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.
through the whole of our lives....  A careless and a dissolute spirit has advanced upon me with large strides.  Pray God that my present afflictions may be sanctified to me!  Mary is recovering; but I see no opening yet of a situation for her.  Your invitation went to my very heart; but you have a power of exciting interest, of leading all hearts captive, too forcible to admit of Mary’s being with you.  I consider her as perpetually on the brink of madness.  I think you would almost make her dance within an inch of the precipice; she must be with duller fancies and cooler intellects.  I know a young man of this description who has suited her these twenty years, and may live to do so still, if we are one day restored to each other.  In answer to your suggestions of occupation for me, I must say that I do not think my capacity altogether suited for disquisitions of that kind....  I have read little; I have a very weak memory, and retain little of what I read; am unused to composition in which any methodizing is required.  But I thank you sincerely for the hint, and shall receive it as far as I am able,—­that is, endeavor to engage my mind in some constant and innocent pursuit.  I know my capacities better than you do.

Accept my kindest love, and believe me yours, as ever.

C. L.

[1] Mary Lamb had fallen ill again.



(No month, 1798.)

Dear Southey,—­I thank you heartily for the eclogue [1]; 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.” [2] 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

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