On emptying my bookshelves I found an Ulysses, which I will send to A.K. when I go to town, for her acceptance— unless the Book be out of print. One likes to have one copy of every thing one does. I neglected to keep one of “Poetry for Children,” the joint production of Mary and me, and it is not to be had for love or money. It had in the title-page “by the author of Mrs. Lester’s School.” Know you any one that has it, and would exchange it?
Strolling to Waltham Cross the other day, I hit off these lines. It is one of the Crosses which Edw’d 1st caused to be built for his wife at every town where her corpse rested between Northamptonsh’r and London.
stately Cross each sad spot doth attest,
Whereat the corpse of Elinor did rest,
From Herdby fetch’d—her Spouse so honour’d her—
To sleep with royal dust at Westminster.
And, if less pompous obsequies were thine,
Duke Brunswick’s daughter, princely Caroline,
Grudge not, great ghost, nor count thy funeral losses:
Thou in thy life-time had’st thy share of crosses.
My dear B.B.—My head akes with this little excursion. Pray accept 2 sides for 3 for once.
Yours sadly C.L.
Chace side Enfield.
["An Ulysses”—Lamb’s book for children, The Adventures of Ulysses, 1808.
The Poetry for Children. The known copies of the first edition of this work can be counted on the fingers.
“A stately Cross...” These verses were printed in the Englishman’s Magazine in September, 1831. Lamb’s sympathies were wholly with Caroline of Brunswick, as his epigrams in The Champion show (see Vol. IV. of this edition).]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. December 4, 1827.]
My dear B.B.—I have scarce spirits to write, yet am harass’d with not writing. Nine weeks are completed, and Mary does not get any better. It is perfectly exhausting. Enfield and every thing is very gloomy. But for long experience, I should fear her ever getting well.
I feel most thankful for the spinsterly attentions of your sister. Thank the kind “knitter in the sun.”
What nonsense seems verse, when one is seriously out of hope and spirits! I mean that at this time I have some nonsense to write, pain of incivility. Would to the fifth heaven no coxcombess had invented Albums.