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.
prospectus, renounceth forever, whimsically foisting the intention in between the price of his book and the proposed number of subscribers.  (If I can, I will get you a copy of his handbill.) He has tried his vein in every species besides,—­the Spenserian, Thomsonian, Masonic, and Akensidish more especially.  The second volume is all criticism; wherein he demonstrates to the entire satisfaction of the literary world, in a way that must silence all reply forever, that the pastoral was introduced by Theocritus and polished by Virgil and Pope; that Gray and Mason (who always hunt in couples in George’s brain) have a good deal of poetical fire and true lyric genius; that Cowley was ruined by excess of wit (a warning to all moderns); that Charles Lloyd, Charles Lamb, and William Wordsworth, in later days, have struck the true chords of poesy.  Oh, George, George, with a head uniformly wrong and a heart uniformly right, that I had power and might equal to my wishes; then would I call the gentry of thy native island, and they should come in troops, flocking at the sound of thy prospectus-trumpet, and crowding who shall be first to stand in thy list of subscribers!  I can only put twelve shillings into thy pocket (which, I will answer for them, will not stick there long) out of a pocket almost as bare as thine.  Is it not a pity so much fine writing should be erased?  But, to tell the truth, I began to scent that I was getting into that sort of style which Longinus and Dionysius Halicarnassus fitly call “the affected.”

C. L.

XXVI.

TO MANNING.

August 22, 1800.

Dear Manning,—­You need not imagine any apology necessary.  Your fine hare and fine birds (which just now are dangling by our kitchen blaze) discourse most eloquent music in your justification.  You just nicked my palate; for, with all due decorum and leave may it be spoken, my worship hath taken physic to-day, and being low and puling, requireth to be pampered.  Fob! how beautiful and strong those buttered onions come to my nose!  For you must know we extract a divine spirit of gravy from those materials which, duly compounded with a consistence of bread and cream (yclept bread-sauce), each to each giving double grace, do mutually illustrate and set off (as skilful gold-foils to rare jewels) your partridge, pheasant, woodcock, snipe, teal, widgeon, and the other lesser daughters of the ark.  My friendship, struggling with my carnal and fleshly prudence (which suggests that a bird a man is the proper allotment in such cases), yearneth sometimes to have thee here to pick a wing or so.  I question if your Norfolk sauces match our London culinarie.

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