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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 613 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 3.

    “Still should I be Emily,
  Although I look’d like Geraldine;
  I feel within this heart of mine
    No change could worked be.”

THE SISTER’S EXPOSTULATION ON THE BROTHER’S LEARNING LATIN

  Shut these odious books up, brother—­
  They have made you quite another
  Thing from what you us’d to be—­
  Once you lik’d to play with me—­
  Now you leave me all alone,
  And are so conceited grown
  With your Latin, you’ll scarce look
  Upon any English book. 
  We had us’d on winter eyes
  To con over Shakespeare’s leaves,
  Or on Milton’s harder sense
  Exercise our diligence—­
  And you would explain with ease
  The obscurer passages,
  Find me out the prettiest places
  The poetic turns, and graces,
  Which alas! now you are gone,
  I must puzzle out alone,
  And oft miss the meaning quite,
  Wanting you to set me right. 
  All this comes since you’ve been under
  Your new master.  I much wonder
  What great charm it is you see
  In those words, musa, musae;
  Or in what they do excel
  Our word, song.  It sounds as well
  To my fancy as the other. 
  Now believe me, dearest brother,
  I would give my finest frock,
  And my cabinet, and stock
  Of new playthings, every toy,
  I would give them all with joy,
  Could I you returning see
  Back to English and to me.

THE BROTHER’S REPLY

  Sister, fie, for shame, no more,
  Give this ignorant babble o’er,
  Nor with little female pride
  Things above your sense deride. 
  Why this foolish under-rating
  Of my first attempts at Latin? 
  Know you not each thing we prize
  Does from small beginnings rise? 
  ’Twas the same thing with your writing,
  Which you now take such delight in. 
  First you learnt the down-stroke line,
  Then the hair-stroke thin and fine,
  Then a curve, and then a better,
  Till you came to form a letter;
  Then a new task was begun,
  How to join them two in one;
  Till you got (these first steps past)
  To your fine text-hand at last. 
  So though I at first commence
  With the humble accidence,
  And my study’s course affords
  Little else as yet but words,
  I shall venture in a while
  At construction, grammar, style,
  Learn my syntax, and proceed
  Classic authors next to read,
  Such as wiser, better, make us,
  Sallust, Phaedrus, Ovid, Flaccus: 
  All the poets (with their wit),
  All the grave historians writ,
  Who the lives and actions show
  Of men famous long ago;
  Ev’n their very sayings giving
  In the tongue they us’d when living.

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