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.
unutterable—­he seemed not to speak, but to be spoken from.  I saw the strong man bowed down, and his knees to fail—­his joints all seemed loosening—­it was a figure to set off against Paul Preaching—­the words he uttered were few, and sound—­he was evidently resisting his will—­keeping down his own word-wisdom with more mighty effort, than the world’s orators strain for theirs.  “He had been a WIT in his youth,” he told us, with expressions of a sober remorse.  And it was not till long after the impression had begun to wear away, that I was enabled, with something like a smile, to recall the striking incongruity of the confession—­understanding the term in its worldly acceptation—­with the frame and physiognomy of the person before me.  His brow would have scared away the Levities—­the Jocos Risus-que—­faster than the Loves fled the face of Dis at Enna.—­By wit, even in his youth, I will be sworn he understood something far within the limits of an allowable liberty.

More frequently the Meeting is broken up without a word having been spoken.  But the mind has been fed.  You go away with a sermon, not made with hands.  You have been in the milder caverns of Trophonius; or as in some den, where that fiercest and savagest of all wild creatures, the TONGUE, that unruly member, has strangely lain tied up and captive.  You have bathed with stillness.—­O when the spirit is sore fretted, even tired to sickness of the janglings, and nonsense-noises of the world, what a balm and a solace it is, to go and seat yourself, for a quiet half hour, upon some undisputed corner of a bench, among the gentle Quakers!

Their garb and stillness conjoined, present an uniformity, tranquil and herd-like—­as in the pasture—­“forty feeding like one.”—­

The very garments of a Quaker seem incapable of receiving a soil; and cleanliness in them to be something more than the absence of its contrary.  Every Quakeress is a lily; and when they come up in bands to their Whitsun-conferences, whitening the easterly streets of the metropolis, from all parts of the United Kingdom, they show like troops of the Shining Ones.

[Footnote 1:  From “Poems of all sorts,” by Richard Fleckno, 1653.]


My reading has been lamentably desultory and immethodical.  Odd, out of the way, old English plays, and treatises, have supplied me with most of my notions, and ways of feeling.  In every thing that relates to science, I am a whole Encyclopaedia behind the rest of the world.  I should have scarcely cut a figure among the franklins, or country gentlemen, in king John’s days.  I know less geography than a school-boy of six weeks’ standing.  To me a map of old Ortelius is as authentic as Arrowsmith.  I do not know whereabout Africa merges into Asia; whether Ethiopia lie in one or other of those great divisions; nor can form the remotest conjecture of the position of New South Wales, or

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