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.
to some advantage, seeing that it was my own trade in a manner.  But I was stopped by a round assertion that no good poetry had appeared since Dr. Johnson’s time.  It seems the Doctor had suppressed many hopeful geniuses that way by the severity of his critical strictures in his “Lives of the Poets.”  I here ventured to question the fact, and was beginning to appeal to names; but I was assured “it was certainly the case.”  Then we discussed Miss More’s book on education, which I had never read.  It seems Dr. Gregory, another of Miss Bengey’s friends, has found fault with one of Miss More’s metaphors.  Miss More has been at some pains to vindicate herself,—­in the opinion of Miss Bengey, not without success.  It seems the Doctor is invariably against the use of broken or mixed metaphor, which he reprobates against the authority of Shakspeare himself.  We next discussed the question whether Pope was a poet.  I find Dr. Gregory is of opinion he was not, though Miss Seward does not at all concur with him in this.  We then sat upon the comparative merits of the ten translations of “Pizarro,” and Miss Bengey, or Benje, advised Mary to take two of them home; she thought it might afford her some pleasure to compare them verbatim; which we declined.  It being now nine o’clock, wine and macaroons were again served round, and we parted, with a promise to go again next week, and meet the Miss Porters, who, it seems, have heard much of Mr. Coleridge, and wish to meet us, because we are his friends.  I have been preparing for the occasion.  I crowd cotton in my ears.  I read all the reviews and magazines of the past month against the dreadful meeting, and I hope by these means to cut a tolerable second-rate figure.

Pray let us have no more complaints about shadows.  We are in a fair way, through you, to surfeit sick upon them.

Our loves and respects to your host and hostess.  Our dearest love to Coleridge.

Take no thought about your proof-sheets; they shall be done as if Woodfall himself did them.  Pray send us word of Mrs. Coleridge and little David Hartley, your little reality.

Farewell, dear Substance.  Take no umbrage at anything I have written.

C. LAMB, Umbra.

[1] Miss Elizabeth Benger.  See “Dictionary of Nationai Biography,” iv. 221.



January, 1801.

Thanks for your letter and present.  I had already borrowed your second volume. [1] What pleases one most is “The Song of Lucy.”. Simon’s sickly Daughter, in “The Sexton,” made me cry.  Next to these are the description of these continuous echoes in the story of “Joanna’s Laugh,” where the mountains and all the scenery absolutely seem alive; and that fine Shakspearian character of the “happy man” in the “Brothers,”—­

         “That creeps about the fields,
  Following his fancies by the hour, to bring
  Tears down his cheek, or solitary smiles
  Into his face, until the setting sun
  Write Fool upon his forehead!”

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