“I’ve found thee out, O Elia!”
and sent them to Colebrook Row. The consequence was that at their next meeting Lamb produced the lines, and after much laughing, confessed himself to be Elia. This led to a warm friendship between them.
Dibdin’s letter of discovery was signed D. Hence Lamb’s fumbling after his Christian name, which he probably knew all the time.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. 3 May, 1823.]
Dear Sir—I am vexed to be two letters in your debt, but I have been quite out of the vein lately. A philosophical treatise is wanting, of the causes of the backwardness with which persons after a certain time of life set about writing a letter. I always feel as if I had nothing to say, and the performance generally justifies the presentiment. Taylor and Hessey did foolishly in not admitting the sonnet. Surely it might have followed the B.B. I agree with you in thinking Bowring’s paper better than the former. I will inquire about my Letter to the Old Gentleman, but I expect it to go in, after those to the Young Gent’n are completed. I do not exactly see why the Goose and little Goslings should emblematize a Quaker poet that has no children. But after all—perhaps it is a Pelican. The Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin around it I cannot decypher. The songster of the night pouring out her effusions amid a Silent Meeting of Madge Owlets, would be at least intelligible. A full pause here comes upon me, as if I had not a word more left. I will shake my brain. Once— twice—nothing comes up. George Fox recommends waiting on these occasions. I wait. Nothing comes. G. Fox—that sets me off again. I have finished the Journal, and 400 more pages of the Doctrinals, which I picked up for 7s. 6d. If I get on at this rate, the Society will be in danger of having two Quaker poets—to patronise. I am at Dalston now, but if, when I go back to Cov. Gar., I find thy friend has not call’d for the Journal, thee must put me in a way of sending it; and if it should happen that the Lender of it, having that volume, has not the other, I shall be most happy in his accepting the Doctrinals, which I shall read but once certainly. It is not a splendid copy, but perfect, save a leaf of Index.