Accept my kindest love, and believe me yours, as ever.
 Mary Lamb had fallen ill again.
TO ROBERT SOUTHEY
(No month, 1798.)
Dear Southey,—I thank you heartily for the eclogue ; it pleases me mightily, being so full of picture-work and circumstances. I find no fault in it, unless perhaps that Joanna’s ruin is a catastrophe too trite; and this is not the first or second time you have clothed your indignation, in verse, in a tale of ruined innocence. The old lady, spinning in the sun, I hope would not disdain to claim some kindred with old Margaret. I could almost wish you to vary some circumstances in the conclusion. A gentleman seducer has so often been described in prose and verse: what if you had accomplished Joanna’s ruin by the clumsy arts and rustic gifts of some country fellow? I am thinking, I believe, of the song,—
“An old woman clothed in gray,
Whose daughter was charming and young,
And she was deluded away
By Roger’s false, flattering tongue.”
A Roger-Lothario would be a novel character; I think you might paint him very well. You may think this a very silly suggestion, and so indeed it is; but, in good truth, nothing else but the first words of that foolish ballad put me upon scribbling my “Rosamund.”  But I thank you heartily for the poem. Not having anything of my own to send you in return,—though, to tell truth, I am at work upon something which, if I were to cut away and garble, perhaps I might send you an extract or two that might not displease you; but I will not do that; and whether it will come to anything, I know not, for I am as slow as a Fleming