Directors, the Secretary, the Treasurer, 
and Accomptant-General, of the East India 
Company, with a blunt bumper at parting to 

P . All I can do, I cannot make P 

look like a G n, yet he is portly, majestic, 

hath his nods, his condescensions, his variety of 
behaviour to suit your Director, your Upper 
Clerk, your Ryles, and your Winfields ; he 
tempers mirth with gravity, gives no affront, and 
expects to receive none, is honourable, man- 
nered, of good bearing, looks like a man who, 
accustomed to respect others, silently extorts 
respect from them, has it as a sort of in course ; 


without claiming it, finds it. What do I miss in 
him, then, of the essentials of gentlemanhood ? 
He is right sterling — but then, somehow, he 

always has that d d large Goldsmith's Hall 

mark staring upon him. Possibly he is too fat 
for a gentleman — then I think of Charles Fox 
in the Dropsy ; and the burly old Duke of Nor- 
folk, a nobleman, every stun of him ! 

I am afraid now you and are gone, 

there 's scarce an officer in the Civil Service 
quite comes up to my notion of a gentleman. 
D certainly does not, nor his friend B . 

C bobs. K curtsies. W bows 

like the son of a citizen ; F like a village 

apothecary ; C like the Squire's younger 

Brother ; R like a crocodile on his hind 

legs ; H never bows at all — at least to me. 

S spulters and stutters. W halters and 

smatters. R is a coal-heaver. Wolf wants 

my clothing. C simmers, but never boils 

over. D is a butterfirkin, salt butter. C , 

a pepper-box, cayenne. For A , E , 

and O , I can answer that they have not the 

slightest pretensions to anything but rusticity. 
Marry, the remaining vowels had something of 
civility about them. Can you make top or tail 
of this nonsense, or tell where it begins ? I will 
page it. How an error in the outset infects to 
the end of life, or of a sheet of paper ! 

Cordially adieu. C. Lamb 



October, 1827. 

Dear H., — May I trouble your kindness (a 
pretty phrase and new) to transmit for me the 
accompanying farce (which I leave open for 
your amusement) to Terry, with the enclosed, at 
the Adelphi; or his own house, if it can be 
there learned, and is not far distant, still better. 
I have no messenger, and am crippled for going 
so far. The letter must go with it. I return, 
with the farce, three books. Pick out the cob- 
bler. Yours, "every day," C. L. 


October, 1827. 

Dear Hone, — Having occasion to write to 
Clarke I put in a bit to you. I see no Extracts 
in this Number. You should have three sets in 
hand, one long one in particular from Atreus and 
Thyestes, terribly fine. Don't spare 'em ; with 
fragments, divided as you please, they '11 hold 
out to Xmas. What I have to say is enjoined me 
most seriously to say to you by Moxon. Their 
country customers grieve at getting the Table 
Book so late. It is indispensable it should appear 
on Friday. Do it but once, and you '11 never 
know the difference. 


A boy at my school, a cunning fox, for one 

penny ensured himself a hot roll and butter every 
morning for ever. Some favour'd ones were 
allowed a roll and butter to their breakfasts. 
He had none. But he bought one one morn- 
ing. What did he do? He did not eat it, but 
cutting it in two, sold each one of the halves to 
a half-breakfasted Blue Boy for his whole roll 
to-morrow. The next day he had a whole roll 
to eat, and two halves to swap with other two 
boys, who had eat their cake and were still 
not satiated, for whole ones to-morrow. So on 
ad infinitum. By one morning's abstinence he 
feasted seven years after. 


Bring out the next Number on Friday, for 
country correspondents' sake. It will be one piece 
of exertion, and you will go right ever after, for 
you will have just the time you had before, to 
bring it out ever after by the Friday. 

You don't know the difference in getting a 
thing early. Your correspondents are your au- 
thors. You don't know how an author frets to 
know the world has got his contribution, when 
he finds it not on his breakfast table. 

Once in this case is ever without a grain of 
trouble afterwards. 

I won't like you or speak to you if you don't 
try it once. 

Yours, on that condition, 

C. Lamb 


October, 1827. 

Dear Hone, — I was most sensibly gratified 
by receiving the Table Book on Friday evening 
at Enfield ! 

Thank you. In haste. Don't spare the Ex- 
tracts. They'll eke out till Christmas. How is 
your daughter ? C. L. 



Dear H., — Emma has a favour, besides a bed, 
to ask of Mrs. Hood. Your parcel was gratify- 
ing. We have all been pleased with Mrs. Leslie ; 
I speak it most sincerely. There is much manly 
sense with a feminine expression, which is my 
definition of ladies' writing. 


Late, 1827. 

My dear B. B., — You will understand my 
silence when I tell you that my sister, on the 
very eve of entering into a new house we have 
taken at Enfield, was surprised with an attack of 
one of her sad long illnesses, which deprive me 
of her society, tho' not of her domestication, for 
eight or nine weeks together. I see her, but it 
does her no good. But for this, we have the snug- 


gest, most comfortable house, with everything 
most compact and desirable. Colebrook is a wil- 
derness. The books, prints, &c, are come here, 
and the New River came down with us. The 
familiar prints, the Bust, the Milton, seem scarce 
to have changed their rooms. One of her last 
observations was " how frightfully like this room 
is to our room in Islington " — our up-stairs room, 
she meant. How I hope you will come some 
better day, and judge of it ! We have tried quiet 
here for four months, and I will answer for the 
comfort of it enduring. 

On emptying my bookshelves I found an Ulysses, 
which I will send to A. K. when I go to town, 
for her acceptance — unless the book be out of 
print. One likes to have one copy of everything 
one does. I neglected to keep one of Poetry for 
Children, the joint production of Mary and me, 
and it is not to be had for love or money. It had 
in the title-page " by the author of Mrs. Lester's 
School." Know you any one that has it, and 
would exchange it ? 

Strolling to Waltham Cross the other day, I 
hit off these lines. It is one of the crosses which 
Edward I. caused to be built for his wife at every 
town where her corpse rested between North- 
amptonshire and London. 

A stately cross each sad spot doth attest, 
Whereat the corpse of Elinor did rest, 
From Herdby fetch'd — her spouse so honour'd her — 
To sleep with royal dust at Westminster. 
1 06 

And, if less pompous obsequies were thine, 
Duke Brunswick's daughter, princely Caroline, 
Grudge not, great ghost, nor count thy funeral losses : 
Thou in thy lifetime hadst thy share of crosses. 

My dear B. B., — My head akes with this 
little excursion. Pray accept two sides for three 
for once. And believe me, yours sadly, 

C. L. 


December 4, 1827. 

My dear B. B., — I have scarce spirits to write, 
yet am harass'd with not writing. Nine weeks 
are completed, and Mary does not get any better. 
It is perfectly exhausting. Enfield and everything 
is very gloomy. But for long experience, I should 
fear her ever getting well. 

I feel most thankful for the spinsterly atten- 
tions of your sister. Thank the kind " knitter in 
the sun." 

What nonsense seems verse, when one is seri- 
ously out of hope and spirits ! I mean that at 
this time I have some nonsense to write, pain of 
incivility. Would to the fifth heaven no cox- 
combess had invented albums. 

I have not had a Bijoux, nor the slightest no- 
tice from Pickering about omitting four out of 
five of my things. The best thing is never to hear 
of such a thing as a bookseller again, or to think 
there are publishers : second hand stationers and 


old book-stalls for me. Authorship should be an 
idea of the past. 

Old kings, old bishops, are venerable. All 
present is hollow. 

I cannot make a letter. I have no straw, not 
a pennyworth of chaff, only this may stop your 
kind importunity to know about us. 

Here is a comfortable house, but no tenants. 
One does not make a household. 

Do not think I am quite in despair, but in 
addition to hope protracted, I have a stupifying 
cold and obstructing headache, and the sun is 

I will not fail to apprise you of the revival 
of a beam. 

Meantime accept this, rather than think I have 
forgotten you all. 

Best remembrances. 

Yours and theirs truly, C. L. 


December, 1827. 

Dear H., — I am here almost in the eleventh 
week of the longest illness my sister ever had, 
and no symptoms of amendment. Some had 
begun, but relapsed with a change of nurse. If 
she ever gets well, you will like my house, and 
I shall be happy to show you Enfield country. 

As to my head, it is perfectly at your or 
any one's service ; either Meyers' or Hazlitt's 


[portrait], which last (done fifteen or twenty 
years since) White, of the Accountant's office, 
India House, has ; he lives in Kentish Town : 
I forget where, but is to be found in Leadenhall 
daily. Take your choice. I should be proud 
to hang up as an alehouse-sign even ; or, rather, 
I care not about my head or anything, but how 
we are to get well again, for I am tired out. 

God bless vou and yours from the worst ca- 
lamity. Yours truly, C. L. 

Kindest remembrances to Mrs. Hunt. H.'s 
is in a queer dress. M.'s would be preferable 
ad populum. 


December 15, 1827. 

My dear Hone, — I read the sad accident with 
a careless eye, the newspaper giving a wrong name 
to the poor sufferer ; but learn' d the truth from 
Clarke. God send him ease, and you comfort in 
your thick misfortunes. I am in a sorry state. 
'T is the eleventh week of the illness, and I can- 
not get her well. To add to the calamity, Miss 
James is obliged to leave us in a day or two. 
We had an Enfield nurse for seven weeks, and 
just as she seem'd mending, she was call'd away. 
Miss J.'s coming seem'd to put her back, and 
now she is going. I do not compare my suffer- 
ings to yours, but you see the world is full of 


troubles. I wish I could say a word to comfort 
you. You must cling to all that is left. I fear to 
ask you whether the Book is to be discontinued. 
What a pity, when it must have delighted so 
many ! Let me hear about you and it, and be- 
lieve me with deepest fellow-feeling, 

Your friend, C. Lamb 


Middle December, 1827. 

My dear Allsop, — Thanks for the birds. 
Your announcement puzzles me sadly, as no- 
thing came. I send you back a word in your letter, 
which I can positively make nothing of and 
therefore return to you as useless. It means to 
refer to the birds, but gives me no information. 
They are at the fire, however. 

My sister's illness is the most obstinate she 
ever had. It will not go away, and I am afraid 
Miss James will not be able to stay above a day 
or two longer. I am desperate to think of it 
sometimes. 'T is eleven weeks ! The day is sad 
as my prospects. With kindest love to Mrs. A. 
and the children, yours, C. L. 

No Atlas this week. Poor Hone's good boy 
Alfred has fractured his skull, another son is 
returned " dead " from the Navy Office, and 
his Book is going to be given up, not having 
answered. What a world of troubles this is ! 

1 10 


December 20, 1827. 

My dear Allsop, — I have writ to say to you 
that I hope to have a comfortable Xm as-day 
with Mary, and I cannot bring myself to go from 
home at present. Your kind offer, and the kind 
consent of the young lady to come, we feel as 
we should do ; pray accept all of you our kindest 
thanks : at present I think a visitor (good and 
excellent as we remember her to be) might a 
little put us out of our way. Emma is with us, 
and our small house just holds us, without 
obliging Mary to sleep with Becky, &c. 

We are going on extremely comfortably, and 
shall soon be in capacity of seeing our friends. 
Much weakness is left still. With thanks and 
old remembrances, yours, C. L. 


December 22, 1827. 

My dear Moxon, — I am at length able to 
tell you that we are all doing well, and shall be 
able soon to see our friends as usual. If you will 
venture a winter walk to Enfield to-morrow week 
(Sunday 30th) you will find us much as usual ; 
we intend a delicious quiet Christmas day, dull 
and friendless, for we have not spirits for festiv- 
ities. Pray communicate the good news to the 
Hoods, and say I hope he is better. I should 


be thankful for any of the books you mention, 
but I am so apprehensive of their miscarriage by 
the stage, — at all events I want none just now. 

Pray call and see Mrs. Lovekin, I heard she 
was ill ; say we shall be glad to see them some 
fine day after a week or so. 

May I beg you to call upon Miss James, and 
say that we are quite well, and that Mary hopes 
she will excuse her writing herself yet ; she 
knows that it is rather troublesome to her to 
write. We have received her letter. Farewell, 
till we meet. Yours truly, C. Lamb 


End of 1827. 

My dear B., — We are all pretty well again 
and comfortable, and I take a first opportunity 
of sending the Adventures of Ulysses, hoping that 
among us — Homer, Chapman, and Co. — we 
shall afford you some pleasure. I fear it is out of 
print, if not A. K. will accept it, with wishes it 
were bigger ; if another copy is not to be had, 
it reverts to me and my heirs for ever. With it 
I send a trumpery book ; to which, without my 
knowledge, the editor of the Bijoux has contrib- 
uted Lucy's verses : I am asham'd to ask her 
acceptance of the trash accompanying it. Adieu 
to albums — for a great while, I said when I 
came here, and had not been fixed two days but 
my landlord's daughter (not at the pothouse) 

1 12 

requested me to write in her female friend's and 

in her own ; if I go to , thou art there also, 

O all pervading album! All over the Leeward 
Islands, in Newfoundland, and the Back Settle- 
ments, I understand there is no other reading. 
They haunt me. I die of Albo-phobia ! 


January 9, 1828. 

Dear Allsop, — I have been very poorly and 
nervous lately, but am recovering sleep, &c. I do 
not invite or make engagements for particular 
days ; but I need not say how pleasant your drop- 
ping in any Sunday morning would be. Perhaps 
Jameson would accompany you. Pray beg him 
to keep an accurate record of the warning I sent 
by him to old Pan, for I dread lest he should at 
the twelve months' end deny the warning. The 
house is his daughter's, but we took it through 
him, and have paid the rent to his receipts for 
his daughter's. Consult J. if he thinks the warn- 
ing sufficient. I am very nervous, or have been, 
about the house ; lost my sleep, and expected to 
be ill ; but slumbered gloriously last night, golden 
slumbers. I shall not relapse. You fright me 
with your inserted slips in the most welcome 
Atlas. They begin to charge double for it, and 
call it two sheets. How can I confute them 
by opening it, when a note of yours might slip 
out, and we get in a hobble ? When you write, 


write real letters. Mary's best love and mine 
to Mrs. A. Yours ever, C. Lamb 


January, 1828. 

Dear Moxon, — I have to thank you for de- 
spatching so much business for me. I am uneasy 
respecting the enclosed receipts which you sent 
me and are dated January, 1 827. Pray get them 
chang'd by Mr. Henshall to 1828. I have been 
in a very nervous way since I saw you. Pray 
excuse me to the Hoods for not answering his 
very pleasant letter. I am very poorly. The 
Keepsake I hope is return'd. I sent it back by 
Mrs. Hazlitt on Thursday. 'T was blotted out- 
side when it came. The rest I think are mine. 

My heart bleeds about poor Hone, that such 
an agreeable book, and a Book there seem'd no 
reason should not go on for ever, should be given 
up, and a thing substituted which in its nature 
cannot last. Don't send me any more Companions, 
for it only vexes me about the Table Book. This 
is not weather to hope to see anybody to-day, 
but, without any particular invitations, pray con- 
sider that we are at any time most glad to see 
you. You (with Hunt's Lord Byron or Hazlitt's 
Napoleon in your hand) or you simply with your 
switch, &c. The night was damnable and the 
morning is not too bless-able. If you get my 
dates changed, I will not trouble you with busi- 


ness for some time. Best of all remembrances to 
the Hoods, with a malicious congratulation on 
their friend Rice's advancement. 

Yours truly, C. Lamb 


February 18, 1828. 

Dear M., — I had rather thought to have seen 
you yesterday, or I should have written to thank 
you for your attentions in the book way, &c. 
Hone's address is 22 Belvidere Place, Southwark. 
'T is near the obelisk. I can only say we shall 
be most glad to see you, when weather suits, and 
that it will be a joyful surprisal to see the Hoods. 
I should write to them, but am poorly and nervous. 
Emma is very proud of her Valentine. Mary does 
not immediately want books, having a damn'd 
consignment of novels in MS. from Malta; which 
I wish the Mediterranean had in its guts. 

Believe me, yours truly, C. L. 


February 25, 1828. 

My dear Clarke, — You have been accumu- 
lating on me such a heap of pleasant obligations 
that I feel uneasy in writing as to a benefactor. 
Your smaller contributions, the little weekly rills, 
are refreshments in the desart, but your large 
books were feasts. I hope Mrs. Hazlitt, to whom 


I encharged it, has taken Hunt's Lord B. to the 
Novellos. His picture of Literary Lordship is 
as pleasant as a disagreeable subject can be made, 
his own poor man's Education at dear Christ's 
is as good and hearty as the subject. Hazlitt's 
speculative episodes are capital ; I skip the Bat- 
tles. But how did I deserve to have the Book ? 

The Companion has too much of Madam Pasta. 
Theatricals have ceased to be popular attractions. 
His walk home after the Play is as good as the 
best of the old Indicators. The watchmen are 
emboxed in a niche of fame, save the skaiting 
one that must be still fugitive. I wish I could 
send a scrap for good will. But I have been 
most seriously unwell and nervous a long long 
time. I have scarce mustered courage to begin 
this short note, but conscience duns me. 

I had a pleasant letter from your sister, greatly 
over-acknowledging my poor sonnet. I think 
I should have replied to it, but tell her I think 
so. Alas for sonnetting, 't is as the nerves are ; all 
the summer I was dawdling among green lanes, 
and verses came as thick as fancies. I am sunk 
winterly below prose and zero. 

But I trust the vital principle is only as under 
snow. That I shall yet laugh again. 

I suppose the great change of place affects me, 
but I could not have lived in town, I could not 
bear company. 

I see Novello flourishes in the Del Capo line, 
and dedications are not forgotten. I read the 


Atlas. When I pitched on the Dedication I 
looked for the Broom of " Cowden knows " to 
be harmonized, but 't was summat of Rossini's. 

I want to hear about Hone : does he stand 
above water? how is his son? I have delay'd 
writing to him, till it seems impossible. Break 
the ice for me. 

The wet ground here is intolerable, the sky 
above clear and delusive, but underfoot quag- 
mires from night showers, and I am cold-footed 
and moisture-abhorring as a cat; nevertheless I 
yesterday tramped to Waltham Cross ; perhaps 
the poor bit of exertion necessary to scribble 
this was owing to that unusual bracing. 

If I get out, I shall get stout, and then some- 
thing will out — I mean for the Companion — 
you see I rhyme insensibly. 

Traditions are rife here of one Clarke a school- 
master, and a runaway pickle named Holmes, 
but much obscurity hangs over it. Is it possible 
they can be any relations ? 

'T is worth the research, when you can find a 
sunny day, with ground firm, &c. Master Sexton 
is intelligent, and for half-a-crown he '11 pick 
you up a father. 

In truth we shall be most glad to see any of 
the Novellian circle, middle of the week such 
as can come, or Sunday, as can't. But spring will 
burgeon out quickly, and then we '11 talk more. 

You 'd like to see the improvements on the 
Chase, the new Cross in the market-place, the 


chandler's shop from whence the rods were 
fetch'd. They are raised a farthing since the 
spread of education. But perhaps you don't care 
to be reminded of the Holofernes' days, and 
nothing remains of the old laudable profession, 
but the clear, firm, impossible-to-be-mistaken 
schoolmaster text hand with which is subscribed 
the ever-welcome name of Chas. Cowden C. 
Let me crowd in both our loves to all. C. L. 

Let me never be forgotten to include in my 
remembrances my good friend and whilom cor- 
respondent Master Stephen. 

How, especially, is Victoria ? 

I try to remember all I used to meet at Shack- 
lewell. The little household, cake-producing, 
wine-bringing-out Emma — the old servant, that 
didn't stay, and ought to have staid, and was 
always very dirty and friendly, and Miss H., the 
counter-tenor with a fine voice, whose sister 
married Thurtell. They all live in my mind's 
eye, and Mr. N.'s and Holmes's walks with us 
halfback after supper. Troiafuit! 


Dear C, — I shall do very well. The sunshine 
is medicinal, as you will find when you venture 
hither some fine day. Enfield is beautiful. 

Yours truly, C. L. 



February 26, 1828. 

My dear Robinson, — It will be a very painful 
thing to us indeed, if you give up coming to see 
us, as we fear, on account of the nearness of the 
poor lady you inquire after. It is true that on 
the occasion she mentions, which was on her re- 
turn from last seeing her daughter, she was very 
heated and feverish, but there seems to be a great 
amendment in her since, and she has within a day 
or two passed a quiet evening with us. At the 
same time I dare not advise anything one way or 
another respecting her daughter coming to live 
with her. I entirely disclaim the least opinion 
about it. If we named anything before her, it 
was erroneously, on the notion that she was the 
obstacle to the plan which had been suggested of 
placing her daughter in a private family, which 
seem' d your wish. But I have quite done with the 
subject. If we can be of any amusement to the 
poor lady, without self disturbance, we will. But 
come and see us after Circuit, as if she were not. 
You have no more affectionate friends than 

C. and M. Lamb 


March 19, 1828. 

My dear M., — It is my firm determination to 
have nothing to do with Forget-me-Nots — pray 


excuse me as civilly as you can to Mr. Hurst. 
I will take care to refuse any other applications. 
The things which Pickering has, if to be had 
again, I have promised absolutely, you know, to 
poor Hood, from whom I had a melancholy epis- 
tle yesterday ; besides that, Emma has decided ob- 
jections to her own and her friend's album verses 
being published ; but if she gets over that, they 
are decidedly Hood's. 

Till we meet, farewell. Loves to Dash. 

C. L. 


April 3, 1828. 

Dear Sir, — I take advantage from the kind- 
ness which I have experienced from you in a 
slight acquaintance to introduce to you my very 
respected friend Mr. Hone, who is of opinion that 
your interference in a point which he will men- 
tion to you may prove of essential benefit to him 
in some present difficulties. I should not take 
this liberty if I did not feel that you are a person 
not to be prejudiced by an obnoxious name. All 
that I know of him obliges me to respect him, 
and to request your kindness for him, if you can 
serve him. 

With feelings of kindest respect, I am, dear 
Sir, yours truly, 

Chas. Lamb 



April 21, 1828. 

Dear B. B., — You must excuse my silence. 
I have been in very poor health and spirits, and 
cannot write letters. I only write to assure you, 
as you wish'd, of my existence. All that which 
Mitford tells you of H.'s book is rhodomontade, 
only H. has written unguardedly about me, and 
nothing makes a man more foolish than his own 
foolish panegyric. But I am pretty well cased 
to flattery, or its contrary. Neither affects me 
a turnip's worth. Do you see the author of May 
you Like it ? Do you write to him ? Will you 
give my present plea to him of ill health for not 
acknowledging a pretty book with a pretty front- 
ispiece he sent me. He is most esteem' d by me. 
As for subscribing to books, in plain truth I am 
a man of reduced income, and don't allow my- 
self twelve shillings a-year to buy old books with, 
which must be my excuse. I am truly sorry 
for Murray's demur, but I wash my hands of 
all booksellers, and hope to know them no more. 
I am sick and poorly and must leave off, with 
our joint kind remembrances to your daughter 
and friend A. K. C. L. 


May 1, 1828. 

Dear A., — I am better. Mary quite well. We 

expected to see you before. I can't write long let- 
ters. So a friendly love to you all. Yours ever, 

C. L. 
This sunshine is healing. 


May 2, 1828. 

Dear H., — Valter Vilson dines with us to- 
morrow. Veil ! How I should like to see Hone ! 

C. Lamb 


May 3, 1828. 

Dear M., — My friend Patmore, author of the 
Months, a very pretty publication, — of sundry 
Essays in the London, New Monthly, &c, wants to 
dispose of a volume or two of Tales. Perhaps 
they might chance to suit Hurst ; but be that as 
it may, he will call upon you, under favour of my 
recommendation ; and as he is returning to France, 
where he lives, if you can do anything for him 
in the treaty line, to save him dancing over the 
Channel every week, I am sure you will. I said 
I 'd never trouble you again ; but how vain are 
the resolves of mortal man ! P. is a very hearty, 
friendly fellow, and was poor John Scott's sec- 
ond, as I will be yours when you want one. 
May you never be mine ! 

Yours truly, C. L. 



May 17, 1828. 

Dear Walter, — The sight of your old name 
again was like a resurrection. It had passed away 
into the dimness of a dead friend. We shall be 
most joyful to see you here next week, — if I 
understand you right, — for your note dated the 
10th arrived only yesterday, Friday the 1 6th. 
Suppose I name Thursday next. If that don't suit, 
write to say so. A morning coach comes from 
the Bell or Bell and Crown by Leather Lane, 
Holborn, and sets you down at our house on 
the Chase Side, next door to Mr. Westwood's, 
whom all the coachmen know. 

I have four more notes to write, so dispatch 
this with again assuring you how happy we shall 
be to see you, and to discuss Defoe and old mat- 
ters. Yours truly, 

C. Lamb 


May 20, 1828. 

My dear Talfourd, — We propose being with 
you on Wednesday not unearly, Mary to take 
a bed with you, and I with Crabbe, if, as I under- 
stand, he be of the party. Yours ever, 

Ch. Lamb 



May, 1828. 

Dear Wordsworth, — We had meant to have 
tried to see Mrs. Wordsworth and Dora next 
Wednesday, but we are intercepted by a violent 
toothache which Mary has got by getting up 
next morning after parting with you, to be with 
my going off at half-past eight Holborn. We 
are poor travellers, and moreover we have com- 
pany (damn 'em), good people, Mr. Hone and 
an old crony not seen for twenty years, coming 
here on Tuesday, one stays night with us, and 
Mary doubts my power to get up time enough, 
and comfort enough, to be so far as you are. 
Will you name a day in the same or coming 
week that we can come to you in the morning, 
for it would plague us not to see the other two 
of you, whom we cannot individualize from 
you, before you go ? It is bad enough not to see 
your sister Dorothy. 

God bless you sincerely, C. Lamb 


June 10, 1828. 

Dear Sir, — I long to see Wordsworth once 
more before he goes hence, but it would be at 
the expence of health and comfort my infirm- 
ities cannot afford. Once only I have been at 
a dinner party, to meet him, for a whole year 


past, and I do not know that I am not the worse 
for it now. There is a necessity for my drinking 

too much (don't show this to the bishop of , 

your friend) at and after dinner ; then I require 
spirits at night to allay the crudity of the weaker 
Bacchus ; and in the morning I cool my parched 
stomach with a fiery libation. Then I am aground 
in town, and call upon my London friends, and 
get new wets of ale, porter, &c. ; then ride home, 
drinking where the coach stops, as duly as Edward 
set up his Waltham Crosses. This, or near it, 
was the process of my experiment of dining at 
Talfourd's to meet Wordsworth, and I am not 
well now. Now let me beg that we may meet 
here with assured safety to both sides. Darley and 
Procter come here on Sunday morning ; pray 
arrange to come along with them. Here I can 
be tolerably moderate. In town, the very air of 
town turns my head and is intoxication enough, 
if intoxication knew a limit. I am a poor country 
mouse, and your cates disturb me. Tell me you 
will come. We have a bed, and a half or three 
quarters bed, at all your services ; and the adjoin- 
ing inn has many. If engaged on Sunday, tell me 
when you will come ; a Saturday will suit as well. 
I would that Wordsworth would come too. Pray 
believe that 't is my health only, which brought 
me here, that frightens me from the wicked town. 
Mary joins in kind remembrances to Mrs. Cary 
and yourself. Yours truly, 

C. Lamb 


August, 1828. 

Dear Haydon, — I have been tardy in telling 
you that your " Chairing the Member " gave 
me great pleasure ; 't is true broad Hogarthian 
fun, the High Sheriff capital. Considering, too, 
that you had the materials imposed upon you, 
and that you did not select them from the rude 
world as H. did, I hope to see many more such 
from your hand. If the former picture went 
beyond this I have had a loss, and the King a 
bargain. I longed to rub the back of my hand 
across the hearty canvas that two senses might 
be gratified. Perhaps the subject is a little dis- 
cordantly placed opposite to another act of 
Chairing, where the huzzas were Hosannahs, — 
but I was pleased to see so many of my old ac- 
quaintances brought together notwithstanding. 

Believe me, yours truly, C. Lamb 


September II, 1828. 

Dear Rickman, — We are just come home 
from a London visit and are mortified to learn 
that we missed you on Saturday. The same ab- 
sence cannot recur before the 29th, or feast of 
St. Michael, on which day I pay my quarterly 
respects to the India Directors. If you can make 
another day between, you are sure of finding us. 


The nuts are very acceptable, Mary being a 
grievous offender that way ; but to think of 
bringing apples to the proprietor of a whole tree, 
almost an orchard, and who actually has an apple 
chamber redolent, was a solecism. Yours ever, 

C. Lamb 

Do you ever light upon G. D. now ? Could 
you bring him ? 


October 2, 1828. 

Mary Lamb has written her last letter in this 
world. Do not imagine that her individual sub- 
stance has perished ! 'T is extant yet and sleek, 
but her epistolary part is dead before her, and 
has left me writing legatee. Could not you have 
slipt down for a day or two this Michaelmas 
vacation ? 'T would have been worth while to 
have seen the difference on our green. On the 
28th 't was whitened over with those pretty birds 
that look like snow in summer, and cackle like 
ice breaking up : the fatal 29th arrove (is that 
English ?), and their place knew them no more. 
Here and there a solitary duck survives to remind 
one of the superior race which had been extin- 
guished — swans to them. 

You remember I asked a large party of them 
into our grounds to meet you. Of all that 
pleasant party, your dear self excepted, not one 
remains with a whole throat. 


You send loves to Mrs. Morgan — who or 
what is she, or what dream was it that any such 
person is here ? You add, too, that she is grown 
plump — is that a reason why love should be 
sent her ? I understand neither the logic nor 
affection implied in that passage. 

I have nearly lost my arithmetic since you 
went, but count upon renewing it some day with 
you. Enfield is dull, but London is turbulent. 
We have disqualified ourselves for a town life by 
migrating here, but cannot (for our Cockney 
souls) get up a rural taste, so we hang suburb- 

I could not bring myself to face Mr. Kenny 
in Brunswick Square (time and next occasion 
may take off the terror). I thought it would 
look so like coming to be repaid for any little 
hospitalities which I might have had in my 
power to show him while he staid at Enfield, 
which were no more than one gentleman ought 
to do to another — marry, 't is well if he thought 
'em so much. 

And how are all the little orphans committed 
to your trust ? Mind their morals first. I would 
not give twopence for all the learning you can 
put into them in comparison with that. Do they 
lay three in a bed ? Do you see them properly 
lain and tidy before you go to bed yourself of 
a night — I mean before you lie yourself down 
to sleep ? 

Mary tells me to say that Mrs. Collier knows 

we shall be happy to see her any day without 

And to have you again when you have va- 
cation, for you were not very troublesome — 
indeed, we are more hospitable by nature than 
some folks would guess from our practice. With 
best loves to Mrs. Kenny, twins and no twins, 
Yours truly, C. and M. Lamb 


[The following is an English version, given by E. V. Lu- 
cas, of a letter, written in Latin, from Charles Lamb to John 
Rickman :] 

Postmark, Oct. 3, 1828. 

I have been thinking of sending some kind of an answer in 
Latin to your very elaborate letter, but something has arisen 
every day to hinder me. To begin with, our awkward friend 
M. B. has been with us for a while, and every day and all day 
we have had such a lecture, you know how he stutters, on legal 
(mind, nothing but legal) notices, that I have been afraid the 
Latin I want to write might prove rather barbaro-forensic than 
Ciceronian. He is swallowed up, body and soul, in law ; he 
eats, drinks, plays (at the card-table) Law, nothing but Law. 
He acts Ignoramus in the play so thoroughly, that you would 
swear that in the inmost marrow of his head (is not this the 
proper anatomical term ? ) there have housed themselves not 
devils but pettifoggers, to bemuddle with their noisy chatter 
his own and his friends' wits. He brought here, 't was all his 
luggage, a book, Fearne on Contingent Remainders. This book 
he has read so hard, and taken such infinite pains to under- 
stand, that the reader's brain has few or no Remainders to 
continge. Enough, however, of M. B. and his luggage. To 
come back to your claims upon me. Your return journey, 
with notes, I read again and again, nor have I done with 
them yet. You always make something fresh out of a hack- 


neyed theme. Our milestones, you say, bristle with blunders, 
but I must shortly explain why I cannot comply with your 
directions herein. 

Suppose I were to consult the local magnates about a matter 
of this kind. Ha ! says one of our waywardens or parish over- 
seers, — What business is this of yours? Do you want to drop 
the lodger and come out as a householder ? — Now you must 
know that I took this house of mine at Enfield, by an obvious 
domiciliary fiction, in my sister's name, to avoid the bother 
and trouble of parish and vestry-meetings, and to escape finding 
myself one day an overseer or big-wig of some sort. What then 
would be my reply to the above question ? 

Leisure I have secured : but of dignity, not a tittle. Besides, 
to tell you the truth, the aforesaid irregularities are, to my 
thinking, most entertaining, and in fact very touching indeed. 
Here am I, quit of worldly affairs of every kind ; for if super- 
annuation does not mean that, what does it mean ? The world 
then, being, as the saying is, beyond my ken, and being myself 
entirely removed from any accurate distinctions of space or 
time, these mistakes in road-measure do not seriously offend 
me. For in the infinite space of the heavens above (which in 
this contracted sphere of mine I desire to imitate so far as may 
be) what need is there of milestones ? Local distance has to 
do with mortal affairs. In my walks abroad, limited though 
they must be, I am quite at my own disposal, and on that 
account I have a good word for our Enfield clocks too. Their 
hands generally point without any servile reference to this sun 
of our world, in his /^-empyrean position. They strike too 
just as it happens, according to their own sweet wills, — one 
— two — three — anything they like, and thus to me, a more 
fortunate Whittington, they pleasantly announce, that Time, 
so far as I am concerned, is no more. Here you have my 
reasons for not attending in this matter to the requests of a 
busy subsolar such as you are. 

Furthermore, when I reach the milestone that counts from 
the Hicks Hall that stands now, I own at once the aulic 
dignity, and, were I a gaol-bird, I should shake in my shoes. 
When I reach the next which counts from the site of the old 
hall, my thoughts turn to the fallen grandeur of the pile, and 


I reflect upon the perishable condition of the most imposing 
of human structures. Thus I banish from my soul all pride 
and arrogance, and with such meditations purify my heart 
from day to day. A wayfarer such as I am, may learn from 
Vincent Bourne, in words terser and neater than any of mine, 
the advantages of milestones properly arranged. The lines are 
at the end of a little poem of his, called Milestones — (Do you 
remember it or shall I write it all out ? ) 

How well the Milestones' use doth this express, 
Which make the miles (seem) more and way seem less. 

What do you mean by this — I am borrowing hand and 
style from this youngster of mine — your son, I take it. The 
style looks, nay on careful inspection by these old eyes, is 
most clearly your very own, and the writing too. Either R's 
or the Devil's. I will defer your explanation till our next 
meeting — may it be soon. 

My Latin failing me, as you may infer from erasures above, 
there is only this to add. Farewell, and be sure to give 
Mrs. Rickman my kind remembrances. C. Lamb 


October n, 1828. 

A splendid edition of Bui. an's Pilgrim — why, 
the thought is enough to turn one's moral stom- 
ach. His cockle hat and staff transformed to a 
smart cock'd beaver and a jemmy cane, his amice 
gray to the last Regent Street cut, and his pain- 
ful palmer's pace to the modern swagger. Stop 
thy friend's sacrilegious hand. Nothing can be 
done for B.but to reprint the old cuts in as homely 
but good a style as possible. The Vanity Fair, 
and the pilgrims there — the silly soothness in 
his setting-out countenance — the Christian 

l 3 l 

idiocy (in a good sense) of his admiration of the 
shepherds on the Delectable Mountains — the 
lions so truly allegorical and remote from any 
similitude to Pidcock's. The great head (the au- 
thor's) capacious of dreams and similitudes dream- 
ing in the dungeon. Perhaps you don't know my 
edition, what I had when a child : if you do, can 
you bear new designs from — Martin, enamel'd 
into copper or silver plate by — Heath, accom- 
panied with verses from Mrs. Hemans's pen, O 
how unlike his own ! — 

Wouldst thou divert thyself from melancholy ? 

VVouldst thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly ? 

Wouldst thou read riddles and their explanation ? 

Or else be drowned in thy contemplation ? 

Dost thou love picking meat ? or wouldst thou see 

A man i' th' clouds, and hear him speak to thee ? 

Wouldst thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep ? 

Or wouldst thou in a moment laugh and weep ? 

Or wouldst thou lose thyself, and catch no harm, 

And find thyself again without a charm ? 

Wouldst read thyself, and read thou knowst not what, 

And yet know whether thou art blest or not 

By reading the same lines ? O then come hither, 

And lay my book, thy head and heart together. 

John Bunyan 

Shew me such poetry in any of the fifteen forth- 
coming combinations of show and emptiness, 
yclept annuals. Let me whisper in your ear that 
wholesome sacramental bread is not more nu- 
tritious than papistical wafer stuff, than these 
(to head and heart) exceed the visual frippery of 
Mitford's Salamander God, baking himself up 


to the work of creation in a solar oven, not 
yet by the terms of the context itself existing. 
Blake's ravings made genteel. So there 's verses 
for thy verses ; and now let me tell you that 
the sight of your hand gladden'd me. I have 
been daily trying to write to you, but paralysed. 
You have spur'd me on this tiny effort, and at 
intervals I hope to hear from and talk to you. 
But my spirits have been in a deprest way for 
a long long time, and they are things which 
must be to you of faith, for who can explain 
depression ? 

Yes, I am hooked into the Gem, but only for 
some lines written on a dead infant of the edit- 
or's, which being as it were his property, I could 
not refuse their appearing, but I hate the paper, 
the type, the gloss, the dandy plates, the names 
of contributors poked up into your eyes in first 
page, and whistled thro' all the covers of maga- 
zines, the barefaced sort of emulation, the un- 
modest candidateship, brought into so little space 
— in those old Londons a signature was lost in the 
wood of matter — the paper coarse (till latterly, 
which spoil' d them) — in short I detest to appear 
in an Annual. 

What a fertile genius (and a quiet good soul 
withal) is Hood. He has fifty things in hand, 
farces to supply the Adelphi for the season, a 
comedy for one of the great theatres, just ready, 
a whole entertainment by himself for Mathews 
and Yates to figure in, a meditated Comic Annual 

r 33 

for next year, to be nearly done by himself. 
You 'd like him very much. Wordsworth I see 
has a good many pieces announced in one of 
'em, not our Gem. W. Scott has distributed him- 
self like a bribe haunch among 'em. Of all the 
poets, Cary has had the good sense to keep quite 
clear of 'em, with clergy-gentle-manly right 
notions. Don't think I set up for being proud 
in this point, I like a bit of flattery tickling my 
vanity as well as any one. But these pompous 
masquerades without masks (naked names or 
faces) I hate. So there 's a bit of my mind. Be- 
sides they infallibly cheat you, I mean the book- 
sellers. If I get but a copy, I only expect it from 
Hood's being my friend. Coleridge has lately 
been here. He, too, is deep among the Prophets 
— the Year-servers — the mob of Gentlemen 
annuals. But they '11 cheat him, I know. 

And now, dear B. B., the sun shining out 
merrily, and the dirty clouds we had yesterday 
having wash'd their own faces clean with their 
own rain, tempts me to wander up Winchmore 
Hill, or into some of the delightful vicinages of 
Enfield, which I hope to show you at some time 
when you can get a few days up to the great 
town. Believe me it would give both of us great 
pleasure to show you all three (we can lodge 
you) our pleasant farms and villages. 

We both join in kindest loves to you and 
yours. Ch. Lamb, redivivus 



October, 1828. 

Dear Clarke, — We did expect to see you with 
Victoria and the Novellos before this, and do not 
quite understand why we have not. Mrs. N. and 
V. [Vincent] promised us after the York expe- 
dition; a day being named before, which fail'd. 
'T is not too late. The autumn leaves drop gold, 
and Enfield is beautifuller — to a common eye 
— than when you lurked at the Greyhound. 
Benedicks are close, but how I so totally missed 
you at that time, going for my morning cup of 
ale duly, is a mystery. 'T was stealing a match 
before one's face in earnest. But certainly we 
had not a dream of your appropinquity. I in- 
stantly prepared an Epithalamium, in the form 
of a Sonata — which I was sending to Novello 
to compose — but Mary forbid it me, as too 
light for the occasion — as if the subject required 
anything heavy — so in a tiff with her I sent no 
congratulation at all. Tho' I promise you the 
wedding was very pleasant news to me indeed. 
Let your reply name a day this next week, when 
you will come as many as a coach will hold; 
such a day as we had at Dulwich. My very kind- 
est love and Mary's to Victoria and the Novellos. 
The enclosed is from a friend nameless, but high- 
ish in office, and a man whose accuracy of state- 
ment may be relied on with implicit confidence. 
He wants the expose to appear in a newspaper as 


the " greatest piece of legal and Parliamentary 
villainy he ever remembered," and he has had 
experience in both ; and thinks it would answer 
afterwards in a cheap pamphlet printed at Lam- 
beth in 8° sheet, as 1 6,000 families in that parish 
are interested. I know not whether the present 
Examiner keeps up the character of exposing 
abuses, for I scarce see a paper now. If so, you 
may ascertain Mr. Hunt of the strictest truth of 
the statement, at the peril of my head. But if 
this won't do, transmit it me back, I beg, per 
coach, or better, bring it with you. 

Yours unaltered, C. Lamb 


November 6, 1828. 

My dear Novello, — I am afraid I shall ap- 
pear rather tardy in offering my congratulations, 
however sincere, upon your daughter's marriage. 
The truth is, I had put together a little Serenata 
upon the occasion, but was prevented from send- 
ing it by my sister, to whose judgment I am apt 
to defer too much in these kind of things ; so 
that, now I have her consent, the offering, I am 
afraid, will have lost the grace of seasonableness. 
Such as it is, I send it. She thinks it a little too 
old-fashioned in the manner, too much like what 
they wrote a century back. But I cannot write 
in the modern style, if I try ever so hard. I have 
attended to the proper divisions for the music, 


and you will have little difficulty in composing 
it. If I may advise, make Pepusch your model, 
or Blow. It will be necessary to have a good 
second voice, as the stress of the melody lies 
there : 


On the Marriage of Charles Cow den Clarke, Esqre., to Victoria, eldest 
daughter of Vincent Novello, Esqre. 

Wake th' harmonious voice and string, 
Love and Hymen's triumph sing, 
Sounds with secret charms combining, 
In melodious union joining, 
Best the wondrous joys can tell, 
That in hearts united dwell. 

First To young Victoria's happy fame 
Voice. Well may the Arts a trophy raise, 
Music grows sweeter in her praise, 
And, own'd by her, with rapture speaks her name. 
To touch the brave Cowdenio's heart, 

The Graces all in her conspire ; 
Love arms her with his surest dart, 
Apollo with his lyre. 

The list'ning Muses all around her 

Think 'tis Phoebus' strain they hear; 
And Cupid, drawing near to wound her, 

Drops his bow, and stands to hear. 

Second While crowds of rivals with despair 
Voice. Silent admire, or vainly court the Fair, 
Behold the happy conquest of her eyes, 
A Hero is the glorious prize ! 


In courts, in camps, thro' distant realms renown'd, 
Cowdenio comes ! — Victoria, see, 

He comes with British honour crown'd, 
Love leads his eager steps to thee. 

In tender sighs he silence breaks, 

The Fair his flame approves, 
Consenting blushes warm her cheeks, 

She smiles, she yields, she loves. 


First Voice. Now Hymen at the altar stands, 

And while he joins their faithful hands, 
Behold ! by ardent vows brought down, 
Immortal concord, heavenly bright, 
Array'd in robes of purest light, 
Descends, th' auspicious rites to crown. 
Her golden harp the goddess brings ; 
Its magic sound 
Commands a sudden silence all around, 
And strains prophetic thus attune the strings. 

First Voice. The Swain his Nymph possessing, 
Second Voice. The Nymph her swain caressing, 
First and Shall still improve the blessing, 
Second. For ever kind and true. 

Both. While rolling years are flying, 

Love, Hymen's lamp supplying, 
With fuel never dying, 
Shall still the flame renew. 

To so great a master as yourself I have no need 
to suggest that the peculiar tone of the composi- 
tion demands sprightliness, occasionally checked 
by tenderness, as in the second air, — 
She smiles, — she yields, — she loves. 
I 3 8 

Again, you need not be told that each fifth line 
of the two first recitatives requires a crescendo. 
And your exquisite taste will prevent your falling 
into the error of Purcell, who at a passage similar 
to that in my first air, — 

Drops his bow, and stands to hear, 

directed the first violin thus, — 

Here the first violin must drop his bow. 

But, besides the absurdity of disarming his prin- 
cipal performer of so necessary an adjunct to his 
instrument, in such an emphatic part of the com- 
position too, which must have had a droll effect 
at the time, all such minutiae of adaptation are 
at this time of day very properly exploded, and 
Jackson of Exeter very fairly ranks them under 
the head of puns. 

Should you succeed in the setting of it, we 
propose having it performed (we have one very 
tolerable second voice here, and Mr. Holmes, 
I daresay, would supply the minor parts) at the 
Greyhound. But it must be a secret to the 
young couple till we can get the band in readiness. 

Believe me, dear Novello, yours truly, 

C. Lamb 


November 9, 1828. 

Sir, — I beg to return my acknowledgments 
for the present of your elegant volume, which 

x 39 

I should have esteemed, without the bribe of the 
name prefixed to it. I have been much pleased 
with it throughout, but am most taken with the 
peculiar delicacy of some of the sonnets. I shall 
put them up among my poetical treasures. 

Your obliged servant, C. Lamb 


Late autumn, 1828. 

Dear Lamb, — You are an impudent varlet ; 
but I will keep your secret. We dine at Ayrton's 
on Thursday, and shall try to find Sarah and her 
two spare beds for that night only. Miss M. and 
her tragedy may be dished : so may not you and 
your rib. Health attend you. 

Yours, T. Hood, Esq^ 

Miss Bridget Hood sends love. 

December, 1828. 

Dear M., — As I see no blood-marks on the 
Green Lanes Road, I conclude you got in safe 
skins home. Have you thought of inquiring 
Miss Wilson's change of abode ? Of the two 
copies of my drama I want one sent to Words- 
worth, together with a complete copy of Hone's 
Table Book, for which I shall be your debtor till 
we meet. Perhaps Longman will take charge 


of this parcel. The other is for Coleridge at 
Mr. Gilman's, Grove, Highgate, which may be 
sent, or, if you have a curiosity to see him, you 
will make an errand with it to him, and tell 
him we mean very soon to come and see him, 
if the Gilmans can give or get us a bed. I am 
ashamed to be so troublesome. Pray let Hood 
see the Eclectic Review — a rogue ! The second 
parts of the Blackwood you may make waste paper 
of. Yours truly, C. L. 


December 5, 1828. 

Dear B. B., — I am ashamed to receive so 
many nice books from you, and to have none to 
send you in return. You are always sending me 
some fruits or wholesome pot-herbs, and mine 
is the garden of the sluggard, nothing but weeds 
or scarce they. Nevertheless if I knew how to 
transmit it, I would send you Blackwood' s of this 
month, which contains a little drama, to have 
your opinion of it, and how far I have improved, 
or otherwise, upon its prototype. Thank you for 
your kind sonnet. It does me good to see the 
Dedication to a Christian Bishop. I am for a 
Comprehension, as Divines call it, but so as that 
the Church shall go a good deal more than half- 
way over to the Silent Meeting-house. I have 
ever said that the Quakers are the only Professors 
of Christianity as I read it in the Evangiles ; I 


say Professors — marry, as to practice, with their 
gaudy hot types and poetical vanities, they are 
much at one with the sinful. 

Martin's frontispiece is a very fine thing, let 
C. L. say what he please to the contrary. Of the 
poems, I like them as a volume better than any 
one of the preceding ; particularly, Power and 
Gentleness; The Present ; Lady Russell — with the 
exception that I do not like the noble act of 
Curtius, true or false, one of the grand founda- 
tions of old Roman patriotism, to be sacrificed 
to Lady R.'s taking notes on her husband's trial. 
If a thing is good, why invidiously bring it into 
light with something better ? There are too few 
heroic things in this world to admit of our mar- 
shalling them in anxious etiquettes of precedence. 
Would you make a poem on the Story of Ruth 
(pretty story !) and then say, Aye, but how much 
better is the story of Joseph and his Brethren ! 
To go on, the Stanzas to " Chalon " want the 
name of Clarkson in the body of them ; it is left 
to inference. The Battle of Gibeon is spirited 
again — but you sacrifice it in last stanza to the 
Song at Bethlehem. Is it quite orthodox to do so ? 
The first was good, you suppose, for that dis- 
pensation. Why set the word against the word ? 
It puzzles a weak Christian. So Watts's Psalms 
are an implied censure on David's. But as long 
as the Bible is supposed to be an equally divine 
emanation with the Testament, so long it will 
stagger weaklings to have them set in opposition. 


Godiva is delicately touch' d. I have always 
thought it a beautiful story characteristic of old 
English times. But I could not help amusing 
myself with the thought — if Martin had chosen 
this subject for a frontispiece, there would have 
been in some dark corner a white lady, white as 
the Walker on the waves — riding upon some 
mystical quadruped — and high above would 
have risen " tower above tower a massy structure 
high" the Tenterden steeples of Coventry, till 
the poor Cross would scarce have known itself 
among the clouds, and far above them all, the 
distant Clint hills peering over chimney pots, 
piled up, Ossa-on-Olympus fashion, till the ad- 
miring spectator (admirer of a noble deed) might 
have gone look for the lady, as you must hunt 
for the other in the lobster. But M. should be 
made royal architect. What palaces he would 
pile ! — but then what parliamentary grants to 
make them good ! ne'ertheless I like the frontis- 

The "Elephant" is pleasant; and I am glad 
you are getting into a wider scope of subjects. 
There may be too much, not religion, but too 
many good words into a book, till it becomes, as 
Shakespeare says of religion, a rhapsody of words. 
I will just name that you have brought in the 
Song to the Shepherds in four or five if not six 
places. Now this is not good economy. The 
Enoch is fine ; and here I can sacrifice Elijah 
to it, because 'tis illustrative only, and not dis- 


paraging of the latter prophet's departure. I like 
this best in the book. Lastly, I much like the 
Heron, 't is exquisite : know you Lord Thurlow's 
sonnet to a bird of that sort on Lacken water ? 
If not, 'tis indispensable I send it you, with 
my Blackwood, if you tell me how best to send 
them. Fludyer is pleasant. You are getting gay 
and Hood-ish. What is the Enigma ? money — 
if not, I fairly confess I am foiled — and sphynx 
must [here are words crossed through] four times 
I 've tried to write eat — eat me — and the blot- 
ting pen turns it into cat me. And now I will 
take my leave with saying I esteem thy verses, 
like thy present, honour thy frontispicer, and 
right-reverence thy Patron and Dedicatee, and 
am, dear B. B., yours heartily, C. L. 

Our joint kindest loves to A. K. and your 


December 5, 1828. 

Dear Miss H., — Mary, who never writes, bids 
me thank you for the handkerchief. I do not 
understand such work, but if I apprehend her 
rightly, she would have preferred blonde to 
white sarcenet for the trimming ; but she did 
not wish me to tell you so. I only hint it for 
the next. We are sorry for the mess of illness 
you are involved in. Are you stout enough to 


be the general nurse ? Who told you we should 
not be glad to see you on Sundays and all ? Tho' 
we devote that day to its proper duties, as you 
know, yet you are come of a religious stock, and 
to you it is not irksome to join in our simple 
forms, where the heart is all. Your little protegee 
is well, and as yet honest, but she has no one to 
give her caps now. 

Thus far I had written last night. You will 
see by my altered scrawl that I am not so well 
this morning. I got up with a fevered skin, and 
spots are come out all over me. Pray God, it 
is not the measles. You did not let any of the 
children touch the seal with their little measly 
hands, did you ? You should be careful when 
contagion is in the house. Pray God, your letter 
may not have conveyed the disorder. Our poor 
postman looks flushed since. What a thing it 
would be to introduce a disease into a whole 
village ! Yet so simple a thing as a letter has 
been known to convey a malady. I look at your 
note. I see it is wafered, not sealed. That makes 
it more likely. Wafers are flour, and I 've known 
a serious illness to be communicated in a piece 
of plum-cake. I never had the measles. How 
my head throbs ! You cannot be too cautious, 
dear Louisa, what you do under such cir- 

I am a little better than when I broke off at 
the last word. Your good sense will point out 
to you that the deficient syllables should be 


"stances." Circumstances. If I am incoherent, 

impute it to alarm. I will walk in the air 

I am not much refreshed. The air seemed 
hot and muggy. Somehow I feel quite irritable 

— there is no word in English — a la variole — 
we have no phrase to answer it — smallpoxical 
comes the nearest. Maybe 't was worse than the 
measles what Charles has. I will send for Mr. 

I have seen the apothecary. He pronounces 
my complaint to be, as I feared, of the variola 
kind, but gives me hopes I shall not be much 
marked. I hope we shall get well together. But 
at my time of life it is attended with more 
hazards. Whatever becomes of me, I shall leave 
the world without a harsh thought of you. It 
was only a girlish imprudence. I am quite faint. 
Two pimples more come out within this last 
minute. Mary is crying. She looks red. So 
does Becky. I must go to bed. 

Yours in constant pain. C. L. 

You will see by my will, if it comes to that 

— I bear you no ill w . Oh! 


December, 1828. 

My dear three C.'s, — The way from Southgate 
to Colney Hatch thro' the unfrequentedest black- 
berry paths that ever concealed their coy bunches 


from a truant citizen, we have accidentally fallen 
upon — the giant tree by Cheshunt we have 
missed, but keep your chart to go by, unless you 
will be our conduct — • at present I am disabled 
from further flights than just to skirt round Clay 
Hill, with a peep at the fine back woods, by 
strained tendons, got by skipping a skipping-rope 
at 5 3 — heu mihi non sum qualis. But do you know, 
now you come to talk of walks, a ramble of four 
hours or so — there and back — to the willow 
and lavender plantations at the south corner of 
Northaw Church by a well dedicated to Saint 
Claridge, with the clumps of finest moss rising 
hillock fashion, which I counted to the number 
of two hundred and sixty, and are called " Clar- 
idge's covers " — the tradition being that that 
saint entertained so many angels or hermits 
there, upon occasion of blessing the waters? The 
legends have set down the fruits spread upon that 
occasion, and in the Black Book of St. Albans 
some are named which are not supposed to have 
been introduced into this island till a century 
later. But waiving the miracle, a sweeter spot is 
not in ten counties round ; you are knee-deep 
in clover, that is to say, if you are not above 
a middling man's height ; from this paradise, 
making a day of it, you go to see the ruins of an 
old convent at March Hall, where some of the 
painted glass is yet whole and fresh. 

If you do not know this, you do not know 
the capabilities of this country ; you may be said 


to be a stranger to Enfield. I found it out one 
morning in October, and so delighted was I that 
I did not get home before dark, well a-paid. 

I shall long to show you the clump meadows, 
as they are called ; we might do that, without 
reaching March Hall. When the days are longer, 
we might take both, and come home by Forest 
Cross, so skirt over Pennington and the cheerful 
little village of Churchley to Forty Hill. 

But these are dreams till summer ; meanwhile 
we should be most glad to see you for a lesser 
excursion — say, Sunday next, you and another, 
or if more, best on a weekday with a notice, but 
o' Sundays, as far as a leg of mutton goes, most 
welcome. We can squeeze out a bed. Edmon- 
ton coaches run every hour, and my pen has run 
out its quarter. Heartily farewell. 


End of 1828. 

Dear Talfourd, — You could not have told 
me of a more friendly thing than you have been 
doing. I am proud of my namesake. I shall take 
care never to do any dirty action, pick pockets, 
or anyhow get myself hanged, for fear of reflect- 
ing ignominy upon your young Chrisom. I have 
now a motive to be good. I shall not omnis 
moriar ; — my name borne down the black gulf 
of oblivion. 

I shall survive in eleven letters, five more than 

Caesar. Possibly I shall come to be knighted, or 
more ! Sir C. L. Talfourd, Bart. ! 

Yet hath it an authorish twang with it, which 
will wear out my name for poetry. Give him a 
smile from me till I see him. 

If you do not drop down before, some day in 
the week after next I will come and take one 
night's lodging with you, if convenient, before 
you go hence. You shall name it. We are in 
town to-morrow speciali gratia, but by no ar- 
rangement can get up near you. 

Believe us both, with greatest regards, yours 
and Mrs. Talfourd's, 

Charles Lamb-Philo-Talfourd 

I come as near it as I can. 


About 1828. 

Dear Moxon, — Much thanks for the books. 
Hood is excellent. Mr. Westwood, who wishes 
to consult you about his son, will acquaint you 
with our change of life. Mary's very bad spirits 
drove me upon it, and it seems to answer admir- 

We shall be happy to see you at our table and 
hole ; say, the Sunday after next. 

Yours very truly, C. L. 



[No date.] 

Dear H., — I don't know by your letter 
whether you are resident at Newington Green, 
nor at what number. So I discharge this, as a 
surer shot, at Russell Court. Your almanack is 
funny ; it only disappointed me as being not an 
almanack. What a one you might make ! em- 
bracing a real calendar, with astrological ridicule, 
predictions like Tom Brown's " for every day in 
the week." The only information I receive from 
this is that New Year's Day happened this year 
on the first of January. I do not see the days 
even set down on which I ought to go to church, 
the Dominical Letter : fie ! I will only add that 
Enfield is still here, with its accustomed shoul- 
ders of mutton, fine Geneva tipple, &c. 

So hoping some time for a fine day's walk 
with you, I rest, C. L. 

Mary's love to both of you. 


January, 1829. 

Dear Dyer, — My very good friend, and 
Charles Clarke's father-in-law, Vincent Novello, 
wishes to shake hands with you. Make him 
play you a tune. He is a damn'd fine musician, 
and, what is better, a good man and true. He 


will tell you how glad we should be to have 
Mrs. Dyer and you here for a few days. Our 
young friend, Miss Isola, has been here holy- 
daymaking, but leaves us to-morrow. 

Yours ever, Ch. Lamb 


January 19, 1829. 

My dear Procter, — I am ashamed to have 
not taken the drift of your pleasant letter, which 
I find to have been pure invention. But jokes 
are not suspected in Boeotian Enfield. We are 
plain people ; and our talk is of corn, and cattle, 
and Waltham markets. Besides, I was a little 
out of sorts when I received it. The fact is, I am 
involved in a case which has fretted me to 
death ; and I have no reliance, except on you, 
to extricate me. I am sure you will give me 
your best legal advice, having no professional 
friend besides but Robinson and Talfourd, with 
neither of whom at present I am on the best 

My brother's widow left a will, made during 
the lifetime of my brother, in which I am 
named sole executor, by which she bequeaths 
forty acres of arable property, which it seems 
she held under Covert Baron, unknown to my 
brother, to the heirs of the body of Elizabeth 
Dowden, her married daughter by a first hus- 
band, in fee-simple, recoverable by fine — in- 

vested property, mind ; for there is the difficulty 
— subject to leet and quitrent ; in short, worded 
in the most guarded terms, to shut out the 
property from Isaac Dowden, the husband. In- 
telligence has just come of the death of this 
person in India, where he made a will, entailing 
this property (which seem'd entangled enough 
already) to the heirs of his body, that should 
not be born of his wife ; for it seems by the law 
in India, natural children can recover. They 
have put the cause into Exchequer process, here 
removed by Certiorari from the native Courts ; 
and the question is, whether I should, as execu- 
tor, try the cause here, or again re-remove it 
to the Supreme Sessions at Bangalore (which 
I understand I can, or plead a hearing before 
the Privy Council here). As it involves all the 
little property of Elizabeth Dowden, I am anxious 
to take the fittest steps, and what may be least 
expensive. Pray assist me, for the case is so 
embarrassed, that it deprives me of sleep and 
appetite. M. Burney thinks there is a case like 
it in Chapt. 170, sect. 5, in Fearne's Contingent 
Remainders. Pray read it over with him dispas- 
sionately, and let me have the result. The com- 
plexity lies in the questionable power of the 
husband to alienate in usum enfeoffments whereof 
he was only collaterally seized, &c. 

I had another favour to beg, which is the 
beggarliest of beggings. 

A few lines of verse for a young friend's album 

(six will be enough). M. Burney will tell you 
who she is I want 'em for. A girl of gold. Six 

lines — make 'em eight — signed Barry C . 

They need not be very good, as I chiefly want 
'em as a foil to mine. But I shall be seriously 
obliged by any refuse scrap. We are in the last 
ages of the world, when St. Paul prophesied 
that women should be " headstrong, lovers of 
their own wills, having albums." I fled hither to 
escape the albumean persecution, and had not 
been in my new house twenty-four hours, when 
the daughter of the next house came in with 
a friend's album to beg a contribution, and 
the following day intimated she had one of her 
own. Two more have sprung up since. If 
I take the wings of the morning and fly unto 
the uttermost parts of the earth, there will 
albums be. New Holland has albums. But the 
age is to be complied with. M. B. will tell 
you the sort of girl I request the ten lines for. 
Somewhat of a pensive cast, what you admire. 
The lines may come before the law question, as 
that cannot be determined before Hilary Term, 
and I wish your deliberate judgment on that. 
The other may be flimsy and superficial. And 
if you have not burnt your returned letter, pray 
re-send it to me, as a monumental token of my 
stupidity. 'T was a little unthinking of you to 
touch upon a sore subject. Why, by dabbling in 
those accursed albums, I have become a byword 
of infamy all over the kingdom. I have sicken'd 


decent women for asking me to write in albums. 
There be "dark jests" abroad, Master Cornwall; 
and some riddles may live to be clear'd up. And 
't is not every saddle is put on the right steed ; 
and forgeries and false Gospels are not peculiar 
to the age following the Apostles. And some 
tubs don't stand on their right bottoms. Which 
is all I wish to say in these ticklish times — and 
so your servant, Chs. Lamb 


[At the end of the first paragraph the words "/'« usum 
enfeoffments whereof he was only collaterally seized, &c," are 
in another hand. Lamb wrote beneath them : " The above is 
some of M. Burney's memoranda which he has left me, and 
you may cut out and give him." — E. V. Lucas.] 


January 22, 1829. 

Don't trouble yourself about the verses. Take 
'em coolly as they come. Any day between this 
and midsummer will do. Ten lines the extreme. 
There is no mystery in my incognita. She has 
often seen you, though you may not have ob- 
served a silent brown girl, who for the last 
twelve years has run wild about our house in 
her Christmas holidays. She is Italian by name 
and extraction. Ten lines about the blue sky of 
her country will do, as it's her foible to be 
proud of it. But they must not be over-courtly 
or lady-fied, as she is with a lady who says to 


her " go and she goeth ; come and she cometh." 
Item, I have made her a tolerable Latinist. The 
verses should be moral too, as for a clergyman's 
family. She is called Emma Isola. 

I approve heartily of your turning your four 
volumes into a lesser compass. 'Twill Sybillise 
the gold left. I shall, I think, be in town in 
a few weeks, when I will assuredly see you. I will 
put in here loves to Mrs. Procter and the Anti- 
Capulets, because Mary tells me I omitted them 
in my last. I like to see my friends here. I have 
put my lawsuit into the hands of an Enfield 
practitioner — a plain man, who seems perfectly 
to understand it, and gives me hopes of a favour- 
able result. 

Rumour tells us that Miss Holcroft is mar- 
ried ; though the varlet has not had the grace 
to make any communication to us on the 
subject. Who is Badman, or Bed'em ? Have 
I seen him at Montacute's ? I hear he is a great 
chymist. I am sometimes chymical myself. 
A thought strikes me with horror. Pray heaven 
he may not have done it for the sake of trying 
chymical experiments upon her, — young female 
subjects are so scarce ! Louisa would make a 
capital shot. An't you glad about Burke's case? 
We may set off the Scotch murders against the 
Scotch novels — Hare, the Great Un-hanged. 

Martin Burney is richly worth your knowing. 
He is on the top scale of my friendship ladder, 
on which an angel or two is still climbing, and 

l 55 

some, alas ! descending. I am out of the literary 
world at present. Pray, is there anything new 
from the admired pen of the author of the 
Pleasures of Hope? Has Mrs. He-mans (double 
masculine) done anything pretty lately ? Why 
sleeps the lyre of Hervey, and of Alaric Watts ? 
Is the muse of L. E. L. silent ? Did you see 
a sonnet of mine in Blackwood's last ? Curious 
construction! Elaborata facilitas ! And now I'll 
tell. 'Twas written for the Gem; but the ed- 
itors declined it, on the plea that it would shock 
all mothers ; so they published the Widow instead. 
I am born out of time. I have no conjecture 
about what the present world calls delicacy. I 
thought Rosamund Gray was a pretty modest 
thing. Hessey assures me that the world would 
not bear it. I have lived to grow into an inde- 
cent character. When my sonnet was rejected, 
I exclaimed, " Damn the age ; I will write for 
antiquity!" Erratum in sonnet: Last line but 
something, for tender, read tend. The Scotch do 
not know our law terms; but I find some remains 
of honest, plain, old writing lurking there still. 
They were not so mealy-mouthed as to refuse 
my verses. Maybe, 't is their oatmeal. 

Blackwood sent me jCio for the drama. 
Somebody cheated me out of it next day ; and 
my new pair of breeches, just sent home, crack- 
ing at first putting on, I exclaimed, in my wrath, 
" All tailors are cheats, and all men are tailors." 
Then I was better. [Balance of letter lost.] 




And now, Procter, I will tell you a story. 
Hierocles, the Sicilian Tyrant, who lived in the 
thirtieth Olympiad, just seven hundred and sixty 
years ante a.d., by the Gregorian Computation, 
having won the Prize in a Race of Mules, be- 
sought the Poet Simonides, with the incentive 
moreover of a donative of 1 200 Sesterces, which 
might be about ^12.7.3^ of our money, to 
write him an Olympic Hymn in praise of the 
mules. But Simonides, declining to vulgarise his 
Muse with the mention of any such mongrels, 
the Tyrant (which signifies in the Greek of that 
age only king) rounds him in the ear that he 
shall have 8000 sesterces if he will touch up his 
beasts handsomely. Whereupon Simonides — 
the " tender Simonides," as antiquity delights to 
phrase him — began to relent, and stringing his 
golden lyre begins a lofty ode to the cattle with — 

Hail ! daughters of the swift-winged steed. 

Sinking, you see, one part of their genealogy. 
Now for the application. What I told you, dear 
Procter, about my young friend was nothing but 
the exact truth. But I sunk the circumstance 
that her mother was a negro, or half-caste — 
which convinces me, what I always thought, that 
something of the tender genius of Simonides lives 
again in my strains. Mary corrects me, and will 


have it that the lady's mother was a Hindostanee 
half-caste, and no negress, but was I to send you 
wool-gathering over the vast plains watered by 
the Ganges, or the more bewildering wilds of 
Timbuctoo, to search for images ? ' 


January 28, 1829. 

Dear Allsop, — Old Star is setting. Take him 
and cut him into Little Stars. Nevertheless the 
extinction of the greater light is not by the lesser 
light (Stella, or Mrs. Star) apprehended so nigh, 
but that she will be thankful if you can let young 
Scintillation (Master Star) twinkle down by the 
coach on Sunday, to catch the last glimmer of 
the decaying parental light. No news is good 
news ; so we conclude Mrs. A. and little a are 
doing well. Our kindest loves, C. L. 


January 29, 1829. 

When Miss Ouldcroft (who is now Mrs. Bed- 
dam, and Bed — damn'd to her !) was at Enfield, 
which she was in summer-time, and owed her 
health to its sun and genial influences, she visited 
(with young lady-like impertinence) a poor 

p In this extract Lamb, who was himself always writing verses for 
his young friends' albums, wanted Procter to do likewise for Emma 
Isola, in whose veins was a tinge of blood darker than European. — 
Alfred Ainger.] 


man's cottage that had a pretty baby (O the 
yearnling !), and gave it fine caps and sweet- 
meats. On a day, broke into the parlour our 
two maids uproarious. " O ma'am, who do you 
think Miss Ouldcroft (they pronounce it Hol- 
croft) has been working a cap for ?" " A child," 
answered Mary, in true Shandean female sim- 
plicity. " It 's the man's child as was taken up 
for sheep-stealing." Miss Ouldcroft was stag- 
gered, and would have cut the connection ; but 
by main force I made her go and take her leave 
of her protegee (which I only spell with a g be- 
cause I can't make a pretty y). I thought, if she 
went no more, the Abactor or Abactor's wife 
(vide Ainsworth) would suppose she had heard 
something ; and I have delicacy for a sheep- 
stealer. The overseers actually overhauled a mut- 
ton-pie at the baker's (his first, last, and only 
hope of mutton-pie), which he never came to 
eat, and thence inferred his guilt. 

Per occasionem cuius I framed the sonnet ; ob- 
serve its elaborate construction. I was four days 
about it. 


Suck, baby, suck, mother's love grows by giving, 

Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting; 
Black manhood comes, when riotous guilty living 

Hands thee the cup that shall be death in tasting. 
Kiss, baby, kiss, mother's lips shine by kisses, 

Choke the warm breath that else would fall in blessings; 
Black manhood comes, when turbulent guilty blisses 

Tend thee the kiss that poisons 'mid caressings. 

l S9 

Hang, baby, hang, mother's love loves such forces, 
Choke the fond neck that bends still to thy clinging ; 

Black manhood comes, when violent lawless courses 
Leave thee a spectacle in rude air swinging. 

So sang a wither'd sibyl energetical, 

And bann'd the ungiving door with lips prophetical. 

Barry, study that sonnet. It is curiously and per- 
versely elaborate. 'T is a choking subject, and 
therefore the reader is directed to the structure 
of it. See you? and was this a fourteener to be 
rejected by a trumpery annual? forsooth, 't would 
shock all mothers ; and may all mothers, who 
would so be shocked, bed dom'd ! as if mothers 
were such sort of logicians as to infer the future 
hanging of their child from the theoretical hang- 
ibility (or capacity of being hanged, if the judge 
pleases) of every infant born with a neck on. 
Oh B. C, my whole heart is faint, and my whole 
head is sick (how is it?) at this damned, cant- 
ing, unmasculine unbxwdy (I had almost said) 
age ! Don't show this to your child's mother or 
I shall be Orpheusized, scattered into Hebras. 
Damn the King, lords, commons, and specially 
(as I said on Muswell Hill on a Sunday when 
I could get no beer a quarter before one) all 
bishops, priests, and curates. Vale. 


Early 1829. 

The comings in of an incipient conveyancer 

are not adequate to the receipt of three two- 
penny-post non-paids in a week. Therefore, after 
this, I condemn my stub to long and deep silence, 
or shall awaken it to write to lords. Lest those 
raptures in this honeymoon of my correspond- 
ence, which you avow for the gentle person of 
my Nuncio, after passing through certain natural 
grades, as Love, Love and Water, Love with the 
chill off, then subsiding to that point which the 
heroic suitor of his wedded dame, the noble- 
spirited Lord Randolph in the play, declares to 
be the ambition of his passion, a reciprocation 
of " complacent kindness," — should suddenly 
plump down (scarce staying to bait at the mid 
point of indifference, so hungry it is for distaste) 
to a loathing and blank aversion, to the render- 
ing probable such counter expressions as this, — 
" Damn that infernal twopenny postman" (words 
which make the not yet glutted inamorato " lift 
up his hands and wonder who can use them"). 
While, then, you are not ruined, let me assure 
thee, O thou above the painter, and next only 
under Giraldus Cambrensis, the most immortal 
and worthy to be immortal Barry, thy most 
ingenious and golden cadences do take my fancy 
mightily. They are at this identical moment 
under the snip and the paste of the fairest hands 
(bating chilblains) in Cambridge, soon to be 
transplanted to Suffolk, to the envy of half of the 
young ladies in Bury. 

But tell me, and tell me truly, gentle swain, 

is that Isola Bella a true spot in geographical 
denomination, or a floating Delos in thy brain ? 
Lurks that fair island in verity in the bosom of 
Lake Maggiore, or some other with less poetic 
name, which thou hast Cornwallized for the 
occasion ? And what if Maggiore itself be but a 
coinage of adaptation ? Of this, pray resolve me 
immediately, for my albumess will be catechised 
on this subject ; and how can I prompt her ? 
Lake Leman, I know, and Lemon Lake (in a 
punch bowl) I have swum in, though those 
lymphs be long since dry. But Maggiore may be 
in the moon. Unsphinx this riddle for me, for 
my shelves have no gazetteer. And mayest thou 
never murder thy father-in-law in the Trivia of 
Lincoln's Inn New Square Passage, where Searl 
Street and the Street of Portugal embrace, nor 
afterwards make absurd proposals to the Widow 
M. But I know you abhor any such notions. 
Nevertheless so did O-Edipus (as Admiral Bur- 
ney used to call him, splitting the diphthong in 
spite or ignorance) for that matter. C. L. 


February 2, 1829. 

Facundissime Poeta ! quanquam istiusmodi 
epitheta oratoribus potius quam poetis attinere 
facile scio — tamen, facundissime! 

Commoratur nobiscum iamdiu, in agro En- 
feldiense, scilicet, leguleius futurus, illustrissimus 


Martinus Burneius, otium agens, negotia nomi- 
nalia, et officinam clientum vacuam, paululum 
fugiens. Orat, implorat te — nempe, Martinus — 
ut si (quod Dii faciant) forte fortuna, absente 
ipso, advenerit tardus cliens, eum certiorem feceris 
per literas hue missas. Intelligisne? an me An- 
glice et barbarice ad te hominem perdoctum 
scribere oportet ? 

Si status de franco tenemento datur avo, et in 
eodem facto si mediate vel immediate datur 
haeredibus vel haeredibus corporis dicti avi, postrema 
haec verba sunt Limitationis, non Perquisitionis. 

Dixi. Carlagnulus 


[Mr. Stephen Gwynn has made the following translation : 

Most eloquent Poet : though I know well such epithet befits orators 
rather than poets — and yet, most eloquent ! 

There has been staying with us this while past at our country seat of 
Enfield, to wit, the future attorney, the illustrious Martin Burney, taking 
his leisure, flying for a space from his nominal occupations, and his office 
empty of clients. He — that is, Martin — begs and entreats of you that 
if (heaven send it so !) by some stroke of fortune, in his absence there 
should arrive a belated client, you would inform him by letter here. Do 
you understand ? or must I write in barbarous English to a scholar like 
you ? 

If an estate in freehold is given to an ancestor, and if in the same deed 
directly or indirectly the gift is made to the heir or heirs of the body of 
the said ancestor, these last words have the force of Limitation not of 

I have spoken. Charles Lamb. ] 


February 27, 1829. 

Dear R., — Expectation was alert on the receit 

of your strange-shaped present, while yet undis- 
closed from its fuse envelope. Some said, 'tis 
a viol da Gamba, others pronounced it a fiddle. I 
myself hoped it a liquer case pregnant with eau 
de vie and such odd nectar. When midwifed 
into daylight, the gossips were at loss to pro- 
nounce upon its species. Most took it for a 
marrow spoon, an apple scoop, a banker's guinea 
shovel. At length its true scope appeared, its 
drift — to save the backbone of my sister stoop- 
ing to scuttles. A philanthropic intent, borrowed 
no doubt from some of the colliers. You save 
people's backs one way, and break 'em again by 
loads of obligation. The spectacles are delicate 
and Vulcanian. No lighter texture than their 
steel did the cuckoldy blacksmith frame to catch 
Mrs. Vulcan and the Captain in. For ungalled 
forehead, as for back unbursten, you have Mary's 
thanks. Marry, for my own peculium of obliga- 
tion, 't was supererogatory. A second part of 
Pamela was enough in conscience. Two Pa- 
melas in a house is too much without two Mr. 
B.'s to reward 'em. 

Mary, who is handselling her new aerial 
perspectives upon a pair of old worsted stock- 
ings trod out in Cheshunt lanes, sends love : I, 
great good liking. Bid us a personal farewell 
before you see the Vatican. 

Chas. Lamb 



March 22, 1829. 

My dear Sir, — I have but lately learned, by 
letter from Mr. Moxon, the death of your bro- 
ther. For the little I had seen of him, I greatly 
respected him. I do not even know how recent 
your loss may have been, and hope that I do 
not unseasonably present you with a few lines 
suggested to me this morning by the thought 
of him. I beg to be most kindly remembered 
to your remaining brother, and to Miss Rogers. 
Yours truly, Charles Lamb 

Rogers, of all the men that I have known 

But slightly, who have died, your brother's loss 

Touched me most sensibly. There came across 

My mind an image of the cordial tone 

Of your fraternal meetings, where a guest 

I more than once have sate ; and grieve to think, 

That of that threefold cord one precious link 

By Death's rude hand is sever'd from the rest. 

Of our old gentry he appear'd a stem; 

A magistrate who, while the evil-doer 

He kept in terror, could respect the poor, 

And not for every trifle harass them — 

As some, divine and laic, too oft do. 

This man's a private loss and public too. 


March 25, 1829. 

Dear B. B., — I send you by desire Darley's 
very poetical poem. You will like, I think, the 


novel headings of each scene. Scenical direc- 
tions in verse are novelties. With it I send a few 
duplicates, which are therefore no value to me, 
and may amuse an idle hour. Read Christmas, 
'tis the production of a young author, who reads 
all your writings. A good word from you about 
his little book would be as balm to him. It has 
no pretensions, and makes none. But parts are 
pretty. In Field 's Appendix turn to a poem called 
the Kangaroo. It is in the best way of our old 
poets, if I mistake not. I have just come from 
town, where I have been to get my bit of quar- 
terly pension. And have brought home, from 
stalls in Barbican, the old Pilgrim's Progress with 
the prints — Vanity Fair, &c. — now scarce. 
Four shillings. Cheap. And also one of whom 
I have oft heard and had dreams, but never saw 
in the flesh — that is, in sheepskin — the whole 
theologic works of — 

Thomas Aquinas ! 

My arms aked with lugging it a mile to the 
stage, but the burden was a pleasure, such as old 
Anchises was to the shoulders of ./Eneas — or 
the Lady to the Lover in old romance, who hav- 
ing to carry her to the top of a high mountain 
— the price of obtaining her — clamber'd with 
her to the top, and fell dead with fatigue. 

O the glorious old Schoolmen ! 

There must be something in him. Such great 
names imply greatness. Who hath seen Michael 

1 66 

Angelo's things — of us that never pilgrimaged 
to Rome — and yet which of us disbelieves his 
greatness. How I will revel in his cobwebs and 
subtleties, till my brain spins ! 

N. B. I have writ in the old Hamlet, offer it 
to Mitford in my name, if he have not seen it. 
'T is woefully below our editions of it. But keep 
it, if you like. (What is M. to me?) 

I do not mean this to go for a letter, only to ap- 
prize y ou, that the parcel is booked for you this 2 5 
March, 1829, from the Four Swans Bishopsgate. 

With both our loves to Lucy and A. K. 

Yours ever, C. L. 


April, 1829. 

We have just got your letter. I think Mother 
Reynolds will go on quietly, Mrs. Scrimpshaw 
having kittened. The name of the late Laureat 
was Henry James Pye, and when his first Birth- 
day Ode came out, which was very poor, some- 
body being asked his opinion of it, said, — 

And when the Pye was open'd 

The birds began to sing, 
And was not this a dainty dish 

To set before the King ! 

Pye was brother to old Major Pye, and father 
to Mrs. Arnold, and uncle to a General Pye, all 
friends of Miss Kelly. Pye succeeded Thos. 
Warton, Warton succeeded Wm. Whitehead, 


Whitehead succeeded Colley Cibber, Cibber 
succeeded Eusden, Eusden succeeded Thos. 
Shadwell, Shadwell succeeded Dryden, Dryden 
succeeded Davenant, Davenant God knows 
whom. There never was a Rogers a Poet Lau- 
reat ; there is an old living poet of that name, 
a banker as you know, author of the Pleasures 
of Memory, where Moxon goes to breakfast in 
a fine house in the Green Park, but he was never 
Laureat. Southey is the present one, and for 
anything I know or care, Moxon may succeed 
him. We have a copy of Xmas for you, so you 
may give your own to Mary as soon as you 
please. We think you need not have exhibited 
your mountain shyness before M. B. He is 
neither shy himself, nor patronizes it in others. 
So with many thanks, good-bye. Emma comes 
on Thursday. C. L. 

The Poet Laureat, whom Davenant suc- 
ceeded was Rare Ben Jonson, who I believe 
was the first regular Laureat with the appoint- 
ment of ^ioo a year and a Butt of Sack or 
Canary — so add that to my little list. — C. L. 


April 10, 1829. 

Dear Robinson, — We are afraid you will slip 
from us from England without again seeing us. 
It would be charity to come and see me. I have 


these three days been laid up with strong rheu- 
matic pains, in loins, back, shoulders. I shriek 
sometimes from the violence of them. I get scarce 
any sleep, and the consequence is, I am restless, 
and want to change sides as I lie, and I cannot 
turn without resting on my hands, and so turning 
all my body all at once like a log with a lever. 
While this rainy weather lasts, I have no hope 
of alleviation. I have tried flannels and embro- 
cation in vain. Just at the hip-joint the pangs 
sometimes are so excruciating that I cry out. It 
is as violent as the cramp, and far more continu- 
ous. I am ashamed to whine about these com- 
plaints to you, who can ill enter into them. But 
indeed they are sharp. You go about, in rain or 
fine at all hours without discommodity. I envy 
you your immunity at a time of life not much 
removed from my own. But you owe your ex- 
emption to temperance, which it is too late for 
me to pursue. I in my life time have had my 
good things. Hence my frame is brittle — yours 
strong as brass. I never knew any ailment you 
had. You can go out at night in all weathers, 
sit up all hours. Well, I don't want to moralise. 
I only wish to say that if you are enclined to a 
game at Doubly Dumby, I would try and bolster 
up myself in a chair for a rubber or so. My days 
are tedious, but less so and less painful than my 
nights. May you never know the pain and diffi- 
culty I have in writing so much. Mary, who is 
most kind, joins in the wish. C. Lamb 



April 17, 1829. 

I do confess to mischief. It was the subtlest 
diabolical piece of malice heart of man has con- 
trived. I have no more rheumatism than that 
poker. Never was freer from all pains and aches. 
Every joint sound, to the tip of the ear from the 
extremity of the lesser toe. The report of thy 
torments was blown circuitously here from 
Bury. I could not resist the jeer. I conceived 
you writhing, when you should just receive my 
congratulations. How mad you'd be! Well, 
it is not in my method to inflict pangs. I leave 
that to heaven. But in the existing pangs of a 
friend, I have a share. His disquietude crowns 
my exemption. I imagine you howling, and 
pace across the room, shooting out my free arms, 
legs, &c. [here Lamb makes four slanting marks 
resembling shorthand], this way and that way, 
with an assurance of not kindling a spark of pain 
from them. I deny that Nature meant us to 
sympathise with agonies. Those face-contortions, 
retortions, distortions, have the merriness of 
antics. Nature meant them for farce — not so 
pleasant to the actor indeed, but Grimaldi cries 
when we laugh, and 'tis but one that suffers to 
make thousands rejoyce. 

You say that shampooing is ineffectual. But 
per se it is good, to show the introvolutions, 
extravolutions, of which the animal frame is 


capable. To show what the creature is recept- 
ible of, short of dissolution. 

You are worst of nights, a'nt you ? 

'T will be as good as a sermon to you to lie 
abed all this night, and meditate the subject of 
the day. 'T is Good Friday. How appropriate ! 

Think when but your little finger pains you, 
what ****** endured to whitewash you and 
the rest of us. 

Nobody will be the more justified for your 
endurance. You won't save the soul of a mouse. 
'T is a pure selfish pleasure. 

You never was rack'd, was you ? I should like 
an authentic map of those feelings. 

You seem to have the flying gout. 

You can scarcely scrue a smile out of your 
face — can you ? I sit at immunity, and sneer 
ad libitum. 

'T is now the time for you to make good reso- 
lutions. I may go on breaking 'em, for anything 
the worse I find myself. 

Your doctor seems to keep you on the long 
cure. Precipitate healings are never good. 

Don't come while you are so bad. I shan't 
be able to attend to your throes and the dumbee 
at once. 

I should like to know how slowly the pain 
goes off. But don't write, unless the motion will 
be likely to make your sensibility more exquisite. 

Your affectionate and truly healthy friend, 

C. Lamb 

Mary thought a letter from me might amuse 
you in your torment. 


April 29, 1829. 

Dear Dyer, — As well as a bad pen can do it, 
I must thank you for your friendly attention to 
the wishes of our young friend Emma, who was 
packing up for Bury when your sonnet arrived, 
and was too hurried to express her sense of its 
merits. I know she will treasure up that and 
your second communication among her choicest 
rarities, as from her grandfather's friend, whom 
not having seen, she loves to hear talked of; the 
second letter shall be sent after her, with our first 
parcel to Suffolk, where she is, to us, alas ! dead 
and Bury'd : we sorely miss her. Should you at 
any hour think of four or six lines to send her, 
addressed to herself simply, naming her grand- 
sire, and to wish she may pass through life as 
much respected, with your own "G. Dyer" at 
the end, she would feel rich indeed, for the 
nature of an album asks for verses that have not 
been in print before; but this quite at your con- 
venience : and to be less trouble to yourself, four 
lines would be sufficient. Enfield is come out in 
summer beauty. Come when you will, and we 
will give you a bed; Emma has left hers, you 
know. I remain, my dear Dyer, your affectionate 
friend, Charles Lamb 



May, 1829. 

Dear Hood, — We will look out for you on 
Wednesday, be sure, tho' we have not eyes like 
Emma, who, when I made her sit with her back 
to the window to keep her to her Latin, literally 
saw round backwards every one that past, and, 
O, [that] she were here to jump up and shriek 
out, " There are the Hoods ! " We have had two 
pretty letters from her, which I long to show 
you — together with Enfield in her May beauty. 

Loves to Jane. 

\ Here follow rough caricatures of Charles and his 
sister, and\ " I can't draw no better." 


Calamy is good reading. Mary is always thank- 
ful for books in her way. I won't trouble you 
for any in my way yet, having enough to read. 
Young Hazlitt lives, at least his father does, at 3 
or 36 [36 I have it down, with the 6 scratch' d 
out] Bouverie Street, Fleet Street. If not to be 
found, his mother's address is, Mrs. Hazlitt, Mrs. 
Tomlinson's, Potters Bar. At one or other he 
must be heard of. 

We shall expect you with the full moon. 
Meantime, our thanks. C. L. 

We go on very quietly, &c. 


May 28, 1829. 

Dear W., — Introduce this, or omit it, as you 
like. I think I wrote better about it in a letter 
to you from India House. If you have that, per- 
haps out of the two I could patch up a better 
thing, if you 'd return both. But I am very 
poorly, and have been harassed with an illness of 
my sister's. 

The Ode was printed in the New Times nearly 
the end of 1825, and I have only omitted some 
silly lines. Call it a corrected copy. 

Yours ever, C. Lamb 

Put my name to either or both, as you like. 


June 3, 1829. 

Dear B. B., — I am very much grieved in- 
deed for the indisposition of poor Lucy. Your 
letter found me in domestic troubles. My sister 
is again taken ill, and I am obliged to remove 
her out of the house for many weeks, I fear, 
before I can hope to have her again. I have 
been very desolate indeed. My loneliness is a 
little abated by our young friend Emma having 
just come here for her holydays, and a school- 
fellow of hers that was, with her. Still the 
house is not the same, tho' she is the same. 


Mary had been pleasing herself with the pro- 
spect of seeing her at this time ; and with all 
their company, the house feels at times a fright- 
ful solitude. May you and I in no very long 
time have a more cheerful theme to write about, 
and congratulate upon a daughter's and a sister's 
perfect recovery. Do not be long without tell- 
ing me how Lucy goes on. I have a right to 
call her by her quaker-name, you know. 

Emma knows that I am writing to you, and 
begs to be remembered to you with thankful- 
ness for your ready contribution. Her album is 
filling apace. But of her contributors one, al- 
most the flower of it, a most amiable young 
man and late acquaintance of mine, has been 
carried off by consumption, on return from one 
of the Azores islands, to which he went with 
hopes of mastering the disease, came back im- 
proved, went back to a most close and confined 
counting house, and relapsed. His name was 
Dibdin, grandson of the songster. 

You will be glad to hear that Emma, tho' 
unknown to you, has given the highest satis- 
faction in her little place of governante in a 
clergyman's family, which you may believe by 
the parson and his lady drinking poor Mary's 
health on her birthday, tho' they never saw her, 
merely because she was a friend of Emma's, and 
the vicar also sent me a brace of partridges. 

To get out of home themes, have you seen 
Southey's Dialogues? His lake descriptions, and 


the account of his library at Keswick, are very 
fine. But he needed not have called up the 
Ghost of More to hold the conversations with, 
which might as well have pass'd between A and 
B, or Caius and Lucius. It is making too free 
with a defunct Chancellor and Martyr. 

I feel as if I had nothing farther to write about 
— O ! I forget the prettiest letter I ever read, 
that I have received from Pleasures of Memory 
Rogers, in acknowledgment of a sonnet I sent 
him on the Loss of his Brother. It is too long 
to transcribe, but I hope to shew it you some 
day, as I hope some time again to see you, when 
all of us are well. Only it ends thus : " We 
were nearly of an age (he was the elder). He 
was the only person in the world in whose eyes 
I always appeared young." 

I will now take my leave with assuring you 
that I am most interested in hoping to hear 
favourable accounts from you. 

With kindest regards to A. K. and you, 

Yours truly, C. L. 


June 10, 1829. 

My dear Ayrton, — It grieves me that I can- 
not join you. Besides that I have two young 
friends in the house, I expect a London visitor 
on Thursday. I hope to see H. C. R. here before 
he goes, and you before we all go. 


God bless you. Health to the Party. Love to 
Mrs. A. C. Lamb 



Dear Allsop, — I will find out your Bijoux some 
day. At present, I am sorry to say, we have 
neither of us very good spirits ; and I cannot 
look to any pleasant expeditions. 

You speak of your trial as a known thing, but 
I am quite in the dark about it ; but wish you 
a safe issue most heartily. 

Our loves to Mrs. Allsop and children. 

C. L. 


June, 1829. 

My dear Wm., — I am very uncomfortable, 
and when Emma leaves me, I shall wish to be 
quite alone ; therefore pray tell your mother I re- 
gret that I cannot see her here this time, but hope 
to see her when times are better with me. The 
young ladies are very pleasant, but my spirits have 
much ado to keep pace with theirs. I decidedly 
wish to be alone, or I know of none I should 
rather see than your mother. Make my best ex- 
cuse. Emma will explain to you the state of my 
wretched spirits. Yours, 

C. Lamb 


At midsummer or soon after (I will let you 
know the previous day), I will take a day with 
you in the purlieus of my old haunts. No of- 
fence has been taken, any more than meant. My 
house is full at present, but empty of its chief 
pride. She is dead to me for many months. But 
when I see you, then I will say, Come and 
see me. With undiminished friendship to you 
both, Your faithful but queer, 

C. L. 

How you frighted me ! Never write again, 
" Coleridge is dead," at the end of a line, and 
tamely come in with — " to his friends" at the 
beginning of another. Love is quicker, and fear 
from love, than the transition ocular from line 
to line. 


Enfield Chase Side, Saturday, 25 July a.d. 1829 — n a.m. 

There — a fuller, plumper, juiceier date never 
dropt from Idumean palm. Am I in the dateive 
case now ? if not, a fig for dates, which is more 
than a date is worth. I never stood much affected 
to these limitary specialties. Least of all since the 
date of my superannuation. 

What have I with Time to do ? 
Slaves of desks, 't was meant for you. 


Dear B. B., — Your handwriting has conveyed 
much pleasure to me in report of Lucy's restora- 
tion. Would I could send you as good news of 
my poor Lucy ! But some wearisome weeks I 
must remain lonely yet. I have had the loneliest 
time near ten weeks, broken by a short apparition 
of Emma for her holydays, whose departure only 
deepen' d the returning solitude, and by ten days 
I have past in town. But town, with all my 
native hankering after it, is not what it was. The 
streets, the shops are left, but all old friends 
are gone. And in London I was frightfully con- 
vinced of this as I past houses and places — 
empty caskets now. I have ceased to care almost 
about anybody. The bodies I cared for are in 
graves, or dispersed. My old clubs, that lived so 
long and flourish'd so steadily, are crumbled 
away. When I took leave of our adopted young 
friend at Charing Cross, 'twas heavy unfeeling 
rain, and I had nowhere to go. Home have I 
none, and not a sympathising house to turn to in 
the great city. Never did the waters of the heaven 
pour down on a forlorner head. Yet I tried ten 
days at a sort of a friend's house, but it was large 
and straggling — one of the individuals of my old 
long knot of friends, card-players, pleasant com- 
panions — that have tumbled to pieces into dust 
and other things — and I got home on Thurs- 
day, convinced that I was better to get home to 
my hole at Enfield, and hide like a sick cat in 
my corner. Less than a month I hope will bring 


home Mary. She is at Fulham, looking better 
in her health than ever, but sadly rambling, and 
scarce showing any pleasure in seeing me, or cu- 
riosity when I should come again. But the old 
feelings will come back again, and we shall drown 
old sorrows over a game at picquet again. But 
't is a tedious cut out of a life of sixty-four, to 
lose twelve or thirteen weeks every year or two. 
And to make me more alone, our ill-temper'd 
maid is gone, who, with all her airs, was yet a home 
piece of furniture, a record of better days ; the 
young thing that has succeeded her is good and 
attentive, but she is nothing — and I have no one 
here to talk over old matters with. Scolding and 
quarreling have something of familiarity and a 
community of interest — they imply acquaint- 
ance — they are of resentment, which is of the 
family of dearness. I can neither scold nor quarrel 
at this insignificant implement of household ser- 
vices ; she is less than a cat, and just better than 
a deal dresser. What I can do, and do overdo, is 
to walk, but deadly long are the days — these 
summer all-day days, with but a half hour's can- 
dlelight and no firelight. I do not write, tell 
your kind inquisitive Eliza, and can hardly read. 
In the ensuing Blackwood will be an old rejected 
farce of mine, which may be new to you, if you 
see that same dull medley. What things are all 
the magazines now ! I contrive studiously not to 
see them. The popular New Monthly is perfect 


Poor Hessey, I suppose you see, has failed. 
Hunt and Clarke too. Your Vulgar Truths will 
be a good name ; and I think your prose must 
please — me at least — but 'tis useless to write 
poetry with no purchasers. 'T is cold work 
authorship without something to puff one into 
fashion. Could you not write something on 
Quakerism — for Quakers to read — but nomi- 
nally addrest to Non-Quakers ? explaining your 
dogmas — waiting on the Spirit — by the ana- 
logy of human calmness and patient waiting on 
the judgment ? I scarcely know what I mean, 
but to make Non-Quakers reconciled to your doc- 
trines, by shewing something like them in mere 
human operations — but I hardly understand my- 
self, so let it pass for nothing. 

I pity you for over-work, but I assure you 
no-work is worse. The mind preys on itself, 
the most unwholesome food. I brag'd formerly 
that I could not have too much time. I have 
a surfeit. With few years to come, the days 
are wearisome. But weariness is not eternal. 
Something will shine out to take the load off, 
that flags me, which is at present intolerable. 
I have killed an hour or two in this poor scrawl. 
I am a sanguinary murderer of time, and would 
kill him inch-meal just now. But the snake is 
vital. Well, I shall write merrier anon. "T is 
the present copy of my countenance I send — 
and to complain is a little to alleviate. May you 
enjoy yourself as far as the wicked world will let 


you — and think that you are not quite alone, 
as I am. Health to Lucia and to Anna and kind 
remembrances. Yours forlorn, C. L. 


Late July, 1829. 

My dear Allsop, — I thank you for thinking 
of my recreation. But I am best here, I feel I 
am. I have tried town lately, but came back 
worse. Here I must wait till my loneliness has 
its natural cure. Besides that, though I am not 
very sanguine, yet I live in hopes of better news 
from Fulham, and cannot be out of the way. 
'T is ten weeks to-morrow. I saw Mary a week 
since, she was in excellent bodily health, but 
otherwise far from well. But a week or so may 
give a turn. Love to Mrs. A. and children, and 
fair weather accompany you. C. L. 


September 22, 1829. 

Dear Moxon, — If you can oblige me with 
the Garrick Papers or Anne of Geierstein, I shall 
be thankful. I am almost fearful whether my 
sister will be able to enjoy any reading at present; 
for since her coming home, after twelve weeks, 
she has had an unusual relapse into the saddest 
low spirits that ever poor creature had, and has 
been some weeks under medical care. She is 


unable to see any yet. When she is better I shall 
be very glad to talk over your ramble with you. 
Have you done any sonnets? can you send me 
any to overlook ? I am almost in despair ; Mary's 
case seems so hopeless. Believe me yours, 

C. L. 

I do not want Mrs. Jameson or Lady Morgan. 


October 26, 1829. 

Dear Gillman, — Allsop brought me your kind 
message yesterday. How can I account for having 
not visited Highgate this long time? Change of 
place seemed to have changed me. How grieved 
I was to hear in what indifferent health Cole- 
ridge has been, and I not to know of it ! A little 
school divinity, well applied, may be healing. I 
send him honest Tom of Aquin ; that was always 
an obscure great idea to me : I never thought or 
dreamed to see him in the flesh, but t' other day 
I rescued him from a stall in Barbican, and 
brought him off in triumph. He comes to greet 
Coleridge's acceptance, for his shoe-latchets I am 
unworthy to unloose. Yet there are pretty pro's 
and con's, and such unsatisfactory learning in 
him. Commend me to the question of etiquette 

— "utrum annunciatio debuerit fieri per angelum" 

— Quaest. 30, Articulus 2. I protest, till now 
I had thought Gabriel a fellow of some mark 


and livelihood, not a simple esquire, as I find 

Well, do not break your lay brains, nor I nei- 
ther, with these curious nothings. They are nuts 
to our dear friend, whom hoping to see at your 
first friendly hint that it will be convenient, I 
end with begging our very kindest loves to Mrs. 
Gillman. We have had a sorry house of it here. 
Our spirits have been reduced till we were at 
hope's end what to do — obliged to quit this 
house, and afraid to engage another, till in ex- 
tremity I took the desperate resolve of kicking 
house and all down, like Bunyan's pack; and 
here we are in a new life at board and lodging, 
with an honest couple our neighbours. We have 
ridded ourselves of the cares of dirty acres ; and 
the change, though of less than a week, has had 
the most beneficial effects on Mary already. She 
looks two years and a half younger for it. But we 
have had sore trials. 

God send us one happy meeting! 

Yours faithfully, C. Lamb 


November 10, 1829. 

Dear Fugue-ist, or bear'st thou rather Contra- 
puntist? — We expect you four (as many as the 
table will hold without squeeging) [squeezing] 
at Mrs. Westwood's table d'hote on Thursday. 
You will find the White House shut up, and us 


moved under the wing of the Phoenix, which 
gives us friendly refuge. Beds for guests, marry, 
we have none, but cleanly accomodings at the 
Crown and Horseshoe. 

Yours harmonically, C. L. 


November 15, 1829. 

My dear Wilson, — I have not opened a packet 
of unknown contents for many years, that gave 
me so much pleasure as when I disclosed your 
three volumes. I have given them a careful peru- 
sal, and they have taken their degree of classical 
books upon my shelves. De Foe was always my 
darling; but what darkness was I in as to far 
the larger part of his writings ! I have now an 
epitome of them all. I think the way in which 
you have done the Life the most judicious you 
could have pitched upon. You have made him 
tell his own story, and your comments are in keep- 
ing with the tale. Why, I never heard of such 
a work as the Review. Strange that in my stall- 
hunting days I never so much as lit upon an odd 
volume of it. This circumstance looks as if they 
were never of any great circulation. But I may 
have met with 'em, and not knowing the prize, 
overpast 'em. I was almost a stranger to the 
whole history of Dissenters in those reigns, and 
picked my way through that strange book the 
Consolidator at random. How affecting are some 


of his personal appeals ! what a machine of pro- 
jects he set on foot! and following writers have 
picked his pocket of the patents. I do not under- 
stand whereabouts in Roxana he himself left off. 
I always thought the complete-tourist-sort of 
description of the town she passes through on her 
last embarkation miserably unseasonable and out 
of place. I knew not they were spurious. En- 
lighten me as to where the apocryphal matter 
commences. I, by accident, can correct one A. 
D., Family Instructor, vol. ii, 171 8; you say his 
first volume had then reached the fourth edition; 
now I have a fifth, printed for Eman. Matthews, 
171 7. So have I plucked one rotten date, or 
rather picked it up where it had inadvertently 
fallen, from your flourishing date tree, the Palm 
of Engaddi. I may take it for my pains. I think 
yours a book which every public library must 
have, and every English scholar should have. I 
am sure it has enriched my meagre stock of the 
author's works. I seem to be twice as opulent. 
Mary is by my side just finishing the second vol- 
ume. It must have interest to divert her away so 
long from her modern novels. Colburn will be 
quite jealous. 

I was a little disappointed at my Ode to the 
Treadmill not finding a place ; but it came out 
of time. The two papers of mine will puzzle 
the reader, being so akin. Odd that, never keep- 
ing a scrap of my own letters, with some fifteen 
years' interval I should nearly have said the 


same things. But I shall always feel happy in 
having my name go down anyhow with De 
Foe's, and that of his historiographer. I pro- 
mise myself, if not immortality, yet diuternity of 
being read in consequence. We have both had 
much illness this year ; and feeling infirmities 
and fretfulness grow upon us, we have cast off 
the cares of housekeeping, sold off our goods, 
and commenced boarding and lodging with a 
very comfortable old couple next door to where 
you found us. We use a sort of common table. 
' Nevertheless, we have reserved a private one for 
an old friend ; and when Mrs. Wilson and you 
revisit Babylon, we shall pray you to make it 
yours for a season. Our very kindest remem- 
brances to you both. 

From your old friend and fellow-journalist, 
now in two instances, C. Lamb 

Hazlitt is going to make your book a basis 
for a review of De Foe's Novels in the Edinbro' . 
I wish I had health and spirits to do it. Hone 
I have not seen, but I doubt not he will be 
much pleased with your performance. I very 
much hope you will give us an account of Dun- 
ton, &c. But what I should more like to see 
would be a Life and Times of Bunyan. Wish- 
ing health to you and long life to your healthy 
book, again I subscribe me, 

Yours in verity, C. L. 



November 29, 1829. 

Pray trust me with the Church History , as well 
as the Worthies. A moon shall restore both. 
Also give me back " Him of Aquinum." In re- 
turn you have the light of my countenance. Adieu. 

P. S. A sister also of mine comes with it. 
A son of Nimshi drives her. Their driving will 
have been furious, impassioned. Pray God they 
have not toppled over the tunnel ! I promise you 
I fear their steed, bred out of the wind with- 
out father, semi-Melchisedecish, hot, phaetontic. 
From my country lodgings at Enfield. 

C. L. 


November 30, 1829. 

Dear G., — The excursionists reached home, 
and the good town of Enfield a little after four, 
without slip or dislocation. Little has transpired 
concerning the events of the back-journey, save 
that on passing the house of 'Squire Mellish, situ- 
ate a stone-bow's cast from the hamlet, Father 
Westwood, with a good-natured wonderment, ex- 
claimed, " I cannot think what is gone of Mr. 
Mellish's rooks. I fancy they have taken flight 
somewhere ; but I have missed them two or three 
years past." All this while, according to his fel- 
low-traveller's report, the rookery was darken- 


ing the air above with undiminished population, 
and deafening all ears but his with their cawings. 
But Nature has been gently withdrawing such 
phenomena from the notice of Thomas West- 
wood's senses, from the time he began to miss 
the rooks. T. Westwood has passed a retired life 
in this hamlet of thirty or forty years, living upon 
the minimum which is consistent with gentility, 
yet a star among the minor gentry, receiving the 
bows of the trades-people and courtesies of the 
alms-women daily. Children venerate him not 
less for his external show of gentry, than they 
wonder at him for a gentle rising endorsation of 
the person, not amounting to a hump, or if a 
hump, innocuous as the hump of the buffalo, and 
coronative of as mild qualities. 'T is a throne on 
which patience seems to sit — the proud perch 
of a self-respecting humility, stooping with con- 
descension. Thereupon the cares of life have 
sate, and rid him easily. For he has thrid the 
angustiae domus with dexterity. Life opened upon 
him with comparative brilliancy. He set out as a 
rider or traveller for a wholesale house, in which 
capacity he tells of many hair-breadth escapes that 
befell him ; one especially, how he rode a mad 
horse into the town of Devizes ; how horse and 
rider arrived in a foam, to the utter consterna- 
tion of the expostulating hostlers, innkeepers, 
&c. It seems it was sultry weather, piping hot ; 
the steed tormented into frenzy with gadflies, 
long past being roadworthy ; but safety and the 


interest of the house he rode for were incompat- 
ible things ; a fall in serge cloth was expected ; 
and a mad entrance they made of it. Whether 
the exploit was purely voluntary, or partially ; or 
whether a certain personal defiguration in the 
man part of this extraordinary centaur (non-assist- 
ive to partition of natures) might not enforce the 
conjunction, I stand not to inquire. I look not 
with 'skew eyes into the deeds of heroes. 

The hosier that was burnt with his shop, in 
Field-lane, on Tuesday night, shall have past to 
heaven for me like a Marian Martyr, provided 
always that he consecrated the fortuitous incre- 
mation with a short ejaculation in the exit, as 
much as if he had taken his state degrees of mar- 
tyrdom in formd in the market vicinage. There 
is adoptive as well as acquisitive sacrifice. Be the 
animus what it might, the fact is indisputable, 
that this composition was seen flying all abroad, 
and mine host of Daintry may yet remember its 
passing through his town, if his scores are not 
more faithful than his memory. After this ex- 
ploit (enough for one man), Thomas Westwood 
seems to have subsided into a less hazardous oc- 
cupation ; and in the twenty-fifth year of his age 
we find him a haberdasher in Bow Lane : yet 
still retentive of his early riding (though leaving 
it to rawer stomachs), and Christmasly at night 
sithence to this last, and shall to his latest Christ- 
mas, hath he, doth he, and shall he, tell after 
supper the story of the insane steed and the de- 


sperate rider. Save for Bedlam or Luke's no eye 
could have guessed that melting day what house 
he rid for. But he reposes on his bridles, and 
after the ups and downs (metaphoric only) of a 
life behind the counter — hard riding sometimes, 
I fear, for poor T. W. — with the scrapings to- 
gether of the shop, and one anecdote, he hath 
finally settled at Enfield ; by hard economising, 
gardening, building for himself, hath reared a 
mansion, married a daughter, qualified a son for 
a counting-house, gotten the respect of high and 
low, served for self or substitute the greater par- 
ish offices : hath a special voice at vestries ; and, 
domiciliating us, hath reflected a portion of his 
house-keeping respectability upon your humble 
servants. We are greater, being his lodgers, than 
when we were substantial renters. His name is 
a passport to take off the sneers of the native 
Enfielders against obnoxious foreigners. We 
are endenizened. Thus much of T. Westwood 
have I thought fit to acquaint you, that you may 
see the exemplary reliance upon Providence with 
which I entrusted so dear a charge as my own 
sister to the guidance of a man that rode the 
mad horse into Devizes. To come from his 
heroic character, all the amiable qualities of do- 
mestic life concentre in this tamed Bellerophon. 
He is excellent over a glass of grog ; just as 
pleasant without it; laughs when he hears a joke, 
and when (which is much oftener) he hears it not; 
sings glorious old sea-songs on festival nights ; 


and but upon a slight acquaintance of two years, 
Coleridge, 1 is as dear a deaf old man to us, as old 
Norris, rest his soul ! was after fifty. To him and 
his scanty literature (what there is of it, sound} 
have we flown from the metropolis and its cursed 
annualists, reviewers, authors, and the whole 
muddy ink press of that stagnant pool. 

Now, Gillman again, you do not know the 
treasure of the Fullers. I calculate on having 
massy reading till Christmas. All I want here is 
books of the true sort, not those things in boards 
that moderns mistake for books — what they 
club for at book-clubs. 

I did not mean to cheat you with a blank side ; 
but my eye smarts, for which I am taking med- 
icine, and abstain, this day at least, from any 
aliments but milk-porridge, the innocent taste 
of which I am anxious to renew after a half- 
century's disacquaintance. If a blot fall here 
like a tear, it is not pathos, but an angry eye. 

Farewell, while my specilla are sound. 

Yours and yours, C. Lamb 


December 8, 1829. 

My dear B. B., — You are very good to have 
been uneasy about us, and I have the satisfaction 
to tell you that we are both in better health and 

1 Possibly Lamb forgot here, and thought he was writing to Cole- 
ridge. — Ed. 


spirits than we have been for a year or two past ; 
I may say, than we have been since we have been 
at Enfield. The cause may not appear quite ade- 
quate, when I tell you that a course of ill-health 
and spirits brought us to the determination of 
giving up our house here, and we are boarding 
and lodging with a worthy old couple, long in- 
habitants of Enfield, where everything is done for 
us without our trouble, further than a reason- 
able weekly payment. We should have done so 
before, but it is not easy to flesh and blood to 
give up an ancient establishment, to discard 
old Penates, and from house-keepers to turn 
house-sharers. (N. B. We are not in the work- 
house.) Diocletian in his garden found more 
repose than on the imperial seat of Rome, and 
the nob of Charles the Fifth aked seldomer under 
a monk's cowl than under the diadem. With 
such shadows of assimilation we countenance our 
degradation. With such a load of dignify'd cares 
just removed from our shoulders, we can the 
more understand and pity the accession to yours, 
by the advancement to an assigneeship. I will 
tell you honestly, B. B., that it has been long my 
deliberate judgment that all bankrupts, of what 
denomination civil or religious whatever, ought 
to be hang'd. The pity of mankind has for ages 
run in a wrong channel, and has been diverted 
from poor creditors (how many I have known 
sufferers ! Hazlitt has just been defrauded of 
j£ioo by his bookseller - friend's breaking) to 

J 93 

scoundrel debtors. I know all the topics, that 
distress may come upon an honest man without 
his fault ; that the failure of one that he trusted 
was his calamity, &c, &c. Then let both be 
hang'd. O how careful it would make traders ! 
These are my deliberate thoughts after many 
years' experience in matters of trade. 

What a world of trouble it would save you, 
if Friend ***** had been immediately hang'd, 
without benefit of clergy, which (being a Quaker 
I presume) he could not reasonably insist upon. 
Why, after slaving twelve months in your assign- 
business, you will be enabled to declare seven 
pence in the pound in all human probability. 
B. B., he should be hanged. Trade will never 
re-flourish in this land till such a law is estab- 
lished. I write big not to save ink but eyes, mine 
having been troubled with reading thro' three 
folios of old Fuller in almost as few days, and I 
went to bed last night in agony, and am writing 
with a vial of eye-water before me, alternately 
dipping in vial and inkstand. This may enflame 
my zeal against bankrupts — but it was my specu- 
lation when I could see better. Half the world's 
misery (Eden else) is owing to want of money, 
and all that want is owing to bankrupts. I de- 
clare I would, if the state wanted practitioners, 
turn hangman myself, and should have great 
pleasure in hanging the first after my salutary 
law should be establish'd. 

I have seen no annuals and wish to see none. 

I like your fun upon them, and was quite pleased 
with Bowles's sonnet. Hood is or was at Brigh- 
ton, but a note, prose or rhime, to him, Robert 
Street, Adelphi, I am sure would extract a copy 
of his, which also I have not seen. Wishing you 
and yours all health, I conclude while these frail 
glasses are to me — eyes. C. L. 


Dear M., — I have received the enclosed from 
Miss James. Her sister, Mrs. Trueman, is a most 
worthy person. I know all their history. They 
are four daughters of them, daughters of a Welch 
clergyman of the greatest respectability, who dy- 
ing, the family were obliged to look about them, 
and by some fatality they all became nurses at 
Mr. Warburton's, Hoxton. Mrs. Parsons, one of 
them, is patronized by Dr. Tuthill, who can speak 
to her character. I can safely speak to Miss James's 
for fifteen years or more. Trueman has been 
a keeper at Warburton's. Himself and wife are 
willing to undertake the entire charge at ^200 
a year. I think you hardly pay less now. They 
propose to take a cottage near the Regent's Park, 
to which by the omnibuses you can have short and 
easy access at any hour. I will call upon you to- 
morrow morning at office. Pray, think upon it 
in the meanwhile. I really think it desirable. 
Yours ever, 

C. Lamb 


Dear Kn, — I will not see London again with- 
out seeing your pleasant play. In meanwhile, 
pray send three or four orders to a lady who can't 
afford to pay, Miss James, No. i Grove Road, 
Lisson Grove, Paddington, a day or two before ; 
and come and see us some evening, with my hith- 
erto uncorrupted and honest bookseller, Moxon. 

C. Lamb 


[/« two parts] 

January 22, 1830. 

And is it a year since we parted from you at 
the steps of Edmonton stage ? There are not now 
the years that there used to be. The tale of the 
dwindled age of men, reported of successional 
mankind, is true of the same man only. We do 
not live a year in a year now. 'T is a punctum starts. 
The seasons pass us with indifference. Spring 
cheers not, nor winter heightens our gloom, au- 
tumn hath foregone its moralities ; they are hey- 
pass re-pass [as] in a show-box. Yet as far as last 
year occurs back, for they scarce shew a reflex 
now, they make no memory as heretofore — 
't was sufficiently gloomy. Let the sullen no- 
thing pass. 


Suffice it that after sad spirits prolonged thro' 
many of its months, as it called them, we have 
cast our skins, have taken a farewell of the pomp- 
ous, troublesome trifle call'd housekeeping, and 
are settled down into poor boarders and lodgers 
at next door with an old couple, the Baucis and 
Baucida of dull Enfield. Here we have nothing 
to do with our victuals but to eat them, with the 
garden but to see it grow, with the tax-gatherer 
but to hear him knock, with the maid but to 
hear her scolded. Scot and lot, butcher, baker, 
are things unknown to us save as spectators of the 
pageant. We are fed we know not how, quiet- 
ists, confiding ravens. We have the otium pro 
dignitate, a respectable insignificance. Yet in the 
self-condemned obliviousness, in the stagnation, 
some molesting yearnings of life, not quite kill'd, 
rise, prompting me that there was a London, 
and that I was of that old Jerusalem. In dreams 
I am in Fleetmarket, but I wake and cry to sleep 
again. I die hard, a stubborn Eloisa in this de- 
testable Paraclete. What have I gained by health ? 
intolerable dulness. What by early hours and mod- 
erate meals ? — a total blank. O never let the 
lying poets be believed, who 'tice men from the 
chearful haunts of streets — or think they mean 
it not of a country village. In the ruins of Pal- 
myra I could gird myself up to solitude, or muse 
to the snorings of the Seven Sleepers, but to have 
a little teasing image of a town about one, coun- 
try folks that do not look like country folks, 


shops two yards square, half a dozen apples and 
two penn'orth of overlook'd gingerbread for the 
lofty fruiterers of Oxford Street — and, for the 
immortal book and print stalls, a circulating 
library that stands still, where the shew-picture 
is a last year's valentine, and whither the fame 
of the last ten Scotch novels has not yet travell'd 
(marry, they just begin to be conscious of the 
Redgauntlet), to have a new plaster' d flat church, 
and to be wishing that it was but a cathedral. 
The very blackguards here are degenerate. The 
topping gentry, stock-brokers. The passengers 
too many to ensure your quiet, or let you go 
about whistling, or gaping — too few to be the 
fine indifferent pageants of Fleet Street. 

Confining, room-keeping thickest winter is 
yet more bearable here than the gaudy months. 
Among one's books at one's fire by candle one 
is soothed into an oblivion that one is not in the 
country, but with the light the green fields re- 
turn, till I gaze, and in a calenture can plunge 
myself into Saint Giles's. O let no native Lon- 
doner imagine that health, and rest, and inno- 
cent occupation, interchange of converse sweet, 
and recreative study, can make the country any- 
thing better than altogether odious and detest- 
able. A garden was the primitive prison till man 
with Promethean felicity and boldness luckily 
sinn'd himself out of it. Thence follow'd Baby- 
lon, Nineveh, Venice, London, haberdashers, 
goldsmiths, taverns, playhouses, satires, epigrams, 


puns — these all came in on the town part, and 
the thither side of innocence. Man found out 

From my den I return you condolence for 
your decaying sight, not for anything there is to 
see in the country, but for the miss of the pleas- 
ure of reading a London newspaper. The poets 
are as well to listen to, anything high may, nay 
must, be read out — you read it to yourself with 
an imaginary auditor — but the light paragraphs 
must be glid over by the proper eye, mouthing 
mumbles their gossamery substance. 'T is these 
trifles I should mourn in fading sight. A news- 
paper is the single gleam of comfort I receive 
here, it comes from rich Cathay with tidings of 
mankind. Yet I could not attend to it read out 
by the most beloved voice. But your eyes do 
not get worse, I gather. O for the collyrium of 
Tobias inclosed in a whiting's liver to send you 
with no apocryphal good wishes ! The last long 
time I heard from you, you had knock'd your 
head against something. Do not do so. For 
your head (I do not flatter) is not a nob, or the 
top of a brass nail, or the end of a ninepin — 
unless a Vulcanian hammer could fairly batter 
a Recluse out of it, then would I bid the smirch' d 
god knock and knock lustily, the two-handed 

What a nice long letter Dorothy has written ! 
Mary must squeeze out a line propria manu, but 
indeed her fingers have been incorrigibly nervous 


to letter-writing for a long interval. 'T will 
please you all to hear that, tho' I fret like a lion 
in a net, her present health and spirits are better 
than they have been for some time past : she is 
absolutely three years and a half younger, as I tell 
her, since we have adopted this boarding plan. 
Our providers are an honest pair, dame Westwood 
and her husband — he, when the light of pro- 
sperity shined on them, a moderately thriving 
haberdasher within Bow Bells, retired since with 
something under a competence, writes himself 
parcel gentleman, hath borne parish offices, sings 
fine old sea songs at threescore and ten, sighs 
only now and then when he thinks that he has 
a son on his hands about fifteen, whom he finds 
a difficulty in getting out into the world, and 
then checks a sigh with muttering, as I once 
heard him prettily, not meaning to be heard, " I 
have married my daughter, however," — takes 
the weather as it comes, outsides it to town in 
severest season, and o' winter nights tells old 
stories not tending to literature, how comfort- 
able to author-rid folks ! and has one anecdote, 
upon which and about forty pounds a year he 
seems to have retired in green old age. It was 
how he was a rider in his youth, travelling for 
shops, and once (not to baulk his employer's 
bargain) on a sweltering day in August, rode 
foaming into Dunstable upon a mad horse to the 
dismay and expostulary wonderment of inn- 
keepers, ostlers, &c, who declared they would 


not have bestrid the beast to win the Darby. 
Understand the creature gall'd to death and de- 
speration by gadflies, cormorants winged, worse 
than beset Inachus' daughter. This he tells, this 
he brindles and burnishes on a' winter's eves; 
'tis his star of set glory, his rejuvenescence to 
descant upon. Far from me be it {dii avertani} 
to look a gift story in the mouth, or cruelly to 
surmise (as those who doubt the plunge of Cur- 
tius) that the inseparate conjuncture of man and 
beast, the centaur-phenomenon that stagger'd 
all Dunstable, might have been the effect of un- 
romantic necessity, that the horse-part carried 
the reasoning, willy-nilly, that needs must when 
such a devil drove, that certain spiral configura- 
tions in the frame of Thomas Westwood un- 
friendly to alighting, made the alliance more 
forcible than voluntary. Let him enjoy his fame 
for me, nor let me hint a whisper that shall dis- 
mount Bellerophon. Put case he was an invol- 
untary martyr, yet if in the fiery conflict he 
buckled the soul of a constant haberdasher to 
him, and adopted his flames, let accident and 
he share the glory ! You would all like Thomas 

How weak is painting to describe a man ! 

Say that he stands four feet and a nail high by 
his own yard measure, which like the sceptre of 
Agamemnon shall never sprout again, still you 
have no adequate idea, nor when I tell you that 
his dear hump, which I have favour' d in the pic- 
ture, seems to me of the buffalo — indicative and 
repository of mild qualities, a budget of kind- 
nesses, still you have not the man. Knew you old 
Norris of the Temple, sixty years ours and our 
father's friend ; he was not more natural to us 
than this old W., the acquaintance of scarce more 
weeks. Under his roof now ought I to take my 
rest, but that back-looking ambition tells me I 
mightyet be a Londoner. Well, if we ever do move, 
we have encumbrances the less to impede us : all 
our furniture has faded under the auctioneer's 
hammer, going for nothing like the tarnish'd 
frippery of the prodigal, and we have only a spoon 
or two left to bless us. Clothed we came into 
Enfield, and naked we must go out of it. I would 
live in London shirtless, bookless. Henry Crabb 
is at Rome, advices to that effect have reach'd 
Bury. But by solemn legacy he bequeath'd at 
parting (whether he should live or die) a turkey 
of Suffolk to be sent every succeeding Xmas to 
us and divers other friends. What a genuine old 
bachelor's action ! I fear he will find the air of 
Italy too classic. His station is in the Hartz for- 
est, his soul is be-Goetbed. Miss Kelly we never 
see ; Talfourd not this half-year ; the latter flour- 
ishes, but the exact number of his children, God 


forgive me, I have utterly forgotten, we single 
people are often out in our count there. Shall 
I say two ? One darling I know they have lost 
within a twelvemonth, but scarce known to me 
by sight, and that was a second child lost. We 
see scarce anybody. We have just now Emma 
with us for her holydays : you remember her play- 
ing at brag with Mr. Quillinan at poor Monk- 
house's ! She is grown an agreeable young wo- 
man ; she sees what I write, so you may understand 
me with limitations. She was our inmate for a 
twelvemonth, grew natural to us, and then they 
told us it was best for her to go out as a govern- 
ess, and so she went out, and we were only two 
of us, and our pleasant house-mate is changed 
to an occasional visitor. If they want my sister to 
go out (as they call it) there will be only one 
of us. Heaven keep us all from this acceding to 
unity ! 

Can I cram loves enough to you all in this lit- 
tle O ? Excuse particularizing. C. L. 


My dear Miss Wordsworth, — Charles has left 
me space to fill up with my own poor scribble, 
which I must do as well as I can, being quite 
out of practice ; and after he has been reading 
his queer letter out to us I can hardly put down 
in a plain style all I had to tell you ; how pleas- 
ant your handwriting was to me. He has lumped 


you all together in one rude remembrance at the 
end ; but I beg to send my love individually and 
by name to Mr. and Mrs. Wordsworth, to Miss 
Hutchinson, whom we often talk of, and think 
of as being with you always, to the dutiful good 
daughter and patient amanuensis Dora, and even 
to Johanna, whom we have not seen, if she will 
accept it. Charles has told you of my long ill- 
ness and our present settlement, which I assure 
you is very quiet and comfortable to me, and to 
him too, if he would own it. 

I am very sorry we shall not see John, but I 
never go to town, nor my brother but at his 
quarterly visits at the India House; and when 
he does, he finds it melancholy, so many of our 
old friends being dead or dispersed, and the very 
streets, he says, altering every day. 

Many thanks for your letter and the nice news 
in it, which I should have replied to more at 
large than I see he has done. I am sure it de- 
served it. He has not said a word about your 
intentions for Rome, which I sincerely wish you 
health one day to accomplish. In that case we 
may meet by the way. We are so glad to hear 
dear little William is doing well. If you knew 
how happy your letters made us you would write 
I know more frequently. Pray think of this. 
How chearfully should we pay the postage every 
week. Your affectionate, 

Mary Lamb 



February 21, 1 8 30. 

Dear M., — I came to town last week, but 
could not stretch so far as you. A letter has just 
come from Mrs. Williams to say that Emma is 
so poorly that she must have long holydays here. 
It has agitated us so much, and we shall expect 
her so hourly, that you shall excuse me to 
Wordsworth for not coming up ; we are both 
nervous and poorly. Your punctual newspapers 
are our bit of comfort. Adieu, till better times. 

C. Lamb 

Ryle comes on Sunday week. Can you come 
with him? See him. 


February 25, 1830. 

Dear B. B., — To reply to you by return of 
post, I must gobble up my dinner, and dispatch 
this in propria persona to the office, to be in in 
time. So take it from me hastily, that you are 
perfectly welcome to furnish A. C. with the scrap, 
which I had almost forgotten writing. The more 
my character comes to be known, the less my 
veracity will come to be suspected. Time every 
day clears up some suspected narrative of Herodo- 
tus, Bruce, and others of us great travellers. 
Why, that Joseph Paice was as real a person as 


Joseph Hume, and a great deal pleasanter. A 
careful observer of life, Bernard, has no need to 
invent. Nature romances it for him. Dinner 
plates rattle, and I positively shall incur indiges- 
tion by carrying it half concocted to the Post 
House. Let me congratulate you on the spring 
coming in, and do you in return condole with 
me for the winter going out. When the old one 
goes, seldom comes a better. I dread the pro- 
spect of summer, with his all day long days. No 
need of his assistance to make country places 
dull. With fire and candle-light, I can dream 
myself in Holborn. With lightsome skies shin- 
ing in to bedtime, I cannot. This Meseck, and 
these tents of Kedar — I would dwell in the skirts 
of Jericho rather, and think every blast of the 
coming-in mail a ram's horn. Give me old Lon- 
don at fire and plague times, rather than these 
tepid gales, healthy country air, and purposeless 
exercise. Leg of mutton absolutely on the table. 
Take our hasty loves and short farewell. 

C. L. 


February 26, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — May God bless you for your 
attention to our poor Emma ! I am so shaken 
with your sad news I can scarce write. She is 
too ill to be removed at present ; but we can only 
say that if she is spared, when that can be prac- 


ticable, we have always a home for her. Speak 
to her of it, when she is capable of understanding, 
and let me conjure you to let us know, from day 
to day, the state she is in. But one line is all we 
crave. Nothing we can do for her, that shall not 
be done. We shall be in the terriblest suspense. 
We had no notion she was going to be ill. A line 
from anybody in your house will much oblige us. 
I feel for the situation this trouble places you in. 
Can I go to her aunt, or do anything ? I do 
not know what to offer. We are in great distress. 
Pray relieve us, if you can, by somehow letting 
us know. I will fetch her here, or anything. 
Your kindness can never be forgot. Pray excuse 
my abruptness. I hardly know what I write. 
And take our warmest thanks. Hoping to hear 
something, I remain, dear Madam, 

Yours most faithfully, C. Lamb 

Our grateful respects to Mr. Williams. 


March i, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — We cannot thank you enough. 
Your two words " much better " were so consid- 
erate and good. The good news affected my sister 
to an agony of tears ; but they have relieved us 
from such a weight. We were ready to expect the 
worst, and were hardly able to bear the good 
hearing. You speak so kindly of her, too, and 


think she may be able to resume her duties. We 
were prepared, as far as our humble means would 
have enabled us, to have taken her from all duties. 
But far better for the dear girl it is that she should 
have a prospect of being useful. 

I am sure you will pardon my writing again ; 
for my heart is so full that it was impossible to 
refrain. Many thanks for your offer to write 
again, should any change take place. I dare not 
yet be quite out of fear, the alteration has been 
so sudden. But I will hope you will have a respite 
from the trouble of writing again. I know no 
expression to convey a sense of your kindness. 
We were in such a state expecting the post. I 
had almost resolved to come as near you as Bury; 
but my sister's health does not permit my absence 
on melancholy occasions. But O, how happy will 
she be to part with me, when I shall hear the 
agreeable news that I may come and fetch her. 
She shall be as quiet as possible. No restorative 
means shall be wanting to restore her back to 
you well and comfortable. 

She will make up for this sad interruption of 
her young friend's studies. I am sure she will — 
she must — after you have spared her for a little 
time. Change of scene may do very much for 
her. I think this last proof of your kindness to 
her in her desolate state can hardly make her love 
and respect you more than she has ever done. O, 
how glad shall we be to return her fit for her 


Madam, I trouble you with my nonsense ; but 
you would forgive me, if you knew how light- 
hearted you have made two poor souls at Enfield, 
that were gasping for news of their poor friend. 
I will pray for you and Mr. Williams. Give our 
very best respects to him, and accept our thanks. 
We are happier than we hardly know how to 
bear. God bless you ! My very kindest congratu- 
lations to Miss Humphreys. 

Believe me, dear madam, your ever obliged 
servant, C. Lamb 


March 4, 1830. 

Dear Sarah, — I was meditating to come and 
see you, but I am unable for the walk. We are 
both very unwell, and under affliction for poor 
Emma, who has had a very dangerous brain fever, 
and is lying very ill at Bury, from whence I ex- 
pect a summons to fetch her. We are very sorry 
for your confinement. Any books I have are at 
your service. I am almost, I may say quite, sure 
that letters to India pay no postage, and may go 
by the regular Post Office, now in St. Martin's 
le Grand. I think any receiving house would 
take them. 

I wish I could confirm your hopes about Dick 
Norris. But it is quite a dream. Some old Bencher 
of his surname is made Treasurer for the year, I 
suppose, which is an annual office. Norris was 


sub-treasurer, — quite a different thing. They 
were pretty well in the summer, since when we 
have heard nothing of them. Mrs. Reynolds is 
better than she has been for years ; she is with a 
disagreeable woman that she has taken a mighty 
fancy to out of spite to a rival woman she used to 
live and quarrel with ; she grows quite fat, they 
tell me, and may live as long as I do, to be a tor- 
menting rent-charge to my diminish'd income. 
We go on pretty comfortably in our new plan. 
I will come and have a talk with you when poor 
Emma's affair is settled, and will bring books. 
At present I am weak, and could hardly bring 
my legs home yesterday after a much shorter 
stroll than to Northaw. Mary has got her bon- 
net on for a short expedition. May you get better, 
as the spring comes on. She sends her best love 
with mine. C. L. 


March 5, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — I feel greatly obliged by your 
letter of Tuesday, and should not have troubled 
you again so soon, but that you express a wish 
to hear that our anxiety was relieved by the as- 
surances in it. You have indeed given us much 
comfort respecting our young friend, but con- 
siderable uneasiness respecting your own health 
and spirits, which must have suffered under such 
attention. Pray believe me that we shall wait in 


quiet hope for the time when I shall receive the 
welcome summons to come and relieve you from 
a charge, which you have executed with such 
tenderness. We desire nothing so much as to 
exchange it with you. Nothing shall be want- 
ing on my part to remove her with the best 
judgment I can, without (I hope) any necessity 
for depriving you of the services of your valuable 
housekeeper. Until the day comes, we entreat 
that you will spare yourself the trouble of writ- 
ing, which we should be ashamed to impose 
upon you in your present weak state. Not hear- 
ing from you, we shall be satisfied in believing 
that there has been no relapse. Therefore we 
beg that you will not add to your troubles by 
unnecessary, though most kind, correspondence. 

Till I have the pleasure of thanking you 
personally, I beg you to accept these written 
acknowledgments of all your kindness. With 
respects to Mr. Williams and sincere prayers for 
both your healths, I remain, 

Your ever obliged servant, C. Lamb 

My sister joins me in respects and thanks. 


March 8, 1830. 

My dear G., — Your friend Battin (for I knew 
him immediately by the smooth satinity of his 
style) must excuse me for advocating the cause 


of his friends in Spitalfields. The fact is, I am 
retained by the Norwich people, and have already 
appeared in their paper under the signatures of 
"Lucius Sergius," "Bluff," "Broad-Cloth," 
" No-Trade-to-the-Woollen-Trade," " Anti- 
plush," &c, in defence of druggets and long 
camblets. And without this pre-engagement, I 
feel I should naturally have chosen a side oppo- 
site to , for in the silken seemingness of his 

nature there is that which offends me. My flesh 
tingles at such caterpillars. He shall not crawl 
me over. Let him and his workmen sing the 
old burthen, — 

Heigh ho, ye weavers ! 

for any aid I shall offer them in this emergency. 
I was over Saint Luke's the other day with my 
friend Tuthill, and mightily pleased with one of 
his contrivances for the comfort and amelior- 
ation of the students. They have double cells, 
in which a pair may lie feet to feet horizontally, 
and chat the time away as rationally as they can. 
It must certainly be more sociable for them these 
warm raving nights. The right-hand truckle in 
one of these friendly recesses, at present vacant, 
was preparing, I understood, for Mr. Irving. 
Poor fellow ! it is time he removed from Pen- 
tonville. I followed him as far as to Highbury 
the other day, with a mob at his heels, calling 
out upon Ermigiddon, who I suppose is some 
Scotch moderator. He squinted out his favourite 


eye last Friday, in the fury of possession, upon a 
poor woman's shoulders that was crying matches, 
and has not missed it. The companion truck, as 
far as I could measure it with my eye, would 
conveniently fit a person about the length of 
Coleridge, allowing for a reasonable drawing 
up of the feet, not at all painful. Does he talk 
of moving this quarter ? You and I have too 
much sense to trouble ourselves with revelations ; 
marry, to the same in Greek you may have some- 
thing professionally to say. 

Tell C. that he was to come and see us some 
fine day. Let it be before he moves, for in his 
new quarters he will necessarily be confined in 
his conversation to his brother prophet. Con- 
ceive the two Rabbis foot to foot, for there are 
no Gamaliels there to affect a humbler posture ! 
All are masters in that Patmos, where the law 
is perfect equality — Latmos, I should rather say, 
for they will be Luna's twin darlings ; her affec- 
tion will be ever at the full. Well ; keep your 
brains moist with gooseberry this mad March, 
for the devil of exposition seeketh dry places. 

C. L. 


[" He squinted out * * * ." Irving had sight only in one 
eye, an obliquity caused, it is suggested, by lying when a baby 
in a wooden cradle, the sides of which prevented the other 
from gathering light. 

" To the same in Greek." An atrocious pun, which I leave 
to the reader to discover. Gillman was a doctor. — E. V. 



March 14, 1830. 

My dear Ayrton, — Your letter, which was 
only not so pleasant as your appearance would 
have been, has revived some old images ; Phillips 
(not the colonel), with his few hairs bristling up 
at the charge of a revoke, which he declares im- 
possible ; the old captain's significant nod over 
the right shoulder (was it not ?) ; Mrs. Burney's 
determined questioning of the score, after the 
game was absolutely gone to the devil, the plain 
but hospitable cold boiled-beef suppers at side- 
board ; all which fancies, redolent of middle age 
and strengthful spirits, come across us ever and 
anon in this vale of deliberate senectitude,ycleped 

You imagine a deep gulf between you and us ; 
and there is a pitiable hiatus in kind between St. 
James's Park and this extremity of Middlesex. 
But the mere distance in turnpike roads is a trifle. 
The roof of a coach swings you down in an hour 
or two. We have a sure hot joint on a Sunday, 
and when had we better ? I suppose you know 
that ill health has obliged us to give up house- 
keeping ; but we have an asylum at the very next 
door — only twenty-four inches further from 
town, which is not material in a country expe- 
dition — where a table d'hote is kept for us, with- 
out trouble on our parts, and we adjourn after 
dinner, when one of the old world (old friends) 


drops casually down among us. Come and find 
us out, and seal our judicious change with your 
approbation, whenever the whim bites, or the sun 
prompts. No need of announcement, for we are 
sure to be at home. 

I keep putting off the subject of my answer. 
In truth I am not in spirits at present to see Mr. 
Murray on such a business ; but pray offer him my 
acknowledgments and an assurance that I should 
like at least one of his propositions, as I have 
so much additional matter for the Specimens, 
as might make two volumes in all, or one (new 
edition) omitting such better known authors as 
Beaumont and Fletcher, Jonson, &c. 

But we are both in trouble at present. A very 
dear young friend of ours, who passed her Christ- 
mas holidays here, has been taken dangerously ill 
with a fever, from which she is very precariously 
recovering, and I expect a summons to fetch her 
when she is well enough to bear the journey 
from Bury. It is Emma Isola, with whom we 
got acquainted at our first visit to your sister 
at Cambridge, and she has been an occasional 
inmate with us — and of late years much more 
frequently — ever since. While she is in this 
danger, and till she is out of it, and here in a 
probable way to recovery, I feel that I have no 
spirits for an engagement of any kind. It has 
been a terrible shock to us ; therefore I beg 
that you will make my handsomest excuses to 
Mr. Murray. 


Our very kindest loves to Mrs. A. and the 
younger A.'s. 

Your unforgotten, C. Lamb 


March 22, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — Once more I have to return 
you thanks for a very kind letter. It has glad- 
dened us very much to hear that we may have 
hope to see our young friend so soon, and through 
your kind nursing so well recovered. I sincerely 
hope that your own health and spirits will not 
have been shaken : you have had a sore trial 
indeed, and greatly do we feel indebted to you 
for all which you have undergone. If I hear 
nothing from you in the meantime, I shall 
secure myself a place in the Cornwallis Coach for 
Monday. It will not be at all necessary that 
I shall be met at Bury, as I can well find my 
way to the rectory, and I beg that you will not 
inconvenience yourselves by such attention. Ac- 
cordingly as I find Miss Isola able to bear the 
journey, I intend to take the care of her by 
the same stage or by chaises perhaps, dividing the 
journey ; but exactly as you shall judge fit. 

It is our misfortune that long journeys do not 
agree with my sister, who would else have taken 
this care upon herself, perhaps more properly. 
It is quite out of the question to rob you of the 
service of any of your domestics. I cannot think 


of it. But if in your opinion a female attendant 
would be requisite on the journey, or if you or 
Mr. Williams would feel more comfortable by her 
being in the charge of two, I will most gladly 
engage one of her nurses or any young person 
near you that you can recommend ; for my ob- 
ject is to remove her in the way that shall be 
most satisfactory to yourselves. 

On the subject of the young people that you 
are interesting yourselves about, I will have the 
pleasure to talk with you when I shall see you. 
I live almost out of the world and out of the 
sphere of being useful ; but no pains of mine 
shall be spared, if but a prospect opens of doing 
a service. Could I do all I could wish, and I in- 
deed have grown helpless to myself and others, 
it would not satisfy the arrears of obligation 
I owe to Mr. Williams and yourself for all your 

I beg you will turn in your mind and consider 
in what most comfortable way Miss Isola can 
leave your house, and I will implicitly follow 
your suggestions. What you have done for her 
can never be effaced from our memories, and 
I would have you part with her in the way that 
would best satisfy yourselves. 

I am afraid of impertinently extending my 
letter, else I feel I have not half said what I 
would say. So, dear madam, till I have the 
pleasure of seeing you both, of whose kindness 
I have heard so much before, I respectfully take 


my leave with our kindest love to your poor pa- 
tient and most sincere regards for the health and 
happiness of Mr. Williams and yourself. May 
God bless you. Ch. Lamb 


April 2, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — I have great pleasure in let- 
ting you know that Miss Isola has suffered very 
little from fatigue on her long journey. I am 
ashamed to say that I came home rather the 
more tired of the two. But I am a very unprac- 
tised traveller. She has had two tolerable nights' 
sleeps since, and is decidedly not worse than when 
we left you. I remembered the magnesia accord- 
ing to your directions, and promise that she shall 
be kept very quiet, never forgetting that she is 
still an invalid. 

We found my sister very well in health, only 
a little impatient to see her; and, after a few 
hysterical tears for gladness, all was comfortable 
again. We arrived here from Epping between 
five and six. The incidents of our journey were 
trifling, but you bade me tell them. We had 
then in the coach a rather talkative gentleman, 
but very civil, all the way, and took up a servant 
maid at Stamford, going to a sick mistress. To 
the latter, a participation in the hospitalities of 
your nice rusks and sandwiches proved agree- 
able, as it did to my companion, who took merely 


a sip of the weakest wine and water with them. 
The former engaged me in a discourse for full 
twenty miles on the probable advantages of steam 
carriages, which being merely problematical, I 
bore my part in with some credit, in spite of 
my totally un-engineer-like faculties. But when 
somewhere about Stanstead he put an unfortun- 
ate question to me as to the "probability of its 
turning out a good turnip season ; " and when I, 
who am still less of an agriculturist than a steam- 
philosopher, not knowing a turnip from a potato 
ground, innocently made answer that I believed 
it depended very much upon boiled legs of mut- 
ton, my unlucky reply set Miss Isola a-laughing 
to a degree that disturbed her tranquillity for the 
only moment in our journey. I am afraid my 
credit sank very low with my other fellow-trav- 
eller, who had thought he had met with a well- 
informed passenger, which is an accident so desir- 
able in a stage-coach. We were rather less com- 
municative, but still friendly, the rest of the way. 
How I employed myself between Epping and 
Enfield the poor verses * in the front of my paper 

1 L east Daughter, but not least beloved, of Grace ! 

frown not on a stranger, who from place 

U nknown and distant these few lines hath penn'd. 

1 but report what thy Instructress Friend 
S o oft hath told us of thy gentle heart. 
A pupil most affectionate thou art, 

C areful to learn what elder years impart. 
L ouisa — Clare — by which name shall I call thee ? 
A prettier pair of names sure ne' er was found, 
R esembling thy own sweetness in sweet sound. 
E ver calm peace and innocence befal thee ! 


may inform you, which you may please to christen 
an acrostic in a Cross Road, and which I wish 
were worthier of the lady they refer to. But 
I trust you will plead my pardon to her on a sub- 
ject so delicate as a lady's good name. Your 
candour must acknowledge that they are written 

And now dear Madam, I have left myself 
hardly space to express my sense of the friendly 
reception I found at Fornham. Mr. Williams 
will tell you that we had the pleasure of a slight 
meeting with him on the road, where I could 
almost have told him, but that it seemed ungra- 
cious, that such had been your hospitality that 
I scarcely missed the good master of the family 
at Fornham, though heartily I should have re- 
joiced to have made a little longer acquaintance 
with him. I will say nothing of our deeper 
obligations to both of you, because I think we 
agreed at Fornham, that gratitude may be over- 
exacted on the part of the obliging, and over- 
expressed on the part of the obliged, person. 
My sister and Miss Isola join in respects to Mr. 
Williams and yourself, and I beg to be remem- 
bered kindly to the Miss Hammonds and the 
two gentlemen whom I had the good fortune to 
meet at your house. I have not forgotten the 
election in which you are interesting yourself, 
and the little that I can I will do immediately. 
Miss Isola will have the pleasure of writing to 
you next week, and we shall hope, at your leisure, 


to hear of your own health, &c. I am, dear 
Madam, with great respect, your obliged, 

Charles Lamb 

[ Added in Miss Isolds handi\ I must just add 
a line to beg you will let us hear from you, my 
dear Mrs. Williams. I have just received the 
forwarded letter. Fornham we have talked about 
constantly, and I felt quite strange at this home 
the first day. I will attend to all you said, my 
dear Madam. 


April 9, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — I do assure you that your 
verses gratified me very much, and my sister is 
quite proud of them. For the first time in my 
life I congratulated myself upon the shortness 
and meanness of my name. Had it been Schwartz- 
enberg or Esterhazy, it would have put you to 
some puzzle. I am afraid I shall sicken you 
of acrostics ; but this last was written to order. 1 

1 G o little Poem, and present 
R espectful terms of compliment ; 
A gentle lady bids thee speak ! 
C ourteous is she, tho' thou be weak — 
E voke from Heaven as thick as manna 

J oy after joy on Grace Joanna: 
O n Fornham' s Glebe and Pasture land 
A blessing pray. Long, long may stand, 
N ot touched by Time, the Rectory blithe; 
N o grudging churl dispute his Tithe; 
A t Easter be the offerings due 


I beg you to have inserted in your county paper 
something like this advertisement : " To the 
nobility, gentry, and others, about Bury : — C. 
Lamb respectfully informs his friends and the 
public in general, that he is leaving off business 
in the acrostic line, as he is going into an en- 
tirely new line. Rebuses and charades done as 
usual, and upon the old terms. Also, epitaphs 
to suit the memory of any person deceased." 
I thought I had adroitly escaped the rather un- 
pliable name of "Williams," curtailing your 
poor daughters to their proper surnames ; but it 
seems you would not let me off so easily. If these 
trifles amuse you, I am paid. Tho' really 'tis 
an operation too much like — "A, apple-pye; 
B, bit it." To make amends, I request leave 
to lend you the Excursion, and to recommend, 
in particular, the Churchyard Stories, in the sev- 
enth book, I think. They will strengthen the 
tone of your mind after its weak diet on acros- 

Miss Isola is writing, and will tell you that 
we are going on very comfortably. Her sister 
is just come. She blames my last verses, as being 
more written on Mr. Williams than on yourself; 

W ith cheerful spirit paid ; each pew 

I n decent order filled 5 no noise 

L oud intervene to drown the voice, 

L earning, or wisdom of the Teacher ; 

I mpressive be the Sacred Preacher, 
A nd strict his notes on holy page ; 
M ay young and old from age to age 

S alute, and still point out, "The good man's Parsonage!" 


but how should I have parted whom a superior 
Power has brought together? I beg you will 
jointly accept of our best respects, and pardon 
your obsequious if not troublesome correspond- 
ent, C. L. 

P. S. I am the worst folder-up of a letter in 
the world, except certain Hottentots, in the 
land of Caffre, who never fold up their letters 
at all, writing very badly upon skins, &c. 


Early spring, 1830. 

Dear Gillman, — Pray do you, or S. T. C, 
immediately write to say you have received back 
the golden works of the dear, fine, silly old 
angel, which I part from, bleeding, and to say 
how the winter has used you all. 

It is our intention soon, weather permitting, 
to come over for a day at Highgate; for beds 
we will trust to the Gate-House, should you be 
full: tell me if we may come casually, for in 
this change of climate there is no naming a day 
for walking. With best loves to Mrs. Gillman, 

Yours, mopish, but in health, 

C. Lamb 

I shall be uneasy till I hear of Fuller's safe 



April, 1830. 

Dear Sir, — Some draughts and boluses have 
been brought here, which we conjecture were 
meant for the young lady whom you saw this 
morning, though they are labelled for 

Miss I so la Lamb. 

No such person is known on the Chase Side, and 
she is fearful of taking medicines which may 
have been made up for another patient. She begs 
me to say that she was born an Isola and chris- 
tened Emma. Moreover, that she is Italian by 
birth, and that her ancestors were from Isola 
Bella (Fair Island) in the kingdom of Naples. 
She has never changed her name, and rather 
mournfully adds that she has no prospect at pre- 
sent of doing so. She is literally /. Sola, or single, 
at present. Therefore she begs that the obnox- 
ious monosyllable may be omitted on future 
phials — an innocent syllable enough, you'll 
say, but she has no claim to it. It is the bitterest 
pill of the seven you have sent her. When a 
lady loses her good name, what is to become of 
her ? Well she must swallow it as well as she 
can, but begs the dose may not be repeated. 
Yours faithfully, 

Charles Lamb (not Isola) 




Dear Sir, — It is an observation of a wise man 
that " moderation is best in all things." I can- 
not agree with him "in liquor." There is a 
smoothness and oiliness in wine that makes it go 
down by a natural channel, which I am positive 
was made for that descending. Else, why does 
not wine choke us ? could Nature have made 
that sloping lane, not to facilitate the down- 
going ? She does nothing in vain. You know 
that better than I. You know how often she 
has helped you at a dead lift, and how much 
better entitled she is to a fee than yourself 
sometimes, when you carry off the credit. Still 
there is something due to manners and customs, 
and I should apologise to you and Mrs. Asbury 
for being absolutely carried home upon a man's 
shoulders thro' Silver Street, up Parson's Lane, 
by the Chapels (which might have taught me 
better), and then to be deposited like a dead log 
at Gaffer Westwood's, who it seems does not 
" insure " against intoxication. Not that the 
mode of conveyance is objectionable. On the 
contrary, it is more easy than a one-horse chaise. 
Ariel in the Tempest says, — 

On a bat's back do I fly, after sunset merrily. 

Now I take it that Ariel must sometimes have 
stayed out late of nights. Indeed, he pretends 


that " where the bee sucks, there sucks he," as 
much as to say that his suction is as innocent as 
that little innocent (but damnably stinging when 
he is provok'd) winged creature. But I take it 
that Ariel was fond of metheglin, of which the 
bees are notorious brewers. 

But then you will say : What a shocking 
sight to see a middle-aged gentleman-and-a-half 
riding upon a gentleman's back up Parson's Lane 
at midnight. Exactly the time for that sort of 
conveyance, when nobody can see him, nobody 
but heaven and his own conscience ; now heaven 
makes fools, and don't expect much from her 
own creation ; and as for conscience, she and I 
have long since come to a compromise. I have 
given up false modesty, and she allows me to 
abate a little of the true. I like to be liked, but 
I don't care about being respected. I don't re- 
spect myself. But, as I was saying, I thought he 
would have let me down just as we got to Lieu- 
tenant Barker's coal-shed (or emporium), but by 
a cunning jerk I eased myself, and righted my 
posture. I protest, I thought myself in a palan- 
quin, and never felt myself so grandly carried. 
It was a slave under me. There was I, all but 
my reason. And what is reason? and what is 
the loss of it? and how often in a day do we 
do without it, just as well ? Reason is only count- 
ing, two and two makes four. And if on my 
passage home, I thought it made five, what 
matter ? Two and two will just make four, as 


it always did, before I took the finishing glass 
that did my business. My sister has begged me 
to write an apology to Mrs. A. and you for dis- 
gracing your party ; now it does seem to me 
that I rather honoured your party, for every one 
that was not drunk (and one or two of the ladies, 
I am sure, were not) must have been set off greatly 
in the contrast to me. I was the scapegoat. The 
soberer they seemed. By the way is magnesia 
good on these occasions ? iiipol: med : sum: ante 
noct : in rub : can :. I am no licentiate, but know 
enough of simples to beg you to send me a 
draught after this model. But still you will say 
(or the men and maids at your house will say) 
that it is not a seemly sight for an old gentleman 
to go home pick-a-back. Well, may be it is not. 
But I never studied grace. I take it to be a mere 
superficial accomplishment. I regard more the 
internal acquisitions. The great object after sup- 
per is to get home, and whether that is obtained 
in a horizontal posture or perpendicular (as fool- 
ish men and apes affect for dignity) I think is 
little to the purpose. The end is always greater 
than the means. Here I am, able to compose a 
sensible rational apology, and what signifies how 
I got here? I have just sense enough to remem- 
ber I was very happy last night, and to thank 
our kind host and hostess, and that 's sense enough, 
I hope. Charles Lamb 

N. B. What is good for a desperate head- 

ache ? Why, patience, and a determination not 
to mind being miserable all day long. And that 
I have made my mind up to. So, here goes. 
It is better than not being alive at all, which 
I might have been, had your man toppled me 
down at Lieut. Barker's coal-shed. My sister 
sends her sober compliments to Mrs. A. She 
is not much the worse. 

Yours truly, C. Lamb 


April 21, 1830. 

Dear Madam, — I have ventured upon some 
lines, which combine my old acrostic talent 
(which you first found out) with my new pro- 
fession of epitaph-monger. 1 As you did not 

* G race Joanna here doth lie : 
R eader, wonder not that I 
A nte-date her hour of rest. 
C an I thwart her wish exprest, 
E v'n unseemly though the laugh 

J esting with an Epitaph ? 

n her bones the turf lie lightly, 
A nd her rise again be brightly! 

N o dark stain be found upon her — 
N o, there will not, on mine honour — 
A nswer that at least I can. 

Would that I, thrice happy man, 

1 n as spotless garb might rise, 
Light as she will climb the skies, 
L eaving the dull earth behind, 

I n a car more swift than wind. 
A 11 her errors, all her failings, 
(M any they were not) and ailings, 
S leep secure from Envy's railings. 


please to say when you would die, I have left a 
blank space for the date. May kind heaven be 
a long time in filling it up. At least you cannot 
say that these lines are not about you, though 
not much to the purpose. We were very sorry 
to hear that you have not been very well, and 
hope that a little excursion may revive you. Miss 
Isola is thankful for her added day ; but I verily 
think she longs to see her young friends once 
more, and will regret less than ever the end of 
her holydays. She cannot be going on more 
quietly than she is doing here, and you will per- 
ceive amendment. 

I hope all her little commissions will all be 
brought home to your satisfaction. When she 
returns, we purpose seeing her to Epping on her 
journey. We have had our proportion of fine 
weather and some pleasant walks, and she is 
stronger, her appetite good, but less wolfish than 
at first, which we hold a good sign. I hope Mr. 
Wing will approve of its abatement. She de- 
sires her very kindest respects to Mr. Williams 
and yourself, and wishes to rejoin you. My 
sister and myself join in respect, and pray tell 
Mr. Donne, with our compliments, that we 
shall be disappointed, if we do not see him. 

This letter being very neatly written, I am 
very unwilling that Emma should club any of 
her disproportionate scrawl to deface it. 
Your obliged servant, 

C. Lamb 


Dear B. M., — You are a kind soul of your- 
self, and need no spurring, but if you can help a 
worthy man you will have two worthy men obliged 
to you. I am writing from Hone's possible Cof- 
fee-House, which must answer, if he can find 
means to open it, which unfortunately flag. We 
purpose a little subscription, but I know how 
tender a subject the pocket is. Your advice may 
be important to him. 

Yours most truly, C. Lamb 

This is a letter of business, so I won't send 
unseasonable love to Mrs. Montague and the 
both good Proctors. 


May 10, 1830. 

Dear Southey, — My friend Hone, whom you 
would like for a friend, I found deeply impressed 
with your generous notice of him in your beauti- 
ful Life of Bunyan, which I am just now full of. 
He has written to you for leave to publish a 
certain good-natured letter. I write not this to 
enforce his request, for we are fully aware that the 
refusal of such publication would be quite con- 
sistent with all that is good in your character. 
Neither he nor I expect it from you, nor exact 
it ; but if you would consent to it, you would 


have me obliged by it, as well as him. He is just 
now in a critical situation : kind friends have 
opened a coffee-house for him in the city, but 
their means have not extended to the purchase 
of coffee-pots, credit for reviews, newspapers, and 
other paraphernalia. So I am sitting in the skele- 
ton of a possible divan. What right I have to 
interfere, you best know. Look on me as a dog 
who went once temporarily insane, and bit you, 
and now begs for a crust. Will you set your wits 
to a dog ? Our object is to open a subscription, 
which my friends of the Times are most willing 
to forward for him, but think that a leave from 
you to publish would aid it. 

But not an atom of respect or kindness will or 
shall it abate in either of us if you decline it. 
Have this strongly in your mind. 

Those Every-Day and Table Books will be a 
treasure a hundred years hence ; but they have 
failed to make Hone's fortune. 

Here his wife and all his children are about 
me, gaping for coffee customers ; but how should 
they come in, seeing no pot boiling ! 

Enough of Hone. I saw Coleridge a day or 
two since. He has had some severe attack, not 
paralytic ; but, if I had not heard of it, I should 
not have found it out. He looks, and especially 
speaks, strong. How are all the Wordsworths 
and all the Southeys ? whom I am obliged to you 
if you have not brought up haters of the name of 

C. Lamb 

P. S. I have gone lately into the acrostic 
line. I find genius (such as I had) declines with 
me, but I get clever. Do you know anybody 
that wants charades, or such things, for al- 
bums ? I do 'em at so much a sheet. Perhaps 
an epigram (not a very happy-gram) I did for 
a school-boy yesterday may amuse. I pray Jove 
he may not get a flogging for any false quan- 
tity ; but 't is, with one exception, the only 
Latin verses I have made for forty years, and I 
did it " to order." 


Adsciscit sibi divitias et opes alienas 

Fur, rapiens, spolians, quod mihi, quodque tibi, 

Proprium erat, temnens haec verba, meumque, suumque ; 
Omne suum est : tandem cuique suum tribuit. 

Dat laqueo collum; vestes, vah ! carnifici dat; 
Sese Diabolo: sic bene: cuique suum. 

I write from Hone's, therefore Mary cannot 
send her love to Mrs. Southey, but I do. 

Yours ever, C. L. 


May 12, 1830. 

Dear M., — I dined with your and my Rogers 
at Mr. Cary's yesterday. Cary consulted me on 
the proper bookseller to offer a lady's MS. novel 
to. I said I would write to you. But I wish you 
would call on the translator of Dante at the 
British Museum, and talk with him. He is 


the pleasantest of clergymen. I told him of all 
Rogers's handsome behaviour to you, and you 
are already no stranger. Go. I made Rogers 
laugh about your nightingale sonnet, not having 
heard one. 'T is a good sonnet notwithstanding. 
You shall have the books shortly. C. L. 


May 14, 1830. 

Dear Novello, — Mary hopes you have not 
forgot you are to spend a day with us on Wednes- 
day. That it may be a long one, cannot you 
secure places now for Mrs. Novello, yourself, and 
the Clarkes ? We have just table room for four. 
Five make my good landlady fidgetty ; six, to 
begin to fret ; seven, to approximate to fever 
point. But seriously we shall prefer four to two 
or three ; we shall have from half-past ten to 
six, when the coach goes off, to scent the coun- 
try. And pray write now, to say you do so come, 
for dear Mrs. Westwood else will be on the ten- 
ters of incertitude. C. Lamb 


May 20, 1830. 

Dear N., — Pray write immediately to say 
" The book has come safe." I am anxious, not 
so much for the autographs, as for that bit of 
the hair-brush. I enclose a cinder, which be- 

2 33 

longed to Shield, when he was poor, and lit his 
own fires. Any memorial of a great musical 
genius, I know, is acceptable ; and Shield has 
his merits, though Clementi, in my opinion, is 
far above him in the sostenuto. Mr. Westwood 
desires his compliments, and begs to present you 
with a nail that came out of Jomelli's coffin, 
who is buried at Naples. 


May 21, 1830. 

Dear Hone, — I thought you would be pleased 
to see this letter. Pray if you have time to, call 
on Novello, No. 66 Great Queen St. I am anx- 
ious to learn whether he received his album 
I sent on Friday by our nine o'clock morning 
stage. If not, beg him inquire at the Old Bell, 

Charles Lamb 

Southey will see in the Times all we proposed 
omitting is omitted. 


May 21, 1830. 

Thanks for the paper. Much better an entire 
letter (exceptis excipiendis) than extracts. Put me 
down per Moxhay. C. L. 



May 24, 1830. 

Dear Sarah, — I found my way to Northaw 
on Thursday and a very good woman behind a 
counter, who says also that you are a very good 
lady, but that the woman who was with you 
was naught. These things may be so or not. 
I did not accept her offered glass of wine (home- 
made, I take it), but craved a cup of ale, with 
which I seasoned a slice of cold Lamb from a 
sandwich box, which I ate in her back parlour, 
and proceeded for Berkhampstead, &c. ; lost 
myself over a heath, and had a day's pleasure. 
I wish you could walk as I do, and as you used 
to do. I am sorry to find you are so poorly ; and, 
now I have found my way, I wish you back at 
Goody Tomlinson's. What a pretty village 't is ! 
I should have come sooner, but was waiting a 
summons to Bury. Well, it came, and I found 
the good parson's lady (he was from home) ex- 
ceedingly hospitable. 

Poor Emma, the first moment we were alone, 
took me into a corner, and said, "Now, pray, 
don't drink ; do check yourself after dinner, for 
my sake, and when we get home to Enfield, you 
shall drink as much as ever you please, and I 
won't say a word about it." How I behaved, 
you may guess, when I tell you that Mrs. Wil- 
liams and I have written acrostics on each other, 
and she hoped that she should have " no reason 

2 35 

to regret Miss Isola's recovery, by its depriving 
her of our begun correspondence." Emma stayed 
a month with us, and has gone back (in toler- 
able health) to her long home, for she comes 
not again for a twelvemonth. 

I amused Mrs. Williams with an occurrence 
on our road to Enfield. We travelled with one 
of those troublesome fellow-passengers in a stage- 
coach, that is called a well-informed man. For 
twenty miles we discoursed about the properties 
of steam, probabilities of carriages by ditto, till 
all my science, and more than all, was exhausted, 
and I was thinking of escaping my torment by 
getting up on the outside, when, getting into 
Bishops Stortford, my gentleman, spying some 
farming land, put an unlucky question to me : 
" What sort of a crop of turnips I thought we 
should have this year?" Emma's eyes turned 
to me, to know what in the world I could have 
to say; and she burst into a violent fit of laughter, 
maugre her pale, serious cheeks, when, with the 
greatest gravity, I replied, that " it depended, I 
believed, upon boiled legs of mutton." This 
clinch'd our conversation ; and my gentleman, 
with a face half wise, half in scorn, troubled us 
with no more conversation, scientific or philo- 
sophical, for the remainder of the journey. 

Ayrton was here yesterday, and as learned to 
the full as my fellow-traveller. What a pity 
that he will spoil a wit and a devilish pleasant 
fellow (as he is) by wisdom ! He talk'd on 


music ; and by having read Hawkins and Burney 
recently I was enabled to talk of names, and 
show more knowledge than he had suspected I 
possessed ; and in the end he begg'd me to shape 
my thoughts upon paper, which I did after he 
was gone, and sent him. 

Martin Burney is as odd as ever. We had a 
dispute about the word " heir," which I con- 
tended was pronounced like " air;" he said that 
might be in common parlance ; or that we might 
so use it, speaking of the Heir-at-Law, a comedy; 
but that in the law courts it was necessary to 
give it a full aspiration, and to say Hayer ; he 
thought it might even vitiate a cause, if a counsel 
pronounced it otherwise. In conclusion, he 
" would consult Serjeant Wilde ; " who gave it 
against him. Sometimes he falleth into the water, 
sometimes into the fire. He came down here, 
and insisted on reading Virgil's Eneid all through 
with me (which he did), because a counsel mutr. 
know Latin. Another time he read out all the 
Gospel of St. John, because Biblical quotations 
are very emphatic in a Court of Justice. A third 
time, he would carve a fowl, which he did very 
ill-favouredly, because " we did not know how 
indispensable it was for a barrister to do all those 
sort of things well. Those little things were of 
more consequence than we supposed." So he 
goes on, harassing about the way to prosperity, 
and losing it. With a long head, but somewhat 
a wrong one — harum-scarum. Why does not 


his guardian angel look to him ? He deserves 
one : may be, he has tired him out. 

I am tired with this long scrawl, but I thought 
in your exile, you might like a letter. 

Commend me to all the wonders in Derby- 
shire, and tell the devil I humbly kiss — my hand 
to him. Yours ever, 

C. Lamb 

Mary's love ? Yes. Mary Lamb quite well. 


June 3, 1830. 

Dear Sarah, — I named your thought about 
William to his father, who expressed such horror 
and aversion to the idea of his singing in public 
that I cannot meddle in it directly or indirectly. 
Ayrton is a kind fellow, and if you chuse to con- 
sult him by letter, or otherwise, he will give you 
the best advice, I am sure, very readily. / have 
no doubt that M. Burney's objection to interfering 
was the same with mine. 

With thanks for your pleasant long letter, 
which is not that of an invalid, and sympathy 
for your sad sufferings, I remain, in haste, 

Yours truly 

Mary's kindest love. 



June 17, 1830. 

I hereby impower Matilda Hone to superin- 
tend daily the putting into the twopenny post 
the Times newspaper of the day before, directed 
"Mr. Lamb, Enfield," which shall be held a 
full and sufficient direction: the said insertion to 
commence on Monday morning next. And I 
do engage to pay to William Hone, Coffee and 
Hotel Man, the quarterly sum of ^1, to be paid 
at the ordinary Quarter days, or thereabout, for 
the reversion of the said paper, commencing 
with the 24th inst., or Feast of John the Bap- 
tist; the intervening days to be held and con- 
sidered as nothing. C. Lamb 

Vivant Coffee, Coffee-potque ! 


June 28, 1830. 

Dear B. B., — Could you dream of my pub- 
lishing without sending a copy to you? You will 
find something new to you in the volume, par- 
ticularly the translations. Moxon will send to 
you the moment it is out. He is the young poet 
of Xmas, whom the author of the Pleasures of 
Memory [Rogers] has set up in the bookvending 
business with a volunteer'd loan of ^500 — such 
munificence is rare to an almost stranger. But 


Rogers, I am told, has done many good-natured 
things of this nature. 

I need not say how glad to see A. K. and 
Lucy we should have been, — and still shall be, 
if it be practicable. Our direction is Mr. West- 
wood's, Chase Side, Enfield, but alas ! I know 
not theirs. We can give them a bed. Coaches 
come daily from the Bell, Holborn. 

You will see that I am worn to the poetical 
dregs, condescending to acrostics, which are nine 
fathom beneath album verses — but they were 
written at the request of the lady where our 
Emma is, to whom I paid a visit in April to 
bring home Emma for a change of air after a 
severe illness, in which she had been treated like 
a daughter by the good parson and his whole 
family. She has since return'd to her occupa- 

I thought on you in Suffolk, but was forty 
miles from Woodbridge. I heard of you the 
other day from Mr. Pulham of the India House. 

Long live King William the Fourth. 

S. T. C. says, we have had wicked kings, fool- 
ish kings, wise kings, good kings (but few), but 
never till now have we had a blackguard king. 

Charles Second was profligate, but a gentle- 

I have nineteen letters to dispatch this leisure 
sabbath for Moxon to send about with copies; 
so you will forgive me short measure, — and 
believe me, Yours ever, C. L. 


Pray do let us see your Quakeresses if possible. 

July i, 1830. 

Pray let Matilda keep my newspapers till you 
hear from me, as we are meditating a town resi- 
dence. C. Lamb 

Let her keep them as the apple of her eye. 



Dear Mrs. Rickman, — I beg your acceptance 
of a little volume, which may amuse either of 
your young ladies. It pretends to no high flights, 
and may lie about with albums, shells, and such 
knicknacks. Will you re-give, or lend me, by 
the bearer, the one volume of Juvenile Poetry ? 
I have tidings of a second at Brighton. If the 
two tally, we may some day play a hand at old 
whist, who shall have both. 

With best regards to you all, yours ever, 

C. Lamb 

Any little commissions in the book line from 
Mr. Rickman, or any of your friends, will be 
most punctually attended to by my friend the 



[p. m. August 30, 1830.] 

Dear B. B., — My address is 34 Southampton 
Buildings, Holborn. For God's sake do not let 
me be pester' d with Annuals. They are all 
rogues who edit them, and something else who 
write in them. I am still alone, and very much 
out of sorts, and cannot spur up my mind to 
writing. The sight of one of those Tear Books 
makes me sick. I get nothing by any of 'em, 
not even a copy. 

Thank you for your warm interest about my 
little volume, for the critics on which I care not 
the five-hundred-thousandth part of the tythe 
of a half-farthing. I am too old a militant for 
that. How noble, tho', in R. S. to come for- 
ward for an old friend, who had treated him so 
unworthily. Moxon has a shop without cus- 
tomers, I a book without readers. But what 
a clamour against a poor collection of album 
verses, as if we had put forth an epic. I cannot 
scribble a long letter — I am, when not at foot, 
very desolate, and take no interest in anything, 
scarce hate anything, but Annuals. I am in an 
interregnum of thought and feeling. 

What a beautiful autumn morning this is, if it 
was but with me as in times past when the candle 
of the Lord shined round me. 

I cannot even muster enthusiasm to admire the 
French heroism. 


In better times I hope we may some day meet, 
and discuss an old poem or two. But if you 'd 
have me not sick, no more of Annuals. 

C. L. Ex-Elia 

Love to Lucy and A. K. always. 


October 5, 1830. 

Dear Sir, — I know not what hath bewitch' d 
me that I have delayed acknowledging your beau- 
tiful present. But I have been very unwell and 
nervous of late. The poem was not new to me, 
tho' I have renewed acquaintance with it. Its 
metre is none of the least of its excellencies. 'T is 
so far from the stiffness of blank verse — it gal- 
lops like a traveller, as it should do — no crude 
Miltonisms in it. Dare I pick out what most 
pleases me ? It is the middle paragraph in page 
thirty-four. It is most tasty. Though I look on 
every impression as a proof of your kindness, I am 
jealous of the ornaments, and should have prized 
the verses naked on whity-brown paper. 

I am, Sir, yours truly, C. Lamb 


November 8, 1830. 

Tears are for lighter griefs. Man weeps the doom 
That seals a single victim to the tomb. 


But when Death riots, when with whelming sway 
Destruction sweeps a family away ; 
When Infancy and Youth, a huddled mass, 
All in an instant to oblivion pass, 
And Parents' hopes are crush'd ; what lamentation 
Can reach the depth of such a desolation ? 
Look upward, Feeble Ones ! look up, and trust 
That He, who lays this mortal frame in dust, 
Still hath the immortal Spirit in His keeping. 
In Jesus' sight they are not dead, but sleeping. 

DearN., — Will these lines do? I despair of 
better. Poor Mary is in a deplorable state here 
at Enfield. Love to all, C. Lamb 


[The four sons and two daughters of John and Ann Rigg, 
of York, had been drowned in the Ouse. A number of poets 
were asked for verses, the best to be inscribed on a monument 
in York Minster. Those of James Montgomery were chosen. 
— E. V. Lucas.] 


November 12, 1830. 

Dear Moxon, — I have brought my sister to 
Enfield, being sure that she had no hope of re- 
covery in London. Her state of mind is deplor- 
able beyond any example. I almost fear whether 
she has strength at her time of life ever to get out 
of it. Here she must be nursed, and neither see 
nor hear of anything in the world out of her sick 
chamber. The mere hearing that Southey had 
called at our lodgings totally upset her. Pray see 


him, or hear of him at Mr. Rickman's, and ex- 
cuse my not writing to him. I dare not write or 
receive a letter in her presence ; every little task 
so agitates her. Westwood will receive any letter 
for me, and give it me privately. Pray assure 
Southey of my kindliest feelings towards him; 
and, if you do not see him, send this to him. 

Kindest remembrances to your sister, and be- 
lieve me ever yours, C. Lamb 

Remember me kindly to the Allsops. 


December, 1830. 

Dear M., — Something like this was what I 
meant. But on reading it over, I see no great fun 
or use in it. It will only stuff up and encroach 
upon the sheet you propose. Do as, and what, 
you please. Send proof, or not, as you like. If 
you send, send me a copy or two of the Album 
Verses, and the Juvenile Poetry, if bound. 

I am happy to say Mary is mending, but not 
enough to give me hopes of being able to leave 
her. I sadly regret that I shall possibly not see 
Southey or Wordsworth, but I dare not invite 
either of them here, for fear of exciting my sis- 
ter, whose only chance is quiet. You don't know 
in what a sad state we have been. 

I think the Devil may come out without pre- 
faces, but use your discretion. 


Make my kindest remembrances to Southey, 
with my heart's thanks for his kind intent. I 
am a little easier about my will, and as Ryle is 
executor, and will do all a friend can do at the 
Office, and what little I leave will buy an annu- 
ity to piece out tolerably, I am much easier. 
Yours ever, C. L. 


December 20, 1830. 

Dear Dyer, — I would have written before to 
thank you for your kind letter, written with your 
own hand. It glads us to see your writing. It 
will give you pleasure to hear that, after so much 
illness, we are in tolerable health and spirits once 
more. Miss Isola intended to call upon you after 
her night's lodging at Miss Buffam's, but found 
she was too late for the stage. If she comes to 
town before she goes home, she will not miss 
paying her respects to Mrs. Dyer and you, to 
whom she desires best love. 

Poor Enfield, that has been so peaceable 
hitherto, has caught the inflammatory fever ; the 
tokens are upon her ! and a great fire was blazing 
last night in the barns and haystacks of a farmer, 
about half a mile from us. Where will these 
things end ? There is no doubt of its being the 
work of some ill-disposed rustic ; but how is he 
to be discovered ? They go to work in the dark 
with strange chemical preparations unknown to 


our forefathers. There is not even a dark lantern 
to have a chance of detecting these Guy Fauxes. 
We are past the iron age, and are got into the 
fiery age, undream' d of by Ovid. You are lucky 
in Clifford's Inn where, I think, you have few 
ricks or stacks worth the burning. Pray keep as 
little corn by you as you can, for fear of the 

It was never good times in England since the 
poor began to speculate upon their condition. 
Formerly, they jogged on with as little reflection 
as horses : the whistling ploughman went cheek 
by jowl with his brother that neighed. Now the 
biped carries a box of phosphorus in his leather 
breeches ; and in the dead of night the half- 
illuminated beast steals his magic potion into 
a cleft in a barn, and half a country is grinning 
with new fires. Farmer Graystock said some- 
thing to the touchy rustic that he did not relish, 
and he writes his distaste in flames. What a 
power to intoxicate his crude brains, just mud- 
dlingly awake, to perceive that something is 
wrong in the social system ! — what a hellish 
faculty above gunpowder ! 

Now the rich and poor are fairly pitted, we 
shall see who can hang or burn fastest. It is not 
always revenge that stimulates these kindlings. 
There is a love of exerting mischief. Think of 
a disrespected clod that was trod into earth, that 
was nothing, on a sudden by damned arts refined 
into an exterminating angel, devouring the fruits 


of the earth and their growers in a mass of fire ! 
What a new existence ! — what a temptation 
above Lucifer's ! Would clod be anything but 
a clod, if he could resist it? Why, here was 
a spectacle last night for a whole country ! — a 
bonfire visible to London, alarming her guilty 
towers, and shaking the Monument with an ague 
fit, — all done by a little vial of phosphor in a 
clown's fob ! How he must grin, and shake his 
empty noddle in clouds, the Vulcanian epicure ! 
Can we ring the bells backward ? Can we un- 
learn the arts that pretend to civilize, and then 
burn the world ? There is a march of science ; 
but who shall beat the drums for its retreat? 
Who shall persuade the boor that phosphor will 
not ignite ? 

Seven goodly stacks of hay, with corn-barns 
proportionable, lie smoking ashes and chaff", which 
man and beast would sputter out and reject like 
those apples of asphaltes and bitumen. The food 
for the inhabitants of earth will quickly disap- 
pear. Hot rolls may say : " Fuimus panes, fuit 
quartern-loaf, et ingens gloria apple-pasty- 
orum." That the good old munching system 
may last thy time and mine, good un-incendiary 
George, is the devout prayer of thine, to the last 
crust, Ch. Lamb 


[Incendiarism, the result of agricultural distress and in 
opposition to the competition of the new machinery, was rife 
in the country at this time.] 



Christmas, 1830. 

Dear M., — A thousand thanks for your punc- 
tualities. What a cheap book is the last Hogarth 
you sent me ! I am pleased now that Hunt did- 
dled me out of the old one. Speaking of this, 
only think of the new farmer with his thirty 
acres. There is a portion of land in Lambeth 
parish called Knaves Acre. I wonder he over- 
look'd it. Don't show this to the firm of Dilk & 
Co. I next want one copy of Leicester School, 
and wish you to pay Leishman, Taylor, 2 Bland- 
ford Place, Pall Mall, opposite the British Insti- 
tution, ^6.10. for coat, waistcoat, &c. And I 
vehemently thirst for the 4th No. of Nichols's 
Hogarth, to bind 'em up (the two books) as 
Hogarth, and Supplement. But as you know the 
price, don't stay for its appearance ; but come as 
soon as ever you can with your bill of all de- 
mands in full, and, as I have none but £$ notes, 
bring with you sufficient change. 

Weather is beautiful. I grieve sadly for Miss 
Wordsworth. We are all well again. Emma is 
with us, and we all shall be glad of a sight of 
you. Come on Sunday, if you can ; better, if you 
come before. Perhaps Rogers would smile at 
this. A pert half chemist half apothecary, in our 
town, who smatters of literature and is immeas- 
urable unletter'd, said to me, "Pray, Sir, may 
not Hood (he of the acres) be reckon'd the 


prince of wits in the present day?" to which I 
assenting, he adds, " I had always thought that 
Rogers had been reckon'd the prince of wits, but 
I suppose that now Mr. Hood has the better title 
to that appellation." To which I replied that 
Mr. R. had wit with much better qualities, but 
did not aspire to the principality. He had taken 
all the puns manufactured in "John Bull for our 
friend, in sad and stupid earnest. One more 
album verses, please. Adieu. C. L. 


February 3, 1831. 

Dear Moxon, — The snows are ancle-deep 
slush and mire, that 't is hard to get to the post- 
office, and cruel to send the maid out. 'T is a 
slough of despair, or I should sooner have thank'd 
you for your offer of the Life, which we shall 
very much like to have, and will return duly. 
I do not know when I shall be in town, but in 
a week or two at farthest, when I will come as 
far as you if I can. We are moped to death with 
confinement within doors. I send you a curi- 
osity of G. Dyer's tender conscience. Between 
thirty and forty years since, G. published the 
Poet's Fate, in which were two very harmless 
lines about Mr. Rogers, but Mr. R. not quite 
approving of them, they were left out in a sub- 
sequent edition, 1801. But G. has been worry t- 
ing about them ever since ; if I have heard him 


once, I have heard him a hundred times, express 
a remorse proportion' d to a consciousness of 
having been guilty of an atrocious libel. As the 
devil would have it, a fool they call Barker, in 
his Parriana has quoted the identical two lines 
as they stood in some obscure edition anterior 
to 1 80 1, and the withers of poor G. are again 
wrung. His letter is a gem ; with his poor 
blind eyes it has been laboured out at six sit- 
tings. The history of the couplet is in page 
three of this irregular production, in which every 
variety of shape and size that letters can be 
twisted into is to be found. Do shew his part 
of it to Mr. R. some day. If he has bowels 
they must melt at the contrition so queerly char- 
acter'd of a contrite sinner. G. was born I verily 
think without original sin, but chuses to have 
a conscience, as every Christian gentleman should 
have. His dear old face is insusceptible of the 
twist they call a sneer, yet he is apprehensive of 
being suspected of that ugly appearance. When 
he makes a compliment, he thinks he has given 
an affront. A name is personality. But shew (no 
hurry) this unique recantation to Mr. R. 'Tis 
like a dirty pocket handkerchief muck'd with 
tears of some indigent Magdalen. There is the 
impress of sincerity in every pot-hook and hanger. 
And then the gilt frame to such a pauper picture ! 
It should go into the Museum. 

I am heartily sorry my Devil does not answer. 
We must try it a little longer, and after all I 


think I must insist on taking a portion of the 
loss upon myself. It is too much you should 
lose by two adventures. You do not say how 
your general business goes on, and I should very 
much like to talk over it with you here. Come 
when the weather will possibly let you. I want 
to see the Wordsworths, but I do not much like 
to be all night away. It is dull enough to be 
here together, but it is duller to leave Mary ; in 
short it is painful, and in a flying visit I should 
hardly catch them. I have no beds for them, 
if they came down, and but a sort of a house to 
receive them in, yet I shall regret their depart- 
ure unseen. I feel cramped and straiten'd every 
way. Where are they ? 

We have heard from Emma but once, and that 
a month ago, and are very anxious for another 

You say we have forgot your powers of being 
serviceable to us. That we never shall. I do not 
know what I should do without you when I want 
a little commission. Now then. There are left 
at Miss Buffam's, the Tales of the Castle, and 
certain volumes Retrospective Review. The first 
should be convey'd to Novello's, and the Reviews 
should be taken to Talfourd's office, ground floor, 
East side, Elm Court, Middle Temple, to whom 
I should have written, but my spirits are wretched. 
It is quite an effort to write this. So, with the 
Life, I have cut you out three pieces of service. 
What can I do for you here ? But hope to see 


you very soon, and think of you with most kind- 
ness. I fear to-morrow, between rains and snows, 
it would be impossible to expect you, but do not 
let a practicable Sunday pass. We are always at 

Mary joins in remembrances to your sister, 
whom we hope to see in any fine-ish weather, 
when she '11 venture. 

Remember us to Allsop, and all the dead peo- 
ple — to whom, and to London, we seem dead. 


February 22, 183 1. 

Dear Dyer, — Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Rogers's 
friends, are perfectly assured that you never in- 
tended any harm by an innocent couplet, and that 
in the revivification of it by blundering Barker 
you had no hand whatever. To imagine that, at 
this time of day, Rogers broods over a fantastic 
expression of more than thirty years' standing, 
would be to suppose him indulging his Pleasures 
of Memory with a vengeance. You never penned 
a line which for its own sake you need (dying) 
wish to blot. You mistake your heart if you think 
you can write a lampoon. Your whips are rods 
of roses. Your spleen has ever had for its objects 
vices, not the vicious — abstract offences, not the 
concrete sinner. But you are sensitive, and wince 
as much at the consciousness of having commit- 
ted a compliment, as another man would at the 

2 53 

perpetration of an affront. But do not lug me 
into the same soreness of conscience with your- 
self. I maintain, and will to the last hour, that 
I never writ of you but con amore. That if any 
allusion was made to your near-sightedness, it was 
not for the purpose of mocking an infirmity, but 
of connecting it with scholar-like habits : for 
is it not erudite and scholarly to be somewhat 
near of sight, before age naturally brings on the 
malady ? You could not then plead the obrepens 

Did I not moreover make it an apology for 
a certain absence, which some of your friends may 
have experienced, when you have not on a sud- 
den made recognition of them in a casual street- 
meeting, and did I not strengthen your excuse for 
this slowness of recognition, by further account- 
ing morally for the present engagement of your 
mind in worthy objects ? Did I not, in your per- 
son, make the handsomest apology for absent-of- 
mind people that was ever made ? If these things 
be not so, I never knew what I wrote or meant 
by my writing, and have been penning libels all 
my life without being aware of it. Does it fol- 
low that I should have exprest myself exactly 
in the same way of those dear old eyes of yours 
now — now that Father Time has conspired with 
a hard task-master to put a last extinguisher upon 
them ? I should as soon have insulted the an- 
swerer of Salmasius [Milton], when he awoke 
up from his ended task, and saw no more with 

2 54 

mortal vision. But you are many films removed 
yet from Milton's calamity. You write perfectly 
intelligibly. Marry, the letters are not all of the 
same size or tallness ; but that only shows your 
proficiency in the hands — text, german-hand, 
court-hand, sometimes law-hand, and afford vari- 
ety. You pen better than you did a twelvemonth 
ago ; and if you continue to improve, you bid 
fair to win the golden pen which is the prize at 
your young gentlemen's academy. But you must 
beware of Valpy, and his printing-house, that 
hazy cave of Trophonius, out of which it was a 
mercy that you escaped with a glimmer. Beware 
of MSS. and variae lectiones. Settle the text for 
once in your mind, and stick to it. You have some 
years' good sight in you yet, if you do not tamper 
with it. It is not for you (for us I should say) 
to go poring into Greek contractions, and star- 
gazing upon slim Hebrew points. We have yet 
the sight 

Of sun, and moon, and star, throughout the year, 
And man and woman. 

You have vision enough to discern Mrs. Dyer 
from the other comely gentlewoman who lives up 
at staircase No. 5 ; or, if you should make a blun- 
der in the twilight, Mrs. Dyer has too much 
good sense to be jealous for a mere effect of im- 
perfect optics. But don't try to write the Lord's 
Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, in the 
compass of a halfpenny ; nor run after a midge 
or a mote to catch it ; and leave off hunting for 


needles in bushels of hay, for all these things 
strain the eyes. The snow is six feet deep in 
some parts here. I must put on jack-boots to 
get at the post-office with this. It is not good 
for weak eyes to pore upon snow too much. It 
lies in drifts. I wonder what its drift is ; only 
that it makes good pancakes, remind Mrs. Dyer. 
It turns a pretty green world into a white one. 
It glares too much for an innocent colour, me- 

I wonder why you think I dislike gilt edges. 
They set off a letter marvellously. Yours, for 
instance, looks for all the world like a tablet of 
curious hieroglyphics in a gold frame. But don't 
go and lay this to your eyes. You always wrote 
hieroglyphically, yet not to come up to the 
mystical notations and conjuring characters of 
Dr. Parr. You never wrote what I call a school- 
master's hand, like Clarke ; nor a woman's hand, 
like Southey ; nor a missal hand, like Porson ; 
nor an all-of-the-wrong-side-sloping hand, like 
Miss Hayes ; nor a dogmatic, Mede-and-Persian, 
peremptory hand, like Rickman ; but you ever 
wrote what I call a Grecian's hand ; what the 
Grecians write (or used) at Christ's Hospital; 
such as Whalley would have admired, and Boyer 
have applauded ; but Smith or Atwood (writing- 
masters) would have horsed you for. Your boy- 
of-genius hand and your mercantile hand are 
various. By your flourishes, I should think you 
never learned to make eagles or corkscrews, or 


flourish the governors' names in the writing- 
school ; and by the tenor and cut of your letters 
I suspect you were never in it at all. By the 
length of this scrawl you will think I have a 
design upon your optics ; but I have writ as 
large as I could out of respect to them — too 
large, indeed, for beauty. Mine is a sort of 
deputy Grecian's hand ; a little better, and more 
of a worldly hand, than a Grecian's, but still 
remote from the mercantile. I don't know how 
it is, but I keep my rank in fancy still since 
school-days. I can never forget I was a deputy 
Grecian ! And writing to you, or to Coleridge, 
besides affection, I feel a reverential deference 
as to Grecians still. I keep my soaring way above 
the Great Erasmians, yet far beneath the other. 
Alas ! what am I now ? what is a Leadenhall 
clerk or India pensioner to a deputy Grecian ? 
How art thou fallen, O Lucifer ! Just room for 
our loves to Mrs. D., &c, C. Lamb 


April 13,1831. 

Dear C, — I am daily for this week expect- 
ing Wordsworth, who will not name a day. I 
have been expecting him by months and by 
weeks ; but he has reduced the hope within the 
seven fractions hebdomidal of this hebdoma. 
Therefore I am sorry I cannot see you on 
Thursday. I think within a week or two I shall 


be able to invite myself some day for a day, but 
we hermits with difficulty poke out of our shells. 
Within that ostraceous retirement I meditate 
not unfrequently on you. My sister's kindest 
remembrances to you both. C. L. 


April 30, 1 83 1. 

Vir bone ! — Recepi literas tuas amicissimas, et 
in mentem venit responsuro mihi, vel raro, vel nun- 
quam, inter nos intercedisse Latinam linguam, 
organum rescribendi, loquendive. Epistolae tuae, 
Plinianis elegantiis (supra quod Tremulo deceat) 
refertae, tarn a verbis Plinianis adeo abhorrent, ut 
ne vocem quamquam (Romanam scilicet) habere 
videaris, quam "ad canem," ut aiunt, " reiectare 
possis." Forsan desuetudo Latinissandi ad ver- 
naculam linguam usitandam, plusquam opus sit, 
coegit. Per adagia quaedam nota, et in ore om- 
nium pervulgata, ad Latinitatis perditae recuper- 
ationem revocare te institui. 

Felis in abaco est, et aegre videt. 

Omne quod splendet nequaquam aurum putes. 

Imponas equo mendicum, equitabit idem ad 

Fur commode a fure prenditur. 

O Maria, Maria, valde contraria, quomodo 
crescit hortulus tuus ? 

Nunc maiora canamus. 

Thomas, Thomas, de Islington, uxorem duxit 

die nupera Dominica. Reduxit domum postera. 
Succedenti baculum emit. Postridie ferit illam. 
Aegrescit ilia subsequent. Proxima (nempe 
Veneris) est mortua. Plurimum gestiit Thomas, 
quod appropinquanti Sabbato efferenda sit. 

Horner quidam Iohannulus in angulo sedebat, 
artocreas quasdam deglutiens. Inseruit pollices, 
pruna nana evellens, et magna voce exclamavit 
" Dii boni, quam bonus puer no ! " 

Diddle-diddle-dumkins ! meus unicus filius Io- 
hannes cubitum ivit, integris braccis, caliga una 
tantum, indutus. Diddle-diddle, etc. Da Capo. 

Hie adsum saltans Ioannula. Cum nemo adsit 
mihi, semper resto sola. 

Aenigma mihi hoc solvas, et Oedipus fies. 

Qua ratione assimulandus sit equus Tremulo ? 

Quippe cui tota communicatio sit per Hay et 
Neigh, iuxta consilium illud Dominicum, "Fiat 
omnis communicatio vestra Yea et Nay." 

In his nugis caram diem consumo, dum invi- 
gilo valetudini carioris nostrae Emmae, quae apud 
nos iamdudum aegrotat. Salvere vos iubet mecum 
Maria mea, ipsa integra valetudine. Elia 

Ab agro Enfeldiense datum, Aprilis nescio 
quibus Calendis. Davus sum, non Calendarius. 
P. S. Perdita in toto est Billa Reformatura. 


[The following translation is by Mr. Stephen Gwynn : 
Good Sir, — I have received your most kind letter, and it 


has entered my mind as I began to reply, that the Latin tongue 
has seldom or never been used between us as the instrument 
of converse or correspondence. Your letters, filled with Plinian 
elegancies (more than becomes a Quaker), are so alien to Pliny's 
language, that you seem not to have a word (that is, a Roman 
word) to throw, as the saying is, at a dog. Perchance the dis- 
use of Latinising had constrained you more than is right to the 
use of the vernacular. I have determined to recall you to the 
recovery of your lost Latinity by certain well-known adages 
common in all mouths. 

The cat 's in the cupboard and she can't see. 

All that glitters is not gold. 

Set a beggar on horseback and he '11 ride to the devil. 

Set a thief to catch a thief. 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow ? 
Now let us sing of weightier matters. 

Tom, Tom, of Islington, wed a wife on Sunday. He brought 
her home on Monday. Bought a stick on Tuesday. Beat her well 
on Wednesday. She was sick on Thursday. Dead on Friday. 
Tom was glad on Saturday night to bury his wife on Sunday. 

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner, eating his Christmas pie. 
He put in his thumb and drew out a plum and cried " Good 
Heavens, what a good boy am I ! " 

Diddle, diddle, dumkins ! my son John went to bed with his 
breeches on ; one shoe off" and the other shoe on, diddle, 
diddle, etc. (Da Capo.) 

Here am I, jumping Joan. When no one 's by, I 'm all alone. 

Solve me this enigma, you shall be an CEdipus. 

Why is a horse like a Quaker ? 

Because all his communication is by Hay and Neigh, after 
the Lord's counsel, " Let all your communication be Yea and 

In these trifles I waste the precious day, while watching over 
the health of our more precious Emma, who has been sick in 
our house this long time. My Mary sends you greeting with 
me, she herself in sound health. 

Given from the Enfield country seat, on I know not what 
Calends of April. I am Davus, not an Almanac. 

P. S. The Reform Bill is lost altogether.] 



Datum ab agro Enfeldiensi, 
Maii die sexta, 1831. 

Assidens est mihi bona soror, Euripiden evolv- 
ens, donum vestrum, carissime Cary, pro quo 
gratias agimus, lecturi atque iterum lecturi 
idem. Pergratus est liber ambobus, nempe Sa- 
cerdotis Commiserationis, sacrum opus a te ipso 
humanissimae religionis sacerdote dono datum. 
Lachrymantes gavisuri sumus; est ubi dolor fiat 
voluptas ; nee semper dulce mihi est ridere ; 
aliquando commutandum est he! he! he! cum 
heu ! heu ! heu ! 

A Musis Tragicis me non penitus abhorruisse 
testis sit Carmen Calamitosum, nescio quo autore 
lingua prius vernacula scriptum, et nuperrime 
a me ipso Latine versum, scilicet, Tom Tom of 
Islington. Tenuistine ? 

Thomas Thomas de Islington, 

Uxorem duxit die quadam Solis, 

Abduxit domum sequenti die, 

Emit baculum subsequenti, 

Vapulat ilia postera, 

Aegrotat succedenti, mortua fit crastina. 

Et miro gaudio afficitur Thomas luce postera quod 
subsequenti (nempe, Dominica) uxor sit efFer- 

En Iliades domesticas ! 
En circulum calamitatum ! 
Plane hebdomadalem tragoediam. 

I nunc et confer Euripiden vestrum his luctibus, 


hac morte uxoria ; confer Alcesten ! Hecuben ! 
quasnon antiquas heroinas dolorosas. 

Suffundor genas lachrymis, tantas strages re- 
volvens. Quid restat nisi quod tecum tuam Caram 
salutamus ambosque valere iubeamus, nosmet ipsi 
bene valentes. Elia 


[The following translation is by Mr. Stephen Gwynn : 
Sitting by me is my good sister, turning over Euripides, your 
gift, dear Cary [a pun here, " carissime care "], for which we 
thank you, and will read and re-read it. Most acceptable to 
both of us is this book of Pity's Priest, a sacred work of your 
bestowing, yourself a priest of the most humane religion. We 
shall take our pleasure weeping; there are times when pain 
turns pleasure, and I would not always be laughing : sometimes 
there should be a change — heu! heu! for he! he! 

That I have not shrunk from the Tragic Muses, witness this 
Lamentable Ballad, first written in the vernacular by I know 
not what author and lately by myself put into Latin, T. T. of 
Islington. Have you heard it ? (See translation of preceding 

And Thomas is possessed with a wondrous joy on the fol- 
lowing morning, because on the next day, that is, Sunday, his 
wife must be buried. 

Lo, your domestic Iliads ! 

Lo, the wheel of calamities I 

The true tragedy of a week. 

Go to now, compare your Euripides with these sorrows, this 
death of a wife ! Compare Alcestis ! Hecuba ! or what not 
other sorrowing heroines of antiquity. 

My cheeks are tear-bedewed as I revolve such slaughter. 
What more to say, but to salute you Cary and your Cara, and 
wish you health, ourselves enjoying it.] 



July 14, 1 83 1. 

Collier's book would be right acceptable. And 
also a sixth volume just publish' d of Nichols's 
Illustrations of the Literary History of 18th Cen- 
tury. I agree with you, and do yet not disagree 
with W. W., as to H[unt]. It rejoyced my heart 
to read his friendly spirited mention of your pub- 
lications. It might be a drawback to my pleas- 
ure, that he has tried to decry my "Nicky," but 
on deliberate re- and reperusal of his censure I 
cannot in the remotest degree understand what 
he means to say. He and I used to dispute about 
hell eternities, I taking the affirmative. I love to 
puzzle atheists, and — parsons. I fancy it runs in 
his head, that I meant to rivet the idea of a per- 
sonal devil. Then about the glorious three days ! 
there was never a year or day in my past life, 
since I was pen-worthy, that I should not have 
written precisely as I have. 

Logic and modesty are not among H.'s virtues. 
Talfourd flatters me upon a poem which " no- 
body but I could have written," but which I have 
neither seen nor heard of, — The Banquet, or "Ban- 
queting Something," that has appeared in The Tat- 
ler. Know you of it ? How capitally the French- 
man has analysed Satan! I was hinder'd, or I was 
about doing the same thing in English, for him 
to put into French, as I prosified Hood's mid- 
summer fairies. The garden of cabbage escap'd 


him ; he turns it into a garden of pot-herbs. So 
local allusions perish in translation. 

About eight days before you told me of R.'s 
interview with the Premier, I, at the desire of 
Badams, wrote a letter to him (Badams) in the 
most moving terms setting forth the age, infirm- 
ities, &c, of Coleridge. This letter was convey'd 
by B. to his friend Mr. Ellice of the Treasury, 
brother-in-law to Lord Grey, who immediately 
pass'd it on to Lord Grey, who assured him of 
immediate relief by a grant on the King's bounty, 
which news E. communicated to B. with a de- 
sire to confer with me on the subject, on which 
I went up to the Treasury (yesterday fortnight) 
and was received by the great man with the 
utmost cordiality (shook hands with me coming 
and going) ; a fine hearty gentleman, and, as 
seeming willing to relieve any anxiety from me, 
promised me an answer thro' Badams in two or 
three days at furthest. Meantime Gilman's ex- 
traordinary insolent letter comes out in the Times! 
As to my acquiescing in this strange step, I told 
Mr. Ellice (who expressly said that the thing was 
renewable three-yearly) that I consider'd such 
a grant as almost equivalent to the lost pension, as 
from C.'s appearance and the representations of 
the Gilmans, I scarce could think C.'s life worth 
two years' purchase. I did not know that the 
chancellor had been previously applied to. Well, 
after seeing Ellice I wrote in the most urgent 
manner to the Gilmans, insisting on an immedi- 


ate letter of acknowledgment from Coleridge, or 
them in his name to Badams, who not knowing 
C. had come forward so disinterestedly amidst his 
complicated illnesses and embarrassments, to use 
up an interest, which he may so well need, in 
favour of a stranger; and from that day not a letter 
has B. or even myself, received from Highgate, 
unless that published one in the Times is meant as 
a general answer to all the friends who have stirr'd 
to do C. service ! Poor C. is not to blame, for he 
is in leading-strings. I particularly wish you 
would read this part of my note to Mr. Rogers. 
Now for home matters. Our next two Sundays 
will be choked up with all the Sugdens. The 
third will be free, when we hope you will show 
your sister the way to Enfield and leave her with 
us for a few days. In the meanwhile, could you 
not run down some week day (afternoon, say) and 
sleep at the Horse Shoe ? I want to have my sec- 
ond volume Elias bound specimen fashion, and to 
consult you about 'em. Kenney has just assured 
me that he has just touch'd j£ioo from the 
theatre ; you are a damn'd fool if you don't exact 
your tythe of him, and with that assurance I rest, 
Your brother fool, C. L. 


Early August, 1831. 

Dear M., — The R.A. here memorised was 
George Dawe, whom I knew well and heard 


many anecdotes of, from Daniels and Westall, 
at H. Rogers's ; to each of them it will be well 
to send a magazine in my name. It will fly like 
wild fire among the Royal Academicians and 
artists. Could you get hold of Proctor — his 
chambers are in Lincoln's Inn, at Montagu's 
— or of Janus Weathercock ? — both of their 
prose is capital. Don't encourage poetry. The 
Peter s Net does not intend funny things only. 
All is fish. And leave out the sickening E/ia 
at the end. Then it may comprise letters and 
characters addrest to Peter — but a signature 
forces it to be all characteristic of the one man 
Elia, or the one man Peter, which cramped me 

I have agreed not for my sister to know the 
subjects I chuse till the magazine comes out ; so 
beware of speaking of 'em, or writing about 
'em, save generally. Be particular about this 
warning. Can't you drop in some afternoon, 
and take a bed ? 

The Athenaeum has been hoaxed with some 
exquisite poetry that was two or three months 
ago in Hone's Book. I like your first Number 
capitally. But is it not small ? 

Come and see us, week-day if possible. 

C. L. 

Pray forward the enclosed, or put it in the 



August 4, 1 83 1. 

My dear Boy, — Scamper off with this to 
Dilke, and get it in for to-morrow; then we 
shall have two things in in the first week. 

Your Laureat 



Dear M., — I have ingeniously contrived to 
review myself. Tell me if this will do. Mind, 
for such things as these — half quotations — I do 
not charge Elia price. Let me hear of, if not 
see you. Peter 


August 5, 1 83 1. 

Send, or bring me, Hone's Number for Au- 

Hunt is a fool, and his critics. The anecdotes 
of E. and of G. D. are substantially true. What 
does Elia (or Peter) care for dates ? 

That is the poem I mean. I do not know 
who wrote it, but it is in Hone's book as far 
back as April. 

' T is a poem I envy — that and Montgomery's 
Last Man (nothing else of his). I envy the writ- 
ers, because I feel I could have done something 


like it. S is a coxcomb. W is a 

and a great poet. L. 


This instant received, this instant I answer 
your's — Dr. Cresswell has one copy, which I 
cannot just now re-demand, because at his desire 
I have sent on Satan to him, which when he 
ask'd for, I frankly told him, was imputed a 
lampoon on him ! I have sent it him, and can- 
not, till we come to explanation, go to him or 

But on the faith of a gentleman, you shall have 
it back some Any for Another. The three I send. 
I think two of the blunders perfectly immaterial. 
But your feelings, and I fear pocket, is every- 
thing. I have just time to pack this off by the 
two o'clock stage. Yours till we meet. 

At all events I behave more gentlemanlike 
than Emma did, in returning the copies. 

Yours till we meet — do come. Bring the 

Why not publish 'em — or let another book- 
seller ? 


September 5, 1831. 

Dear M., — Your letter's contents pleased me. 
I am only afraid of taxing you, yet I want a 


stimulus, or I think I should drag sadly. I shall 
keep the monies in trust till I see you fairly over 
the next ist January. Then I shall look upon 
'em as earned. Colburn shall be written to. No 
part of yours gave me more pleasure (no, not the 
j£io, tho' you may grin) than that you will re- 
visit old Enfield, which I hope will be always 
a pleasant idea to you. 

Yours very faithfully, C. L. 


September 13, 1831. 

Dear William, — We have a sick house, Mrs. 
Westwood's daughter in a fever, and grand- 
daughter in the measles, and it is better to see no 
company just now ; but in a week or two we shall 
be very glad to see you ; come at a hazard then, 
on a week-day if you can, because Sundays are 
stuff' d up with friends on both parts of this great 
ill-mix' d family. Your second letter, dated third 
September, came not till Sunday and we staid 
at home in evening, in expectation of seeing 

I have turned and twisted what you ask'd me 
to do in my head, and am obliged to say I cannot 
undertake it — but as a composition for declining 
it, will you accept some verses which I meditate 
to be addrest to you on your father, and prefix- 
able to your Life ? Write me word that I may 
have 'em ready against I see you some ten days 


hence, when I calculate the house will be unin- 
fected. Send your mother's address. 

If you are likely to be again at Cheshunt before 
that time, on second thoughts, drop in here, and 
consult, Yours, C. L. 

Not a line is yet written — so say, if I shall 
do 'em. 


October 24, 1831. 

To address an abdicated monarch is a nice point 
of breeding. To give him his lost titles is to 
mock him ; to withhold 'em is to wound him. 
But his minister who falls with him may be 
gracefully sympathetic. I do honestly feel for 
your diminution of honours, and regret even the 
pleasing cares which are part and parcel of great- 
ness. Your magnanimous submission, and the 
cheerful tone of your renunciation, in a letter 
which, without flattery, would have made an 
" Article" and which, rarely as I keep letters, 
shall be preserved, comfort me a little. Will it 
please, or plague you, to say that when your parcel 
came I damned it, for my pen was warming in 
my hand at a ludicrous description of a landscape 
of an R. A., which I calculated upon sending you 
to-morrow, the last day you gave me. Now any 
one calling in, or a letter coming, puts an end to 
my writing for the day. Little did I think that 


the mandate had gone out, so destructive to my 
occupation, so relieving to the apprehensions 
of the whole body of R. A.'s. So you see I had 
not quitted the ship while a plank was remain- 

To drop metaphors, I am sure you have done 
wisely. The very spirit of your epistle speaks that 
you have a weight off your mind. I have one on 
mine. The cash in hand, which, as ***** * less 
truly says, burns in my pocket. I feel queer at 
returning it (who does not ?). You feel awkward 
at re-taking it (who ought not?). Is there no 
middle way of adjusting this fine embarrassment? 
I think I have hit upon a medium to skin the 
sore place over, if not quite to heal it. You hinted 
that there might be something under ^"10 by 
and by accruing to me, Devil's Money. You are 
sanguine — say £j.ios. — that I entirely re- 
nounce and abjure all future interest in, I insist 
upon it, and "by Him I will not name" I won't 
touch a penny of it. That will split your loss 
one half, and leave me conscientious possessor 
of what I hold. Less than your assent to this, 
no proposal will I accept of. 

The Rev. Mr. , whose name you have 

left illegible (is it Seagull?) never sent me any 
book on Christ's Hospital by which I could 
dream that I was indebted to him for a dedication. 
Did G. D. send his penny tract to me to convert 
me to Unitarianism ? Dear blundering soul ! why 
I am as old a one-Goddite as himself. Or did he 


think his cheap publication would bring over the 
Methodists over the way here ? However, I '11 
give it to the pew-opener (in whom I have a 
little interest) to hand over to the clerk, whose 
wife she sometimes drinks tea with, for him to 
lay before the deacon, who exchanges the civility 
of the hat with him, for him to transmit to the 
minister, who shakes hand with him out of 

chapel, and he, in all odds, will 

with it. 

I wish very much to see you. I leave it to you 
to come how you will. We shall be very glad 
(we need not repeat) to see your sister, or sisters, 
with you ; but for you individually I will just 
hint that a dropping in to tea unlook'd for about 
five, stopping bread-n-cheese and gin-and-water, 
is worth a thousand Sundays. I am naturally 
miserable on a Sunday, but a week-day evening 
and supper is like old times. Set out now, and 
give no time to deliberation. 

P. S. The second volume of Elia is delight- 
fully bound, I mean) and quite cheap. Why, 
man, 't is a unique. 

If I write much more I shall expand into an 
article, which I cannot afford to let you have so 

By the by, to shew the perverseness of human 
will — while I thought I must furnish one of 
those accursed things monthly, it seemed a labour 
above Hercules's " Twelve " in a year, which 
were evidently monthly contributions. Now I 


am emancipated, I feel as if I had a thousand 
essays swelling within me. False feelings both. 

I have lost Mr. Aitken's town address — do you 
know it ? Is he there ? 

Your ex-Lampoonist, or Lamb-punnist — 
from Enfield, Oct. 24, or " last day but one for 
receiving articles that can be inserted." 


December 15, 1831. 

Dear M., — S. \ probably Southey] I know, 
has an aversion, amounting almost to horror, of 
H. [probably Hunt]. He -would not lend his name. 
The other I might wring a guinea from, but he 
is very properly shy of his guineas. It would be 
improper in me to apply to him, and impertin- 
ent to the other. I hope this will satisfy you, 
but don't give my reason to H.'s friend, simply 
say I decline it. 

I am very much obliged to you for thinking 
of Cary. Put me down seven shillings (was n't 
it ?) in your books, and I set you down for more 
in my good ones. One copy will go down to 
immortality now, the more lasting as the less its 
leaves are disturbed. This letter willcost you 
3*/. ; but I did not like to be silent on the above. 

Nothing with my name will sell ; a blast is 
upon it. Do not think of such a thing, unless 
ever you become rich enough to speculate. 

Being praised, and being bought, are different 

things to a book. Fancy books sell from fashion, 
not from the number of their real likers. Do 
not come at so long intervals. Here we are sure 
to be. 



Many thanks for the wrap-rascal, but how 
delicate the insinuating in, into the pocket, of 
that 3 y 2 d., in paper too ! Who was it ? Amelia, 
Caroline, Julia, Augusta, or " Scots who have " ? 

As a set-off to the very handsome present, 
which I shall lay out in a pot of ale certainly to 
her health, I have paid sixpence for the mend 
of two button-holes of the coat now return'd. 
She shall not have to say, " I don't care a button 
for her." 

Adieu, tres aimables ! 

Buttons bd. 

Gift 1% 

Due from . . . z l / 2 

which pray accept * * * from your foolish coat- 
forgetting, C. L. 


March 5, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — My friend Aders, a German mer- 
chant, German born, has open'd to the public 


at the Suffolk St. gallery his glorious collection 
of old Dutch and German pictures. Pray see 
them. You have only to name my name, and 
have a ticket — if you have not received one 
already. You will possibly notice 'em, and 
might lug in the inclosed, 1 which I wrote for 
Hone's Tear Book, and has appear'd only there, 
when the pictures were at home in Euston 
Square. The fault of this matchless set of pic- 
tures is, the admitting a few Italian pictures with 

1 TO C. ADERS, Esc.. 

On bis Collection of Paintings by the old German Masters 

Friendliest of men, Aders, I never come 
Within the precincts of this sacred room, 
But I am struck with a religious fear, 
Which says, "Let no profane eye enter here." 
With imagery from heav'n the walls are clothed, 
Making the things of time seem vile and loathed. 
Spare saints, whose bodies seem sustain' d by love 
With martyrs old in meek procession move. 
Here kneels a weeping Magdalen, less bright 
To human sense for her blurr'd cheeks ; in sight 
Of eyes, new-touch' d by heaven, more winning fair 
Than when her beauty was her only care. 
A hermit here strange mysteries doth unlock 
In desart sole, his knees worn by the rock. 
There angel harps are sounding, while below 
Palm-bearing virgins in white order go. 
Madonnas, varied with so chaste design, 
While all are different, each seems genuine, 
And hers the only Jesus : hard outline, 
And rigid form, by Durer's hand subdued 
To matchless grace, and sacro-sanctitude ; 
Dvirer, who makes thy slighted Germany 
Vie with the praise of paint-proud Italy. 

Whoever enter' st here, no more presume 
To name a parlour, or a drawing-room ; 
But, bending lowly to each holy story, 
Make this thy chapel and thine oratory. 


'em, which I would turn out to make the col- 
lection unique and pure. Those old Albert 
Diirers have not had their fame. I have tried to 
illustrate 'em. If you print my verses, a copy, 
please, for me. 


April 14, 1832. 

My dear Coleridge, — Not an unkind thought 
has passed in my brain about you. But I have 
been wofully neglectful of you, so that I do not 
deserve to announce to you that, if I do not hear 
from you before then, I will set out on Wednes- 
day morning to take you by the hand. I would 
do it this moment, but an unexpected visit might 
flurry you. I shall take silence for acquiescence, 
and come. I am glad you could write so long a 
letter. Old loves to, and hope of kind looks from, 
the Gilmans, when I come. 

Yours, semper idem, C. L. 

If you ever thought an offence, much more 
wrote it, against me, it must have been in the 
times of Noah; and the great waters swept it 
away. Mary's most kind love, and maybe a 
wrong prophet of your bodings ! — here she is 
crying for mere love over your letter. I wring 
out less, but not sincerer, showers. 

My direction is simply, Enfield. 



Late April, 1832. 

One day in my life 

Do come. C. L. 

I have placed poor Mary at Edmonton, — I 
shall be very glad to see the Hunchback and 
Straitback the first evening they can come. I am 
very poorly indeed. I have been cruelly thrown 
out. Come and don't let me drink too much. 
I drank more yesterday than I ever did any one 
day in my life. C. L. 

Do come. Cannot your sister come and take 
a half bed — or a whole one? Which, alas, we 
have to spare. 


June 1, 1832. 

I am a little more than half alive. I was more 
than half dead. The ladies are very agreeable. 
I flatter myself I am less than disagreeable. Con- 
vey this to Mr. Forster, whom with you I shall 
just be able to see some ten days hence, and be- 
lieve me, ever yours, C. L. 

I take Forster's name to be John ; but you 
know whom I mean, the Pym-praiser, not pimp- 



[No date.] 
{With Acrostics enclosed') 


M ust I write with pen unwilling, 
A nd describe those graces killing, 
R ightly, which I never saw ? 
Yes — it is the album's law. 

L et me then invention strain, 

O n your excellence grace to feign, 

C old is fiction. I believe it 

K indly as I did receive it ; 

E ven as I, F.'s tongue, did weave it. 


S hall I praise a face unseen, 
A nd extol a fancied mien, 
R ave on visionary charm, 
A nd from shadows take alarm ! 
H atred hates without a cause, 

L ove may love without applause, 
O r, without a reason given, 
C harmed be with unknown heaven. 
K eep the secret, though, unmocked, 
E ver in your bosom Locked. 

Am I right? Sarah I distinctly remember; 
but Mary I am not sure ought not to be Anne. 
It is soon rectified in that case. Tou I take to be 

C. L. 


July 12, 1832. 

Dear M., — My hand shakes so, I can hardly 
say don't come yet. I have been worse to-day 
than you saw me. I am going to try water gruel 
and quiet if I can get it. But a visitor has just 
been down, and another a day or two before, 
and I feel half frantic. I will write when better. 
Make excuses to Forster for the present. 

C. Lamb 


August, 1832. 

My dear Wilson, — I cannot let my old friend 
Mrs. Hazlitt (sister-in-law to poor Wm. Hazlitt) 
leave Enfield, without endeavouring to introduce 
her to you, and to Mrs. Wilson. Her daughter 
has a school in your neighbourhood, and for her 
talents and for her merits I can answer. If it lies 
in your power to be useful to them in any way, 
the obligation to your old office-fellow will be 
great. I have not forgotten Mrs. Wilson's album, 
and if you, or she, will be the means of procur- 
ing but one pupil for Miss Hazlitt, I will rub 
up my poor poetic faculty to the best. But you 
and she will one day, I hope, bring the album 
with you to Enfield. Poor Mary is ill, or would 
send her love. Yours very truly, 

C. Lamb 

News. — Collet is dead, Du Puy is dead. I am 
not. — Hone is turned believer in Irving and his 
unknown tongues ! 

In the name of dear Defoe, which alone might 
be a bond of union between us, adieu ! 


Early October, 1832. 

For Landor's kindness I have just esteem. I 
shall tip him a letter, when you tell me how to 
address him. 

Give Emma's kindest regrets that I could not 
entice her good friend, your nephew, here. 

Her warmest love to the Bury Robinsons — 
our all three to H. Crab. 

C. L. 

Accompanying copy of Landor's verses to 
Emma Isola, and others, contributed to Miss 
Wordsworth's album, and poem written at Wast- 


October, 1832. 

Dear Sir, — Pray accept a little volume. 'T is 
a legacy from Elia, you '11 see. Silver and gold 
had he none, but such as he had, left he you. I 
do not know how to thank you for attending to 
my request about the album. I thought you 


would never remember it. Are not you proud 
and thankful, Emma? 

Yes, very, both — Emma Isola 

Many things I had to say to you, which there 
was not time for. One why should I forget ? 't is 
for Rose Aylmer, which has a charm I cannot 
explain. I lived upon it for weeks. 

Next I forgot to tell you I knew all your Welch 
annoyancers, the measureless Beethams. I knew 
a quarter of a mile of them. Seventeen brothers 
and sixteen sisters, as they appear to me in mem- 
ory. There was one of them that used to fix his 
long legs on my fender, and tell a story of a 
shark, every night, endless, immortal. How have 
I grudged the salt sea ravener not having had his 
gorge of him ! 

The shortest of the daughters measured five 
foot eleven without her shoes. Well, some day 
we may confer about them. But they were tall. 
Surely I have discover'd the longitude. 

Sir, if you can spare a moment, I should be 
happy to hear from you; that rogue Robinson 
detained your verses, till I call'd for them. Don't 
entrust a bit of prose to the rogue, but believe 
me, Your obliged, C. L. 

My sister sends her kind regards. 


[Crabb Robinson took Landor to see Lamb on September 
28, 1832. The following passage in Forster's Life of Landor 
describes the visit and explains this letter ; 


The hour he passed with Lamb was one of unalloyed enjoyment. A 
letter from Crabb Robinson before he came over had filled him with 
affection for that most loveable of men, who had not an infirmity to which 
his sweetness of nature did not give something of kinship to a virtue. " I 
have just seen Charles and Mary Lamb," Crabb Robinson had written 
(20th October, 183 1), "living in absolute solitude at Enfield. I find your 
poems lying open before Lamb. Both tipsy and sober he is ever muttering 
Rose Aylmer. But it is not those lines only that have a curious fascination 
for him. He is always turning to Gebir for things that haunt him in the 
same way." Their first and last hour was now passed together, and before 
they parted they were old friends. I visited Lamb myself (with Barry 
Cornwall) the following month, and remember the boyish delight with 
which he read to us the verses which Landor had written in the album of 
Emma Isola. He had just received them through Robinson, and had lost 
little time in making rich return by sending Landor his Last Essays of 

Landor wrote to Lady Blessington : 

I do not think that you ever knew Charles Lamb, who is lately dead. 
Robinson took me to see him. 

"Once, and once only, have I seen thy face, 
Elia! once only has thy tripping tongue 
Run o'er my heart, yet never has been left 
Impression on it stronger or more sweet. 
Cordial old man! what youth was in thy years, 
What wisdom in thy levity, what soul 
In every utterance of thy purest breast! 
Of all that ever wore man's form, 'tis thee 
I first would spring to at the gate of Heaven." 

I say tripping tongue, for Charles Lamb stammered and spoke hur- 
riedly. He did not think it worth while to put on a fine new coat to come 
down and see me in, as poor Coleridge did, but met me as if I had been 
a friend of twenty years' standing ; indeed, he told me I had been so, and 
shewed me some things I had written much longer ago, and had utterly 
forgotten. The world will never see again two such delightful volumes as 
The Essays of Elia ; no man living is capable of writing the worst twenty 
pages of them. The Continent has Zadig and Gil Bias, we have Elia and 
Sir Roger de Coverly.] 


Late 1832. 

A poor mad usher (and schoolfellow of mine) 

has been pestering me through you with poetry and 
petitions. I have desired him to call upon you for 
a half sovereign, which place to my account. 

I have buried Mrs. Reynolds at last, who has 
virtually at least bequeath'd me a legacy of ^32 
per annum, to which add that my other pen- 
sioner is safe housed in the workhouse, which 
gets me ^10. 

Richer by both legacies ^42 per annum. For 
a loss of a loss is as good as a gain of a gain. But 
let this be between ourselves, specially keep it from 

A or I shall speedily have candidates for the 

pensions. Mary is laid up with a cold. Will you 
convey the inclosed by hand? 

When you come, if you ever do, bring me one 
Devil's Visit, I mean Southey's; also the Hogarth 
which is complete, Noble's I think. Six more 
letters to do. Bring my bill also. C. L. 


Winter, 1832. 

Thank you for the books. I am ashamed to 
take tythe thus of your press. I am worse to a 
publisher than the two Universities and the Brit- 
ish Museum. A[llan] C [unningham] I will forth- 
with read. B[arry] C[ornwall] (I can't get out 
of the A, B, C) I have more than read. Taken 
altogether, 't is too lovey ; but what delicacies ! 
I like most King Death ; glorious 'bove all, The 
Lady with the Hundred Rings; The Owl ; Epistle 


to What *s his Name (here may be I 'm partial) ; 
Sit down, Sad Soul; The Pauper s Jubilee (but that ' s 
old, and yet 'tis never old); The Falcon; Felon's 
Wife; damn "Madame Pasty" (but that is bor- 
rowed) : 

Apple-pie is very good, 
And so is apple-pasty ; 


O Lard ! 't is very nasty : 

but chiefly the dramatic fragments, — scarce three 
of which should have escaped my Specimens, had 
an antique name been prefixed. They exceed his 
first. So much for the nonsense of poetry ; now 
to the serious business of life. 

Up a court (Blandford Court) in Pall Mall 
(exactly at the back, of Marlbro' House), with 
iron gate in front, and containing two houses, at 
No. 2 did lately live Leishman my taylor. He is 
moved somewhere in the neighbourhood, devil 
knows where. Pray find him out, and give him 
the opposite. I am so much better, tho' my hand 
shakes in writing it, that, after next Sunday, I can 
well see F[orster] and you. Can you throw B. C. 
in ? Why tarry the wheels of my Hogarth ? 

Charles Lamb 


[" I am worse to a publisher." There is a rule by which a 
publisher must present copies of every book to the Stationers' 
Hall, to be distributed to the British Museum, the Bodleian, 
and Cambridge University Library. — E. V. Lucas.] 



December, 1832. 

This is my notion : wait till you are able to 
throw away a round sum (say ^1500) upon a 
speculation, and then — don't do it. For all your 
loving encouragements, till this final damp came 
in the shape of your letter, thanks — for books 
also ; greet the Fosters and Proctors, and come 
singly or conjunctively as soon as you can. John- 
son and Fare's sheets have been wash'd — unless 
you prefer Danby's last bed — at the Horseshoe. 


[I assume Lamb's advice to refer to Moxon's intention of 
founding a paper called The Reflector, which Forster was to 
edit. All trace of this periodical has vanished, but it existed 
in December, 1832, for three numbers, and was then with- 
drawn. Lamb contributed to it. 

Johnson and Fare had just murdered — on December 19 — 
a Mr. Danby, at Enfield. They had met him in the Crown 
and Horseshoe. 

W. C. Hazlitt prints a note to Moxon in his Bohn edition 
in which Lamb advises the withdrawal of The Reflector at 
once. This would be December, 1832. — E. V. Lucas.] 


To Messrs. Bradbury & Evans, 14 Bouverie 
Street, Fleet Street. For the Editor of the Re- 
flector, from C. Lamb. 

December 23, 1832. 

I am very sorry the poor Reflector is abortive. 


'T was a child of good promise for its weeks. But 
if the chances are so much against it, withdraw 
immediately. It is idle up-hill waste of money 
to spend another stamp on it. 


" Obiit 

Ground the seal of this note are the words in Lamb's hand : 
Diit Edwardus Reflector Armiger, 31 Dec, 1832. Natus 
tres hcbdomidas. Pax animae ejus." — E. V. Lucas.] 


December 31, 1832. 

Dear Mrs. B., — Mary has not enterprise 
enough to venture on a journey at this dreary 
time of the year, and 't is too uncomfortable for 
us to leave her, for a night even, to the discourt- 
eous hospitalities of old frosty Westwood and his 
thin spouse : types of Christmas turned sour, or 
the first of January born with teeth and wrinkles. 
Cordial Illcomes, Not Welcomes — " wretched 
New Years to you:" Discompliments of the 
Season. Spring, and we, will lure her out some 
fine April day. Instead pray accept of our kind- 
est congratulations. 

Besides, I have been not a little disconcerted. 

On the night of our murder (an hour or two 
before it), the maid being busy, I went out to 
order an additional pint of porter for Moxon, 
who had surprised us with a late visit. Now I 
never go out quite disinterested upon such occa- 


sions. And I begged a half-pint of ale at the bar 
which our sweet-faced landlady good-humouredly 
complied with, asking me into the parlour, but 
a side door was just open that disclosed a more 
cheerful blaze, and I entered where four people 
were engaged over dominoes. One of them, 
Fare, invited me to join in it, partly out of impu- 
dence, I believe ; however, not to balk a Christ- 
mas frolic, I complied, and played with Danby, 
but soon gave over, having forgot the game. I 
was surprised with D. challenging me as having 
known me in the Temple. He must have been 
a child then. I did not recognise him, but per- 
fectly remembered his father, who was a hair- 
dresser in the Temple. This was all that passed, 
as I went away with my beer. Judge my sur- 
prise when the next morning I was summoned 
before Dr. Creswell to say what I knew of the 
transaction. My examination was conducted 
with all delicacy, and of course I was soon dis- 
missed. I was afraid of getting into the papers, 
but I was pleased to find myself only noticed as 
a " gentleman whose name we could not gather." 
Poor D.! the few words I spoke to him were to 
remind him of a trick Jem White played upon 
his father. The boy was too young to know 
anything about it. In the Morning Post appeared 
this paragraph : "Yesterday morning, Mr. Danby, 
the respectable hairdresser in Pump Court in the 
Temple, in a fit of delirium threw himself out 
of a two pair stairs window, looking into the 


passage that leads to Fig-tree Court, and his head 
was literally smashed to atoms." White went 
to D.'s to see how it operated, and found D. 
quietly weaving wigs, and the shop full of law- 
yers that had come to enquire particulars. D. 
was a man much respected. Indeed hairdressers 
in the Inns of Court are a superior race of trades- 
men. They generally leave off rich, as D. did. 
Well, poor D. had never heard the story or prob- 
ably forgotten it ; and his company looking on 
me a little suspiciously, as they do at alehouses 
when a rather better drest person than them- 
selves attempts to join 'em — (it never answers, 
— at least it seemed so to me when I heard of 
the murder) — I went away. One often fancies 
things afterwards that did not perhaps strike one 
at the time. However, after all, I have felt queer 
ever since. It has almost sickened me of the 
Crown and Horseshoe, and I shan't hastily go 
into the taproom again. I have made a long 
letter and can just say good-bye, C. Lamb 


January, 1833. 

I have a proof from Dilke. That serves for 
next Saturday. What Forster had will serve a 
second. I sent you a third concluding article for 
him and us (a capital hit, I think, about Cer- 
vantes), of which I leave you to judge whether 
we shall not want it to print before a third or 


even second week. In that case beg D. to clap 
them in all at once ; and keep the Athenceums 
to print from. What I send is the concluding 
article of the painters. 

Soften down the title in the book to 
"Defect of the Imaginative Faculty in Artists." 

Consult Dilke. 


January 3, 1833. 

Be sure and let me have the Atheneeum — or, 
if they don't appear, the copy back again. I 
have no other. 

I am glad you are introduced to Rickman; 
cultivate the introduction. I will not forget to 
write to him. I want to see Blackwood, but not 
without you. We are yet Emma-less. And so 
that is all I can remember. This is a corkscrew. 
\Here is a florid corkscrew.] C. L. Fecit 

C. Lamb, born 1775 ; 
nourished about 
the year 1832. 


I wish you'd go to Dilke's, or let Mockson, 
and ax him to add this to what I sent him a few 
days since, or to continue it the week after. The 
Plantas &c. are capital. Come down with Procter 
and Dante on Sunday. I send you the last proof 


— not of my friendship. I knew you would like 
the title. I do thoroughly.- The Last Essays of 
Elia keeps out any notion of its being a second 


There was a talk of Richmond on Sunday; 
but we were hampered with an unavoidable en- 
gagement that day, besides that I wish to show 
it you when the woods are in full leaf. Can you 
have a quiet evening here to-night or to-morrow 
night ? We are certainly at home. 

Yours, C. Lamb 


January, 1833. 

I have read the enclosed five-and-forty times 
over. At last (O ! Argus penetration !) I have 
discovered a dash that might be dispensed with. 
Pray don't trouble yourself with such useless 
courtesies. I can well trust your editor when I 
don't use queer phrases which prove themselves 
wrong by creating a distrust in the sober com- 


January 24, 1833. 

Dear Murray ! Moxon, I mean, — I am not 

to be making you pay postage every day, but 
cannot let pass the congratulations of sister, 
brother, and "Silk Cloak," all most cordial on 
your change of place. Rogers approving, who 
can demur ? Tell me when you get into Dover 
St., and what the No. is — that I may change 
foolscap for gilt, and plain Mr. for Esquire. I 
shall Mister you while you stay. 

If you are not too great to attend to it, I wish 
us to do without the Sonnets of Sydney : twelve 
will take up as many pages, and be too palpable 
a fill up. Perhaps we may leave them out, re- 
taining the article, but that is not worth saving. 
I hope you liked my Cervantes article which I 
sent you yesterday. 

Not an inapt quotation, for your fallen prede- 
cessor in Albemarle Street, to whom you must 
give the coup du main, — 

Murray, long enough his country's pride. — Pope. 


February n, 1833. 

I wish you would omit "by the author of 
Elia," now, in advertising that damn'd Devil's 

I had sneaking hopes you would have dropt 
in to-day ; 't is my poor birthday. Don't stay 
away so. Give Forster a hint; you are to bring 
your brother some day ; sisters in better weather. 

Pray give me one line to say if you receiv'd 

and forwarded Emma's pacquet to Miss Adams, 
and how Dover St. looks. Adieu. 

Is there no Blackwood this month ? 

\Added on cover :] 

What separation will there be between the 
friend's preface, and the Essays ? Should not Last 
Essays, &c, head them ? If 't is too late, don't 
mind. I don't care a farthing about it. 


February 15, 1833. 

Dear Mrs. B., — Thanks for your remem- 
brance of your old fellow-prisoners at murderous 
Enfield. By the way, Cooper, who turned King's 
evidence, is come back again whitewash'd, has 
resumed his seat at chapel, and took his sister 
(a fact) up the Holt White's lane to shew her 
the topography of the deed. I intend asking him 
to supper. They say he is pleasant in conversa- 
tion. Will you come and meet him ? 

I don't know how we shall see you. Mary has 
objections to travelling, and I never stay out the 
night when I come up. Could n't Badams and 
you make a twenty -four hours' day here? The 
room is vacant at the Horseshoe where Fare slept 
last, unless you prefer Johnson's last bed. 

Mary, Emma, and I have got thro' the Inferno 
with the help of Cary ; and Mary is in for it. She 
is commencing Tasso. When the spring is riper, 


we will spare Emma for a few days, if you '11 be 
kind to her. 

Triple loves and kind memory to you both. 

C. L. 


February, 1833. 

My dear M., — I send you the last proof — 
not of my friendship — pray see to the finish. 

I think you will see the necessity of adding 
those words after " Preface " — and " Preface " 
should be in the " contents-table." 

I take for granted you approve the title. I do 

Perhaps if you advertise it in full, as it now 
stands, the title-page might have simply the Last 
Essays ofE/ia, to keep out any notion of its being 
a second volume. 

Well, I wish us luck heartily for your sake 
who have smarted by me. 


Dear M., — Emma has teized me to take her 
into the gallery of an opera on Tuesday, and I 
have written for orders. We came up this morn- 
ing. Can you house and bed us after the opera ? 
Miss M., maybe, won't object to sharing half her 
bed. And for me, I can sleep on straw, rushes, 
thorns, Procrustes' couch ! or anywhere. Do not 


write if you can take us in. Write only if you 
can't. Ch. Lamb 


February, 1833. 

My dear T., — Now cannot I call him Serjeant; 
what is there in a coif? Those canvas-sleeves 
protective from ink, when he was a law-chit — 
a ChittyMng (let the leathern apron be apo- 
cryphal), do more 'specially plead to the Jury 
Court of old memory. The costume (will he 
agnize it ?) was as of a desk-fellow or Socius Plutei. 
Methought I spied a brother ! 

That familiarity is extinct for ever. Curse me 
if I can call him Mr. Serjeant — except, mark 
me, in company. Honour where honour is due; 
but should he ever visit us (do you think he 
ever will, Mary?), what a distinction should I 
keep up between him and our less fortunate 
friend, H[enry] C[rabb] Rfobinson] ! Decent 
respect shall always be the Crabb's — but, some- 
how, short of reverence. 

Well, of my old friends, I have lived to see 
two knighted: one made a judge, another in 
a fair way to it. Why ami restive ? why stands 
my sun upon Gibeah? 

Variously, my dear Mrs. Talfourd (I can be 
more familiar with her !), Mrs. Serjeant Talfourd, 
— my sister prompts me — (these ladies stand 
upon ceremonies) — has the congratulable news 


affected the members of our small community. 
Mary comprehended it at once, and entered into 
it heartily. Mrs. W[estwoodJ was, as usual, per- 
verse — wouldn't, or couldn't, understand it. 
A Serjeant ? She thought Mr. T. was in the law. 
Did n't know that he ever 'listed. 

Emma alone truly sympathised. She had a 
silk gown come home that very day, and has 
precedence before her learned sisters accord- 

We are going to drink the health of Mr. and 
Mrs. Serjeant, with all the young serjeantry — 
and that is all that I can see that I shall get by 
the promotion. 

Valete, et mementote amici quondam vestri humil- 
limi. C. L. 



Dear M., — Let us see you and your brother 
on Sunday. 

The Elias are beautifully got up. Be cautious 
how you name the probability of bringing 'em 
ever out complete — till these are gone off. 
Everybody 'd say "O I '11 wait then." 

An't we to have a copy of the Sonnets ? 

Mind, I shall insist upon having no more 
copies : only I shall take three or four more of 
you at trade price. I am resolute about this. 

Yours ever 



February, 1833. 


In Christian world Mary the garland wears ! 
Rebecca sweetens on a Hebrew's ear; 
Quakers for pure Priscilla are more clear; 
And the light Gaul by amorous Ninon swears. 
Among the lesser lights how Lucy shines ! 
What air of fragrance Rosamund throws round ! 
How like a hymn doth sweet Cecilia sound ! 
Of Marthas, and of Abigails, few lines 
Have bragg'd in verse. Of coarsest household stuff 
Should homely Joan be fashioned. But can 
You Barbara resist, or Marian ? 
And is not Clare for love excuse enough ? 
Yet, by my faith in numbers, I profess, 
These all, than Saxon Edith, please me less. 

Many thanks for the life you have given us : 
I am perfectly satisfied. But if you advert to it 

again, I give you a delicate hint. Barbara S 

shadows under that name Miss Kelly's early life, 
and I had the anecdote beautifully from her. 


Early 1833. 

No writing, and no word, ever passed between 
Taylor, or Hessey, and me, respecting copyright. 
This I can swear. They made a volume at their 
own will, and volunteer'd me a third of profits, 


which came to ^30, which came to Bilk, and 
never came back to me. Proctor has acted a 
friendly part — when did he otherwise ? I am 

very sorry to hear Mrs. P as I suppose, is 

not so well. I meditated a rallying epistle to him 
on his Gemini — his two Sosias, accusing him 
of having acted a notable piece of duplicity. But 
if his partner in the double dealing suffers, it 
would be unseasonable. You cannot remember 
me to him too kindly. Your chearful letter has 
relieved us from the dumps; all may be well. I 
rejoice at your letting your house so magnifi- 
cently. Talfourd's letter may be directed to him 
" On the Western Circuit." (Is it the Western ? 
he goes to Reading, &c.) That is the way, send 
it. With Blackwood pray send Piozziana and a 
Literary Gazette if you have one. The Piozzi and 
that shall be immediately return'd, and I keep 
Madame Darblay for you eventually, a long- 
winded reader at present having use of it. 

The weather is so queer that I will not say I 
expect you, &c, but am prepared for the pleasure 
of seeing you when you can come. 

We had given you up (the postman being 
late) and Emma and I have twenty times this 
morning been to the door in the rain to spy for 
him coming. 

Well, I know it is not all settled, but your 
letter is chearful and cheer-making. 

We join in triple love to you. 

Elia & Co. 

I am settled in any case to take at bookseller's 
price any copies I have more. Therefore oblige 
me by sending a copy of Elia to Coleridge and 
B. Barton, and enquire (at your leisure of course) 
how I can send one, with a letter, to Walter 
Savage Landor. These three put in your next 
bill on me. I am peremptory that it shall be so. 
These are all I can want. 


Enfield, Monday. 

Dear P , I have more than ^30 in my 

house, and am independent of quarter-day, not 
having received my pension. 

Pray settle, I beg of you, the matter with 
Mr. Taylor. I know nothing of bills, but most 
gladly will I forward to you that sum for him, 
for Mary is very anxious that M[oxon] may not 
get into any litigation. The money is literally 
rotting in my desk for want of use. I should 

not interfere with M , tell M when 

you see him, but Mary is really uneasy ; so lay 
it to that account, not mine. 

Yours ever and two evers, C. L. 

Do it smack at once, and I will explain to 

M why I did it. It is simply done to ease 

her mind. When you have settled, write, and 
I '11 send the bank-notes to you twice, in halves. 

Deduct from it your share in broken bottles, 

which, you being capital in your lists, I take to 
be two shillings. Do it as you love Mary and 
me. Then Elia 's himself again. 


March 6, 1833. 

Dear Friend, — Thee hast sent a Christian 
epistle to me, and I should not feel clear if I 
neglected to reply to it, which would have been 
sooner if that vain young man, to whom thou 
didst intrust it, had not kept it back. We should 
rejoice to see thy outward man here, especially 
on a day which should not be a first day, being 
liable to worldly callers in on that day. Our 
little book is delayed by a heathenish injunction, 
threatened by the man Taylor. Canst thou copy 
and send, or bring with thee, a vanity in verse 
which in my younger days I wrote on friend 
Aders' pictures ? Thou wilt find it in the book 
called the Table Book. 

Tryphena and Tryphosa, whom the world 
calleth Mary and Emma, greet you with me. 

Ch. Lamb 

6th of 3d month, 4th day. 


March 19, 1833. 

I shall expect Forster and two Moxons on 
Sunday, and hope for Procter. 


I am obliged to be in town next Monday. 
Could we contrive to make a party (paying or 
not is immaterial) for Miss Kelly's that night, 
and can you shelter us after the play, I mean 
Emma and me ? I fear, I cannot persuade Mary 
to join us. 

N. B. I can sleep at a public house. Send an 
Elia (mind I insist on buying it) to T. Manning, 
Esq., at Sir G. Tuthill's, Cavendish Square. Do 


March 30, 1833. 

Dear M., — Emma and we are delighted with 
the Sonnets, and she with her nice Walton. Mary 
is deep in the novel. Come as early as you can. 
I stupidly overlook'd your proposal to meet you 
in Green Lanes, for in some strange way I burnt 
my leg, shin-quarter, at Forster's ; * it is laid up on 
a stool, and Asbury attends. You '11 see us all as 
usual, about Taylor, when you come. 

Yours ever, C. L. 

* Or the night I came home, for I felt it not 
bad till yesterday. But I scarce can hobble across 
the room. I have secured four places for night : 
in haste. Mary and E. do not dream of anything 
we have discussed. 



Spring, 1833. 

Dear M., — Many thanks for the books; the 
Faust I will acknowledge to the author. But 
most thanks for one immortal sentence, " If I do 
not cheat him, never trust me again." I do not 
know whether to admire most, the wit or justness 
of the sentiment. It has my cordial approbation. 
My sense of meum and tuum applauds it. I main- 
tain it, the eighth commandment hath a secret 
special reservation, by which the reptile is ex- 
empt from any protection from it; as a dog, or 
a nigger, he is not a holder of property. Not 
a ninth of what he detains from the world is 
his own. "Keep your hands from picking and 
stealing" is no ways referable to his acquists. 
I doubt whether bearing false witness against thy 
neighbour at all contemplated this possible scrub. 
Could Moses have seen the speck in vision ? An 
ex post facto law alone could relieve him, and we 
are taught to expect no eleventh commandment. 
The outlaw to the Mosaic dispensation! — un- 
worthy to have seen Moses' behind — to lay his 
desecrating hands upon Elia ! Has the irriverent 
ark-toucher been struck blind I wonder? The 
more I think of him, the less I think of him. 
His meanness is invisible with aid of solar micro- 
scope; my moral eye smarts at him. The less 
flea that bites little fleas! The great beast! the 
beggarly nit! 


More when we meet ; mind, you '11 come, two 
of you — and could n't you go off in the morning, 
that we may have a day-long curse at him, if 
curses are not dis-hallowed by descending so low ? 
Amen. Maledicatur in extremis. 


Swallow your damn'd dinner and your brandy 
and water fast, and come immediately. I want 
to take Knowles in to Emma's only female friend 
for five minutes only, and we are free for the 
evening. I '11 do a Prologue. 

Last line alter to, — 

A store of gratitude is left behind. 

Because, as it now stands, if the author lays his 
hand upon his heart, and emfattically says, — 

I have (so and so) behind, 

the audience may think it is all my**** in a 
bandbox, and so in fact it is. Yours, by old and 
new ties, C. Lamb 

Condemn them, damn them, hiss them as you will, 
Their author is your grateful servant still. 

I want to see fouster (not the German foust) 
and you, boy. 


Mind, I don't care the ioo,oooth part of a 
bad sixpence if Knowles gets a Prologue more 
to his mind. 


[No date. ? April 10, 1833.] 

Dear M., — The first Oak sonnet and the 
Nightingale, may show their faces in any An- 
nual unblushing. Some of the others are very 

The Sabbath too much what you have written 

You are destined to shine in sonnets, I tell 

Shall we look for you Sunday, we did in vain 
Good Friday [April 5]. 


April, 1833. 

Dear Sir, — I read your note in a moment of 
great perturbation with my landlady and chuck'd 
it in the fire, as I should have done an epistle of 
Paul, but as far as my sister recalls the import 
of it, I reply. The sonnets (36 of them) have 
never been printed, much less published, till the 
other day (the proof-sheets only were in my hand 
about a fortnight ago), save that a few of 'em 
have come out in Annuals. Two vols., of poetry 
of M.'s, have been publish'd, but they were not 


these. The Nightingale has been in one of those 
gewgaws, the Annuals; whether the other I sent 
you has, or not, penitus ignoro. But for heaven's 
sake do with 'em what you like. 

Yours, C. L. 


April (16), 1833. 

Dear Mrs. Ayrton, — I do not know which to 
admire most, your kindness or your patience, in 
copying out that intolerable rabble of panegryc 
from over the Atlantic. By the way, now your 
hand is in, I wish you would copy out for me the 
1 3th, 1 7th, and 24th of Barrow's sermons in folio, 
and all of Tillotson's (folio also) except the first, 
which I have in manuscript, and which, you 
know, is Ayrton's favourite. Then — but I won't 
trouble you any farther just now. Why does not 
A. come and see me ? Can't he and Henry Crabbe 
concert it ? 'T is as easy as lying is to me. Mary's 
kindest love to you both. Elia 


[April 25, 1833.] 

My dear Moxon, — We perfectly agree in your 
arrangement. // has quite set my sister s mind at 
rest. She will come with you on Sunday, and re- 
turn at eve, and I will make comfortable arrange- 
ments with the Buffams. We desire to have you 


here dining unWestwooded, and I will try and 
get you a bottle of choice port. I have trans- 
ferr'd the stock I told you to Emma. The plan 
of the Buffams steers admirably between two 
niceties. Tell Emma we thoroughly approve it. 
As our damn'd Times is a day after the fair, I am 
setting off to Enfield Highway to see in a morn- 
ing paper (alas ! the Publican's) how the play 
ran. Pray, bring four orders for Mr. Asbury — 
undated. In haste (not for neglect), 

Yours ever, C. Lamb 


[April 27, 1833.] 

Dear M., — Mary and I are very poorly. As- 
bury says 'tis nothing but influenza. Mr. W. 
appears all but dying : he is delirious. Mrs. W. 
was taken so last night that Mary was obliged at 
midnight to knock up Mrs. Waller to come and 
sit up with her. We have had a sick child, who 
sleeping or not sleeping, next me with a paste- 
board partition between, killed my sleep. The 
little bastard is gone. My bedfellows are Cough 
and Cramp, we sleep three in a bed. Domestic 
arrangements (Blue Butcher and all) devolve on 
Mary. Don't come yet to this house of pest and 
age. We propose when E. and you agree on the 
time, to come up and meet her at the Buffams', 
say a week hence, but do you make the appoint- 
ment. The Lachlans send her their love. 


I do sadly want those two last Hogarths ; and 
an't I to have the Play ? 

Mind our spirits are good and we are happy 
in your happinesses. C. L. 

Our old and ever loves to dear Em. 


Ma y 7. l8 33- 
By a strange occurrence we have quitted En- 
field for ever. Oh ! the happy eternity ! Who is 
Vicar or Lecturer for that detestable place con- 
cerns us not. But Asbury, surgeon and a good fel- 
low, has offered to get you a Mover and Seconder, 
and you may use my name freely to him. Except 
him and Dr. Creswell, I have no respectable 
acquaintance in the dreary village. At least my 
friends are all in the public line, and it might 
not suit to have it moved at a special vestry by 
John Gage at the Crown and Horseshoe, licensed 
victualler, and seconded by Joseph Horner of 
the Green Dragon, ditto, that the Rev. J. G. is 
a fit person to be Lecturer, &c. 

My dear James, I wish you all success, but 
am too full of my own emancipation almost to 
congratulate any one else. 

With both our loves to your father and mo- 
ther and glorious S. T. C, 

Yours, C. Lamb 



Edmonton, May, 1833. 

Dear F., — Can you oblige me by sending four 
box orders undated for the Olympic Theatre ? 
I suppose Knowles can get 'em. It is for the 
Waldens, with whom I live. The sooner the 
better, that they may not miss the Wife — I meet 
you at the Talfourds' Saturday week, and if they 
can't, perhaps you can, give me a bed. 

Yours, ratherish unwell, C. Lamb 

Or write immediately to say if you can't get 


[May 12, 1833.] 

Dear Boy, — I send you the original E/ias, 

When I am a little composed, I shall hope to 
see you and Proctor here ; maybe, may see you 
first in London. C. L. 


May 23, 1833. 

Dear Miss Rickman, — My being a day in 
town, and my being moved from Enfield, made 
your letter late, and my reply in consequence. 
I am glad you like Elia. Perhaps, as Miss Kelly 


is just now in notoriety, it may amuse you to 
know that " Barbara S." is all of it true of ber, 
being all communicated to me from her own 
mouth. The " wedding " of course you found 
out to be Sally Burney's. As to Mrs. G., I know 
no reason why your dear mother should not call 
upon her. I remember Rickman and she did not 
return Mr. and Mrs. G.'s congratulatory visit on 
their wedding. No fresh reason has occurred 
since to prevent any civilities on their side. By 
a sudden illness of my sister (they now last half 
the year, in violence first, and a succeeding dread- 
ful depression) I have come to the resolution of 
living with her under it at a place where she is 
under regular treatment, and am at Mr. Walden's, 
Church Street, Edmonton. In a few weeks, I 
should like one quiet day among you, but not 
before. With loves to father and mother, and 
your kind-hearted sister, whose Christian name 
I am an heathen if I just now can remember, 
Yours sincerely, C. Lamb 

Mrs. Godwin is a second wife. Mary Wol- 
stoncroft has been dead thirty years ! 


End of May nearly [1833]. 

Dear Wordsworth, — Your letter, save in what 
respects your dear sister's health, chear'd me in 
my new solitude. Mary is ill again. Her illnesses 


encroach yearly. The last was three months, fol- 
lowed by two of depression most dreadful. I look 
back upon her earlier attacks with longing. Nice 
little durations of six weeks or so, followed by 
complete restoration — shocking as they were to 
me then. In short, half her life she is dead to me, 
and the other half is made anxious with fears 
and lookings forward to the next shock. With 
such prospects, it seem'd to me necessary that 
she should no longer live with me, and be flut- 
tered with continual removals, so I am come to 
live with her, at a Mr. Walden's and his wife's, 
who take in patients, and have arranged to lodge 
and board us only. They have had the care of 
her before. I see little of her ; alas ! I too often 
hear her. Sunt lachrymae rerum — and you and 
I must bear it — 

To lay a little more load on it, a circumstance 
has happen' d, cujus pars magna fui, and which 
at another crisis I should have more rejoiced in. 
I am about to lose my old and only walk-com- 
panion, whose mirthful spirits were the "youth 
of our house," Emma Isola. I have her here 
now for a little while, but she is too nervous 
properly to be under such a roof, so she will 
make short visits, be no more an inmate. With 
my perfect approval, and more than concurrence, 
she is to be wedded to Moxon at the end of 
August. So "perish the roses and the flowers" 
— how is it? 

Now to the brighter side, I am emancipated 


from most hated and detestable people, the West- 
woods. I am with attentive people, and younger. 
I am three or four miles nearer the Great City, 
coaches half-price less, and going always, of which 
I will avail myself. I have few friends left there, 
one or two, tho', most beloved. But London 
streets and faces cheer me inexpressibly, tho' of 
the latter not one known one were remaining. 

Thank you for your cordial reception of Elia. 
Inter nos the Ariadne is not a darling with me, 
several incongruous things are in it, but in the 
composition it served me as illustrative. 

I want you in the popular fallacies to like the 
" Home that is no home" and " rising with the 

I am feeble, but chearful in this my genial 
hot weather, — walk'd sixteen miles yesterday. 
I can't read much in summer time. 

With very kindest love to all, and prayers for 
dear Dorothy, I remain most attachedly yours, 

C. Lamb 

at mr. walden's, church street, edmonton, mid- 

Moxon has introduced Emma to Rogers, and 
he smiles upon the project. I have given E. 
my Milton — will you pardon me ? — in part of 
a portion. It hangs famously in his Murray-like 

\On the wrapper is written :] 

Dr. M[oxon], inclose this in a better-looking 

paper, and get it frank' d, and good b'ye till Sun- 
day. Come early — C. L. 


Mr. Walden's, Church Street, Edmonton, 
May 31, 1833. 

Dear Mrs. Hazlitt, — I will assuredly come, 
and find you out, when I am better. I am driven 
from house and home by Mary's illness. I took 
a sudden resolution to take my sister to Edmon- 
ton, where she was under medical treatment last 
time, and have arranged to board and lodge with 
the people. Thank God, I have repudiated En- 
field. I have got out of hell, despair of heaven, 
and must sit down contented in a half-way purga- 
tory. Thus ends this strange eventful history. 
But I am nearer town, and will get up to you 
somehow before long. I repent not of my reso- 
lution. 'T is late, and my hand unsteady, so good 
b'ye till we meet. Your old C. L. 


June, 1833. 

Dear Miss Betham, — I sit down, very poorly, 
to write to you, being come to Mr. Walden's, 
Church Street, Edmonton,to be altogether with poor 
Mary, who is very ill, as usual, only that her ill- 
nesses are now as many months as they used to 
be weeks in duration ; the reason your letter only 

3 11 

just found me. I am saddened with the havoc 
death has made in your family. I do not know 
how to appreciate the kind regard of dear Anne ; 
Mary will understand it two months hence, I 
hope ; but neither she nor I would rob you, if 
the legacy will be of use to, or comfort to you. 
My hand shakes so I can hardly write. On 
Saturday week I must come to town, and will 
call on you in the morning before one o'clock. 
Till when I take kindest leave. 

Your old Friend, C. Lamb 


[June 5, 1833.] 

Dear Mary Betham, — I remember you all, 
and tears come out when I think on the years 
that have separated us. That dear Anne should 
so long have remember'd us affects me. My dear 
Mary, my poor sister, is not, nor will be for two 
months perhaps, capable of appreciating the kind 
old long memory of dear Anne \who had just died, 
leaving j[jo to Mary Lamb]. 

But not a penny will I take, and I can answer 
for my Mary when she recovers, if the sum left 
can contribute in any way to the comfort of 

We will halve it, or we will take a bit of it, 
as a token, rather than wrong her. So pray 
consider it as an amicable arrangement. I write 
in great haste, or you won't get it before you go. 


We do not want the money ; but if dear Matilda 
does not much want it, why, we will take our 
thirds. God bless you. C. Lamb 

I am not at Enfield, but at Mr. Walden's, 
Church Street, Edmonton, Middlesex. 


[Postmarked] July 10, 1833. 

Dear Mrs. Norris, — I wrote to Jekyll, and 
sent him an Elia. This is his kind answer. So you 
see that he will be glad to see any of you that 
shall be in town, and will arrange, if you prefer 
it, to accompany you. If you are at Brighton, 
Betsey will forward this. I have cut off the 
name at the bottom to give to a foolish autograph 
fancier. Love to you all. Emma sends her very 
kindest. C. Lamb 


[July 14, 1833.] 

Dear M., — The Hogarths are delicate. Per- 
haps it will amuse Emma to tell her that, a day 
or two since, Miss Norris (Betsy) call'd to me on 
the road from London from a gig conveying her 
to Widford, and engaged me to come down this 
afternoon. I think I shall stay only one night ; 
she would have been glad of E.'s accompani- 
ment, but I would not disturb her, and Mrs. N. 


is coming to town on Monday, so it would not 
have suited. Also, C. V.Le Grice gave me a din- 
ner at Johnny Gilpin's yesterday, where we talk'd 
of what old friends were taken or left in the 
thirty years since we had met. 

I shall hope to see her on Tuesday. 

To Bless you both, C. L. 


Edmonton [July 18, 1833]. 

Dear Mrs. N orris, — I got home safe. Pray 
accept these little books, and some of you give 
me a line to say you received them. Love to all, 
and thanks for three agreeable days. I send them 
this afternoon (Tuesday) by Canter's coach. Are 
the little girls packed safe ? They can come in 
straw, and have eggs under them. Ask them to 
lie soft, 'cause eggs smash. Elia 


My dear Allsop, — I think it will be impos- 
sible for us to come to Highgate in the time you 
propose. We have friends coming to-morrow, 
who may stay the week ; and we are in a bustle 
about Emma's leaving us — so we will put off 
the hope of seeing Mrs. Allsop till we come to 
town, after Emma's going, which is in a fort- 
night and a half, when we mean to spend a time 


in town, but shall be happy to see you on Sun- 
day, or any day. 

In haste. Hope our little Porter does. 

Yours ever, C. L. 


[Edmonton, 1833.] 

Dear Sir, — I learn that Covent Garden, from 
its thin houses every night, is likely to be shut 
up after Saturday ; so that no time is to be lost 
in using the orders. Yours, 

C. Lamb 


July 24, 1833. 

For God's sake, give Emma no more watches. 
One has turn'd her head. She is arrogant and 
insulting. She said something very unpleasant to 
our old Clock in the passage, as if he did not keep 
time, and yet he had made her no appointment. 
She takes it out every instant to look at the mo- 
ment-hand. She lugs us out into the fields, because 
there the bird-boys ask you, " Pray, Sir, can you 
tell us what 's a Clock," and she answers them 
punctually. She loses all her time looking " what 
the time is." I overheard her whispering, "Just 
so many hours, minutes, &c, to Tuesday — I 
think St. George's goes too slow " — This little 
present of Time, why, 't is Eternity to her — 


What can make her so fond of a gingerbread 
watch ? 

She has spoil'd some of the movements. Be- 
tween ourselves, she has kissed away " half-past 
1 2," which I suppose to be the canonical hour in 
Hanover Sq. 

Well, if " love me, love my watch " answers, 
she will keep time to you — It goes right by the 
Horse Guards — 

[On the next page:} Emma has kist this yel- 
low wafer — a hint. 

Dearest M., — Never mind opposite nonsense. 
She does not love you for the watch, but the 
watch for you. 

I will be at the wedding, and keep the 30th 
July, as long as my poor months last me, as a fes- 
tival gloriously. Yours ever, Elia 

We have not heard from Cambridge. I will 
write the moment we do. 

Edmonton, 24th July, 3.20 post mer. minutes 
4 instants by Emma's watch. 


July 3 1 * l8 33- 

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Moxon, — Time very short. 
I wrote to Miss Fryer, and had the sweetest letter 
about you, Emma, that ever friendship dictated. 


" I am full of good wishes ; I am crying with good 
wishes," she says ; but you shall see it. 

Dear Moxon, — I take your writing most 
kindly and shall most kindly your writing from 

I want to crowd another letter to Miss Fry 
into the little time after dinner before Post time. 

So with 20000 congratulations, 

Yours, C. L. 

I am calm, sober, happy. Turn over for the 

I got home from Dover Street, by Evens, half 
as sober as a judge. I am turning over a new leaf, 
as I hope you will now. 

\On the next leaf Mary Lamb wrote:] 
My dear Emma and Edward Moxon, — Ac- 
cept my sincere congratulations, and imagine 
more good wishes than my weak nerves will let 
me put into good set words. The dreary blank 
of unanswered questions which I ventured to ask 
in vain was cleared up on the wedding-day by 
Mrs. W. taking a glass of wine, and, with a total 
change of countenance, begged leave to drink 
Mr. and Mrs. Moxon's health. It restored me, 
from that moment, as if by an electrical stroke, to 
the entire possession of my senses : I never felt so 
calm and quiet after a similar illness as I do now. 
I feel as if all tears were wiped from my eyes, and 
all care from my heart. Mary Lamb 


[At the foot of this letter Charles Lamb added i\ 
Dears Again, — Your letter interrupted a 

seventh game at picquet which we were having, 

after walking to Wright's and purchasing shoes. 

We pass our time in cards, walks, and reading. 

We attack Tasso soon. C. L. 

Never was such a calm or such a recovery. 
T is her own words, undictated. 


August 20, 1833. 

Dear Mrs. Badams, — I was at church as the 
grave Father, and behaved tolerably well, except 
at first entrance when Emma in a whisper re- 
pressed a nascent giggle. I am not fit for wed- 
dings or burials. Both incite a chuckle. Emma 
looked as pretty as Pamela, and made her re- 
sponses delicately and firmly. I tripped a little 
at the altar, was engaged in admiring the altar- 
piece, but, recalled seasonably by a Parsonic 
rebuke, "Who gives this woman?" was in time 
resolutely to reply " I do." Upon the whole the 
thing went offdecently and devoutly. Your dodg- 
ing post is excellent ; I take it, it was at Wilsdon. 
We shall this week or next dine at Islington. I 
am writing to know the day, and in that case see 
you the next day and talk of beds. My lodging 
may be on the cold floor. I long for a hard fought 
game with Badams. 


With haste and thanks for your unusually en- 
tertaining letter, yours truly, 

Charles and Mary Lamb 

I will write to Miss Jas. soon — was meditat- 
ing it. 


August 23, 1833. 

Dear Miss B., — Your bridal verses are very 
beautiful. Emma shall have them, as here cor- 
rected, when they return. They are in France. 
The verses, I repeat, are sweetly pretty. I know 
nobody in these parts that wants a servant; in- 
deed, I have no acquaintance in this new place, 
and rarely come to town. 

The rule of Christ's Hospital is rigorous, that 
the marriage certificate of the parents be pro- 
duced, previous to the presentation of a boy, so 
that your renowned protege has no chance. 

Never trouble yourself about Dyer's neigh- 
bour. He will only tell you a parcel of fibs, and 
is impracticable to any advice. He has been 
long married and parted, and has to pay his wife 
a weekly allowance to this day, besides other in- 

In haste and headake, yours, 

^Signature lostl\ 

3 IQ 


September 9, 1833. 

Dear Sir, — Your packet I have only just re- 
ceived, owing, I suppose, to the absence of 
Moxon, who is flaunting it about a la Parisienne 
with his new bride, our Emma, much to his 
satisfaction and not a little to our dulness. We 
shall be quite well by the time you return from 
Worcestershire, and most most (observe the repe- 
tition) glad to see you here or anywhere. 

I will take my time with Darley's act. I wish 
poets would write a little plainer; he begins some 
of his words with a letter which is unknown to 
the English typography. Yours, most truly, 

C. Lamb 

P. S. Pray let me know when you return. 
We are at Mr. Walden's, Church Street, Ed- 
monton; no longer at Enfield. You will be 
amused to hear that my sister and I have, with 
the aid of Emma, scrambled through the Inferno 
by the blessed furtherance of your polar-star trans- 
lation. I think we scarce left anything unmade- 
out. But our partner has left us, and we have 
not yet resumed. Mary's chief pride in it was 
that she should some day brag of it to you. 
Your Dante and Sandys' Ovid are the only help- 
mates of translations. Neither of you shirk a 

Fairfax's Tasso is no translation at all. It 's 

better in some places ; but it merely observes the 
number of stanzas; as for images, similes, &c, 
he finds 'em himself, and never " troubles Peter 
for the matter." 

In haste, dear Cary, yours ever, 

C. Lamb 

Has Moxon sent you Elia, second volume ? if 
not, he shall. Taylor and we are at law about it. 


September 26, 1833. 

We shall be most happy to see Emma, dear to 
everybody. Mary's spirits are much better, and 
she longs to see again our twelve years' friend. 
You shall afternoon sip with me a bottle of 
superexcellent Port, after deducting a dinner- 
glass for them. We rejoyce to have E. come, the 

first visit, without Miss , who, I trust, will 

yet behave well ; but she might perplex Mary 
with questions. 

Pindar sadly wants Preface and notes. Pray, 
E., get to Snow Hill before twelve, for we dine 
before two. We will make it two. By mistake 
I gave you Miss Betham's letter, with the ex- 
quisite verses, which pray return to me, or if it 
be an improved copy, give me the other, and 
albumize mine, keeping the signature. It is too 
pretty a family portrait, for you not to cherish. 

Your loving friends, C. Lamb, M. Lamb 


[The following poem was addressed to Moxon by Lamb, 
and printed in The Atkenaum, December 7, 1833 : 


What makes a happy wedlock ? What has fate 

Not given to thee in thy well-chosen mate ? 

Good sense — good humour ; — these are trivial things, 

Dear M , that each trite encomiast sings. 

But she hath these, and more. A mind exempt 
From every low-bred passion, where contempt, 
Nor envy, nor detraction, ever found 
A harbour yet ; an understanding sound ; 
Just views of right and wrong ; perception full 
Of the deformed, and of the beautiful, 
In life and manners ; wit above her sex, 
Which, as a gem, her sprightly converse decks ; 
Exuberant fancies, prodigal of mirth, 
To gladden woodland walk, or winter hearth ; 
A noble nature, conqueror in the strife 
Of conflict with a hard discouraging life, 
Strengthening the veins of virtue, past the power 
Of those whose days have been one silken hour, 
Spoil'd fortune's pamper'd offspring ; a keen sense 
Alike of benefit, and of offence, 
With reconcilement quick, that instant springs 
From the charged heart with nimble angel wings ; 
While grateful feelings, like a signet sign'd 
By a strong hand, seem burnt into her mind. 
If these, dear friend, a dowry can confer 
Richer than land, thou hast them all in her ; 
And beauty, which some hold the chiefest boon, 
Is in thy bargain for a make-weight thrown.] 


October 17, 1833. 

Dear M., — Get me Shirley (there 's a dear 
fellow) and send it soon. We sadly want books, 
and this will be readable again and again, and 
pay itself. Tell Emma I grieve for the poor self- 


punishing self-baffling lady ; with all our hearts 
we grieve for the pain and vexation she has en- 
counter' d ; but we do not swerve a pin's-thought 
from the propriety of your measures. God com- 
fort her, and there 's an end of a painful neces- 
sity. But I am glad she goes to see her. Let her 
keep up all the kindness she can between them. 
In a week or two I hope Mary will be stout 
enough to come among ye, but she is not now, 
and I have scruples of coming alone, as she has 
no pleasant friend to sit with her in my absence. 
We are lonely. I fear the visits must be mostly 
from you. By the way omnibuses are ij\ yi. 
and coach insides sunk to is. 6d. — a hint. With- 
out disturbance to yourselves, or upsetting the 
economy of the dear new mistress of a family, 
come and see us as often as ever you can. We 
are so out of the world, that a letter from either 
of you now and then, detailing anything, book 
or town news, is as good as a newspaper. I have 
desperate colds, cramps, megrims, &c, but do 
not despond. My fingers are numb'd, as you see 
by my writing. Tell E. I am very good also. But 
we are poor devils ; that 's the truth of it. I 
won't apply to Dilke — just now at least; I sin- 
cerely hope the pastoral air of Dover St. will 
recruit poor Harriet. With best loves to all. 
Yours ever, C. L. 

Ryle and Lowe dined here on Sunday; the 
manners of the latter, so gentlemanly! have 

3 2 3 

attracted the special admiration of our landlady. 
She guest R. to be nearly of my age. He always 
had an old head on young shoulders. I fear I 
shall always have the opposite. Tell me anything 
of Foster [Forster] or anybody. Write anything 
you think will amuse me. I do dearly hope in 
a week or two to surprise you with our appear- 
ance in Dover St. 


November 29, 1833. 

Mary is of opinion with me that two of these 
Sonnets are of a higher grade than any poetry 
you have done yet. The one to Emma is so 
pretty ! I have only allowed myself to transpose 
a word in the third line. Sacred shall it be for 
any intermeddling of mine. But we jointly beg 
that you will make four lines in the room of the 
four last. Read Darby and Joan, in Mrs. Moxon's 
first album. There you '11 see how beautiful in 
age the looking back to youthful years in an old 
couple is. But it is a violence to the feelings to 
anticipate that time in youth. I hope you and 
Emma will have many a quarrel and many a 
make-up (and she is beautiful in reconciliation !) 
before the dark days shall come, in which ye 
shall say " there is small comfort in them." You 
have begun a sort of character of Emma in them 
very sweetly; carry it on, if you can, through 
the last lines. 

3 2 4 

I love the sonnet to my heart, and you shall 
finish it, and I '11 be damn'd if I furnish a line 
towards it. So much for that. The next best is, 


Ye gallant winds, if e'er your lusty cheeks 

Blew longing lover to his mistress' side, 

O, puff your loudest, spread the canvas wide, 

is spirited. The last line I altered, and have re- 
altered it as it stood. It is closer. These two 
are your best. But take a good deal of time in 
finishing the first. How proud should Emma be 
of her poets ! 

Perhaps "O Ocean" (though I like it) is too 
much of the open vowels, which Pope objects 
to. "Great Ocean!" is obvious. "To save sad 
thoughts," I think is better (though not good) 
than for the mind to save herself. But 't is a 
noble sonnet. St. Cloud I have no fault to find 

If I return the Sonnets, think it no disrespect ; 
for I look for a printed copy. You have done 
better than ever. And now for a reason I did 
not notice 'em earlier: on Wednesday they came, 
and on Wednesday I was a-gadding. Mary gave 
me a holiday, and I set off to Snow Hill. From 
Snow Hill I deliberately was marching down, 
with noble Holborn before me, framing in 
mental cogitation a map of the dear London in 
prospect, thinking to traverse Wardour Street, 
&c, when diabolically I was interrupted by 

3 2 5 


Little Barrow! — 
Emma knows him, — and prevailed on to spend 
the day at his sister's, where was an album, and 
(O march of intellect!) plenty of literary con- 
versation, and more acquaintance with the state 
of modern poetry than I could keep up with. 
I was positively distanced. Knowles' play, which, 
epilogued by me, lay on the piano, alone made me 
hold up my head. When I came home I read your 
letter, and glimpsed at your beautiful sonnet, — 

Fair art thou as the morning, my young bride, 

and dwelt upon it in a confused brain, but deter- 
mined not to open them till next day, being in 
a state not to be told of at Chatteris. Tell it not 
in Gath, Emma, lest the daughters triumph ! I 
am at the end of my tether. I wish you could 
come on Tuesday with your fair bride. Why 
can't you ? Do. We are thankful to your sister 
for being of the party. Come, and bring a sonnet 
on Mary's birthday. Love to the whole Mox- 
onry, and tell E. I every day love her more, and 
miss her less. Tell her so from her loving uncle, 
as she has let me call myself. I bought a fine 
embossed card yesterday, and wrote for the Pawn- 
brokeress's album. She is a Miss Brown, engaged 
to a Mr. White. One of the lines was (I forget 
the rest — but she had them at twenty-four 
hours' notice; she is going out to India with her 
husband), — 


May your fame 
And fortune, Frances, Whiten with your name ! 

Not bad as a pun. I wil expect you before two 
on Tuesday. I am well and happy, tell E. 


Edmonton, November, 1833. 

Dear Frances, — Will you accept these poor 
lines, and curl them into your album, clipping 
the corners? They will cost you threepence, 
which your Aunt Mary will pay you, and then 
she will owe me ninepence, from the old shilling 
she lost, as she says, in the sawpit. My sister joins 
me in remembrances to you all. C. Lamb 

I hope your sweetheart's name is White. 
Else it will spoil all. May be 't is Black. Then 
we must alter it. And may your fortunes blacken 
with your name. 


Middle December, 1833. 

I hoped R. would like his sonnet, but I fear'd 
S., that fine old man, might not quite like the turn 
of it. This last was penn'd almost literally ex- 
tempore. Your Laureat 

Is S.'s Christian name Thomas? if not, cor- 
rect it. 


[« R." — Rogers ; " S." Stothard. See next letter.] 


December 21, 1833. 

My dear Sir, — Your book, by the unremit- 
ting punctuality of your publisher, has reached 
me thus early. I have not opened it, nor will till 
to-morrow, when I promise myself a thorough 
reading of it. The Pleasures of Memory was the 
first school present I made to Mrs. Moxon — it 
had those nice wood-cuts; and I believe she 
keeps it still. Believe me, that all the kindness 
you have shown to the husband of that excellent 
person seems done unto myself. I have tried 
my hand at a sonnet in the Times. But the turn 
I gave it, though I hoped it would not displease 
you, I thought might not be equally agreeable 
to your artist. I met that dear old man at poor 
Henry's — with you — and again at Cary's — 
and it was sublime to see him sit deaf and enjoy 
all that was going on in mirth with the company. 
He reposed upon the many graceful, many fan- 
tastic images he had created; with them he 
dined and took wine. 

I have ventured at an antagonist copy of verses 
in the Athenaum to him, in which he is as every- 
thing and you as nothing. He is no lawyer who 
cannot take two sides. But I am jealous of the 
combination of the sister arts. Let them sparkle 


apart. What injury (short of the theatres) did 
not Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery do me with 
Shakespeare ? — to have Opie's Shakespeare, 
Northcote's Shakespeare, light-headed Fuseli's 
Shakespeare, heavy-headed Romney's Shake- 
speare, wooden-headed West's Shakespeare 
(though he did the best in Lear}, deaf-headed 
Reynolds's Shakespeare, instead of my, and every- 
body's Shakespeare. To be tied down to an 
authentic face of Juliet! To have Imogen's por- 
trait ! To confine the illimitable ! I like you 
and Stothard (you best), but " out upon this half- 
faced fellowship." Sir, when I have read the 
book I may trouble you, through Moxon, with 
some faint criticisms. It is not the flatteringest 
compliment, in a letter to an author, to say you 
have not read his book yet. But the devil of a 
reader he must be who prances through it in five 
minutes, and no longer have I received the parcel. 
It was a little tantalizing to me to receive a letter 
from Landor, Gebir Landor, from Florence, to 
say he was just sitting down to read my Elia, 
just received, but the letter was to go out before 
the reading. There are calamities in authorship 
which only authors know. I am going to call 
on Moxon on Monday, if the throng of carriages 
in Dover Street on the morn of publication do 
not barricade me out. 

With many thanks, and most respectful re- 
membrances to your sister, yours, 

C. Lamb 

3 2 9 

Have you seen Coleridge's happy exemplifica- 
tion in English of the Ovidian elegiac metre ? — 

In the Hexameter rises the fountain's silvery current, 
In the Pentameter aye falling in melody down. 

My sister is papering up the book — careful 
soul ! 


I have read the enclosed five and forty times 
over. I have submitted it to my Edmonton 
friends; at last (O Argus' penetration), I have 
discovered a dash that might be dispensed with. 
Pray don't trouble yourself with such useless cour- 
tesies. I can well trust your editor, when I don't 
use queer phrases which prove themselves wrong 
by creating a distrust in the sober compositor. 


Church Street, Edmonton. [No date.] 

May I now claim of you the benefit of the 
loan of some books ? Do not fear sending too 
many. But do not if it be irksome to yourself, — 
such as shall make you say, " Damn it, here 's 
Lamb's box come again." Dog's-leaves ensured! 
Any light stuff: no natural history or useful 
learning, such as Pyramids, Catacombs, Giraffes, 
Adventures in Southern Africa, Sec, &c. 

With our joint compliments, yours, 

C. Lamb 


Novels for the last two years, or further back — 
nonsense of any period. 


[No date. Spring, 1834.] 

Dear Sir, — I return forty-four volumes by 
Tate. If they are not all your own, and some of 
mine have slipt in, I do not think you will lose 
much. Shall I go on with the Table Talk? I 
will, if you like it, when the Culinary article has 
appear' d. 

Robins, the carrier, from the Swan, Snow Hill, 
will bring any more contributions, thankfully to 
be receiv'd ; I pay backwards and forwards. 

C. Lamb 



Dear Hood, — I have been infinitely amused 
with Tylney Hall. 'T is a medley, without con- 
fusion, of farce, melodrame, comedy, tragedy, 
punchery, what-not. The Fete is as good as 
H.'s Strollers in the Barn. For the serious part, 
the warning Puci shouts over Raby's head is 
most impressive. Duly Luckless Joe should not 
have been halter' d; his Fates were brazen [?], 
and not absolutely inexorable Clothos, and the 
Creole should have been hanged. The puns are 
so neat that the most inveterate foe to that kind 

33 1 

of joke, not being expectant of 'em, might read 
it all through and not find you out. With kind 
remembrances to Mrs. Hood, yours, 

C. Lamb 

My sister, I hope, will relish it by and by, but 
it puzzles her to read above a page or two a day. 


Edmonton, January 24, 1834. 

Dear Mary Betham, — I received the bill, and 
when it is payable, some ten or twelve days hence, 
will punctually do with the overplus as you direct. 
I thought you would like to know it came to 
hand, so I have not waited for the uncertainty 
of when your nephew sets out. I suppose my 
receipt will serve, for poor Mary is not in a 
capacity to sign it. After being well from the 
end of July to the end of December, she was 
taken ill almost on the first day of the New Year, 
and is as bad as poor creature can be. I expect 
her fever to last fourteen or fifteen weeks — if 
she gets well at all, which every successive illness 
puts me in fear of. She has less and less strength 
to throw it off, and they leave a dreadful depres- 
sion after them. She was quite comfortable a few 
weeks since, when Matilda came down here to 
see us. 

You shall excuse a short letter, for my hand 
is unsteady. Indeed, the situation I am in with 


her shakes me sadly. She was quite able to appre- 
ciate the kind legacy while she was well. Imag- 
ine her kindest love to you, which is but buried 
a while, and believe all the good wishes for your 
restoration to health from C. Lamb 


[January 28, 1834.] 

I met with a man at my half-way house, who 
told me many anecdotes of Kean's younger life. 
He knew him thoroughly. His name is Wyatt, 
living near the Bell, Edmonton. Also he referred 
me to West, a publican, opposite St. George's 
Church, Southwark, who knew him more inti- 
mately. Is it worth Forster's while to enquire 
after them ? C. L. 


Church Street, Edmonton, 
February 7, 1834. 

My dear Sir, — I compassionate very much 
your failure and your infirmities. I am in afflic- 
tion. I am come to Edmonton to live altogether 
with Mary, at the house where she is nursed, and 
where we see nobody while she is ill, which is, 
alas ! the greater part of the year now. 

I cannot but think your application, with a 
full statement, to the Literary Fund must succeed. 
Your little political heats many years are past. 


You are now remember' d but as the editor of the 
Every Day and Table Books. To them appeal. 
You have Southey's testimony to their meritori- 
ousness. He must be blind indeed who sees ought 
in them but what is good-hearted, void of offence 
to God and man. I know not a single member 
of the Fund, but to whomsoever you may refer 
to me I am ready to affirm that your speech and 
actions since I have known you — ten or eleven 
years I think — have been the most opposite to 
anything profane or irreligious, and that in your 
domestic relations a kinder husband or father, 
as it seemed to me, could not be. Suppose you 
transmitted your case, or petition, to Mr. Dilke, 
editor of the Athenceum, with this note of mine ; 
he knows me, and he may know some of the 
Literary Society. I am totally unacquainted with 

With best wishes to you and Mrs. Hone, 
Yours faithfully, C. Lamb 


February 14, 1834. 

Dear Miss Fryer, — Your letter found me just 
returned from keeping my birthday (pretty inno- 
cent!) at Dover Street. I see them pretty often. 
I have since had letters of business to write, or 
should have replied earlier. In one word, be less 
uneasy about me ; I bear my privations very well ; 
I am not in the depths of desolation, as hereto- 


fore. Your admonitions are not lost upon me. 
Your kindness has sunk into my heart. Have 
faith in me ! It is no new thing for me to be 
left to my sister. When she is not violent, her 
rambling chat is better to me than the sense and 
sanity of this world. Her heart is obscured, not 
buried ; it breaks out occasionally ; and one can 
discern a strong mind struggling with the billows 
that have gone over it. I could be nowhere 
happier than under the same roof with her. Her 
memory is unnaturally strong ; and from ages 
past, if we may so call the earliest records of our 
poor life, she fetches thousands of names and 
things that never would have dawned upon me 
again, and thousands from the ten years she lived 
before me. What took place from early girlhood 
to her coming of age principally lives again (every 
important thing and every trifle) in her brain 
with the vividness of real presence. For twelve 
hours incessantly she will pour out without 
intermission all her past life, forgetting nothing, 
pouring out name after name to the Waldens as 
a dream ; sense and nonsense ; truths and errors 
huddled together ; a medley between inspiration 
and possession. What things we are ! I know 
you will bear with me, talking of these things. 
It seems to ease me ; for I have nobody to tell 
these things to now. 

Emma, I see, has got a harp ! and is learning 
to play. She has framed her three Walton pic- 
tures, and pretty they look. That is a book you 


should read ; such sweet religion in it — next 
to Woolman's ! though the subject be baits and 
hooks, and worms and fishes. She has my copy 
at present to do two more from. 

Very, very tired, I began this epistle, having 
been epistolising all the morning, and very kindly 
would I end it, could I find adequate expressions 
to your kindness. We did set our minds on 
seeing you in spring. One of us will indubitably. 
But I am not skilled in almanac learning, to 
know when spring precisely begins and ends. 
Pardon my blots; I am glad you like your book. 
I wish it had been half as worthy of your accept- 
ance as John Woolman. But 't is a good-natured 


[No date.] 

My dear Miss Fryer, — By desire of Emma 
I have attempted new words to the old nonsense 
of Tartar Drum; but with the nonsense the sound 
and spirit of the tune are unaccountably gone, 
and we have agreed to discard the new version 
altogether. As you may be more fastidious in 
singing mere silliness, and a string of well- 
sounding images without sense or coherence — 
Drums of Tartars, who use none, and Tulip trees 
ten foot high, not to mention Spirits in Sun- 
beams, &c, — than we are, so you are at liberty 
to sacrifice an enspiriting movement to a little 

33 6 

sense, tho' I like Little-sense less than his vagary- 
ing younger sister No-sense — so I send them — 

The fourth line of first stanza is from an old 

Emma is looking weller and handsomer (as 
you say) than ever. Really, if she goes on thus 
improving, by the time she is nine and thirty 
she will be a tolerable comely person. But I 
may not live to see it. — I take beauty to be 
catching — a cholera sort of thing. Now, whether 
the constant presence of a handsome object — 
for there 's only two of us — may not have the 
effect — but the subject is delicate, and as my 
old great-Ant used to say — " Andsome is as 
andsome duzz" — that was my great-Ant's way 
of spelling — (Emma's way of spelling Miss Um- 
fris, as I spell her Aunt). 

Most and best kind things say to yourself and 
dear Mother for all your kindnesses to our Em., 
tho' in truth I am a little tired with her ever- 
lasting repetition of 'em. Yours very truly, 

Ch. Lamb 

love will come 

Tune : " The Tartar Drum " 

Guard thy feelings, pretty Vestal, 
From the smooth Intruder free ; 

Cage thine heart in bars of chrystal, 
Lock it with a golden key : 

Thro' the bars demurely stealing — 
Noiseless footstep, accent dumb, 


His approach to none revealing — 
Watch, or watch not, Love will come. 

His approach to none revealing — 

Watch, or watch not, Love will come — Love, 
Watch, or watch not, Love will come. 


Scornful Beauty may deny him — 

He hath spells to charm disdain ; 
Homely Features may defy him — 

Both at length must wear the chain. 
Haughty Youth in Courts of Princes — 

Hermit poor with age o'ercome — 
His soft plea at last convinces; 

Sooner, later, Love will come — 

His soft plea at length convinces; 

Sooner, later, Love will come — Love, 
Sooner, later, Love will come. 


Church Street, Edmonton, February 22 [1834]. 

Dear Wordsworth, — I write from a house of 
mourning. The oldest and best friends I have 
left are in trouble. A branch of them (and they 
of the best stock of God's creatures, I believe) is 
establishing a school at Carlisle. Her name is 
Louisa Martin, her address 75 Castle Street, Car- 
lisle; her qualities (and her motives for this 
exertion) are the most amiable, most upright. 
For thirty years she has been tried by me, and 
on her behaviour I would stake my soul. O if 
you can recommend her, how would I love you ! 
if I could love you better. Pray, pray, recom- 


mend her. She is as good a human creature, — 
next to my sister, perhaps the most exemplary 
female I ever knew. Moxon tells me you would 
like a letter from me. You shall have one. This 
I cannot mingle up with any nonsense which you 
usually tolerate from, C. Lamb. Need he add 
loves to wife, sister, and all ? 

Poor Mary is ill again, after a short lucid in- 
terval of four or five months. In short, I may 
call her half dead to me. 

Good you are to me. Yours with fervour of 
friendship; forever. 

Turn over. 

If you want references, the Bishop of Carlisle 
may be one. Louisa's sister (as good as she, she 
cannot be better tho' she tries) educated the 
daughters of the late Earl of Carnarvon, and he 
settled a handsome annuity on her for life. In 
short all the family are a sound rock. The pre- 
sent Lord Carnarvon married Howard of Gray- 
stock's sister. 


[Wordsworth has written on the wrapper, " Lamb's last 


May 10, 1834. 

You made me feel so funny, so happy-like ; it 
was as if I was reading one of your old letters 
taken out at hazard any time between the last 


twenty years, 't was so the same. The unity of 
place, a garden ! The old Dramatis Personae, a 
landlady and daughter. The puns the same in 
mould. Will nothing change you? 'T is but a 
short week since honest Ryle and I were lament- 
ing the gone-by days of Manning and whist. 
How savourily did he remember them! Might 
some great year but bring them back again ! 
This was my exclaim, and R. did not ask for an 

I have had a scurvy nine years of it, and am 
now in the sorry fifth act. Twenty weeks nigh 
has she been now violent, with but a few sound 
months before, and these in such dejection that 
her fever might seem a relief to it. I tried to 
bring her to town in the winter once or twice, 
but it failed. Tuthill led me to expect that this 
illness would lengthen with her years, and it has 
cruelly — with that new feature of despondency 
after. I am with her alone now in a proper 
house. She is, I hope, recovering. We play 
picquet, and it is like the old times a while, then 
goes off. I struggle to town rarely, and then 
to see London, with little other motive; for 
what is left there hardly? The streets and shops 
entertaining ever, else I feel as in a desert, and 
get me home to my cave. Save that once a 
month I pass a day, a gleam in my life, with 
Cary at the Museum (he is the flower of clergy- 
men) and breakfast next morning with Robinson. 
I look to tbis as a treat. It sustains me. C. is 


a dear fellow, with but two vices, which in any 
less good than himself would be crimes past re- 
demption. He has no relish for Parson Adams ; 
hints that he might not be a very great Greek 
scholar after all (does Fielding hint that he was 
a Porson ?) — and prefers Ye shepherds so cheerful 
and gay, and My banks they are furnished with bees, 
to The Schoolmistress. I have not seen Wright's, 
but the faithfulness of C. Mary and I can attest. 
For last year, in a good interval, I giving some 
lessons to Emma, now Mrs. Moxon, in the sense 
part of her Italian (I knew no words), Mary 
pertinaciously undertook, being sixty-nine, to 
read the Inferno all thro' with the help of his 
translation, and we got thro' it with dictionaries 
and grammars, of course to our satisfaction. Her 
perseverance was gigantic, almost painful. Her 
head was over her task, like a sucking bee, morn 
to night. We were beginning the Purgatory, 
but got on less rapidly, our great authority for 
grammar, Emma, being fled, but should have 
proceeded but for this misfortune. Do not come 
to town without apprising me. We must all 
three meet somehow and "drink a cup." 

Yours, C. L. 

Mary strives and struggles to be content when 
she is well. Last year when we talked of being 
dull (we had just lost our seven-years-nearly in- 
mate), and Gary's invitation came, she said, 
" Did not I say something or other would turn 


up?" In her first walk out of the house, she 
would read every auction advertisement along 
the road, and when I would stop her she said, 
"These are my play-bills. " She felt glad to get 
into the world again, but then follows lowness. 
She is getting about, tho', I very much hope. 
She is rising, and will claim her morning pic- 
quet. I go to put this in the post first. I walk 
nine or ten miles a day, always up the road, 
dear London-wards. Fields, flowers, birds, and 
green lanes I have no heart for. The bare road 
is cheerful, and almost as good as a street. I 
saunter to the Red Lion duly, as you used to 
the Peacock. 

[Lamb's last letter to Manning.] 


[No date. End of June, 1834.] 

We heard the music in the Abbey at Winch- 
more Hill ! and the notes were incomparably 
soften'd by the distance. Novello's chromatics 
were distinctly audible. Clara was faulty in B 
flat. Otherwise she sang like an angel. The 
trombone and Beethoven's walzes were the best. 
Who played the oboe? 


[The letter refers to the performance of Handel's " Crea- 
tion," at the Musical Festival, in Westminster Abbey, on 


June 24, 1834, when Novello and Atwood were the organists, 
and Clara Novello (Countess Gigliucci) was one of the 


[June 25, 1834.] 

Dear F., — I simply sent for the Miltons be- 
cause Alsop has some Books of mine, and I 
thought they might travel with them. But keep 
'em as much longer as you like. I never trouble 
my head with other people's quarrels; I do not 
always understand my own. I seldom see them 
in Dover Street. I know as little as the Man in 
the Moon about your joint transactions, and care 
as little. If you have lost a little portion of my 
"good will," it is that you do not come and 
see me. Arrange with Procter, when you have 
done with your moving accidents. 

Yours, ambulaturus, C. L. 


[Summer, 1834.] 

Mr. Lamb's compliments, and shall be happy 
to look over the lines as soon as ever Mr. Russell 
shall send them. He is at Mr. Walden's, — 
Church {not Bury) St., Edmd. 

Line 10. "Ween," and "wist," and "wot," 
and "eke" are antiquated frippery, and unmod- 
ernize a poem rather than give it an antique air, 


as some strong old words may do. " I guess," " I 
know," " I knew," are quite as significant. 

31. Why " ee " — barbarous Scoticism ! — 
when " eye " is much better and chimes to " cav- 
alry " ? A sprinkling of disused words where all 
the style else is after the approved recent fashion 
teases and puzzles. 

37* [Anon the storm begins to slake, 
The sullen clouds to melt away, 
The moon becalmed in a blue lake 
Looks down with melancholy ray.] 

The moon becalmed in a blue lake would be 
more apt to look up. I see my error — the sky is 
the lake — and beg you to laugh at it. 

59. What is a maiden's " een," south of the 
Tweed ? You may as well call her prettily turned 
ears her " lugs." 

" On the maiden's lugs they fall " (verse 79). 

144. "A coy young Miss " will never do. For 
though you are presumed to be a modern, writing 
only of days of old, yet you should not write a 
word purely unintelligible to your heroine. Some 
understanding should be kept up between you. 
" Miss " is a nickname not two centuries old ; 
came in at about the Restoration. The " King's 
Misses " is the oldest use of it I can remember. 
It is Mistress Anne Page, not Miss Page. Modern 
names and usages should be kept out of sight in 
an old subject. W. Scott was sadly faulty in this 


2o8. [Tear of sympathy.] Pity's sacred dew. 
Sympathy is a young lady's word, rife in modern 
novels, and is almost always wrongly applied. To 
sympathize is to feel with, not simply for another. 
I write verses and sympathize with you. You have 
the toothache, I have not ; I feel for you, I can- 
not sympathize. 

243. What is "sheen " ? Has it more signifi- 
cance than "bright" ? Richmond in its old name 
was Shene. Would you call an omnibus to take 
you to Shene ? How the "all's right " man would 
stare ! 

36 3' [The violet nestled in the shade, 

Which fills with perfume all the glade, 
Yet bashful as a timid maid 
Thinks to elude the searching eye 
Of every stranger passing by, 
Might well compare with Emily.] 

A strangely involved simile. The maiden is lik- 
en' d to a violet which has been just before likened 
to a maid. Yet it reads prettily, and I would not 
have it alter'd. 

420. "Een" come again? In line 407 you 
speak it out " eye " bravely like an Englishman. 

468. Sorceresses do not entice by wrinkles, 
but, being essentially aged, appear in assumed 


[This communication was sent to Notes and Queries by the 
late Mr. J. Fuller Russell, F.S. A., with this explanation : " I 
was residing at Enfield in the Cambridge Long Vacation, 1834, 
and — perhaps to the neglect of more improving pursuits — 


composed a metrical novel, named ' Emily de Wilton,' in three 
parts. When the first of them was completed, I ventured to 
introduce myself to Charles Lamb (who was living at Edmon- 
ton at the time), and telling him what I had done, and that I 
had ' scarcely heart to proceed until I had obtained the opinion 
of a competent judge respecting my verses,' I asked him to 
' while away an idle hour in their perusal,' adding, ' I fear you 
will think me very rude and very intrusive, but I am one of the 
most nervous souls in Christendom.' Moved, possibly, by this 
diffident (not to say unusual) confession, Elia speedily gave his 

The poem was never printed. Lamb's pains in this matter 
serve to show how kindly disposed he was in these later years 
to all young men; and how exact a sense of words he had. — 
E. V. Lucas.] 


[Summer, 1834.] 

Sir, — I hope you will finish Emily. The story 
I cannot at this stage anticipate. Some looseness 
of diction I have taken liberty to advert to. It 
wants a little more severity of style. There are 
too many prettinesses, but parts of the poem are 
better than pretty, and I thank you for the 
perusal. Your humble Servant, C. Lamb 

Perhaps you will favour me with a call while 
you stay. 


[No date. End of July, 1834.] 

Dear Sir, — I am totally incapable of doing 

what you suggest at present, and think it right to 
tell you so without delay. It would shock me, who 
am shocked enough already, to sit down to write 
about it. I have no letters of poor C. By and 
bye what scraps I have shall be yours. Pray ex- 
cuse me. It is not for want of obliging you, I 
assure you. For your box we most cordially feel 
thankful. I shall be your debtor in my poor way. 
I do assure you I am incapable. Again, excuse 
me. Yours sincerely, C. L. 


[Coleridge's death had occurred on July 25, in his sixty- 
second year ; and Dilke had written to Lamb asking for some 
words on that event, for The Atherneum. A little while later 
a request was made by John Forster that Lamb would write 
something for the album of a Mr. Keymer. It was then that 
Lamb wrote the few words that stand under the title On the 
Death of Coleridge. — E. V. Lucas.] 


Edmonton, August 5, 1834. 

My dear Sir, — The sad week being over, I 
must write to you to say that I was glad of being 
spared from attending ; I have no words to ex- 
press my feeling with you all. I can only say 
that when you think a short visit from me would 
be acceptable, when your father and mother 
shall be able to see me with comfort, I will come 
to the bereaved house. Express to them my ten- 
derest regards and hopes that they will continue 


our friends still. We both love and respect them 
as much as a human being can, and finally thank 
them with our hearts for what they have been to 
the poor departed. God bless you all, 

C. Lamb 


August 26, 1834. 

I thank you deeply for a copy of the will 
(Coleridge's), which I had seen, but without the 
codicil at Highgate. My sister and myself are 
highly gratified at the affectionate remembrance 
from our dear old friend. I will endeavour to 
collect and send all the fragments we possess of 
his handwriting from leaves of good old books, 
&c. Letters I fear I have none, having been long 
improvident of preserving any. Accept our grat- 
itude for your reverential care of his memory and 
wishes C. Lamb 


September 12, 1834. 

Dear C, — We long to see you, and hear 
account of your peregrinations, of the Tun at 
Heidelburg, the Clock at Strasburg, the statue 
at Rotterdam, the dainty Rhenish and poignant 
Moselle wines, Westphalian hams, and Botargoes 
of Altona. But perhaps you have seen not tasted 
any of these things. 


Yours, very glad to claim you back again to 
your proper centre, books and Bibliothecae, 

C. and M. Lamb 

" By Cot's plessing we will not be absence at 
the grace." 

I have only got your note just now per negli- 
gentiam periniqui Moxoni. 


October, 1834. 

I protest I know not in what words to invest 
my sense of the shameful violation of hospitality, 
which I was guilty of on that fatal Wednesday. 
Let it be blotted from the calendar. Had it been 
committed at a layman's house, say a merchant's 
or manufacturer's, a cheesemonger's or green- 
grocer's, or, to go higher, a barrister's, a member 
of Parliament's, a rich banker's, I should have 
felt alleviation, a drop of self-pity. But to be 
seen deliberately to go out of the house of a 
clergyman drunk ! a clergyman of the Church of 
England too ! not that alone, but of an expounder 
of that dark Italian Hierophant, an exposition 
little short of his who dared unfold the Apoca- 
lypse : divine riddles both and (without supernal 
grace vouchsafed) Arks not to be fingered with- 
out present blasting to the touchers. And, then, 
from what house ! Not a common glebe or vic- 
arage (which yet had been shameful), but from 


a kingly repository of sciences, human and di- 
vine, with the primate of England for its guard- 
ian, arrayed in public majesty, from which the 
profane vulgar are bid fly. 

Could all those volumes have taught me no- 
thing better ! With feverish eyes on the succeed- 
ing dawn I opened upon the faint light, enough 
to distinguish, in a strange chamber not imme- 
diately to be recognised, garters, hose, waistcoat, 
neckerchief, arranged in dreadful order and pro- 
portion, which I knew was not mine own. 'Tis 
the common symptom, on awakening, I judge 
my last night's condition from. A tolerable scat- 
tering on the floor I hail as being too probably 
my own, and if the candle-stick be not removed, 
I assoil myself. But this finical arrangement, 
this finding everything in the morning in exact 
diametrical rectitude, torments me. By whom 
was I divested ? Burning blushes! not by the fair 
hands of nymphs, the Buffam Graces ? Remote 
whispers suggested that I coached it home in tri- 
umph — far be that from working pride in me, 
for I was unconscious of the locomotion ; that 
a young Mentor accompanied a reprobate old 
Telemachus ; that, the Trojan like, he bore his 
charge upon his shoulders, while the wretched 
incubus, in glimmering sense, hiccuped drunken 
snatches of flying on the bats' wings after sunset. 
An aged servitor was also hinted at, to make 
disgrace more complete : one, to whom my 
ignominy may offer further occasions of revolt 


(to which he was before too fondly inclining) 
from the true faith ; for, at a sight of my help- 
lessness, what more was needed to drive him to 
the advocacy of independency ? Occasion led me 
through Great Russell Street yesterday. I gazed 
at the great knocker. My feeble hands in vain 
essayed to lift it. I dreaded that Argus Portitor, 
who doubtless lanterned me out on that prodi- 
gious night. I called the Elginian marbles. They 
were cold to my suit. I shall never again, I said, 
on the wide gates unfolding, say without fear of 
thrusting back, in a light but a peremptory air, 
" I am going to Mr. Cary's." I passed by the 
walls of Balclutha. I had imaged to myself a zo- 
diac of third Wednesdays irradiating by glimpses 
the Edmonton dulness. I dreamed of Highmore ! 
I am de-vited to come on Wednesdays. 

Villanous old age that, with second childhood, 
brings linked hand in hand her inseparable twin, 
new inexperience, which knows not effects of 
liquor. Where I was to have sate for a sober, 
middle-aged-and-a-half gentleman, literary too, 
the neat-fingered artist can educe no notions but 
of a dissolute Silenus, lecturing natural philoso- 
phy to a jeering Chromius or a Mnasilus. Pudet. 
From the context gather the lost name of . 


[October 18, 1834.] 

Dear Sir, — The unbounded range of muni- 

ficence presented to my choice staggers me. 
What can twenty votes do for one hundred and 
two widows ? I cast my eyes hopeless among 
the viduage. 

N. B. Southey might be ashamed of himself 
to let his aged mother stand at the top of the 
list, with his j[ioo a year and butt of sack. 
Sometimes I sigh over No. I 2, Mrs. Carve-ill, 
some poor relation of mine, no doubt. No. 1 5 
has my wishes ; but then she is a Welsh one. 
I have Ruth upon No. 21. I'd tug hard for 
No. 24. No. 25 is an anomaly: there can be no 
Mrs. Hogg. No. 34 ensnares me. No. 73 should 
not have met so foolish a person. No. 92 may 
bob it as she likes ; but she catches no cherry of 
me. So I have even fixedat hap-hazard, as you '11 
see. Yours, every third Wednesday, 

C. L. 


[Talfourd states that the note is in answer to a letter en- 
closing a list of candidates for a Widows' Fund Society, for 
which he was entitled to vote. A Mrs. Southey headed the 


[Edmonton, November, 1834.] 

Dear Mrs. Norris, — I found Mary on my 
return not worse, and she is now no better. I send 
all my nonsense I could scrape together, and wish 
your young ladies well thro' them. I hope they 

35 2 

will like Amwell. Be in no hurry to return them. 
Six months hence will do. Remember me kindly 
to them and to Richard. Also to Mary and her 
cousin. Yours truly, C. Lamb 

Pray give me a line to say you received 'em. 
I send 'em Wednesday 1 9th, from the Roebuck. 


Monday. Church Street, Edmonton 
(not Enfield, as you erroneously directed yours). 
[December, 1834.] 

Dear Sir, — The volume which you seem to 
want is not to be had for love or money. I with 
difficulty procured a copy for myself. Yours is 
gone to enlighten the tawny Hindoos. What 
a supreme felicity to the author (only he is no 
traveller) on the Ganges or Hydaspes (Indian 
streams) to meet a smutty Gentoo ready to burst 
with laughing at the tale of Bo-Bo ! for doubt- 
less it hath been translated into all the dialects 
of the East. I grieve the less that Europe should 
want it. I cannot gather from your letter, whether 
you are aware that a second series of the Essays 
is published by Moxon, in Dover Street, Picca- 
dilly, called The Last Essays of Elia, and, I am 
told, is not inferior to the former. Shall I order 
a copy for you, and will you accept it? Shall 
I lend you, at the same time, my sole copy of the 
former volume (oh ! return it) for a month or 


two ? In return, you shall favour me with the 
loan of one of those Norfolk-bred grunters that 
you laud so highly; I promise not to keep it 
above a day. What a funny name Bungay is ! I 
never dreamt of a correspondent thence. I used 
to think of it as some Utopian town or borough 
in Gotham land. I now believe in its existence, 
as part of merry England ! 

[Some lines scratched out^\ 
The part I have scratched out is the best of the 
letter. Let me have your commands. 

Ch. Lamb, alias Eli a 


[Talfourd thus explains this letter: " In December, 1834, 
Mr. Lamb received a letter from a gentleman, a stranger to 
him, — Mr. Childs of Bungay, — whose copy of Elia had been 
sent on an Oriental voyage, and who, in order to replace it, 
applied to Mr. Lamb." Mr. Childs was a printer. His busi- 
ness subsequently became that of Messrs. R. & R. Clark, 
which still flourishes.] 


December 22, 1834. 

Dear Mrs. Dyer, — I am very uneasy about 
a Book which I either have lost or left at your 
house on Thursday. It was the book I went out 
to fetch from Miss Buffam's, while the tripe was 
frying. It is called Phillip's Theatrum Poeta- 
rum; but it is an English book. I think I left 
it in the parlour. It is Mr. Cary's book, and I 
would not lose it for the world. Pray, if you 


find it, book it at the Swan, Snow Hill, by an 
Edmonton stage immediately, directed to Mr. 
Lamb, Church Street, Edmonton, or write to say 
you cannot find it. I am quite anxious about it. 
If it is lost, I shall never like tripe again. 
With kindest love to Mr. Dyer and all, 

Yours truly, C. Lamb 


[This is the last letter of Charles Lamb, who tripped and 
fell in Church Street, Edmonton, on December 22, and died 
of erysipelas on December 27. At the time of his death 
Lamb was sixty, all but a few weeks. 

Mary Lamb, with occasional lapses into sound health, sur- 
vived him until May 20, 1847. At first she continued to live 
at Edmonton, but a few years later moved to the house of 
Mrs. Parsons, sister of her old nurse, Miss James, in St. 
John's Wood. — E. V. Lucas.] 

VThe following undated letters are here given. 
The first to William Ayrton was probably written 
about May 14, 1821, and the second should have 
been inserted after the first letter to Vincent Novello 
on p. 233 of this volume :] 



Dear A., — We are at home this Evening. 
Excuse forms from, 

Your uninformed, C. L. 


I think Madame Noblet the least graceful 
dancer I ever did not see. 



Enfield, Thursday. 

Dear Ayrton, — Novello paid us a visit yes- 
terday, and I very much wished you with us. 
Our conversation was principally, as you may sup- 
pose, upon Music; and he desiring me to give him 
my real opinion respecting the distinct grades of 
excellence in all the eminent composers of the 
Italian, German, and English Schools, I have 
done it, rather to oblige him, than from any over- 
weening opinion I have of my own judgment on 
that science. Such as it is, I submit it to better 
critics, and am, dear Ayrton, 

Yours sincerely, Ch. Lamb 

P. S. You will find the Essay over leaf — that 
is to say, if you look for it there. 


Some cry up Haydn, some Mozart, 
Just as the whim bites. For my part, 
I do not care a farthing candle 
For either of them, or for Handel. 
Cannot a man live free and easy, 
Without admiring Pergolesi ! 
Or thro' the world with comfort go 
That never heard of Doctor Blow ! 
So help me God, I hardly have ; 
And yet I eat, and drink, and shave, 
Like other people, (if you watch it,) 
And know no more of stave or crotchet 

35 6 

Than did the primitive Peruvians ; 

Or those old ante-queer Diluvians 

That lived in the unwash'd world with Tubal, 

Before that dirty Blacksmith Jubal, 

By stroke on anvil, or by summ'at, 

Found out, to his great surprise, the gamut. 

I care no more for Cimerosa 

Than he did for Salvator Rosa, 

Being no Painter ; and bad luck 

Be mine, if I can bear that Gluck ! 

Old Tycho Brahe and modern Herschel 

Had something in 'em ; but who 's Purcel ? 

The devil with his foot so cloven, 

For aught I care, may take Beethoven ; 

And, if the bargain does not suit, 

I '11 throw him Weber in to boot ! 

There 's not the splitting of a splinter 

To chus 'twixt him last named, and Winter. 

Of Doctor Pepusch old queen Dido 

Knew just as much, God knows, as I do. 

I would not go four miles to visit 

Sebastian Bach — or Batch — which is it ? 

No more I would for Bononcini. 

As for Novello and Rossini, 

I shall not say a word to grieve 'em, 

Because they 're living. So I leave 'em. 



Dear Badams, — I am very, very sorry at my 
heatedness yesterday, which spoil'd the pleasure 
I should have taken in seeing you better ; but I 
had had a four or five hours hot walk, with the 
delicate task of dissuading a friend from a pur- 
pose of taking a house here, which friend would 


have attracted down crowds of literary men, 
which men would have driven me wild ; and in 
my rage it seem'd to me that the person I un- 
justly fell upon was meditating the same sort of 
colonization here. Respects and sincere likings 
to Mrs. Badams, and the most humble apology 
C. L. can offer. 



Cfic UtbrrsiDc Pices