The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 6 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 491 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb Volume 6.

LETTER 398

CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN

[P.M.  July 14, 1826.]

        Because you boast poetic Grandsire,
        And rhyming kin, both Uncle and Sire,
        Dost think that none but their Descendings
        Can tickle folks with double endings? 
        I had a Dad, that would for half a bet
        Have put down thine thro’ half the Alphabet. 
        Thou, who would be Dan Prior the second,
        For Dan Posterior must be reckon’d. 
        In faith, dear Tim, your rhymes are slovenly,
        As a man may say, dough-baked and ovenly;
        Tedious and long as two Long Acres,
        And smell most vilely of the Baker’s. 
        (I have been cursing every limb o’ thee,
        Because I could not hitch in Timothy
        Jack, Will, Tom, Dick’s, a serious evil,
        But Tim, plain Tim’s—­the very devil.)
        Thou most incorrigible scribbler,
        Right Watering place and cockney dribbler,
        What child, that barely understands A,
        B, C
, would ever dream that Stanza
        Would tinkle into rhyme with “Plan, Sir”? 
        Go, go, you are not worth an answer. 
        I had a Sire, that at plain Crambo
        Had hit you o’er the pate a damn’d blow. 
        How now? may I die game, and you die brass,
        But I have stol’n a quip from Hudibras. 
        ’Twas thinking on that fine old Suttler, }
        That was in faith a second Butler; }
        Mad as queer rhymes as he, and subtler. }
        He would have put you to ’t this weather
        For rattling syllables together;
        Rhym’d you to death, like “rats in Ireland,”
        Except that he was born in High’r Land. 
        His chimes, not crampt like thine, and rung ill,
        Had made Job split his sides on dunghill. 
        There was no limit to his merryings
        At christ’nings, weddings, nay at buryings. 
        No undertaker would live near him,
        Those grave practitioners did fear him;
        Mutes, at his merry mops, turned “vocal.” 
        And fellows, hired for silence, “spoke all.” 
        No body could be laid in cavity,
        Long as he lived, with proper gravity. 
        His mirth-fraught eye had but to glitter,
        And every mourner round must titter. 
        The Parson, prating of Mount Hermon,
        Stood still to laugh, in midst of sermon. 
        The final Sexton (smile he must for him)
        Could hardly get to “dust to dust” for him. 
        He lost three pall-bearers their livelyhood,
        Only with simp’ring at his lively mood: 
        Provided that they fresh and neat came,
        All jests were fish that to his net came. 
        He’d banter Apostolic castings,
        As you jeer fishermen at Hastings. 
        When the fly bit, like me, he leapt-o’er-all,
        And stood not much on what was scriptural.

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