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.

The same form, only I think without the Apollo, will serve for the pit and galleries.  I think it will be best to write my name at full length; but then if I give away a great many, that will be tedious.  Perhaps Ch.  Lamb will do.

BOXES, now I think on it, I’ll have in capitals; the rest, in a neat Italian hand.  Or better, perhaps, BORES in Old English characters, like Madoc or Thalaba?

A propos of Spenser (you will find him mentioned a page or two before, near enough for an a propos), I was discoursing on poetry (as one’s apt to deceive one’s self, and when a person is willing to talk of what one likes, to believe that be also likes the same, as lovers do) with a young gentleman of my office, who is deep read in Anacreon Moore, Lord Strangford, and the principal modern poets, and I happened to mention Epithalamiums, and that I could show him a very fine one of Spenser’s.  At the mention of this my gentleman, who is a very fine gentleman, pricked up his ears and expressed great pleasure, and begged that I would give him leave to copy it; he did not care how long it was (for I objected the length), he should be very happy to see anything by him.  Then pausing, and looking sad, he ejaculated, “POOR SPENCER!” I begged to know the reason of his ejaculation, thinking that time had by this time softened down any calamities which the bard might have endured.  “Why, poor fellow,” said he, “he has lost his wife!” “Lost his wife!” said I, “who are you talking of?” “Why, Spencer!” said he; “I’ve read the Monody he wrote on the occasion, and a very pretty thing it is.”  This led to an explanation (it could be delayed no longer) that the sound Spenser, which, when poetry is talked of, generally excites an image of an old bard in a ruff, and sometimes with it dim notions of Sir P. Sidney and perhaps Lord Burleigh, had raised in my gentleman a quite contrary image of the Honorable William Spencer, who has translated some things from the German very prettily, which are published with Lady Di Beauclerk’s designs.  Nothing like defining of terms when we talk.  What blunders might I have fallen into of quite inapplicable criticism, but for this timely explanation!

N.B.—­At the beginning of Edm. Spenser (to prevent mistakes), I have copied from my own copy, and primarily from a book of Chalmers’s on Shakspeare, a sonnet of Spenser’s never printed among his poems.  It is curious, as being manly, and rather Miltonic, and as a sonnet of Spenser’s with nothing in it about love or knighthood.  I have no room for remembrances, but I hope our doing your commission will prove we do not quite forget you.

C. L.

[1] Wordsworth’s son Thomas was born June 16, 1806.



December 5, 1806.

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