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.
and just remark. (Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger, Ben Jonson, Shirley, Marlowe, Ford, and the worthies of Dodsley’s Collection,—­he confessed he had read none of them, but professed his intention of looking through them all, so as to be able to touch upon them in his book.) So Shakspeare, Otway, and I believe Rowe, to whom he was naturally directed by Johnson’s Lives, and these not read lately, are to stand him in stead of a general knowledge of the subject.  God bless his dear absurd head!

By the by, did I not write you a letter with something about an invitation in it?—­but let that pass; I suppose it is not agreeable.

N.B.  It would not be amiss if you were to accompany your present with a dissertation on negative quantities.

C. L.

[1] Manning, while at Cambridge, published a work on Algebra.

[2] The Rev. William Frend, who was expelled from Cambridge for Unitarianism.

XXIV.

TO MANNING.

1800.

George Dyer is an Archimedes and an Archimagus and a Tycho Brahe and a Copernicus; and thou art the darling of the Nine, and midwife to their wandering babe also!  We take tea with that learned poet and critic on Tuesday night, at half-past five, in his neat library; the repast will be light and Attic, with criticism.  If thou couldst contrive to wheel up thy dear carcase on the Monday, and after dining with us on tripe, calves’ kidneys, or whatever else the Cornucopia of St. Clare may be willing to pour out on the occasion, might we not adjourn together to the Heathen’s, thou with thy Black Backs, and I with some innocent volume of the Bell Letters,—­Shenstone, or the like; it would make him wash his old flannel gown (that has not been washed, to my knowledge, since it has been his,—­Oh, the long time!) with tears of joy.  Thou shouldst settle his scruples, and unravel his cobwebs, and sponge off the sad stuff that weighs upon his dear wounded pia mater; thou shouldst restore light to his eyes, and him to his friends and the public; Parnassus should shower her civic crowns upon thee for saving the wits of a citizen!  I thought I saw a lucid interval in George the other night:  he broke in upon my studies just at tea-time, and brought with him Dr. Anderson, an old gentleman who ties his breeches’ knees with packthread, and boasts that he has been disappointed by ministers.  The Doctor wanted to see me; for, I being a poet, he thought I might furnish him with a copy of verses to suit his “Agricultural Magazine.”  The Doctor, in the course of the conversation, mentioned a poem, called the “Epigoniad,” by one Wilkie, an epic poem, in which there is not one tolerable good line all through, but every incident and speech borrowed from Homer.

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