Who first invented work?—and
bound the free
And holyday-rejoicing Spirit down
To the ever-haunting importunity
Of Business in the green fields, and the Town—
To plough, loom, [anvil], spade, and (oh most sad!)
To this dry drudgery of the desk’s dead wood?
Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
Sabbathless Satan! He, who his unglad
Task ever plies ’mid rotatory burnings,
That round and round incalculably reel—
For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel—
In that red realm from whence are no returnings;
Where toiling & turmoiling ever & aye
He and his Thoughts keep pensive worky-day.
With many recollections of pleasanter times, my old compeer, happily released before me, Adieu. C. LAMB.
19 July .
[Marter was an old India House clerk; we do not meet with him again. The sonnet had been printed in The Examiner in 1819. Lamb, who was fond of it, reprinted it in Album Verses, 1830.]
CHARLES LAMB TO JOHN BATES DIBDIN
[P.M. July 28, 1824.]
My dear Sir—I must appear negligent in not having thanked you for the very pleasant books you sent me. Arthur, and the Novel, we have both of us read with unmixed satisfaction. They are full of quaint conceits, and running over with good humour and good nature. I naturally take little interest in story, but in these the manner and not the end is the interest; it is such pleasant travelling, one scarce cares whither it leads us. Pray express our pleasure to your father with my best thanks.
I am involved in a routine of visiting among the family of Barren Field, just ret’d, from Botany Bay—I shall hardly have an open Evening before TUESDAY next. Will you come to us then?
Yours truly, C. LAMB.
28 July 24.
[Arthur and the Novel were two books by Charles Dibdin the Younger, the father of Lamb’s correspondent. Arthur was Young Arthur; or, The Child of Mystery: A Metrical Romance, 1819, and the novel was Isn’t It Odd? three volumes of high-spirited ramblings something in the manner of Tristram Shandy, nominally written by Marmaduke Merrywhistle, and published in 1822.
Barron Field had returned from his Judgeship in New South Wales on June 18.]
CHARLES LAMB TO THOMAS HOOD [P.M. August 10, 1824.]
And what dost thou at the Priory? Cucullus non facit Monachum. English me that, and challenge old Lignum Janua to make a better.