November 14, 1796.
Coleridge, I love you for dedicating your poetry to Bowles.  Genius of the sacred fountain of tears, it was he who led you gently by the hand through all this valley of weeping, showed you the dark green yew-trees and the willow shades where, by the fall of waters, you might indulge in uncomplaining melancholy, a delicious regret for the past, or weave fine visions of that awful future,—
“When all the vanities of life’s
Oblivion’s hurrying hand hath swept away,
And all its sorrows, at the awful blast
Of the archangel’s trump, are but as shadows past.”
I have another sort of dedication in my head for my few things, which I want to know if you approve of and can insert.  I mean to inscribe them to my sister. It will be unexpected, and it will gire her pleasure; or do you think it will look whimsical at all? As I have not spoke to her about it, I can easily reject the idea. But there is a monotony in the affections which people living together, or as we do now, very frequently seeing each other, are apt to give in to,—a sort of indifference in the expression of kindness for each other, which demands that we should sometimes call to our aid the trickery of surprise. Do you publish with Lloyd, or without him? In either case my little portion may come last, and after the fashion of orders to a country correspondent, I will give directions how I should like to have ’em done. The title-page to stand thus:—
BY CHARLES LAMB, OF THE INDIA HOUSE.
Under this title the following motto, which, for want of room, I put over-leaf, and desire you to insert whether you like it or no. May not a gentleman choose what arms, mottoes, or armorial bearings the herald will give him leave, without consulting his republican friend, who might advise none? May not a publican put up the sign of the Saracen’s Head, even though his undiscerning neighbor should prefer, as more genteel, the Cat and Gridiron?
“This beauty, in the blossom of my youth,
When my first fire knew no adulterate incense,
Nor I no way to flatter but my fondness,
In the best language my true tongue could tell me,
And all the broken sighs my sick heart lend me,
I sued and served. Long did I love this lady.”