The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6.

[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:—­


        Alas! 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.]



[Dated at end:  September 30, 1824.]

Little Book! surnam’d of White;
Clean, as yet, and fair to sight;
Keep thy attribution right,

Never disproportion’d scrawl;
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 sin;
Let thy leaves attraction win
By thy Golden Rules within: 

Sayings, fetch’d 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 measure:—­
Virtue’s self hath oft her pleasure
In sweet Muses’ groves of leisure.

Riddles dark, perplexing sense;
Darker meanings of offence;
What but shades, be banish’d hence.

Whitest Thoughts, in whitest dress—­
Candid Meanings—­best express
Mind of quiet Quakeress.

Project Gutenberg
The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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