The Best Letters of Charles Lamb eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 257 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,

C. LAMB.

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

[2] His romance.  “Rosamund Gray.”

[3] Use.

XVI.

TO SOUTHEY.

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,

C. LAMB.

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

XVII.

TO SOUTHEY.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Best Letters of Charles Lamb from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook