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.
mutandis, i. e., applying past inferences to modern data.  I retain that, because I am sensible I am very deficient in the politics myself; and I have torn up—­don’t be angry; waste paper has risen forty per cent, and I can’t afford to buy it—­all Bonaparte’s Letters, Arthur Young’s Treatise on Corn, and one or two more light-armed infantry, which I thought better suited the flippancy of London discussion than the dignity of Keswick thinking.  Mary says you will be in a passion about them when you come to miss them; but you must study philosophy.  Read Albertus Magnus de Chartis Amissis five times over after phlebotomizing,—­’t is Burton’s recipe,—­and then be angry with an absent friend if you can.  Sara is obscure.  Am I to understand by her letter that she sends a kiss to Eliza Buckingham?  Pray tell your wife that a note of interrogation on the superscription of a letter is highly ungrammatical!  She proposes writing my name Lambe?  Lamb is quite enough.  I have had the Anthology, and like only one thing in it,—­Lewti; but of that the last stanza is detestable, the rest most exquisite!  The epithet enviable would dash the finest poem.  For God’s sake (I never was more serious), don’t make me ridiculous any more by terming me gentle-hearted in print, or do it in better verses. [1] It did well enough five years ago, when I came to see you, and was moral coxcomb enough at the time you wrote the lines, to feed upon such epithets:  but, besides that, the meaning of “gentle” is equivocal at best, and almost always means “poor-spirited;” the very quality of gentleness is abhorrent to such vile trumpetings.  My sentiment is long since vanished.  I hope my virtues have done sucking.  I can scarce think but you meant it in joke.  I hope you did, for I should be ashamed to think you could think to gratify me by such praise, fit only to be a cordial to some green-sick sonneteer.

[1] An allusion to Coleridge’s lines, “This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison,” wherein he styles Lamb “my gentle-hearted Charles.”



August, 1800.

Dear Manning,—­I am going to ask a favor of you, and am at a loss how to do it in the most delicate mariner.  For this purpose I have been looking into Pliny’s Letters, who is noted to have had the best grace in begging of all the ancients (I read him in the elegant translation of Mr. Melmoth); but not finding any case there exactly similar with mine, I am constrained to beg in my own barbarian way.  To come to the point, then, and hasten into the middle of things, have you a copy of your Algebra [1] to give away?  I do not ask it for myself; I have too much reverence for the Black Arts ever to approach thy circle, illustrious Trismegist!  But that worthy man and excellent poet, George Dyer, made me a visit yesternight on purpose to borrow one, supposing, rationally enough, I must say, that you

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