The Best Letters of Charles Lamb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 323 pages of information about The Best Letters of Charles Lamb.
from which it came.  To G.D. a poem is a poem,—­his own as good as anybody’s, and, God bless him! anybody’s as good as his own; for I do not think he has the most distant guess of the possibility of one poem being better than another.  The gods, by denying him the very faculty itself of discrimination, have effectually cut off every seed of envy in his bosom.  But with envy they excited curiosity also; and if you wish the copy again, which you destined for him, I think I shall be able to find it again for you on his third shelf, where he stuffs his presentation copies, uncut, in shape and matter resembling a lump of dry dust; but on carefully removing that stratum, a thing like a pamphlet will emerge.  I have tried this with fifty different poetical works that have been given G.D. in return for as many of his own performances; and I confess I never had any scruple in taking my own again, wherever I found it, shaking the adherences off; and by this means one copy of ‘my works’ served for G.D.,—­and, with a little dusting, was made over to my good friend Dr. Geddes, who little thought whose leavings he was taking when he made me that graceful bow.  By the way, the Doctor is the only one of my acquaintance who bows gracefully,—­my town acquaintance, I mean.  How do you like my way of writing with two inks?  I think it is pretty and motley.  Suppose Mrs. W, adopts it, the next time she holds the pen for you.  My dinner waits.  I have no time to indulge any longer in these laborious curiosities.  God bless you, and cause to thrive and burgeon whatsoever you write, and fear no inks of miserable poetasters.

Yours truly,


Mary’s love.

[1] Lamb alludes to a parody, ridiculing Wordsworth, by J. Hamilton Reynolds, The verses were entitled “Peter Bell:  A Lyrical Ballad;” and their drift and spirit may be inferred from the following lines from the preface:  “It is now a period of one-and-twenty years since I first wrote some of the most perfect compositions (except certain pieces I have written in my later days) that ever dropped from poetical pen.  My heart hath been right and powerful all its years.  I never thought an evil or a weak thought in my life.  It has been my aim and my achievement to deduce moral thunder from buttercups, daisies, celandines, and (as a poet scarcely inferior to myself hath it) ‘such small deer,’” etc.

[2] The original letter is actually written in to inks,—­alternate black and red.



May 28, 1819,

My Dear M..—­I want to know how your brother is, if you have heard lately.  I want to know about you, I wish you were nearer.  How are my cousins, the Gladmans of Wheathampstead, and Farmer Bruton?  Mrs. Bruton is a glorious woman,

“Hail, Mackery End!” [1]

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The Best Letters of Charles Lamb from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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