Meantime am as usual yours truly C.L.
11 Jan. 25.
When I saw the Chessiad advertised by C.D. the Younger, I hoped it might be yours. What title is left for you—
Charles Dibdin the Younger, Junior.
O No, you are Timothy.
[Charles Dibdin the Younger wrote a mock-heroic poem, “The Chessiad,” which was published with Comic Tales in 1825. The simile of the charwoman runs thus:—
Morning, yawning, rais’d her from her bed,
Slipp’d on her wrapper blue and ’kerchief red,
And took from Night the key of Sleep’s abode;
For Night within that mansion had bestow’d
The Hours of day; now, turn and turn about,
Morn takes the key and lets the Day-hours out;
Laughing, they issue from the ebon gate,
And Night walks in. As when, in drowsy state,
Some watchman, wed to one who chars all day,
Takes to his lodging’s door his creeping way;
His rib, arising, lets him in to sleep,
While she emerges to scrub, dust, and sweep.
This is the lobster simile in Hudibras, Part II., Canto 2, lines 29-32:—
sun had long since, in the lap
Of Thetis, taken out his nap,
And, like a lobster boiled, the morn
From black to red began to turn.
Hazard is the chief of the gods in the Chessiad’s little drama.
“You are Timothy.” See letter to Dibdin above.
I have included in Vol. I. of the present edition a review of Dibdin’s book, in the New Times, January 27, 1825, which both from internal evidence and from the quotation of the charwoman passage I take to be by Lamb, who was writing for that paper at that time.]
CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS ALLSOP
Jan. 17, 1825.
Dear Allsop—I acknowledge with thanks the receipt of a draft on Messrs. Wms. for L81:11:3 which I haste to cash in the present alarming state of the money market. Hurst and Robinson gone. I have imagined a chorus of ill-used authors singing on the occasion:
What should we when Booksellers
We should rejoice
We regret exceed’ly Mrs. Allsop’s being unwell. Mary or both will come and see her soon. The frost is cruel, and we have both colds. I take Pills again, which battle with your wine & victory hovers doubtful. By the bye, tho’ not disinclined to presents I remember our bargain to take a dozen at sale price and must demur. With once again thanks and best loves to Mrs. A.
Turn over—Yours, C. LAMB.
[Hurst and Robinson were publishers. Lamb took the idea for his chorus from Davenant’s version of “Macbeth” which he described in The Spectator in 1828 (see Vol. I. of the present edition). It is there a chorus of witches—