SAMUEL ROGERS. Two letters, and a poem, “My Last,” 1829-36.
FREDERICK LOCKER (afterwards Locker-Lampson).
dated July, 1873.
George Dyer, J.B. Dibdin, George Darley, Matilda
Cary, Mrs. Piozzi, Edward Moxon, T.N. Talfourd, are
the other writers.]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.W. PROCTER
Jan. 22nd, 1829.
Don’t trouble yourself about the verses. Take ’em coolly as they come. Any day between this and Midsummer will do. Ten lines the extreme. There is no mystery in my incognita. She has often seen you, though you may not have observed a silent brown girl, who for the last twelve years has run wild about our house in her Christmas holidays. She is Italian by name and extraction. Ten lines about the blue sky of her country will do, as it’s her foible to be proud of it. But they must not be over courtly or Lady-fied as she is with a Lady who says to her “go and she goeth; come and she cometh.” Item, I have made her a tolerable Latinist. The verses should be moral too, as for a Clergyman’s family. She is called Emma Isola. I approve heartily of your turning your four vols. into a lesser compass. ’Twill Sybillise the gold left. I shall, I think, be in town in a few weeks, when I will assuredly see you. I will put in here loves to Mrs. Procter and the Anti-Capulets, because Mary tells me I omitted them in my last. I like to see my friends here. I have put my lawsuit into the hands of an Enfield practitioner—a plain man, who seems perfectly to understand it, and gives me hopes of a favourable result.
Rumour tells us that Miss Holcroft is married; though the varlet has not had the grace to make any communication to us on the subject. Who is Badman, or Bed’em? Have I seen him at Montacute’s? I hear he is a great chymist. I am sometimes chymical myself. A thought strikes me with horror. Pray heaven he may not have done it for the sake of trying chymical experiments upon her,—young female subjects are so scarce! Louisa would make a capital shot. An’t you glad about Burke’s case? We may set off the Scotch murders against the Scotch novels—Hare, the Great Un-hanged.
Martin Burney is richly worth your knowing. He is on the top scale of my friendship ladder, on which an angel or two is still climbing, and some, alas! descending. I am out of the literary world at present. Pray, is there anything new from the admired pen of the author of the Pleasures of Hope? Has Mrs. He-mans (double masculine) done anything pretty lately? Why sleeps the lyre of Hervey, and of Alaric Watts? Is the muse of L.E.L. silent? Did you see a sonnet of mine in Blackwood’s last? Curious construction! Elaborata facilitas! And now I’ll tell. ’Twas written for the “Gem;” but the editors declined it, on the plea that it would shock all mothers; so they published “The Widow” instead. I am born out of time. I have no conjecture about what the present world calls delicacy. I thought “Rosamund Gray” was a pretty modest thing. Hessey assures me that the world would not bear it. I have lived to grow into an indecent character. When my sonnet was rejected, I exclaimed, “Damn the age; I will write for Antiquity!”