do it. See Ben Jonson.—I think you
told me your acquaint’ce with the Drama was confin’d
to Shakspeare and Miss Bailly: some read only
Milton and Croly. The gap is as from an ananas
to a Turnip. I have fighting in my head the plots
characters situations and sentiments of 400 old Plays
(bran new to me) which I have been digesting at the
Museum, and my appetite sharpens to twice as many
more, which I mean to course over this winter.
I can scarce avoid Dialogue fashion in this letter.
I soliloquise my meditations, and habitually speak
dramatic blank verse without meaning it. Do you
see Mitford? he will tell you something of my labors.
Tell him I am sorry to have mist seeing him, to have
talk’d over those OLD TREASURES. I am still
more sorry for his missing Pots. But I shall be
sure of the earliest intelligence of the Lost Tribes.
His Sacred Specimens are a thankful addition to my
shelves. Marry, I could wish he had been more
careful of corrigenda. I have discover’d
certain which have slipt his Errata. I put ’em
in the next page, as perhaps thou canst transmit them
to him. For what purpose, but to grieve him (which
yet I should be sorry to do), but then it shews my
learning, and the excuse is complimentary, as it implies
their correction in a future Edition. His own
things in the book are magnificent, and as an old Christ’s
Hospitaller I was particularly refreshd with his eulogy
on our Edward. Many of the choice excerpta were
new to me. Old Christmas is a coming, to the
confusion of Puritans, Muggletonians, Anabaptists,
Quakers, and that Unwassailing Crew. He cometh
not with his wonted gait, he is shrunk 9 inches in
the girth, but is yet a Lusty fellow. Hood’s
book is mighty clever, and went off 600 copies the
1st day. Sion’s Songs do not disperse so
quickly. The next leaf is for Rev’d J.M.
In this ADIEU thine briefly in a tall friendship
[Barton’s letter, to which this is an answer,
not being preserved, we do not know what his scruples
were. B.B. was a great contributor to annuals.
“With a white stone.” In trials at
law a white stone was cast as a vote for acquittal,
a black stone for condemnation (see Ovid, Metamorphoses,
“Master Mathew”—in Ben Jonson’s
“Every Man in His Humour.”
“Croly”—the Rev. George Croly
(1780-1860), of the Literary Gazette, author
of The Angel of the World and other pretentious
“Mitford’s Sacred Specimens”—Sacred
Specimens Selected from the Early English Poets,
1827. The last poem, by Mitford himself, was “Lines
Written under the Portrait of Edward VI.”
and Oddities, second series, 1827.
Here should come a note to Allsop stating that Lamb
is “near killed with Christmassing.”]
CHARLES LAMB TO HENRY CRABB ROBINSON