CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. July 2, 1825.]
My dear B.B.—My nervous attack has so unfitted me, that I have not courage to sit down to a Letter. My poor pittance in the London you will see is drawn from my sickness. Your Book is very acceptable to me, because most of it [is] new to me, but your Book itself we cannot thank you for more sincerely than for the introduction you favoured us with to Anne Knight. Now cannot I write Mrs. Anne Knight for the life of me. She is a very pleas—, but I won’t write all we have said of her so often to ourselves, because I suspect you would read it to her. Only give my sister’s and my kindest rememb’ces to her, and how glad we are we can say that word. If ever she come to Southwark again I count upon another pleasant BRIDGE walk with her. Tell her, I got home, time for a rubber; but poor Tryphena will not understand that phrase of the worldlings.
I am hardly able to appreciate your volume now. But I liked the dedicat’n much, and the apology for your bald burying grounds. To Shelly, but that is not new. To the young Vesper-singer, Great Bealing’s, Playford, and what not?
If there be a cavil it is that the topics of religious consolation, however beautiful, are repeated till a sort of triteness attends them. It seems as if you were for ever losing friends’ children by death, and reminding their parents of the Resurrection. Do children die so often, and so good, in your parts? The topic, taken from the considerat’n that they are snatch’d away from possible vanities, seems hardly sound; for to an omniscient eye their conditional failings must be one with their actual; but I am too unwell for Theology. Such as I am, I am yours and A.K.’s truly
["My poor pittance"-"The Convalescent.”
“Your Book"-Barton’s Poems, 4th edition, 1825. The dedication was to Barton’s sister, Maria Hack.
“Anne Knight.” A Quaker lady, who kept a school at Woodbridge.]
CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN AITKEN
Colebrooke Cottage, Islington, July 5, 1825.
DEAR Sir,—With thanks for your last No. of the Cabinet— as I cannot arrange with a London publisher to reprint “Rosamund Gray” as a book, it will be at your service to admit into the Cabinet as soon as you please. Your h’ble serv’t, CH’s LAMB.
EMMA, eldest of your name,
Meekly trusting in her God
Midst the red-hot plough-shares trod,
And unscorch’d preserved her fame.
By that test if you were tried,
Ugly names might be defied;
Though devouring fire’s a glutton,
Through the trial you might go
‘On the light fantastic toe,’
Nor for plough-shares care a BUTTON.