I am returning a poor letter. I was formerly a great Scribbler in that way, but my hand is out of order. If I said my head too, I should not be very much out, but I will tell no tales of myself. I will therefore end (after my best thanks, with a hope to see you again some time in London), begging you to accept this Letteret for a Letter—a Leveret makes a better present than a grown hare, and short troubles (as the old excuse goes) are best.
I hear that C. Lloyd is well, and has returned to his family. I think this will give you pleasure to hear.
I remain, dear Sir, yours truly
9 Oct. 22.
[Barton had just published his Verses on the Death of P.B. Shelley, a lament for misapplied genius. The club at Pisa referred particularly to Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Trelawney. Trelawney placed three lines from Ariel’s song in “The Tempest” on Shelley’s monument; but whether Lamb knew this, or his choice of rival lines is a coincidence, I do not know. Trelawney chose the lines:—
of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
There is no other record of Lamb’s meeting with Shelley, who, by the way, admired Lamb’s writings warmly, particularly Mrs. Leicester’s School (see the letter to Barton, August 17, 1824).
Byron’s Vision of Judgment, a burlesque of Southey’s poem of the same name, was printed in The Liberal for 1822.]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.R. HAYDON
India House, 9th October, 1822.
Dear Haydon, Poor Godwin has been turned out of his house and business in Skinner Street, and if he does not pay two years’ arrears of rent, he will have the whole stock, furniture, &c., of his new house (in the Strand) seized when term begins. We are trying to raise a subscription for him. My object in writing this is simply to ask you, if this is a kind of case which would be likely to interest Mrs. Coutts in his behalf; and who in your opinion is the best person to speak with her on his behalf. Without the aid of from L300 to L400 by that time, early in November, he must be ruined. You are the only person I can think of, of her acquaintance, and can, perhaps, if not yourself, recommend the person most likely to influence her. Shelley had engaged to clear him of all demands, and he has gone down to the deep insolvent.
Is Sir Walter to be applied to, and by what channel?
[Mrs. Coutts was probably Harriot Mellon, the actress, widow of the banker, Thomas Coutts, and afterwards Duchess of St. Albans. She had played the part of the heroine Melesinda in “Mr. H.”]
CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN HOWARD PAYNE