The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 713 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2.
everything.  I can visit a sick friend.  I can interrupt the man of much occupation when he is busiest.  I can insult over him with an invitation to take a day’s pleasure with me to Windsor this fine May-morning.  It is Lucretian pleasure to behold the poor drudges, whom I have left behind in the world, carking and caring; like horses in a mill, drudging on in the same eternal round—­and what is it all for?  A man can never have too much Time to himself, nor too little to do.  Had I a little son, I would christen him NOTHING-TO-DO; he should do nothing.  Man, I verily believe, is out of his element as long as he is operative.  I am altogether for the life contemplative.  Will no kindly earthquake come and swallow up those accursed cotton mills?  Take me that lumber of a desk there, and bowl it down

  As low as to the fiends.

I am no longer ******, clerk to the Firm of &c.  I am Retired Leisure.  I am to be met with in trim gardens.  I am already come to be known by my vacant face and careless gesture, perambulating at no fixed pace, nor with any settled purpose.  I walk about; not to and from.  They tell me, a certain cum dignitate air, that has been buried so long with my other good parts, has begun to shoot forth in my person.  I grow into gentility perceptibly.  When I take up a newspaper, it is to read the state of the opera. Opus operatum est.  I have done all that I came into this world to do.  I have worked task work, and have the rest of the day to myself.


It is an ordinary criticism, that my Lord Shaftesbury, and Sir William Temple, are models of the genteel style in writing.  We should prefer saying—­of the lordly, and the gentlemanly.  Nothing can be more unlike than the inflated finical rhapsodies of Shaftesbury, and the plain natural chit-chat of Temple.  The man of rank is discernible in both writers; but in the one it is only insinuated gracefully, in the other it stands out offensively.  The peer seems to have written with his coronet on, and his Earl’s mantle before him; the commoner in his elbow chair and undress.—­What can be more pleasant than the way in which the retired statesman peeps out in the essays, penned by the latter in his delightful retreat at Shene?  They scent of Nimeguen, and the Hague.  Scarce an authority is quoted under an ambassador.  Don Francisco de Melo, a “Portugal Envoy in England,” tells him it was frequent in his country for men, spent with age or other decays, so as they could not hope for above a year or two of life, to ship themselves away in a Brazil fleet, and after their arrival there to go on a great length, sometimes of twenty or thirty years, or more, by the force of that vigour they recovered with that remove.  “Whether such an effect (Temple beautifully adds) might grow from the air, or the fruits of that climate, or by approaching nearer the sun, which is

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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