[Written on the back of the XXI. Garrick Extracts. The poem “Angel Help” was printed in the New Monthly Magazine for June and copied by Hone in the Table-Book, No. 24, 1827.]
CHARLES LAMB TO WILLIAM HONE
[No date. June, 1827.]
Dear Hone, I should like this in your next book. We are at Enfield, where (when we have solituded awhile) we shall be glad to see you. Yours,
[This was written on the back of the MS. of “Going or Gone” (see Vol. IV.), a poem of reminiscences of Lamb’s early Widford days, printed in Hone’s Table-Book, June, 1827, signed Elia.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
Enfield, and for some weeks to come, “June 11, 1827.”
Dear B.B.—One word more of the picture verses, and that for good and all; pray, with a neat pen alter one line
His learning seems to lay small stress on
His learning lays no mighty stress on
to avoid the unseemly recurrence (ungrammatical also) of “seems” in the next line, besides the nonsence of “but” there, as it now stands. And I request you, as a personal favor to me, to erase the last line of all, which I should never have written from myself. The fact is, it was a silly joke of Hood’s, who gave me the frame, (you judg’d rightly it was not its own) with the remark that you would like it, because it was b—d b—d,—and I lugg’d it in: but I shall be quite hurt if it stands, because tho’ you and yours have too good sense to object to it, I would not have a sentence of mine seen, that to any foolish ear might sound unrespectful to thee. Let it end at appalling; the joke is coarse and useless, and hurts the tone of the rest. Take your best “ivory-handled” and scrape it forth.
Your specimen of what you might have written is hardly fair. Had it been a present to me, I should have taken a more sentimental tone; but of a trifle from me it was my cue to speak in an underish tone of commendation. Prudent givers (what a word for such a nothing) disparage their gifts; ’tis an art we have. So you see you wouldn’t have been so wrong, taking a higher tone. But enough of nothing.
By the bye, I suspected M. of being the disparager of the frame; hence a certain line.
For the frame,’tis as the room is, where it hangs. It hung up fronting my old cobwebby folios and batter’d furniture (the fruit piece has resum’d its place) and was much better than a spick and span one. But if your room be very neat and your other pictures bright with gilt, it should be so too. I can’t judge, not having seen: but my dingy study it suited.