In these trifles I waste the precious day, while watching over the health of our more precious Emma, who has been sick in our house this long time. My Mary sends you greeting with me, she herself in sound health.
Given from the Enfield country
seat, on I know not what Calends of
April—I am Davus not an Almanac.[l]
P.S.—The Reform Bill is lost altogether.
The Reform Bill was introduced on March 1, 1831, by Lord John Russell; the second reading was carried on March 22 by a majority of 1. On its commitment on April 19 there was a majority of 8 against the Government. Four days later the Government was again defeated by 22 and Parliament was dissolved. But later, of course, the Reform Bill was passed.]
[Footnote 1: Allusion to the phrase of Davus the servant in Plautus—“Davus sum non Oedipus.”]
CHARLES LAMB TO H.F. CARY
[Dated at end:] Datum ab agro Enfeldiensi, Maii die sexta, 1831.
Assidens est mihi bona soror, Euripiden evolvens, donum vestrum, carissime Cary, pro quo gratias agimus, lecturi atque iterum lecturi idem. Pergratus est liber ambobus, nempe “Sacerdotis Commiserationis,” sacrum opus a te ipso Humanissimae Religionis Sacerdote dono datum. Lachrymantes gavisuri sumus; est ubi dolor fiat voluptas; nee semper dulce mihi est ridere; aliquando commutandum est he! he! he! cum heu! heu! heu!
A Musis Tragicis me non penitus abhorruisse lestis sit Carmen Calamitosum, nescio quo autore lingua prius vernaculi scriptum, et nuperrime a me ipso Latine versum, scilicet, “Tom Tom of Islington.” Tenuistine?
Thomas de Islington,
Uxorem duxit Die quadam Solis,
Abduxit domum sequenti die,
Emit baculum subsequenti,
Vapulat ilia postera,
Aegrotat succedenti, Mortua fit crastina.”
Et miro gaudio afficitur Thomas luce postera quod subsequenti (nempe, Dominica) uxor sit efferenda.
En circulum calamitatum!
Plane hebdomadalem tragoediam.”
I nunc et confer Euripiden vestrum his luctibus, hac morte uxoria; confer Alcesten! Hecuben! quasnon antiquas Heroinas Dolorosas.
Suffundor genas lachrymis, tantas strages revolvens. Quid restat nisi quod Tecum Tuam Caram salutamus ambosque valere jubeamus, nosmet ipsi bene valentes. ELIA.
[Mr. Stephen Gwynn gives me the following translation:—
Sitting by me is my good sister, turning over Euripides, your gift, dear Cary [a pun here, “carissime care"], for which we thank you, and will read and re-read it. Most acceptable to both of us is this book of “Pity’s Priest,” a sacred work of your bestowing, yourself a priest of the most humane Religion. We shall take our pleasure weeping; there are times when pain turns