Adieu, tres aimables!
Buttons 6d. Gift 3-1/2
Due from —— 2-1/2
which pray accept ... from your foolish coatforgetting
[Joseph Hume we have met. Mr. Hazlitt writes: “Amelia Hume became Mrs. Bennett, Julia Mrs. Todhunter. The latter personally informed me in 1888 that her Aunt Augusta perfectly recollected all the circumstances [of the present note]. The incident seems to have taken place at the residence of Mr. Hume, in Percy Street, Bloomsbury, and it was Amelia who found the three-pence-halfpenny in the coat which Lamb left behind him, and who repaired the button-holes. The sister who is described as ‘Scots wha ha’e’ was Louisa Hume; it was a favourite song with her.” Mrs. Todhunter supplied the date, 1832.]
CHARLES LAMB TO CHARLES WENTWORTH DILKE
[P.M. March 5, 1832.]
D’r Sir, My friend Aders, a German merchant, German born, has opend to the public at the Suffolk St. Gallery his glorious Collection of old Dutch and German Pictures. Pray see them. You have only to name my name, and have a ticket—if you have not received one already. You will possibly notice ’em, and might lug in the inclosed, which I wrote for Hone’s Year Book, and has appear’d only there, when the Pictures were at home in Euston Sq. The fault of this matchless set of pictures is, the admitting a few Italian pictures with ’em, which I would turn out to make the Collection unique and pure. Those old Albert Durers have not had their fame. I have tried to illustrate ’em. If you print my verses, a Copy, please, for me.
[The first letter to Charles Wentworth Dilke (1789-1864), a friend of Keats, Hunt and Hood, editor of Dodsley and at this time editor of The Athenaeum. Lamb’s verses ran thus:—
TO C. ADERS, ESQ.
On his Collection of Paintings by the old German Masters
Friendliest of men, Aders, I never come
Within the precincts of this sacred Room,
But I am struck with a religious fear,
Which says “Let no profane eye enter here.”
With imagery from Heav’n the walls are clothed,
Making the things of Time seem vile and loathed.
Spare Saints, whose bodies seem sustain’d by Love
With Martyrs old in meek procession move.
Here kneels a weeping Magdalen, less bright
To human sense for her blurr’d cheeks; in sight
Of eyes, new-touch’d by Heaven, more winning fair
Than when her beauty was her only care.
A Hermit here strange mysteries doth unlock
In desart sole, his knees worn by the rock.
There Angel harps are sounding, while below
Palm-bearing Virgins in white order go.
Madonnas, varied with so chaste design.
While all are different, each seems genuine,
And hers the only Jesus: hard outline,
And rigid form, by Duerer’s hand subdued
To matchless grace, and sacro-sanctitude;
Duerer, who makes thy slighted Germany
Vie with the praise of paint-proud Italy.