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.

I am glad you have put me on the scent after old Quarles.  If I do not put up those eclogues, and that shortly, say I am no true-nosed hound.  I have had a letter from Lloyd; the young metaphysician of Caius is well, and is busy recanting the new heresy, metaphysics, for the old dogma Greek.  My sister, I thank you, is quite well.  She had a slight attack the other day, which frightened me a good deal; but it went off unaccountably.  Love and respects to Edith.

Yours sincerely,


[1] The eclogue was entitled “The Ruined Cottage.”

[2] His romance.  “Rosamund Gray.”

[3] Use.



November 8, 1798.

I perfectly accord with your opinion of old Wither.  Quarles is a wittier writer, but Wither lays more hold of the heart.  Quarles thinks of his audience when he lectures; Wither soliloquizes in company with a full heart.  What wretched stuff are the “Divine Fancies” of Quarles!  Religion appears to him no longer valuable than it furnishes matter for quibbles and riddles; he turns God’s grace into wantonness.  Wither is like an old friend, whose warm-heartedness and estimable qualities make us wish he possessed more genius, but at the same time make us willing to dispense with that want.  I always love W., and sometimes admire Q. Still, that portrait is a fine one; and the extract from “The Shepherds’ Hunting” places him in a starry height far above Quarles, If you wrote that review in “Crit.  Rev.,” I am sorry you are so sparing of praise to the “Ancient Marinere;” [1] so far from calling it, as you do, with some wit but more severity, “A Dutch Attempt,” etc., I call it a right English attempt, and a successful one, to dethrone German sublimity.  You have selected a passage fertile in unmeaning miracles, but have passed by fifty passages as miraculous as the miracles they celebrate.  I never so deeply felt the pathetic as in that part,—­

  “A spring of love gush’d from my heart,
  And I bless’d them unaware.”

It stung me into high pleasure through sufferings.  Lloyd does not like it; his head is too metaphysical, and your taste too correct,—­at least I must allege something against you both, to excuse my own dotage,—­

But you allow some elaborate beauties; you should have extracted ’em.  “The Ancient Marinere” plays more tricks with the mind than that last poem, which is yet one of the finest written.  But I am getting too dogmatical; and before I degenerate into abuse, I will conclude with assuring you that I am,

Sincerely yours,


[1] The “Lyrical Ballads” of Wordsworth and Coleridge had just appeared.  The volume contained four pieces, including the “Ancient Mariner,” by Coleridge.



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