[The Lambs gave up their “country lodgings” at Dalston on moving to Colebrooke Row.
“The album.” See next letter to Barton.
“The Prometheus Unbound.” A bookseller, asked for Prometheus Unbound, Shelley’s poem, had replied that Prometheus was not to be had “in sheets.” Elfrida was a dramatic poem by William Mason, Gray’s friend.
This is Shelley’s poem (not a sonnet) which Lamb liked:—
LINES TO A REVIEWER
good friend, what profit can you see
In hating such an hateless thing as me?
There is no sport in hate, where all the rage
Is on one side. In vain would you assuage
Your frowns upon an unresisting smile,
In which not even contempt lurks, to beguile
Your heart by some faint sympathy of hate.
Oh conquer what you cannot satiate!
For to your passion I am far more coy
Then ever yet was coldest maid or boy
In winter-noon. Of your antipathy
If I am the Narcissus, you are free
To pine into a sound with hating me.
Hazlitt writes of Shelley in his essay “On Paradox and Commonplace” in Table Talk; but he does not make this remark there. Perhaps he said it in conversation.
“The next Number.” The “futile Effort” was “Blakesmoor in H——shire” in the London Magazine for September, 1824.
Here should come a note from Lamb to Cary, August 19, 1824, in which Lamb thanks him for his translation of The Birds of Aristophanes and accepts an invitation to dine.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[Dated at end: September 30, 1824.]
Little Book! surnam’d
Clean, as yet, and fair to sight;
Keep thy attribution right,
Ugly blot, that’s worse than all;
On thy maiden clearness fall.
In each Letter, here design’d,
Let the Reader emblem’d find
Neatness of the Owner’s mind.
Gilded margins count a
Let thy leaves attraction win
By thy Golden Rules within:
from Sages old;
Saws, which Holy Writ unfold,
Worthy to be writ in Gold:
Lighter Fancies not excluding;
Blameless wit, with nothing rude in,
Sometimes mildly interluding
Amid strains of graver
Virtue’s self hath oft her pleasure
In sweet Muses’ groves of leisure.
Riddles dark, perplexing
Darker meanings of offence;
What but shades, be banish’d hence.
Whitest Thoughts, in whitest
Candid Meanings—best express
Mind of quiet Quakeress.