The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Volume 2
Part 10 out of 11
Page 197, line 5 from foot. _No sympathy with them._ After these
words, in the _London Magazine_, came, "nor with Mr. Gifford's Ben
Jonson." This edition by Lamb's old enemy, William Gifford, editor of
the _Quarterly_, was published in 1816. Lamb's copy of Ben Jonson was
dated 1692, folio. It is now in America, I believe.
Page 197, foot. _The reprint of the Anatomy of Melancholy_. This
reprint was, I think, published in 1800, in two volumes, marked ninth
edition. Lamb's copy was dated 1621, quarto. I do not know where it
Page 198, line 4. _Malone_. This was Edmund Malone (1741-1812), the
critic and editor of Shakespeare, who in 1793 persuaded the Vicar of
Stratford-on-Avon to whitewash the coloured bust of the poet in the
chancel. A _Gentleman's Magazine_ epigrammatist, sharing Lamb's view,
Stranger, to whom this monument is shown,
Invoke the poet's curse upon Malone;
Whose meddling zeal his barbarous taste betrays,
And daubs his tombstone, as he mars his plays.
Lamb has been less than fair to Malone. To defend his action in the
matter of the bust of Shakespeare is impossible, except by saying that
he acted in good faith and according to the fashion of his time. But
he did great service to the fame of Shakespeare and thus to English
literature, and was fearless and shrewd in his denunciation of the
Page 198, line 26. _The Fairy Queen_. Lamb's copy was a folio, 1617,
12, 17, 13. Against Canto XI., Stanza 32, he has written: "Dear Venom,
this is the stave I wot of. I will maintain it against any in the
Page 199, line 14. _Nando's_. A coffee-house in Fleet Street, at the
east corner of Inner Temple Lane, and thus at one time close to Lamb's
Page 199, line 16. "_The Chronicle is in hand, Sir._" In the _London
Magazine_ the following paragraph was here inserted:--
"As in these little Diurnals I generally skip the Foreign News,
the Debates--and the Politics--I find the Morning Herald by far
the most entertaining of them. It is an agreeable miscellany,
rather than a newspaper."
The _Morning Herald_, under Alexander Chalmers, had given more
attention to social gossip than to affairs of State; but under Thomas
Wright it suddenly, about the time of Lamb's essay, became politically
serious and left aristocratic matters to the _Morning Post_.
Page 199, line 20. _Town and Country Magazine_. This magazine
flourished between 1769 and 1792.
Page 199, line 26. _Poor Tobin_. Possibly John Tobin (1770-1804), the
playwright, though I think not. More probably the Tobin mentioned in
Lamb's letter to Wordsworth about "Mr. H." in June, 1806 (two years
after John Tobin's death), to whom Lamb read the manager's letter
concerning the farce. This would be James, John Tobin's brother.
Page 200, line 13. _The five points_. After these words came, in the
_London Magazine_, the following paragraph:--
"I was once amused--there is a pleasure in _affecting_
affectation--at the indignation of a crowd that was justling in
with me at the pit-door of Covent Garden theatre, to have a sight
of Master Betty--then at once in his dawn and his meridian--in
Hamlet. I had been invited quite unexpectedly to join a party,
whom I met near the door of the playhouse, and I happened to have
in my hand a large octavo of Johnson and Steevens's Shakspeare,
which, the time not admitting of my carrying it home, of course
went with me to the theatre. Just in the very heat and pressure
of the doors opening--the _rush_, as they term it--I deliberately
held the volume over my head, open at the scene in which the young
Roscius had been most cried up, and quietly read by the lamplight.
The clamour became universal. 'The affectation of the fellow,'
cried one. 'Look at that gentleman _reading_, papa,' squeaked a
young lady, who in her admiration of the novelty almost forgot her
fears. I read on. 'He ought to have his book knocked out of his
hand,' exclaimed a pursy cit, whose arms were too fast pinioned to
his side to suffer him to execute his kind intention. Still I read
on--and, till the time came to pay my money, kept as unmoved,
as Saint Antony at his Holy Offices, with the satyrs, apes, and
hobgoblins, mopping, and making mouths at him, in the picture,
while the good man sits undisturbed at the sight, as if he were
sole tenant of the desart.--The individual rabble (I recognised
more than one of their ugly faces) had damned a slight piece of
mine but a few nights before, and I was determined the culprits
should not a second time put me out of countenance."
Master Betty was William Henry West Betty (1791-1874), known as the
"Young Roscius," whose Hamlet and Douglas sent playgoers wild in
1804-5-6. Pitt, indeed, once adjourned the House in order that his
Hamlet might be witnessed. His most cried-up scenes in "Hamlet" were
the "To be or not to be" soliloquy, and the fencing scene before the
king and his mother. The piece of Lamb's own which had been hissed
was, of course, "Mr. H.," produced on December 10, 1806; but very
likely he added this reference as a symmetrical afterthought, for he
would probably have visited Master Betty much earlier in his career,
that phenomenon's first appearance at Covent Garden being two years
before the advent of the ill-fated Hogsflesh.
Page 200, line 22. _Martin B----_. Martin Charles Burney, son of
Admiral Burney, and a lifelong friend of the Lambs--to whom Lamb
dedicated the prose part of his _Works_ in 1818 (see Vol. IV.).
Page 200, line 28. _A quaint poetess_. Mary Lamb. The poem is in
_Poetry for Children_, 1809 (see Vol. III. of this edition). In line
17 the word "then" has been inserted by Lamb. The punctuation also
differs from that of the _Poetry for Children_.
* * * * *
Page 201. THE OLD _MARGATE HOY_.
_London Magazine_, July, 1823. This, like others of Lamb's essays, was
translated into French and published in the _Revue Britannique_ in
1833. It was prefaced by the remark: "L'auteur de cette delicieuse
esquisse est Charles Lamb, connu sous le nom d'Eliah."
Page 201, beginning. _I have said so before._ See "Oxford in the
Page 201, line 5 of essay. _My beloved Thames._ Lamb describes a
riparian holiday at and about Richmond in a letter to Robert Lloyd in
Page 201, line 8 of essay. _Worthing_... There is no record of the
Lambs' sojourn at Worthing or Eastbourne. They were at Brighton in
1817, and Mary Lamb at any rate enjoyed walking on the Downs there; in
a letter to Miss Wordsworth of November 21, 1817, she described them
as little mountains, _almost as good as_ Westmoreland scenery. They
were at Hastings--at 13 Standgate Street--in 1823 (see Lamb's letters
to Bernard Barton, July 10, 1823, to Hood, August 10, 1824, and to
Dibdin, June, 1826). The only evidence that we have of Lamb knowing
Worthing is his "Mr. H.". That play turns upon the name Hogsflesh,
afterwards changed to Bacon. The two chief innkeepers at Worthing at
the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of its prosperity
were named Hogsflesh and Bacon, and there was a rhyme concerning them
which was well known (see notes to "Mr. H." in Vol. IV.).
Page 201, line 11 of essay. _Many years ago_. A little later Lamb says
he was then fifteen. This would make the year 1790. It was probably on
this visit to Margate that Lamb conceived the idea of his sonnet, "O,
I could laugh," which Coleridge admired so much (see Vol. IV.).
Page 201, line 17 of essay. _Thou old Margate Hoy_. This old
sailing-boat gave way to a steam-boat, the _Thames_, some time after
1815. The _Thames_, launched in 1815, was the first true steam-boat
the river had seen. The old hoy, or lighter, was probably sloop
Page 202, foot. _Our enemies_. Lamb refers here to the attacks of
_Blackwood's Magazine_ on the Cockneys, among whom he himself had been
included. In the _London Magazine_ he had written "unfledged" for
Page 206, line 14. _Gebir_. _Gebir_, by Walter Savage Landor
(1775-1864), who was a fortnight older than Lamb, and who afterwards
came to know him personally, was published in 1798.
Page 206, line 16. _This detestable Cinque Port_. A letter from Mary
Lamb to Randal Norris, concerning this, or another, visit to Hastings,
says: "We eat turbot, and we drink smuggled Hollands, and we walk
up hill and down hill all day long." Lamb, in a letter to Barton,
admitted a benefit: "I abused Hastings, but learned its value."
Page 208, line 5. _Lothbury_. Probably in recollection of Wordsworth's
"Reverie of Poor Susan," which Lamb greatly liked.
* * * * *
Page 208. THE CONVALESCENT.
_London Magazine_, July, 1825.
We learn from the _Letters_ that Lamb had a severe nervous breakdown
in the early summer of 1825 after liberation from the India House.
Indeed, his health was never sound for long together after he became a
* * * * *
Page 212. SANITY OF TRUE GENIUS.
_New Monthly Magazine_, May, 1826, where it appeared as one of the
Popular Fallacies under the title, "That great Wit is allied to
Madness;" beginning: "So far from this being true, the greatest wits
will ever be found to be the sanest writers..." and so forth. Compare
the essay "On the Tragedies of Shakespeare," Vol. I. Lamb's thesis is
borrowed from Dryden's couplet (in _Absalom and Achitophel_, Part I.,
lines 163, 164):--
Great wits are sure to madness near allied,
And thin partitions do their bounds divide.
Page 213, line 14. _Kent ... Flavius_. Lamb was always greatly
impressed by the character of Kent (see his essay on "Hogarth," Vol.
I.; his "Table Talk," Vol. I.; and his versions, in the _Tales from
Shakespear_, of "King Lear" and "Timon," Vol. III.).
* * * * *
Page 215. CAPTAIN JACKSON.
_London Magazine_, November, 1824.
No one has yet been able to identify Captain Jackson. The suggestion
has been made that Randal Norris sat for the picture; but the
circumstance that Lamb, in the first edition of the _Last Essays_,
included "A Death-Bed," with a differing portrait of Randal Norris
therein, is, I think, good evidence against this theory. Perhaps the
captain was one of the imaginary characters which Lamb sent out every
now and then, as he told Bernard Barton (in the letter of March 20,
1826), "to exercise the ingenuity of his friends;" although his
reality seems overpowering.
Apart from his own interest, the captain is noteworthy in
constituting, with Ralph Bigod (see page 27), a sketch (possibly
unknown to Dickens) for Wilkins Micawber.
Page 217, line 22. _Glover ... Leonidas_. Richard Glover (1712-1785),
the poet, author of _Leonidas_, 1737. I cannot find that he ever lived
at Westbourne Green.
Page 218, foot. _The old ballad_. The old ballad "Waly, Waly." This
was among the poems copied by Lamb into Miss Isola's Extract Book.
Page 219, line 8. _Tibbs, and Bobadil_. Beau Tibbs in Goldsmith's
"Citizen of the World," and Bobadil in Ben Jonson's "Every Man in His
* * * * *
Page 219. THE SUPERANNUATED MAN.
_London Magazine_, May, 1825.
Except that Lamb has disguised his real employment, this essay is
practically a record of fact. After thirty-three years of service at
the East India House he went home "for ever" on Tuesday, March 29,
1825, with a pension of L441, or two-thirds of his regular salary,
less a small annual deduction as a provision for his sister. At
a Court of Directors held on that day this minute was drawn up:
"Resolved that the resignation of Mr. Charles Lamb, of the Accountant
General's office, on account of certified ill health, be accepted, and
it appearing that he has served the Company faithfully for 33 years,
and is now in receipt of an income of L730 per annum, he be allowed
a pension of L450 ... to commence from this day." Lamb's letters to
Wordsworth, April 6, 1825, to Barton, the same date, and to Miss
Hutchinson, a little later, all tell the story. This is how Lamb put
it to Barton:--
"DEAR B.B.--My spirits are so tumultuary with the novelty of my
recent emancipation, that I have scarce steadiness of hand, much
more mind, to compose a letter.
"I am free, B.B.--free as air.
"The little bird that wings the sky
Knows no such Liberty!
"I was set free on Tuesday in last week at 4 o'clock.
"I came home for ever!...
"I went and sat among 'em all at my old 33 years desk yester
morning; and deuce take me if I had not yearnings at leaving all
my old pen-and-ink fellows, merry sociable lads, at leaving them
in the Lurch, fag, fag, fag.
"I would not serve another 7 years for seven hundred thousand
To Miss Hutchinson Lamb said; "I would not go back to my prison for
seven years longer for L10000 a year."
In the _London Magazine_ the essay was divided into two parts, with
the two quotations now at the head apportioned each to one part.
Part II. began at "A fortnight has passed," on page 224. The essay
was signed "J.D.," whose address was given as "Beaufort-terrace,
Regent-street; late of Ironmonger-court, Fenchurch-street."
Page 220, line 3. _Recreation_. At "recreation," in the _London
Magazine_, came the footnote:--
"Our ancestors, the noble old Puritans of Cromwell's day,
could distinguish between a day of religious rest and a day of
recreation; and while they exacted a rigorous abstinence from all
amusements (even to the walking out of nursery maids with their
little charges in the fields) upon the Sabbath; in the lieu of the
superstitious observance of the Saints days, which they abrogated,
they humanely gave to the apprentices, and poorer sort of people,
every alternate Thursday for a day of entire sport and recreation.
A strain of piety and policy to be commended above the profane
mockery of the Stuarts and their Book of Sports."
Lamb had said the same thing to Barton in a letter in the spring,
1824, referring there to "Southey's book" as his authority--this being
_The Book of the Church_, 1824.
Page 220, line 25. _Native ... Hertfordshire_. This was a slight
exaggeration. Lamb was London born and bred. But Hertfordshire was his
mother and grandmother's county, and all his love of the open air was
centred there (see the essay on "Mackery End").
Page 221, line 1. _My health_. Lamb had really been seriously unwell
for some time, as the _Letters_ tell us.
Page 221, line 6. _I was fifty_. Lamb was fifty on February 10, 1825.
Page 231, line 7. _I had grown to my desk_. In his first letter to
Barton (September 11, 1822) Lamb wrote: "I am like you a prisoner to
the desk. I have been chained to that galley thirty years, a long
shot. I have almost grown to the wood." Again, to Wordsworth: "I sit
like Philomel all day (but not singing) with my breast against this
thorn of a Desk."
Page 222, line 7. _Boldero, Merryweather ..._ Feigned names of course.
It was Boldero that Lamb once pretended was Leigh Hunt's true name.
And in his fictitious biography of Liston (Vol. I.) Liston's mother
was said to have been a Miss Merryweather. In Lamb's early city days
there was a banking firm in Cornhill, called Boldero, Adey, Lushington
Page 222, line 12 from foot. _I could walk it away_. Writing to
Wordsworth in March, 1822, concerning the possibility of being
pensioned off, Lamb had said:--"I had thought in a green old age (O
green thought!) to have retired to Ponder's End--emblematic name--how
beautiful! in the Ware road, there to have made up my accounts with
heaven and the Company, toddling about between it and Cheshunt, anon
stretching on some fine Izaac Walton morning, to Hoddsdon or Amwell,
careless as a Beggar, but walking walking ever till I fairly walkd
myself off my legs, dying walking."
And again, writing to Southey after the emancipation, he says (August,
1825): "Mary walks her twelve miles a day some days, and I twenty on
others. 'Tis all holiday with me now, you know."
Page 224, line 9. _Ch----_. John Chambers, son of the Rev. Thomas
Chambers, Vicar of Radway-Edgehill, Warwickshire, and an old Christ's
Hospitaller, to whom Lamb wrote the famous letter on India House
society, printed in the _Letters_, Canon Ainger's edition, under
December, 1818. John Chambers lived until 1872, and had many stories
Page 224, line 9. _Do----_. Probably Henry Dodwell, to whom Lamb wrote
the letters of July, 1816, from Calne, and that of October 7, 1827,
thanking him for a gift of a sucking pig. But there seems (see the
letter to Chambers above referred to) to have been also a clerk named
Dowley. It was Dodwell who annoyed Lamb by reading _The Times_ till
twelve o'clock every morning.
Page 224, line 10. _Pl----_. According to the late H.G. Bohn's notes
on Chambers' letter, this was W.D. Plumley.
Page 224, line 18. My "_works_." See note to the preface to the _Last
Essays of Elia_. The old India House ledgers of Lamb's day are no
longer in existence, but a copy of Booth's _Tables of Interest_ is
preserved, with some mock notices from the press on the fly-leaves in
Lamb's hand. Lamb's portrait by Meyer was bought for the India Office
Page 224, line 12 from foot. _My own master_. As a matter of fact Lamb
found the time rather heavy on his hands now and then; and he took to
searching for beauties in the Garrick plays in the British Museum as a
refuge. The Elgin marbles were moved there in 1816.
Page 225, line 16 from foot. _And what is it all for_? At these words,
in the _London Magazine_, came the passage:--
"I recite those verses of Cowley, which so mightily agree with my
"Business! the frivolous pretence
Of human lusts to shake off innocence:
Business! the grave impertinence:
Business! the thing which I of all things hate:
Business! the contradiction of my fate.
"Or I repeat my own lines, written in my Clerk state:--
"Who first invented work--and bound the free
And holyday-rejoicing spirit down
To the ever-haunting importunity
Of business, in the green fields, and the town--
To plough, loom, anvil, spade--and oh! most sad,
To this dry drudgery of the desk's dead wood?
Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
Task ever plies 'mid rotatory burnings,
That round and round incalculably reel--
For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel--
In that red realm from whence are no returnings;
Where toiling, and turmoiling, ever and aye
He, and his thoughts, keep pensive worky-day!
"O this divine Leisure!--Reader, if thou art furnished with the
Old Series of the London, turn incontinently to the third volume
(page 367), and you will see my present condition there touched in
a 'Wish' by a daintier pen than I can pretend to. I subscribe to
that Sonnet _toto corde_."
The sonnet referred to, beginning--
They talk of time and of time's galling yoke,
will be found quoted above, in the notes to "New Year's Eve." It was,
of course, by Lamb himself. To the other sonnet he gave the title
"Work" (see Vol. IV.). Cowley's lines are from "The Complaint."
Page 225, line 14 from foot. _NOTHING-TO-DO_. Lamb wrote to Barton in
1827: "Positively, the best thing a man can have to do, is nothing,
and next to that perhaps--good works."
* * * * *
Page 226. THE GENTEEL STYLE IN WRITING.
_New Monthly Magazine_, March, 1826, where it was one of the Popular
Fallacies, under the title, "That my Lord Shaftesbury and Sir William
Temple are models of the Genteel Style in Writing.--We should prefer
saying--of the Lordly and the Gentlemanly. Nothing," &c.
Page 226, beginning. _My Lord Shaftesbury_, Anthony Ashley Cooper,
third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), the grandson of the great
statesman, and the author of the _Characteristicks of Men, Manners,
Opinions and Times_, 1711, and other less known works. In the essay
"Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading" Lamb says, "Shaftesbury is
not too genteel for me."
Page 226, beginning. _Sir William Temple._ Sir William Temple
(1628-1699), diplomatist and man of letters, the patron of Swift,
and the husband of the letter-writing Dorothy Osborne. His first
diplomatic mission was in 1665, to Christopher Bernard von Glialen,
the prince-bishop of Munster, who grew the northern cherries (see page
228). Afterwards he was accredited to Brussels and the Hague, and
subsequently became English Ambassador at the Hague. He was recalled
in 1670, and spent the time between then and 1674, when he returned,
in adding to his garden at Sheen, near Richmond, and in literary
pursuits. He re-entered active political life in 1674, but retired
again in 1680, and moved to an estate near Farnham; which he named
Moor Park, laid out in the Dutch style, and made famous for its wall
fruit. Hither Swift came, as amanuensis, in 1689, and he was there,
with intervals of absence, in 1699, when Temple died, "and with him,"
Swift wrote in his _Diary_, "all that was good and amiable among men."
He was buried in Westminster Abbey, but his heart, by his special
wish, was placed in a silver casket under the sun-dial at Moor Park,
near his favourite window seat.
Temple's essays, under the title of _Miscellanea_, were published in
1680 and 1692; his works, in several volumes, between 1700 and 1709.
The best-known essay is that on "Ancient and Modern Learning," but
Lamb refers also to those "On Health and Long Life," "Of the Cure of
the Gout," "Of Gardening." The quotation on page 228 does not exactly
end Temple's garden essay, as Lamb says. Lamb has slightly altered
* * * * *
Page 230. BARBARA S----.
_London Magazine_, April, 1825.
This little story exhibits, perhaps better than anything that Lamb
wrote, his curious gift of blending fact and fancy, of building upon
a foundation of reality a structure of whimsicality and invention.
In the late Charles Kent's edition of Lamb's works is printed a
letter from Miss Kelly, the actress, and a friend of the Lambs,
in which the true story is told; for it was she, as indeed Lamb
admitted to Wordsworth in a letter in 1825, who told him the
incident--"beautifully," he says elsewhere.
Miss Kelly wrote, in 1875:--
I perfectly remember relating an incident of my childhood to
Charles Lamb and his dear sister, and I have not the least doubt
that the intense interest he seemed to take in the recital,
induced him to adopt it as the principal feature in his beautiful
story of "Barbara S----." Much, however, as I venerate the
wonderful powers of Charles Lamb as a writer--grateful as I ever
must feel to have enjoyed for so many years the friendship of
himself and his dear sister, and proudly honoured as I am by the
two exquisite sonnets he has given to the world as tributary to my
humble talent, I have never been able thoroughly to appreciate the
extraordinary skill with which he has, in the construction of his
story, desired and contrived so to mystify and characterize
the events, as to keep me out of sight, and render it utterly
impossible for any one to guess at me as the original heroine....
In the year 1799, Miss Jackson, one of my mother's daughters, by
her first husband, was placed under the special care of dear old
Tate Wilkinson, proprietor of the York Theatre, there to practice,
as in due progression, what she had learned of Dramatic Art, while
a Chorus Singer at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, coming back, as
she did after a few years, as the wife of the late celebrated,
inimitable Charles Mathews, to the Haymarket Theatre. In 1799,
through the influence of my uncle, Michael Kelly, the celebrated
singer and composer of that day, I was allowed to become a
miniature chorister in her place....
One Saturday, during the limited season of nine months in the
year, Mr. Peake (dear, good old gentleman!) looking, as I remember
he always did--anxiously perplexed--doubtless as to how he could
best dole out the too frequently insufficient amount provided for
the ill-paid company, silently looked me in the face, while he
carefully folded a very _dirty, ragged_ bank note--put it into my
hand, patted my cheek, and with a slight pressure on my shoulder,
hinting there was no time for our usual gossip--as good as said,
"go, my dear," and I hurried down the long gallery, lined down
each side with performers of all degrees, more than one of whom
whispered as I passed--"Is it full pay, dear?" I nodded "Yes," and
proceeded to my seat on the window of the landing-place.
It was a great comfort in those days, to have a bank-note to
look at; but not always easy to open one. Mine had been cut and
repaired with a line of gum paper, about twenty times as thick as
the note itself, threatening the total destruction of the thin
Now observe in what small matters Fanny and Barbara were in a
marked degree different characters. Barbara, at 11 years of age,
was some time before she felt the different size of a guinea to a
half guinea, _held tight in her hand_. I, at nine years old, was
not so untaught, or innocent. I was a woman of the world. I took
_nothing_ for granted. I had a deep respect for Mr. Peake, but the
join might have disfigured the note--destroyed its currency; and
it was my business to see all safe. So, I carefully opened it. A
two pound-note instead of one! The blood rushed into my face, the
tears into my eyes, and for a moment, something like an ecstasy
of joy passed through my mind. "Oh! what a blessing to my dear
mother!"--"To whom?"--in an instant said my violently beating
heart,--"My mother?" Why she would spurn me for the wish. How
shall I ever own to her my guilty thought? I trembled violently--I
staggered back on my way to the Treasury, but no one would let me
pass, until I said, "But Mr. Peake has given me too much." "Too
much, has he?" said one, and was followed by a coarse, cold,
derisive, general laugh. Oh! how it went to my heart; but on I
"If you please, Mr. Peake, you have given me a two--"
"A two, Sir!"
"A two!--God bless my soul!--tut-tut-tut-tut--dear, dear,
dear!--God bless my soul! There, dear," and without another word,
he, in exchange, laid a one pound note on the desk; a new one,
quite clean,--a bright, honest looking note,--mine, the one I had
a right to,--my own,--within the limit of my poor deservings.
Thus, my dear sir, I give (as you say you wish to have the _facts_
as accurately stated as possible) the simple, absolute truth.
As a matter of fact Miss Kelly did afterwards play in Morton's
"Children in the Wood," to Lamb's great satisfaction. The incident of
the roast fowl is in that play.
In Vol. I. will be found more than one eulogy of Miss Kelly's acting.
Page 231, last line. _Real hot tears_. In Crabb Robinson's diary Miss
Kelly relates that when, as Constance, in "King John," Mrs. Siddons
(not Mrs. Porter) wept over her, her collar was wet with Mrs. Siddons'
tears. Miss Kelly, of course, was playing Arthur.
Page 232, line 7. _Impediment ... pulpit_. This is more true than
the casual reader may suppose. Had Lamb not had an impediment in his
speech, he would have become, at Christ's Hospital, a Grecian, and
have gone to one of the universities; and the ordinary fate of a
Grecian was to take orders.
Page 232, line 13. _Mr. Liston_. Mrs. Cowden Clarke says that Liston
the comedian and his wife were among the visitors to the Lambs' rooms
at Great Russell Street.
Page 232, line 14. _Mrs. Charles Kemble_, _nee_ Maria Theresa De Camp,
mother of Fanny Kemble.
Page 232, line 16. _Macready_. The only record of any conference
between Macready and Lamb is Macready's remark in his _Diary_ that he
met Lamb at Talfourd's, and Lamb said that he wished to draw his last
breath through a pipe, and exhale it in a pun. But this was long after
the present essay was written.
Page 232, line 17. _Picture Gallery ... Mr. Matthews_. See note below.
Page 232, line 26. _Not Diamond's_. Dimond was the proprietor of the
old Bath Theatre.
Page 235, first line. _Mrs. Crawford_. Anne Crawford (1734-1801),
_nee_ Street, who was born at Bath, married successively a Mr. Dancer,
Spranger Barry the actor, and a Mr. Crawford. Her great part was Lady
Randolph in Home's "Douglas."
* * * * *
Page 235. THE TOMBS IN THE ABBEY.
_London Magazine_, October, 1823, where, with slight differences,
it formed the concluding portion of the "Letter of Elia to Robert
Southey, Esquire," which will be found in Vol. I. The notes in that
volume should be consulted; but a little may be said here. This, the
less personal portion of the "Letter to Southey," seems to have been
all that Lamb cared to retain. He admitted afterwards, when his
anger against Southey had cooled, that his "guardian angel" had been
"absent" at the time he wrote it.
The Dean of Westminster at the time was Ireland, the friend of
Gifford--dean from 1815 to 1842. Lamb's protest against the
two-shilling fee was supported a year or so later than its first
appearance by Reynolds, in _Odes and Addresses_, 1825, in a sarcastic
appeal to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster to reduce that sum. The
passage in Lamb's essay being reprinted in 1833, suggests that the
reform still tarried. The evidence, however, of J.T. Smith, in his
_Book for a Rainy Day_, is that it was possible in 1822 to enter
Poets' Corner for sixpence. Dean Stanley, in his _Historical Memorials
of Westminster Abbey_, writes: "Free admission was given to the larger
part of the Abbey under Dean Ireland. Authorised guides were first
appointed in 1826, and the nave and transepts opened, and the fees
lowered in 1841...."
Lamb's reference to Southey and to Andre's monument is
characteristically mischievous. He is reminding Southey of his early
sympathy with rebels--his "Wat Tyler" and pantisocratic days. Major
John Andre, Sir Henry Clinton's adjutant-general, was caught returning
from an interview with an American traitor--a perfectly honourable
proceeding in warfare--and was hanged by Washington as a spy in 1780.
No blame attached either to judge or victim. Andre's remains were
reburied in the Abbey in 1821. Lamb speaks of injury to Andre's figure
in the monument, but the usual thing was for the figure of Washington
to be attacked. Its head has had to be renewed more than once. Minor
thefts have also been committed. According to Mrs. Gordon's _Life of
Dean Buckland_, one piece of vandalism at any rate was the work of an
American, who returned to the dean two heads which he had appropriated
In _The Examiner_ for April 8, 1821, is quoted from _The Traveller_
the following epigram, which may not improbably be Lamb's, and which
shows at any rate that his protest against entrance fees for churches
was in the air.
ON A VISIT TO ST. PAUL'S
What can be hop'd from Priests who, 'gainst the Poor,
For lack of two-pence, shut the church's door;
Who, true successors of the ancient leaven,
Erect a turnpike on the road to Heaven?
"Knock, and it shall be open'd," saith our LORD;
"Knock, and pay two-pence," say the Chapter Board:
The Showman of the booth the fee receives,
And God's house is again a "den of thieves."
* * * * *
Page 237. AMICUS REDIVIVUS.
_London Magazine_, December, 1823.
A preliminary sketch of the first portion of this essay will be
found in the letter from Lamb to Sarah Hazlitt, written probably in
November, 1823. In Barry Cornwall's _Memoir_ of Lamb, Chapter VI.,
there is also an account of the accident to Dyer--Procter (Barry
Cornwall) having chanced to visit the Lambs just after the event. For
an account of George Dyer see notes to the essay on "Oxford in the
Vacation". In 1823 he was sixty-eight; later he became quite blind.
We have another glimpse of G.D. on that fatal day, in the
reminiscences of Mr. Ogilvie, an India House clerk with Lamb,
as communicated to the Rev. Joseph H. Twichell (see _Scribner's
Magazine_, March, 1876):--
At the time George Dyer was fished out of New River in front of
Lamb's house at Islington, after he was resuscitated, Mary brought
him a suit of Charles's clothes to put on while his own were
drying. Inasmuch as he was a giant of a man, and Lamb undersized;
inasmuch, moreover, as Lamb's wardrobe afforded only knee breeches
for the nether limbs (Dyer's were colossal), the spectacle he
presented when the clothes were on--or as much on as they could
be--was vastly ludicrous.
Allsop, in a letter to Mr. Percy Fitzgerald, remarked, of Dyer's
immersion, that Lamb had said to him: "If he had been drowned it would
have made me famous. Think of having a Crowner's quest, and all the
questions and dark suspicions of murder. People would haunt the spot
and say, 'Here died the poet of Grongar Hill.'" The poet of "Grongar
Hill" was, of course, John Dyer--another of Lamb's instances of the
ambiguities arising from proper names.
Page 238, line 19. _The rescue_. At these words, in the _London
Magazine_, Lamb put this footnote:--
"The topography of my cottage, and its relation to the river,
will explain this; as I have been at some cost to have the whole
engraved (in time, I hope, for our next number), as well for
the satisfaction of the reader, as to commemorate so signal a
The cottage at Colebrooke Row, it should be said, stands to this day
(1911); but the New River has been covered in. There is, however, no
difficulty in reproducing the situation. One descends from the front
door by a curved flight of steps, a little path from which, parallel
with the New River, takes one out into Colebrooke Row (or rather
Duncan Terrace, as this part of the Row is now called). Under the
front door-steps is another door from which Dyer may possibly have
emerged; if so it would be the simplest thing for him to walk straight
ahead, and find himself in the river.
Page 240, line 22. _That Abyssinian traveller_. James Bruce
(1730-1794), the explorer of the sources of the Nile, was famous many
years before his _Travels_ appeared, in 1790, the year after which
Lamb left school. The New River, made in 1609-1613, has its source
in the Chadwell and Amwell springs. It was peculiarly Lamb's river:
Amwell is close to Blakesware and Widford; Lamb explored it as a boy;
at Islington he lived opposite it, and rescued George Dyer from its
depths; and he retained its company both at Enfield and Edmonton.
In the essay on "Newspapers" is a passage very similar to this.
Page 240, line 32. _Eternal novity_. Writing to Hood in 1824 Lamb
speaks of the New River as "rather elderly by this time." Dyer, it
should be remembered, was of Emmanuel College, and the historian of
Page 241, last paragraph. George Dyer contributed "all that was
original" to Valpy's edition of the classics--141 volumes. He also
wrote the _History of The University and Colleges of Cambridge,
including notices relating to the Founders and Eminent Men_. Among
the eminent men of Cambridge are Jeremiah Markland (1693-1776), of
Christ's Hospital and St. Peter's, the classical commentator; and
Thomas Gray, the poet, the sweet lyrist of Peterhouse, who died
in 1771, when Dyer was sixteen. Tyrwhitt would probably be Thomas
Tyrwhitt (1730-1786), of Queen's College, Oxford, the editor of
Chaucer; but Robert Tyrwhitt (1735-1817), his brother, the Unitarian,
might be expected to take interest in Dyer also, for G.D. was, in
Lamb's phrase, a "One-Goddite" too. The mild Askew was Anthony Askew
(1722-1772), doctor and classical scholar, who, being physician to
Christ's Hospital when Dyer was there, lent the boy books, and was
very kind to him.
* * * * *
Page 242. SOME SONNETS OF SIR PHILIP SYDNEY.
_London Magazine_, September, 1823, where it was entitled "Nugae
Criticae. By the Author of Elia. No. 1. Defence of the Sonnets of Sir
Philip Sidney." Signed "L." The second and last of the "Nugae Criticae"
series was the note on "The Tempest" (see Vol. I.).
It may be interesting here to relate that Henry Francis Gary, the
translator of Dante, and Lamb's friend, had, says his son in his
memoir, lent Lamb Edward Phillips's _Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum_,
which was returned after Lamb's death by Edward Moxon, with the leaf
folded down at the account of Sir Philip Sidney. Mr. Gary thereupon
wrote his "Lines to the memory of Charles Lamb," which begin:--
So should it be, my gentle friend;
Thy leaf last closed at Sidney's end.
Thou, too, like Sidney, wouldst have given
The water, thirsting and near heaven.
Lamb has some interesting references to Sidney in the note to Beaumont
and Fletcher's "Maid's Tragedy" in the _Dramatic Specimens_.
Page 243, line 5. _Tibullus, or the ... Author of the Schoolmistress_.
In the _London Magazine_ Lamb wrote "Catullus." Tibullus was one of
the tenderest of Latin poets. William Shenstone (1714-1763) wrote "The
Schoolmistress," a favourite poem with Lamb. The "prettiest of poems"
he called it in a letter to John Clare.
Page 243, line 9. _Ad Leonoram_. The following translation of Milton's
sonnet was made by Leigh Hunt:--
TO LEONORA SINGING AT ROME
To every one (so have ye faith) is given
A winged guardian from the ranks of heaven.
A greater, Leonora, visits thee:
Thy voice proclaims the present deity.
Either the present deity we hear,
Or he of the third heaven hath left his sphere,
And through the bosom's pure and warbling wells,
Breathes tenderly his smoothed oracles;
Breathes tenderly, and so with easy rounds
Teaches our mortal hearts to bear immortal sounds.
If God is all, and in all nature dwells,
In thee alone he speaks, mute ruler in all else.
The Latin in Masson's edition of Milton differs here and there from
Page 243. _Sonnet I_. Lamb cites the sonnets from _Astrophel and
Stella_, in his own order. That which he calls I. is XXXI.; II.,
XXXIX.; III., XXIII.; IV., XXVII.; V., XLI.; VI., LIII.; VII., LXIV.;
VIII., LXXIII.; IX., LXXIV.; X., LXXV.; XI., CIII.; XII., LXXXIV.
I have left the sonnets as Lamb copied them, but there are certain
differences noted in my large edition.
Page 247, middle. _Which I have ... heard objected_. A criticism of
Hazlitt's, in his sixth lecture on Elizabethan literature, delivered
in 1820 at the Surrey Institution, is here criticised. Hazlitt's
remarks on Sidney were uniformly slighting. "His sonnets inlaid in the
Arcadia are jejune, far-fetch'd and frigid.... [The _Arcadia_] is to
me one of the greatest monuments of the abuse of intellectual power
upon record.... [Sidney is] a complete intellectual coxcomb, or nearly
so;" and so forth. The lectures were published in 1821. Elsewhere,
however, Hazlitt found in Sidney much to praise.
Page 248, line 3. _Thin diet of dainty words_. To this sentence, in
the _London Magazine_, Lamb put the following footnote:--
"A profusion of verbal dainties, with a disproportionate lack of
matter and circumstance, is I think one reason of the coldness
with which the public has received the poetry of a nobleman now
living; which, upon the score of exquisite diction alone, is
entitled to something better than neglect. I will venture to copy
one of his Sonnets in this place, which for quiet sweetness, and
unaffected morality, has scarcely its parallel in our language.
"TO A BIRD THAT HAUNTED THE WATERS OF LACKEN IN THE WINTER
"_By Lord Thurlow_
"O melancholy Bird, a winter's day,
Thou standest by the margin of the pool,
And, taught by God, dost thy whole being school
To Patience, which all evil can allay.
God has appointed thee the Fish thy prey;
And given thyself a lesson to the Fool
Unthrifty, to submit to moral rule,
And his unthinking course by thee to weigh.
There need not schools, nor the Professor's chair,
Though these be good, true wisdom to impart.
He who has not enough, for these, to spare
Of time, or gold, may yet amend his heart,
And teach his soul, by brooks, and rivers fair:
Nature is always wise in every part."
This sonnet, by Edward Hovell-Thurlow, second Baron Thurlow
(1781-1829), an intense devotee of Sir Philip Sidney's muse, was a
special favourite with Lamb. He copied it into his Commonplace Book,
and De Quincey has described, in his "London Reminiscences," how Lamb
used to read it aloud.
Page 248, line 27. _Epitaph made on him_. After these words, in the
_London Magazine_, came "by Lord Brooke." Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke,
wrote Sidney's _Life_, published in 1652. After Sidney's death
appeared many elegies upon him, eight of which were printed at the end
of Spenser's _Colin Clout's Come Home Again_, in 1595. That which Lamb
quotes is by Matthew Roydon, Stanzas 15 to 18 and 26 and 27. The poem
beginning "Silence augmenteth grief" is attributed to Brooke, chiefly
on Lamb's authority, in Ward's _English Poets_. This is one stanza:--
He was (woe worth that word!) to each well-thinking mind
A spotless friend, a matchless man, whose virtue ever shined,
Declaring in his thoughts, his life and that he writ,
Highest conceits, longest foresights, and deepest works of wit.
Sidney was only thirty-two at his death.
* * * * *
Page 249. NEWSPAPERS THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO.
_Englishman's Magazine_, October, 1831, being the second paper under
the heading "Peter's Net," of which "Recollections of a Late Royal
Academician" was the first (see note, Vol. I.).
The title ran thus:--
BY THE AUTHOR OF "ELIA"
_No. II.--On the Total Defect of the faculty of Imagination
observable in the works of modern British Artists._
For explanation of this title see note to the essay that follows. When
reprinting the essay in the _Last Essays of Elia_, 1833, Lamb altered
the title to the one it now bears: the period referred to thus seeming
to be about 1798, but really 1801-1803.
Page 249, first line of essay. _Dan Stuart_. See below.
Page 249, line 2 of essay. _The Exhibition at Somerset House._ Between
the years 1780 and 1838 the Royal Academy held its exhibitions at
Somerset House. It then moved, first to Trafalgar Square, in a portion
of the National Gallery, and then to Burlington House, its present
quarters, in 1869. The _Morning Post_ office is still almost opposite
Somerset House, at the corner of Wellington Street.
Page 250, line 5. _A word or two of D.S._ Daniel Stuart (1766-1846),
one of the Perthshire Stuarts, whose father was out in the '45, and
his grandfather in the '15, began, with his brother, to print the
_Morning Post_ in 1788. In 1795 they bought it for L600, Daniel
assumed the editorship, and in two years' time the circulation had
risen from 350 to 1,000. Mackintosh (afterwards Sir James), Stuart's
brother-in-law, was on the staff; and in 1797 Coleridge began to
contribute. Coleridge's "Devil's Walk" was the most popular thing
printed in Stuart's time; his political articles also helped
enormously to give the paper prestige. Stuart sold the _Morning Post_
in 1803 for L25,000, and then turned his attention to the development
of _The Courier_, an evening paper, in which he also had occasional
assistance from Coleridge and more regular help from Mackintosh.
Lamb's memory served him badly in the essay. So far as I can discover,
his connection with the _Morning Post_, instead of ending when Stuart
sold the paper, can hardly be said to have existed until after that
event. The paper changed hands in September, 1803 (two years after the
failure of The _Albion_), and Lamb's hand almost immediately begins to
be apparent. He had, we know, made earlier efforts to get a footing
there, but had been only moderately successful. The first specimens
prepared for Stuart, in 1800, were not accepted. In the late summer of
1801 he was writing for the _Morning Chronicle_--a few comic letters,
as I imagine--under James Perry; but that lasted only a short time. At
the end of 1801 Lamb tried the _Post_ again. In January and February,
1802, Stuart printed some epigrams by him on public characters, two
criticisms of G.F. Cooke, in Richard III. and Lear, and the essay "The
Londoner" (see Vol. I.). Probably there were also some paragraphs. In
a letter to Rickman in January, 1802, Lamb says that he is leaving
the _Post_, partly on account of his difficulty in writing dramatic
criticisms on the same night as the performance.
We know nothing of Lamb's journalistic adventures between February,
1802, and October, 1803, when the fashion of pink stockings came in,
and when he was certainly back on the _Post_ (Stuart having sold it to
establish _The Courier_), and had become more of a journalist than he
had ever been. I quote a number of the paragraphs which I take to be
his on this rich topic; but the specimen given in the essay is not
"_Oct_. 8.--The fugitive and mercurial matter, of which a _Lady's
blush_ is made, after coursing from its natural position, the
_cheek_, to the _tip_ of the _elbow_, and thence diverging for a
time to the _knee_, has finally settled in the _legs_, where, in
the form of a pair of _red hose_, it combines with the posture and
situation of _the times_, to put on a most _warlike_ and _martial
"_Nov_. 2.--Bartram, who, as a _traveller_, was possessed of a
very _lively fancy_, describes vast plains in the interior of
America, where his _horse's fetlocks_ for miles were dyed a
perfect _blood colour_, in the juice of the _wild strawberries_.
A less ardent fancy than BARTRAM'S may apply this beautiful
phenomenon of summer, to solve the present _strawberry appearance_
of the _female leg_ this autumn in England."
"_Nov_. 3.--The _roseate tint_, so agreeably diffused through the
silk stockings of our females, induces the belief that the _dye is
cast_ for their lovers."
"_Nov_. 8.--A popular superstition in the North of Germany is said
to be the true original of the well-known sign of Mother REDCAP.
Who knows but that _late posterity_, when, what is regarded by
us now as _fashion_, shall have long been classed among the
superstitious observances of an age gone by, may dignify their
signs with the antiquated personification of a Mother RED LEGS?"
"_Nov_. 9.--Curiosity is on tip-toe for the arrival of ELPHY
BEY'S fair _Circassian_ Ladies. The attraction of their
_naturally-placed, fine, proverbial bloom_, is only wanting to
reduce the wandering colour in the 'elbows' and 'ancles' of our
_belles_, back to its native _metropolis_ and _palace_, the
"_Nov_. 22.--_Pink stockings_ beneath _dark pelices_ are emblems
of _Sincerity_ and _Discretion_; signifying a _warm heart_ beneath
a _cool exterior_."
"_Nov_. 29.--The decline of red stockings is as fatal to the wits,
as the going out of a fashion to an overstocked jeweller: some
of these gentry have literally for some months past _fed_ on
"_Dec_. 21.--The fashion of red stockings, so much cried down,
dispraised, and followed, is on the eve of departing, to be
consigned to the family tomb of 'all the fashions,' where sleep
in peace the _ruffs_ and _hoops_, and _fardingales_ of past
"All its beauty, all its pomp, decays
Like _Courts removing_, or like _ending plays_."
On February 7, 1804, was printed Lamb's "Epitaph on a young Lady who
Lived Neglected and Died Obscure" (see Vol. IV.), and now and then we
find a paragraph likely to be his; but, as we know from a letter from
Mary Lamb to Sarah Stoddart, he had left the _Post_ in the early
spring, 1804. I think this was the end of his journalism, until he
began to write a little for _The Examiner_ in 1812.
In 1838 Stuart was drawn into a correspondence with Henry Coleridge
in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ (May, June, July and August) concerning
some statements about Coleridge's connection with the _Morning Post_
and _The Courier_ which were made in Gillman's _Life_, Stuart, in the
course of straightening out his relations with Coleridge, referred
thus to Lamb:--
But as for good Charles Lamb, I never could make anything out of
his writings. Coleridge often and repeatedly pressed me to settle
him on a salary, and often and repeatedly did I try; but it would
not do. Of politics he knew nothing; they were out of his line of
reading and thought; and his drollery was vapid, when given in
short paragraphs fit for a newspaper; yet he has produced some
agreeable books, possessing a tone of humour and kind feeling,
in a quaint style, which it is amusing to read, and cheering to
For further remarks concerning Lamb's journalism see below when we
come to _The Albion_ and his connection with it.
Page 250, line 6. _Perry, of the Morning Chronicle._ James Perry
(1756-1821) the editor of the _Morning Chronicle_--the leading Whig
paper, for many years--from about 1789. Perry was a noted talker and
the friend of many brilliant men, among them Porson. Southey's letters
inform us that Lamb was contributing to the _Chronicle_ in the summer
of 1801, and I fancy I see his hand now and then; but his identifiable
contributions to the paper came much later than the period under
notice. Coleridge contributed to it a series of sonnets to eminent
persons in 1794, in one of which, addressed to Mrs. Siddons, he
collaborated with Lamb (see Vol. IV.).
Page 250, line 14. _The Abyssinian Pilgrim_. For notes to this passage
about the New River see the essay "Amicus Redivivus."
Page 250, foot. _In those days ..._ This paragraph began, in the
_Englishman's Magazine_, with the following sentence:--
"We ourself--PETER--in whose inevitable NET already Managers and
R.A.s lie caught and floundering--and more peradventure shall
flounder--were, in the humble times to which we have been
recurring, small Fishermen indeed, essaying upon minnows; angling
for quirks, not _men_."
The phrase "Managers and R.A.s" refers to the papers on Elliston and
George Dawe which had preceded this essay, although the Elliston essay
had not been ranged under the heading "Peter's Net." The George Dawe
paper is in Vol. I. of this edition.
Page 252, line 25. _Basilian water-sponges._ The Basilian order of
monks were pledged to austerity; but probably Lamb intended merely a
joke upon his friend Basil Montagu's teetotalism (see note in Vol.
I. to "Confessions of a Drunkard," a paper quoted in Montagu's _Some
Enquiries into the Effects of Fermented Liquors_). In John Forster's
copy of the _Last Essays of Elia_, in the South Kensington Museum,
a legacy from Elia, there is written "Basil Montagu!" against
this passage. Moreover the context runs, "we were right toping
Capulets"--as opposed to the (Basil) Montagus.
Page 253, line 23. _Bob Allen._ See the essay on "Christ's Hospital"
Page 253, line 24. _The "Oracle."_ This daily paper was started in the
1780's by Peter Stuart, Daniel Stuart's brother, as a rival to _The
World_ (see below).
Page 253, line 31. _Mr. Deputy Humphreys._ I am disappointed to have
been able to find nothing more about this Common Council butt.
Page 254, lines 11 and 12. _The "True Briton_," _the "Star_," _the
"Traveller_." _The True Briton_, a government organ in the 1790's,
which afterwards assimilated Cobbett's Porcupine. _The Star_ was
founded by Peter Stuart, Daniel Stuart's brother, in 1788. It was
the first London evening paper to appear regularly. _The Traveller_,
founded about 1803, still flourishes under the better-known title of
Page 254, lines 24-26. _Este ... Topham ... Boaden_. Edward Topham
(1751-1820), author of the _Life of John Elwes_, the miser, founded
_The World_, a daily paper, in 1787. Parson Este, the Rev. Charles
Este, was one of his helpers. James Boaden (1762-1839), dramatist,
biographer and journalist, and editor of _The Oracle_ for some years,
wrote the _Life of Mrs. Siddons_, 1827.
Page 254, foot. _The Albion_. Lamb's memory of his connection with
_The Albion_ was at fault. His statement is that he joined it on the
sale of the _Morning Post_ by Stuart, which occurred in 1803; but as a
matter of fact his association with it was in 1801. This we know from
his letters to Manning in August of that year, quoting the epigram on
Mackintosh (see below) and announcing the paper's death. Mackintosh,
says Lamb, was on the eve of departing to India to reap the fruits of
his apostasy--referring to his acceptance of the post of Recordership
of Bombay offered to him by Addington. But this was a slip of memory.
Mackintosh's name had been mentioned in connection with at least
two posts before this--a judgeship in Trinidad and the office of
Advocate-General in Bengal, and Lamb's epigram may have had reference
to one or the other. In the absence of a file of _The Albion_, which I
have been unable to find, it is impossible to give exact dates or to
reproduce any of Lamb's other contributions.
Page 255, line 6. _John Fenwick_. See the essay "The Two Races of
Men," and note. Writing to Manning on September 24, 1802, Lamb
describes Fenwick as a ruined man hiding from his creditors. In
January, 1806, he tells Stoddart that Fenwick is "coming to town on
Monday (if no kind angel intervene) to surrender himself to prison."
And we meet him again as late as 1817, in a letter to Barron Field, on
August 31, where his editorship of The Statesman is mentioned. In
Mary Lamb's letters to Sarah Stoddart there are indications that Mrs.
Fenwick and family were mindful of the Lambs' charitable impulses.
After "Fenwick," in the _Englishman's Magazine_, Lamb wrote: "Of him,
under favour of the public, something may be told hereafter." It is
sad that the sudden discontinuance of the magazine with this number
for ever deprived us of further news of this man.
Page 255, line 11. _Lovell_. Daniel Lovell, subsequently owner and
editor of _The Statesman_, which was founded by John Hunt, Leigh
Hunt's brother, in 1806. He had a stormy career, much chequered by
imprisonment and other punishment for freedom of speech. He died in
Page 255, line 20. _Daily demands of the Stamp Office._ The newspaper
stamp in those days was threepence-halfpenny, raised in 1815 to
fourpence. In 1836 it was reduced to a penny, and in 1855 abolished.
Page 255, line 28. _Accounted very good men now._ A hit, I imagine,
particularly at Southey (see note to "The Tombs in the Abbey"). Also
at Wordsworth and Mackintosh himself.
Page 256, line 3. _Sir J----s M----h_. Sir James Mackintosh
(1765-1832), the philosopher, whose apostasy consisted in his public
recantation of the opinions in favour of the French Revolution
expressed in his _Vindiciae Gallicae_, published in 1791. In 1803 he
accepted the offer of the Recordership of Bombay. Lamb's epigram,
which, as has been stated above, cannot have had reference to this
particular appointment, runs thus in the version quoted in the letter
to Manning of August, 1801:--
Though thou'rt like Judas, an apostate black,
In the resemblance one thing thou dost lack:
When he had gotten his ill-purchased pelf,
He went away, and wisely hang'd himself:
This thou may'st do at last; yet much I doubt,
If thou hash any bowels to gush out.
Page 256, line 6. _Lord ... Stanhope_. This was Charles, third earl
(1753-1816), whose sympathies were with the French Revolution. His
motion in the House of Lords against interfering with France's
internal affairs was supported by himself alone, which led to a medal
being struck in his honour with the motto, "The Minority of One,
1795;" and he was thenceforward named "Minority," or "Citizen,"
Stanhope. George Dyer, who had acted as tutor to his children, was one
of Stanhope's residuary legatees.
Page 256, line 10. _It was about this time ..._ With this sentence
Lamb brought back his essay to its original title, and paved the way
for the second part--now printed under that heading.
At the end of this paper, in the _Englishman's Magazine_, were the
words, "To be continued." For the further history of the essay see the
notes that follow.
* * * * *
Page 256. BARRENNESS OF THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY IN THE PRODUCTIONS OF
_Athenaeum_, January 12, 19, 26, and February 2, 1833, where it was
thus entitled: "On the Total Defects of the Quality of Imagination,
observable in the Works of Modern British Artists." By the Author of
the Essays signed "Elia."
The following editorial note was prefixed to the first
instalment:--"This Series of Papers was intended for a new periodical,
which has been suddenly discontinued. The distinguished writer having
kindly offered them to the ATHENAEUM, we think it advisable to perfect
the Series by this reprint; and, from the limited sale of the work in
which it originally appeared, it is not likely to have been read by
one in a thousand of our subscribers."
The explanation of this passage has been made simple by the researches
of the late Mr. Dykes Campbell. Lamb intended the essay originally for
the _Englishman's Magazine_, November number, to follow the excursus
on newspapers. But that magazine came to an end with the October
number. In the letter from Lamb to Moxon dated October 24, 1831, Lamb
says, referring to Moxon's announcement that the periodical would
cease:--"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."
That was the present essay. Subsequently--at the end of 1832--Moxon
started a weekly paper entitled _The Reflector_, edited by John
Forster, in which the printing of Lamb's essay was begun. It lasted
only a short time, and on its cessation Lamb sent the ill-fated
manuscript to _The Athenaeum_, where it at last saw publication
completed. Of _The Reflector_ all trace seems to have vanished, and
with it possibly other writings of Lamb's.
In _The Athenaeum_ of December 22, 1832, the current _Reflector_ (No.
2) is advertised as containing "An Essay on Painters and Painting by
Page 256, line 1 of essay. _Hogarth_. Compare Lamb's criticism of
Hogarth, Vol. I.
Page 256, foot. _Titian's "Ariadne."_ This picture is now No. 35
in the National Gallery. Writing to Wordsworth in May, 1833, it is
amusing to note, Lamb says: "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." The legend of Ariadne tells that after
being abandoned by Theseus, whom she loved with intense passion, she
was wooed by Bacchus.
Page 258, line 2. _Somerset House._ See note above to the essay on
Page 258, line 14. _Neoteric ... Mr. ----_. Probably J.M.W. Turner and
his "Garden of the Hesperides," now in the National Gallery. It is
true it was painted in 1806, but Lamb does not describe it as a
picture of the year and Turner was certainly the most notable
neoteric, or innovator, of that time.
Page 259, line 1. _Of a modern artist._ In _The Athenaeum_ this
had been printed "of M----," meaning John Martin (1789-1854). His
"Belshazzar's Feast," which Lamb analyses below, was painted in 1821,
and made him famous. It was awarded a L200 premium, and was copied on
glass and exhibited with great success as an illuminated transparency
in the Strand. Lord Lytton said of Martin that "he was more original,
more self-dependent, than Raphael or Michael Angelo." Lamb had
previously expressed his opinion of Martin, in a letter to Bernard
Barton, dated June 11, 1827, in a passage which contains the germ
of this essay:--"Martin's Belshazzar (the picture) I have seen.
Its architectural effect is stupendous; but the human figures,
the squalling, contorted little antics that are playing at being
frightened, like children at a sham ghost who half know it to be a
mask, are detestable. Then the _letters_ are nothing more than a
transparency lighted up, such as a Lord might order to be lit up on a
sudden at a Christmas Gambol, to scare the ladies. The _type_ is
as plain as Baskervil--they should have been dim, full of mystery,
letters to the mind rather than the eye."
Page 259, line 13. _The late King_. George IV., who built, when Prince
of Wales, the Brighton Pavilion. As I cannot find this incident in any
memoirs of the Regency, I assume Lamb to have invented it, after his
wont, when in need of a good parallel. "Mrs. Fitz-what's-her-name"
stands of course for Mrs. Fitzherbert.
Page 259, line 33. _The ingenious Mr. Farley_. Charles Farley
(1771-1859), who controlled the pantomimes at Covent Garden from 1806
to 1834, and invented a number of mechanical devices for them. He also
acted, and had been the instructor of the great Grimaldi. Lamb alludes
to him in the essay on "The Acting of Munden."
Page 262, line 10. "_Sun, stand thou still ..._" See Joshua x. 12.
Martin's picture of "Joshua commanding the Sun to stand still" was
painted in 1816. Writing to Barton, in the letter quoted from above,
Lamb says: "Just such a confus'd piece is his Joshua, fritter'd into
1000 fragments, little armies here, little armies there--you should
see only the _Sun_ and _Joshua_ ... for Joshua, I was ten minutes
finding him out."
Page 262, line 29. _The great picture at Angerstein's_. This picture
is "The Resurrection of Lazarus," by Fra Sebastiano del Piombo, with
the assistance, it is conjectured, of Michael Angelo. The picture is
now No. 1 in the National Gallery, the nucleus of which collection was
once the property of John Julius Angerstein (1735-1823). Angerstein's
art treasures were to be seen until his death in his house in Pall
Mall, where the Reform Club now stands.
Page 263, line 35. _The Frenchmen, of whom Coleridge's friend_. See
the _Biographia Literaria_, 1847 ed., Vol. II., pp. 126-127.
Page 265, line 5. "_Truly, fairest Lady ..._" The passage quoted by
Lamb is from Skeltoa's translation of _Don Quixote_, Part II., Chapter
LVIII. The first sentence runs: "Truly, fairest Lady, Actaeon was not
more astonished or in suspense when on the sodaine he saw Diana," and
Page 266, line 9. "_Guzman de Alfarache_." The Picaresque romance by
Mateo Aleman--_Vida y Lechos del picaro Guzman de Alfarache_, Part I.,
1599; Part II., 1605. It was translated into English by James Mabbe in
1622 as _The Rogue; or, The Life of Guzman de Alfarache_. Lamb had a
copy, which is now in my possession, with Mary Lamb's name in it.
* * * * *
Page 266. REJOICINGS UPON THE NEW YEAR'S COMING OF AGE.
_London Magazine_, January, 1823.
This paper, being printed in the same number as that which announced
Elia's death, was signed "Elia's Ghost."
Lamb returned to this vein of fancy two years or so later when (in
1825) he contributed to his friend William Hone's _Every-Day Book_
the petition of the Twenty-Ninth of February, a day of which Hone had
taken no account, and of the Twelfth of August, which from being kept
as the birthday of King George IV. during the time that he was Prince
of Wales, was, on his accession to the throne, disregarded in favour
of April 23, St. George's Day. For these letters see Vol. I. of this
Page 271, line 15. "_On the bat's back ..._" From Ariel's song in
"The Tempest." Lamb confesses, in at least two of his letters, to a
precisely similar plight.
* * * * *
Page 271. THE WEDDING.
_London Magazine_, June, 1825.
The wedding was that of Sarah Burney, daughter of Lamb's old friends,
Rear-Admiral James Burney and his wife Sarah Burney, to her cousin,
John Payne, of Pall Mall, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in April,
1821. The clergyman was the Rev. C.P. Burney, who was not, however,
vicar of St. Mildred's in the Poultry, but of St. Paul's, Deptford, in
Kent. Admiral Burney lived only six months longer, dying in November.
Canon Ainger pointed out that when Lamb was revising this essay for
its appearance in the _Last Essays of Elia_, he was, like the admiral,
about to lose by marriage Emma Isola, who was to him and his sister
what Miss Burney had been to her parents. She married Edward Moxon in
Page 274, line 8. _An unseasonable disposition to levity_. Writing to
P.G. Patmore in 1827 Lamb says: "I have been to a funeral, where I
made a pun, to the consternation of the rest of the mourners." Again,
writing to Southey: "I am going to stand godfather; I don't like the
business; I cannot muster up decorum for these occasions; I shall
certainly disgrace the font; I was at Hazlitt's marriage and was like
to have been turned out several times during the ceremony. Anything
awful makes me laugh. I misbehaved once at a funeral."
Page 274, line 24. _Miss T----s_. In the _London Magazine_ "Miss
Page 274, line 27. _Black ... the costume of an author_. See note
Page 274, line 29. _Lighter colour_. Here the _London Magazine_ had:
"a pea-green coat, for instance, like the bridegroom."
Page 274, line 34. _A lucky apologue_. I do not find this fable; but
Lamb's father, in his volume of poems, described in a note on page
381, has something in the same manner in his ballad "The Sparrow's
The chatt'ring Magpye undertook
Their wedding breakfast for to cook,
He being properly bedight
In a cook's cloathing, black and white.
Page 275, foot. _The Admiral's favourite game_. Admiral Burney wrote a
treatise on whist (see notes to "Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist").
* * * * *
Page 276. THE CHILD ANGEL.
_London Magazine_, June, 1823.
Thomas Moore's _Loves of the Angels_ was published in 1823. Lamb used
it twice for his own literary purposes: on the present occasion, with
tenderness, and again, eight years later, with some ridicule, for
his comic ballad, "Satan in Search of a Wife," 1831, was ironically
dedicated to the admirers of Moore's poem (see Vol. IV.).
* * * * *
Page 279. A DEATH-BED.
Hone's _Table Book_, Vol. I., cols. 425-426, 1827. Signed "L.," and
dated London, February 10, 1827. The essay is very slightly altered
from a letter written by Lamb to Crabb Robinson, January 20, 1827,
describing the death of Randal Morris. It was printed in the first
edition only of the _Last Essays of Elia_; its place being taken
afterwards by the "Confessions of a Drunkard," an odd exchange. The
essay was omitted, in deference, it is believed, to the objection of
Mrs. Norris to her reduced circumstances being made public. As the
present edition adheres to the text of the first edition, "The
Death-Bed" is included in its original place as decided by the author.
The "Confessions of a Drunkard" will be found in Vol. I.
Randal Norris was for many years sub-treasurer of the Inner Temple
(see postscript to the essay on the "Old Benchers"). Writing to
Wordsworth in 1830 Lamb spoke of him as "sixty years ours and our
father's friend." An attempt has been made to identify him with the
Mr. Norris of Christ's Hospital who was so kind to the Lambs after the
tragedy of September, 1796. I cannot find any trace of Randal Norris
having been connected with anything but the law and the Inner Temple;
but possibly the Mr. Norris of the school was a relative.
Mrs. Randal Norris was connected with Widford, the village adjoining
Blakesware, where she had known Mary Field, Lamb's grandmother. It was
thither that she and her son retired after Randal Norris's death, to
join her daughters, Miss Betsy and Miss Jane, who had a school for
girls known as Goddard House School. Lamb kept up his friendship with
them to the end, and they corresponded with Mary Lamb after his death.
Mrs. Norris died in 1843, aged seventy-eight, and was buried at
Widford. The grave of Richard Norris, the son, is also there. He died
in 1836. One of the daughters, Elizabeth, married Charles Tween, of
Widford, and lived until 1894. The other daughter, Jane, married
Arthur Tween, his brother, and lived until 1891.
Mary Lamb was a bridesmaid at the Norris's wedding and after the
ceremony accompanied the bride and bridegroom to Richmond for the day.
So one of their daughters told Canon Ainger.
Crabb Robinson seems to have exerted himself for the family, as Lamb
wished. Mr. W.C. Hazlitt says that an annuity of L80 was settled upon
Page 279, last line. _To the last he called me Jemmy_. In the letter
to Crabb Robinson--"To the last he called me Charley. I have none to
call me Charley now."
Page 280, line 2. _That bound me to B----_. In the letter to Crabb
Robinson--"that bound me to the Temple."
Page 280, line 14. _Your Corporation Library_. In the letter--"The
Page 280, line 19. _He had one Song_. Garrick's "Hearts of Oak."
* * * * *
Page 281. OLD CHINA.
_London Magazine_, March, 1823.
This essay forms a pendant, or complement, to "Mackery End in
Hertfordshire," completing the portrait of Mary Lamb begun there.
It was, with "The Wedding," Wordsworth's favourite among the _Last
Page 282, line 23. _The brown suit_. P.G. Patmore, in his
recollections of Lamb in the _Court Journal_, 1835, afterwards
reprinted, with some alterations, in his _My Friends and
Acquaintances_, stated that Lamb laid aside his snuff-coloured suit
in favour of black, after twenty years of the India House; and he
suggests that Wordsworth's stanzas in "A Poet's Epitaph" was the
But who is he, with modest looks,
And clad in homely russet brown?
He murmurs near the running brooks
A music sweeter than their own.
He is retired as noontide dew,
Or fountain in a noon-day grove;
And you must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.
Whatever Patmore's theory may be worth, it is certain that Lamb
adhered to black after the change.
Page 282, line 25. _Beaumont and Fletcher_. See note to "Books and
Page 282, line 27. _Barker's_. Barker's old book-shop was at No. 20
Great Russell Street, over which the Lambs went to live in 1817. It
had then, however, become Mr. Owen's, a brazier's (Wheatley's _London
Past and Present_ gives Barker's as 19, but a contemporary directory
says 20). Great Russell Street is now Russell Street.
Page 282, line 30. _From Islington_. This would be when Lamb and his
sister lived at 36 Chapel Street, Pentonville, a stone's throw from
the Islington boundary, in 1799-1800, after the death of their father.
Page 283, line 11. _The "Lady Blanch._" See Mary Lamb's poem on this
picture, Vol. IV. and note.
Page 283, line 15. _Colnaghi's_. Colnaghi, the printseller, then in
Cockspur Street, now Pall Mall East. After this word came in the
_London Magazine_ "(as W---- calls it)." The reference, Mr. Rogers
Rees tells me, is to Wainewright's article "C. van Vinkbooms, his
Dogmas for Dilletanti," in the same magazine for December, 1821, where
he wrote: "I advise Colnaghi and Molteno to import a few impressions
immediately of those beautiful plates from Da Vinci. The ... and Miss
Lamb's favourite, 'Lady Blanche and the Abbess,' commonly called
'Vanitas et Modestia' (Campanella, los. ed.), for I foresee that this
Dogma will occasion a considerable call for them--let them, therefore,
Page 283, line 5 from foot. _To see a play_. "The Battle of Hexham"
and "The Surrender of Calais" were by George Colman the Younger; "The
Children in the Wood," a favourite play of Lamb's, especially with
Miss Kelly in it, was by Thomas Morton. Mrs. Bland was Maria Theresa
Bland, _nee_ Romanzini, 1769-1838, who married Mrs. Jordan's brother.
Jack Bannister we have met, in "The Old Actors."
Page 286, line 12. _The Great yew R----_. This would be Nathan Meyer
Rothschild (1777-1836), the founder of the English branch of the
family and the greatest financier of modern times.
* * * * *
Page 286. POPULAR FALLACIES.
This series of little essays was printed in the _New Monthly Magazine_
in 1826, beginning in January. The order of publication there was not
the same as that in the _Last Essays of Elia_; one of the papers,
"That a Deformed Person is a Lord," was not reprinted by Lamb at all
(it will be found in Vol. I. of this edition); and two others were
converted into separate essays (see "The Sanity of True Genius" and
"The Genteel Style in Writing").
After Lamb's death a new series of Popular Fallacies was contributed
to the _New Monthly Magazine_ by L.B. (Laman Blanchard) in 1835,
preceded by an invocation to the spirit of Charles Lamb.
Page 286. I.--THAT A BULLY is ALWAYS A COWARD.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 287, line 1. _Hickman_. This would be Tom Hickman, the pugilist.
In Hazlitt's fine account of "The Fight," Hickman or the Gas-Man,
"vapoured and swaggered too much, as if he wanted to grin and bully
his adversary out of the fight." And again, "'This is the _grave
digger_' (would Tom Hickman exclaim in the moments of intoxication
from gin and success, showing his tremendous right hand); 'this will
send many of them to their long homes; I haven't done with them yet.'"
But he went under to Neale, of Bristol, on the great day that Hazlitt
Page 287, line 2. _Him of Clarissa_. Mr. Hickman, in Richardson's
novel _Clarissa_, the lover of Miss Bayes.
Page 287. II.--THAT ILL-GOTTEN GAIN NEVER PROSPERS.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 287. III.--THAT A MAN MUST NOT LAUGH AT HIS OWN JEST.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 288, line 12. _In Mandeville_. In Bernard Mandeville's Fable of
the Bees, a favourite book of Lamb's. See Vol. I., note to "The Good
Page 288. IV.--THAT SUCH A ONE SHOWS HIS BREEDING, ETC.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 288. V.--THAT THE POOR COPY THE VICES OF THE RICH.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 290. VI.--THAT ENOUGH is AS GOOD AS A FEAST.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 291. VII.--OF TWO DISPUTANTS, THE WARMEST IS GENERALLY IN THE
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 291, line 4 from foot. _Little Titubus_. I do not know who this
was, if any more than an abstraction; but it should be remembered that
Lamb himself stammered.
Page 292. VIII.--THAT VERBAL ALLUSIONS ARE NOT WIT, ETC.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Page 292. IX.--THAT THE WORST PUNS ARE THE BEST.
_New Monthly Magazine_, January, 1826.
Compare the reflections on puns in the essay on "Distant
Correspondents." Compare also the review of Hood's _Odes and
Addresses_ (Vol. I.). Cary's account of a punning contest after Lamb's
own heart makes the company vie with each in puns on the names
of herbs. After anise, mint and other words had been ingeniously
perverted Lamb's own turn, the last, was reached, and it seemed
impossible that anything was left for him. He hesitated. "Now then,
let us have it," cried the others, all expectant. "Patience," he
replied; "it's c-c-cumin."
Page 293, line 18. _One of Swift's Miscellanies_. This joke, often
attributed to Lamb himself, will be found in _Ars Punica, sine flos
Linguarum, The Art of Punning; or, The Flower of Languages_, by Dr.
Sheridan and Swift, which will be found in Vol. XIII. of Scott's
edition of Swift. Among the directions to the punster is this:--
Rule 3. The Brazen Rule. He must have better assurance, like Brigadier
C----, who said, "That, as he was passing through a street, he made to
a country fellow who had a hare swinging on a stick over his shoulder,
and, giving it a shake, asked him whether it was his own _hair_ or a
periwig!" Whereas it is a notorious Oxford jest.
Page 294, line 8. _Virgil ... broken Cremona_. Swift (as Lamb
explained in the original essay in the _New Monthly Magazine_), seeing
a lady's mantua overturning a violin (possibly a Cremona), quoted
Virgil's line: "Mantua vae miserae nimium vicina Cremonae!" (_Eclogues_,
IX., 28), "Mantua, alas! too near unhappy Cremona."
Page 294. X.--THAT HANDSOME IS THAT HANDSOME DOES.
_New Monthly Magazine_, March, 1826.
Whether a Mrs. Conrady existed, or was invented or adapted by Lamb to
prove his point, I have not been able to discover. But the evidence of
Lamb's "reverence for the sex," to use Procter's phrase, is against
her existence. _The Athenaeum_ reviewer on February 16, 1833, says,
however, quoting the fallacy: "Here is a portrait of Mrs. Conrady. We
agree with the writer that 'no one that has looked on her can pretend
to forget the lady.'" The point ought to be cleared up.
Page 296. XI.--THAT WE MUST NOT LOOK A GIFT-HORSE IN THE MOUTH.
_New Monthly Magazine_, April, 1826.
Page 297, line 13. _Our friend Mitis_. I do not identify Mitis among
Lamb's many friends.
Page 297, line 11 from foot. _Presentation copies_. The late Mr.
Thomas Westwood, the son of the Westwoods with whom the Lambs lived
at Edmonton, writing to Notes and Queries some thirty-five years ago,
gave an amusing account of Lamb pitching presentation copies out of
the window into the garden--a Barry Cornwall, a Bernard Barton, a
Leigh Hunt, and so forth. Page 298, line 6. _Odd presents of game_.
Compare the little essay on "Presents of Game," Vol. I.
Page 298. XII.--THAT HOME IS HOME THOUGH IT IS NEVER SO HOMELY.
_New Monthly Magazine_, March, 1826. In that place the first sentence
began with the word "Two;" the second ended with "of our assertions;"
and (fourteenth line of essay) it was said of the very poor man
that he "can ask" no visitors. Lamb, in a letter, wished Wordsworth
particularly to like this fallacy and that on rising with the lark.
Page 300, line 9. _It has been prettily said_. By Lamb himself, or
more probably by his sister, in _Poetry for Children_, 1809. See "The
First Tooth," Vol. III., which ends upon the line
A child is fed with milk and praise.
Page 301, line 3. _There is yet another home_. Writing to Mrs.
Wordsworth on February 18, 1818, Lamb gives a painful account, very
similar in part to this essay, of the homeless home to which he was
reduced by visitors. But by the time he wrote the essay, when all his
day was his own, the trouble was not acute. He tells Bernard Barton
on March 20, 1826, "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_." Compare
the first of the "Lepus" papers in Vol. I.
Page 301, line 20. _It is the refreshing sleep of the day_. After this
sentence, in the magazine, came this passage:--
"O the comfort of sitting down heartily to an old folio, and
thinking surely that the next hour or two will be your own--and
the misery of being defeated by the useless call of somebody, who
is come to tell you, that he is just come from hearing Mr. Irving!
What is that to you? Let him go home, and digest what the good man
said to him. You are at your chapel, in your oratory."
Mr. Irving was the Rev. Edward Irving (1792-1834), whom Lamb knew
slightly and came greatly to admire.
Page 302. XIII.--THAT YOU MUST LOVE ME, AND LOVE MY DOG.
_New Monthly Magazine_, February, 1826.
Compare "A Bachelor's Complaint." I cannot identify the particular
friend whom Lamb has hidden under asterisks; although his cousin would
seem to have some likeness to one of the Bethams mentioned in the
essay "Many Friends" (Vol. I.), and in the letter to Landor of
October, 1832 (usually dated April), after his visit to the Lambs.
Page 304, line 15. _Honorius dismiss his vapid wife_. Writing to
Bernard Barton on March 20, 1826, Lamb says:--"In another thing I
talkd of somebody'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 numerous. I send out a character
every now and then, on purpose to exercise the ingenuity of my
Page 304, line 11 from foot. _Merry, of Delia Cruscan memory_. Robert
Merry (1755-1798), an affected versifier who settled in Florence as a
young man, and contributed to the _Florence Miscellany_. He became
a member of the Delia Cruscan Academy, and on returning to England
signed his verses, in _The World_, "Delia Crusca." A reply to his
first effusion, "Adieu and Recall to Love," was written by Mrs. Hannah
Cowley, author of _The Belle's Stratagem_, and signed "Anna Matilda;"
this correspondence continued; a fashion of sentiment was thus
started; and for a while Delia Cruscan poetry was the rage. The
principal Delia Cruscan poems were published in the _British Album_
in 1789, and the collection was popular until Gifford's _Baviad_
(followed by his _Maeviad_) appeared in 1791, and satirised its
conceits so mercilessly that the school collapsed. A meeting with Anna
Matilda in the flesh and the discovery that she was twelve years his
senior had, however, put an end to Merry's enthusiasm long before
Gifford's attack. Merry afterwards threw in his lot with the French
Revolution, and died in America. He married, as Lamb says, Elizabeth
Brunton, an excellent tragic actress, in 1791. But that was in
England. The journey to America came later.
The story of Merry's avoidance of the lady of his first choice is
probably true. Carlo Antonio Delpini was a famous pantomimist in his
day at Drury Lane, Covent Garden and the Haymarket. He also was
stage manager at the Opera for a while, and occasionally arranged
entertainments for George IV. at Brighton. He died in 1828.
Page 305. XIV.--THAT WE SHOULD RISE WITH THE LARK.
_New Monthly Magazine_, February, 1826.
Compare "The Superannuated Man," to which this little essay, which,
with that following, is one of Lamb's most characteristic and perfect
works, serves as a kind of postscript.
Page 308. XV.--THAT WE SHOULD LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB.
_New Monthly Magazine_, February, 1826.
Page 309. XVI.--THAT A SULKY TEMPER IS A MISFORTUNE.
_New Monthly Magazine_, September, 1826.
This was the last of the series and Lamb's last contribution to the
_New Monthly Magazine_.
Page 315. ON SOME OF THE OLD ACTORS, ETC.
See notes to the essays "On Some of the Old Actors," "The Artificial
Comedy" and "The Acting of Munden." Two portions of these essays, not
reprinted by Lamb, call for comment: the story of the first night of
"Antonio," and the account of Charles Mathews' collection of pictures.
Page 328, line 14 from foot. _My friend G.'s "Antonio."_ William
Godwin's tragedy, produced on December 13, 1800, at Drury Lane. Lamb
had written the epilogue (see Vol. IV.). Compare the letter to Manning
of December 16, 1800.
Page 329, line 28. _M. wiped his cheek_. Writing to Godwin after the
failure Lamb says: "The breast of Hecuba, where she did suckle Hector,
looked not to be more lovely than Marshal's forehead when it spit
forth sweat, at Critic-swords contending. I remember two honest lines
by Marvel ...
"'Where every Mower's wholesome heat
Smells like an Alexander's sweat.'"
And again, to Manning: "His [Marshal's] face was lengthened, and all
over perspiration; I never saw such a care-fraught visage; I could
have hugged him, I loved him so intensely. 'From every pore of him a
Page 329, foot. _R----s the dramatist_. I imagine this to be Frederic
Reynolds (1764-1841), author of "The Dramatist" and many other plays.
We know Lamb to have known him later, from a mention in a letter to
Page 330, foot, _Brutus ... Appius_. Brutus in "Julius Caesar," or
possibly in the play called "Brutus," by John Howard Payne, Lamb's
friend (produced December 3, 1818), in which Brutus kills his son--a
closer parallel. Appius was probably a slip of the pen for Virginius,
who in Sheridan Knowles' drama that bears his name kills his daughter
to protect her from Appius.
Page 331, line 7. _G. thenceforward_. Godwin did, however, write
another play, "Faulkener," for which Lamb wrote the prologue. It was
Page 331, 1st line of essay. _I do not know, etc_. The paragraph
beginning with these words is often printed by editors of Lamb as
a separate article entitled "The Old Actors." Charles Mathews'
collection of theatrical portraits is now in the Garrick Club. In
his lifetime it occupied the gallery at Ivy Lodge, Highgate (or more
properly Kentish Town). A year or so before Mathews' death in 1835,
his pictures were exhibited at the Queen's Bazaar in Oxford Street,
Lamb's remarks being printed in the catalogue _raisonne_.
Accountants, Lamb on, 3.
Actors and acting, Lamb's essays on, 150, 161, 168, 185, 188, 190, 230,
315, 322, 331.
Actors among Lamb's friends, 232.
Adams, Parson, 49.
Agar's wish, 348.
Aguecheek, Lamb on, 155.
Ainger, Canon, his notes on Lamb, 345, 353, 361, 403, 436, 438.
_Albion, The_, and Lamb, 254, 429, 432.
Alice W----n, 32, 44, 116, 117, 339, 363, 389.
ALL FOOLS' DAY, 48, 367.
Allen, Bob, 25, 253, 355, 431.
Allsop, Thomas, quoting Lamb, 357.
---- and "Roast Pig," 396.
---- quotes Lamb on G.H., 425.
Almsgiving, Lamb on, 137.
Alsatia, the debtors' sanctuary, 162.
America, Lamb relics in, 344, 357, 358, 362, 412.
AMICUS REDIVIVUS, 237, 424.
Anatomy and love, 64.
_Anatomy of Melancholy_ quoted, 46.
Andre, Major, 237, 424.
Anna Matilda, 443.
Antiquity, Lamb on, 11.
"Antonio," by Godwin, 328, 444.
_Arcadia, The_, by Sidney, 242.
Arrowsmith, Aaron, 369.
"Artaxerxes," 113, 387.
Artificial comedy, Lamb's essay on, 161, 399.
Artists, their want of imagination, 256.
Arundel Castle and the chimney-sweep legend, 127.
_As when a child on some long winter's night_, 388.
_Athenaeum, The_, Lamb's contribution to, 433.
_Athenian Oracle, The_, 303.
Australia, Lamb on, 122.
Ayrton, William, 361, 363.
BACHELOR'S COMPLAINT OF THE BEHAVIOUR OF MARRIED PEOPLE, 144, 397.
Badams, Mrs., 362.
Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 340.
Bannister, Jack, 159, 185, 399, 408.
BARBARA S----, 230, 421.
Barker's book-shop, 282, 439.
BARRENNESS OF THE IMAGINATIVE FACULTY IN THE PRODUCTIONS OF MODERN ART,
Barrington, Daines, 101, 383.
Bartholomew Fair, 128, 391.
Barton, Bernard, Lamb's letters to, 341, 406, 417, 420, 435, 442.
-- Thomas, 102, 383.
Baskett prayer-book, 9.
Battle, Mrs., 37, 175, 406.
---- on whist, 37.
---- her identity, 361.
Beaumont and Fletcher, Lamb's copy, 357.
Beauty, Lamb on, 295.
"Beggar's Petition," 394.
Begging, Lamb's essay on, 130, 392.
"Belshazzars Feast," Martin's picture of, 259, 434.
Benchers, The Old, Lamb's essay on, 94.
Bensley, Robert, 152, 318, 398.
Betty, Master, 414.
Bigod, Ralph, Lamb's name for Fenwick, 27, 356.
Billet, John, 184.
Binding, Lamb on, 412.
_Blackwood's Magazine_ and Scott, 340.
Blake, William, and Lamb, 391.
BLAKESMOOR IN H----SHIRE, 174, 405.
Blakesware near Widford, 115, 174, 388, 405.
Bland, Mrs., 283, 439.
Blandy, Miss, the poisoner, 98, 380.
Bodkin, W.H., 392.
_Book of Sports, The_, 418.
Books, Lamb on, 34, 360.
-- that are not books, 195, 411.
Booth's _Tables of Interest_ and Lamb, 419.
Borrowing, Lamb on, 26.
Bourne, Vincent, 133, 393.
Bowles, William Lisle, 38, 362.
Boyer, James, 23, 353.
Braham, John, 71, 371.
Breeding, Lamb on, 288.
Bridget, Elia. _See_ Elia.
Brighton and the Lambs, 415.
-- Lamb's imaginery scene there, 259.
British Museum, a careful vandal, 357.
Browne, Moses, 404.
-- Sir Thomas, 58, 66, 80.
Bruce, James, 240, 425.
Bruton, Miss Sarah, 376.
Brutons, Lamb's relations, 88, 89.
Buckland, Dean, and the American vandal, 424.
Bullies, Lamb on, 286, 440.
_Buncle, The Life of_, 30, 357.
Burney, Edward, 65, 370.
-- James, 361.
Burney, Martin, 200, 414.
-- Mrs., and Mrs. Battle, 361.
-- Sarah, her wedding, 271, 436.
Burns, Robert, and Lamb, 70, 370.
Burton, Robert, quoted, 46, 77.
_Business! the frivolous pretence_, 419.
Button Snap, Lamb's cottage, 385, 386, 387.
_But who is he, with modest looks_, 438.
Cambridge, Lamb at, 345.
Camelford, Lord, 121, 390.
Candle-light, Lamb on, 308.
CAPTAIN JACKSON, 215, 416.
Card playing, essay on, in _Every-Day Book_, 362.
Carlisle, Sir Anthony, 193, 372, 410.
Cary, H.F., his verses on Lamb, 426.
-- on Lamb's puns, 441.
Cave, Edward, 344.
Chambers, John, 224, 419.
Chapman's _Homer_ kissed by Lamb, 412.
CHAPTER ON EARS, A, 43, 363.
CHARACTER OF THE LATE ELIA, A, 171, 402.
Chess and Mrs. Battle, 42.
CHILD ANGEL, THE, 276, 437.
Children and the dark, 77.
Chimney-sweepers, Lamb's essay on, 124, 390.
CHINA, OLD, 281, 438.
-- its first roast pork, 138.
CHRIST'S HOSPITAL FIVE AND THIRTY YEARS AGO, 14, 350.
---- prayer-book, 9.
---- food in Lamb's day, 14, 350.
---- holidays in Lamb's day, 15, 351.
---- the dungeon, 19.
---- flogging, 23.
---- Grecians, 26, 355.
---- its graces, 110, 384.
---- the Coleridge memorial, 354.
---- the Lamb medal, 355.
"Cobbler of Preston," by Johnson, 170, 401.
Cockletop, in "Modern Antiques," 168, 400.
Colebrooke cottage, 425.
Coleridge, Hartley, on Lamb, 400.
-- S.T., at Christ's Hospital, 15, 350, 351.
-- his wit combats, 25.
-- his treatment of books, 29, 356.
-- his "Ode on the Departing Year," 31, 359.
-- on apple-dumplings, 108, 384.
-- his "Epitaph on an Infant," 141, 397.
-- on Boyer, 353.
-- and the Christ's Hospital memorial, 354.
-- his military name, 356.
-- Lamb's letters to, 356, 368, 396.
-- his marginalia, 358.
-- his notes in Beaumont and Fletcher, 357.
------ in Donne, 358.
-- on Lamb, 359.
-- Lamb's letter to, concerning Quakers, 368.
-- and Christopher North, 371.
-- his sonnets with Lamb, 388.
-- and the _Morning Post_, 429, 430.
Colet, Dean, his _Accidence_, 59.
Colnaghi's print shop, 283, 439.
Comberback, Coleridge's military name, 29, 356.
_Come, all degrees now passing by_, 391.
Comedy and its licence, 161.
COMPLAINT OF THE DECAY OF BEGGARS IN THE METROPOLIS, 130, 392.
CONFESSIONS OF A DRUNKARD, 437.
Congreve, Lamb on, 160, 162.
Conrady, Mrs., 294, 441.
CONVALESCENT, THE, 208, 416.
Corbet, Peter, 404.
Coventry, Thomas, 97, 380.
Cowards and bullies, 286.
Cowley, on business, 419.
Crawford, Anne, 423.
Curry, Sir Christopher, in "Inkle and Yarico," 169, 401.
Da Vinci, Leonardo, and Lamb's beauty, 69, 370.
Dawson, Bully, 287.
Days, Lamb's fantasy upon, 266.
DEATH-BED, A, 279, 437.
Delia Cruscan poetry, 443.
Delpini, 305, 443.
Dennis, John, 292.
De Quincey on Lamb, 377.
DETACHED THOUGHTS ON BOOKS AND READING, 195, 411.
Dickens anticipated by Lamb, 356, 417.
Disputes, Lamb on, 291.
DISSERTATION UPON ROAST PIG, 137, 395.
DISTANT CORRESPONDENTS, 118, 389.
Dobell, Mr. Bertram, his notes on Lamb, 342, 395, 408.
Doctor, the, at Islington, 238.
Dodd, James William, 155.
Dodwell, Henry, 224, 419.
Dornton in "The Road to Ruin," 169, 401.
Dorrell, William, the Lambs' enemy, 32, 360.
DREAM-CHILDREN, 115, 388.
Dreams, Lamb on, 79.
Drowning in dreams, 241.
Drury Lane Theatre, 111, 385.
Dyer, George, 11, 237, 241, 347, 348, 349, 424, 425, 433.
---- and the New River, 237, 424.
Early rising, Lamb on, 305.
East India House, Lamb at, 219.
------ Lamb's superannuation, 219, 417.
------ Lamb's fellow clerks, 223, 224, 403, 404.
Edwards, Thomas, 92, 379.
Elgin marbles, 225, 419.
Back to Full Books