One word I must object to in your little book, and it recurs more than once—FADELESS is no genuine compound; loveless is, because love is a noun as well as verb, but what is a fade?—and I do not quite like whipping the Greek drama upon the back of “Genesis,” page 8. I do not like praise handed in by disparagement: as I objected to a side censure on Byron, etc., in the lines on Bloomfield: with these poor cavils excepted, your verses are without a flaw. C. LAMB.
[Barton’s new book was Devotional Verses: founded on, and illustrative of Select Texts of Scripture, 1826. See the Appendix for “The Spiritual Law.”
“Holy Mr. Herbert.” Writing to Lady Beaumont in 1826 Coleridge says: “My dear old friend Charles Lamb and I differ widely (and in point of taste and moral feeling this is a rare occurrence) in our estimate and liking of George Herbert’s sacred poems. He greatly prefers Quarles—nay, he dislikes Herbert.”
Barton whipped the Greek drama on the back of Genesis in the following stanza, referring to Abraham’s words before preparing to sacrifice Isaac:—
Brief colloquy, yet more
To every feeling heart,
Than all the boast of classic time,
Or Drama’s proudest art:
Far, far beyond the Grecian stage,
Or Poesy’s most glowing page.
For Lamb’s reference to Byron, see above.]
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES OLLIER
[P.M. March 16, 1826.]
D’r Ollier if not too late, pray omit the last paragraph in “Actor’s Religion,” which is clumsy. It will then end with the word Mugletonian. I shall not often trouble you in this manner, but I am suspicious of this article as lame.
["The Religion of Actors” was printed in the New Monthly Magazine for April, 1826. The essay ends at “Muggletonian.” See Vol. I. of this edition.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. March 20, 1826.]
Dear B.B.—You may know my letters by the paper and the folding. For the former, I live on scraps obtained in charity from an old friend whose stationary is a permanent perquisite; for folding, I shall do it neatly when I learn to tye my neckcloths. I surprise most of my friends by writing to them on ruled paper, as if I had not got past pothooks and hangers. Sealing wax, I have none on my establishment. Wafers of the coarsest bran supply its place. When my Epistles come to be weighed with Pliny’s, however superior to the Roman in delicate irony, judicious reflexions, etc., his gilt post will bribe over the judges to him. All the time I was at the E.I.H. I never mended a pen; I now cut ’em to the stumps, marring rather than mending the primitive goose quill. I cannot bear to pay for articles