TO CHARLES LAMB
On the Reviewal of his Album Verses in the Literary Gazette
Charles Lamb, to those who know thee justly dear
For rarest genius, and for sterling worth,
Unchanging friendship, warmth of heart sincere,
And wit that never gave an ill thought birth,
Nor ever in its sport infix’d a sting;
To us who have admired and loved thee long,
It is a proud as well as pleasant thing
To hear thy good report, now borne along
Upon the honest breath of public praise:
We know that with the elder sons of song
In honouring whom thou hast delighted still,
Thy name shall keep its course to after days.
The empty pertness, and the vulgar wrong,
The flippant folly, the malicious will,
Which have assailed thee, now, or heretofore,
Find, soon or late, their proper meed of shame;
The more thy triumph, and our pride the more,
When witling critics to the world proclaim,
In lead, their own dolt incapacity.
Matter it is of mirthful memory
To think, when thou wert early in the field,
How doughtily small Jeffrey ran at thee
A-tilt, and broke a bulrush on thy shield.
And now, a veteran in the lists of fame,
I ween, old Friend! thou art not worse bested
When with a maudlin eye and drunken aim,
Dulness hath thrown a jerdan at thy head.
Leigh Hunt attacked Jerdan in the Examiner in a number of “Rejected Epigrams” signed T.A. See later. He also took up the matter in the Tatler, in the first number of which the following “Inquest Extraordinary” was printed:—
week a porter died beneath his burden;
Verdict: Found carrying a Gazette from Jerdan.
Moxon’s shop without customers was at 64 New Bond Street. “The candle of the Lord.” In my large edition I gave this reference very thoughtlessly to Proverbs xx. 27. It is really to Job. xxix. 3.
“The French heroism.” The July Revolution, in which the Bourbons were routed and Louis Philippe placed on the throne.]
CHARLES LAMB TO SAMUEL ROGERS
[Dated at end: Oct. 5, 1830.]
Dear Sir,—I know not what hath bewitch’d me that I have delayed acknowledging your beautiful present. But I have been very unwell and nervous of late. The poem was not new to me, tho’ I have renewed acquaintance with it. Its metre is none of the least of its excellencies. ’Tis so far from the stiffness of blank verse—it gallops like a traveller, as it should do—no crude Miltonisms in [it]. Dare I pick out what most pleases me? It is the middle paragraph in page thirty-four. It is most tasty. Though I look on every impression as a proof of your kindness, I am jealous of the ornaments, and should have prized the verses naked on whitybrown paper.