Those notes of Bryant have caused the greatest disorder in my brain-pan. Well, I will not flatter when I say that we have had two or three long evening’s good reading out of your kind present.
I will say nothing of the tenderest parts in your own little volume, at the end of such a slatternly scribble as this, but indeed they cost us some tears. I scrawl away because of interruptions every moment. You guess how it is in a busy office—papers thrust into your hand when your hand is busiest—and every anti-classical disavocation.
[Conclusion cut away.]
[Sir Charles Abraham Elton (1778-1853) seems to have sent Lamb a number of his books, principally his Specimens of the Classical Poets ... from Homer to Tryphiodorus translated into English Verse, Baldwin, 1814, in three volumes. Lamb refers first to the passage from Hesiod’s Theogony, and then to his Works and Days (which Chapman translated)—“Dispensation of Providence to the Just and Unjust.”
Apollonius Rhodius was the author of The Argonautics. Lamb then passes on to Virgil. For the death of Mezentius see the Aeneid, Book X., at the end. The makers of broadsides had probably credited Dick Turpin with a dying speech.
“Those notes of Bryant.” Lamb possibly refers to Jacob Bryant’s Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer, 1775, or his pamphlet on the Trojan War, 1795, 1799.
“Your own little volume.” Probably The Brothers and Other Poems, by Elton, 1820.]
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES COWDEN CLARKE
My dear Sir—Your letter has lain in a drawer of my desk, upbraiding me every time I open the said drawer, but it is almost impossible to answer such a letter in such a place, and I am out of the habit of replying to epistles otherwhere than at office. You express yourself concerning H. like a true friend, and have made me feel that I have somehow neglected him, but without knowing very well how to rectify it. I live so remote from him—by Hackney—that he is almost out of the pale of visitation at Hampstead. And I come but seldom to Cov’t Gard’n this summer time—and when I do, am sure to pay for the late hours and pleasant Novello suppers which I incur. I also am an invalid. But I will hit upon some way, that you shall not have cause for your reproof in future. But do not think I take the hint unkindly. When I shall be brought low by any sickness or untoward circumstance, write just such a letter to some tardy friend of mine—or come up yourself with your friendly Henshaw face—and that will be better. I shall not forget in haste our casual day at Margate. May we have many such there or elsewhere! God bless you for your kindness to H., which I will remember. But do not show N. this, for the flouting infidel doth mock when Christians cry God bless us. Yours and his, too, and all our little circle’s most affect’e.