Lamb told Moore that he had hitherto always felt an antipathy to him, but henceforward should like him.
Crabb Robinson writes:—
“April 4th.—Dined at Monkhouse’s. Our party consisted of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Moore, and Rogers. Five poets of very unequal worth and most disproportionate popularity, whom the public probably would arrange in the very inverse order, except that it would place Moore above Rogers. During this afternoon, Coleridge alone displayed any of his peculiar talent. He talked much and well. I have not for years seen him in such excellent health and spirits. His subjects metaphysical criticism—Wordsworth he chiefly talked to. Rogers occasionally let fall a remark. Moore seemed conscious of his inferiority. He was very attentive to Coleridge, but seemed to relish Lamb, whom he sat next. L. was in a good frame—kept himself within bounds and was only cheerful at last.... I was at the bottom of the table, where I very ill performed my part.... I walked home late with Lamb.”
Many years later Robinson sent to The Athenaeum (June 25, 1853) a further and fuller account of the evening.]
CHARLES LAMB TO B.W. PROCTER
April 13th, 1823.
Dear Lad,—You must think me a brute beast, a rhinoceros, never to have acknowledged the receipt of your precious present. But indeed I am none of those shocking things, but have arrived at that indisposition to letter-writing, which would make it a hard exertion to write three lines to a king to spare a friend’s life. Whether it is that the Magazine paying me so much a page, I am loath to throw away composition—how much a sheet do you give your correspondents? I have hung up Pope, and a gem it is, in my town room; I hope for your approval. Though it accompanies the “Essay on Man,” I think that was not the poem he is here meditating. He would have looked up, somehow affectedly, if he were just conceiving “Awake, my St. John.” Neither is he in the “Rape of the Lock” mood exactly. I think he has just made out the last lines of the “Epistle to Jervis,” between gay and tender,
“And other beauties envy Worsley’s eyes.”
I’ll be damn’d if that isn’t the line. He is brooding over it, with a dreamy phantom of Lady Mary floating before him. He is thinking which is the earliest possible day and hour that she will first see it. What a miniature piece of gentility it is! Why did you give it me? I do not like you enough to give you anything so good.
I have dined with T. Moore and breakfasted with Rogers, since I saw you; have much to say about them when we meet, which I trust will be in a week or two. I have been over-watched and over-poeted since Wordsworth has been in town. I was obliged for health sake to wish him gone: but now he is gone I feel a great loss. I am going to Dalston to recruit, and have serious thoughts—of altering my condition, that is, of taking to sobriety. What do you advise me?