Barry, study that sonnet. It is curiously and perversely elaborate. ’Tis a choking subject, and therefore the reader is directed to the structure of it. See you? and was this a fourteener to be rejected by a trumpery annual? forsooth, ’twould shock all mothers; and may all mothers, who would so be shocked, bed dom’d! as if mothers were such sort of logicians as to infer the future hanging of their child from the theoretical hangibility (or capacity of being hanged, if the judge pleases) of every infant born with a neck on. Oh B.C., my whole heart is faint, and my whole head is sick (how is it?) at this damned, canting, unmasculine unbawdy (I had almost said) age! Don’t show this to your child’s mother or I shall be Orpheusized, scattered into Hebras. Damn the King, lords, commons, and specially (as I said on Muswell Hill on a Sunday when I could get no beer a quarter before one) all Bishops, Priests and Curates. Vale.
["Ainsworth.” Referring to Robert Ainsworth’s Thesaurus, 1736. Abactor (see Forcellini), a stealer or driver away of cattle. Ainsworth gives only abactus—to drive away by force.
“The Gypsy’s Malison.” This is the sonnet in Blackwood for January, 1829.]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.W. PROCTER
[No date. Early 1829.]
The comings in of an incipient conveyancer are not adequate to the receipt of three twopenny post non-paids in a week. Therefore, after this, I condemn my stub to long and deep silence, or shall awaken it to write to lords. Lest those raptures in this honeymoon of my correspondence, which you avow for the gentle person of my Nuncio, after passing through certain natural grades, as Love, Love and Water, Love with the chill off, then subsiding to that point which the heroic suitor of his wedded dame, the noble-spirited Lord Randolph in the play, declares to be the ambition of his passion, a reciprocation of “complacent kindness,”—should suddenly plump down (scarce staying to bait at the mid point of indifference, so hungry it is for distaste) to a loathing and blank aversion, to the rendering probable such counter expressions as this,—“Damn that infernal twopenny postman” (words which make the not yet glutted inamorato “lift up his hands and wonder who can use them.”) While, then, you are not ruined, let me assure thee, O thou above the painter, and next only under Giraldus Cambrensis, the most immortal and worthy to be immortal Barry, thy most ingenious and golden cadences do take my fancy mightily. They are at this identical moment under the snip and the paste of the fairest hands (bating chilblains) in Cambridge, soon to be transplanted to Suffolk, to the envy of half of the young ladies in Bury. But tell me, and tell me truly, gentle Swain, is that Isola Bella a true spot in geographical denomination,