“There is nothing like inland murmurs.” Lamb is here remembering Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey lines:—
With a sweet inland murmur.
In the Elia essay “The Old Margate Hoy” Lamb, in speaking of Hastings, had made the same objection.
In a letter to his sister, written from Hastings at this time, Hood says:—
This is the last of our excursions. We have tried, but in vain, to find out the baker and his wife recommended to us by Lamb as the very lions of green Hastings. There is no such street as he has named throughout the town, and the ovens are singularly numerous. We have given up the search, therefore, but we have discovered the little church in the wood, and it is such a church! It ought to have been our St. Botolph’s. ... Such a verdant covert wood Stothard might paint for the haunting of Dioneus, Pamphillus, and Fiammetta as they walk in the novel of Boccacce. The ground shadowed with bluebells, even to the formation of a plumb-like bloom upon its little knolls and ridges; and ever through the dell windeth a little path chequered with the shades of aspens and ashes and the most verdant and lively of all the family of trees. Here a broad, rude stone steppeth over a lazy spring, oozing its way into grass and weeds; anon a fresh pathway divergeth, you know not whither. Meanwhile the wild blackbird startles across the way and singeth anew in some other shade. To have seen Fiammetta there, stepping in silk attire, like a flower, and the sunlight looking upon her betwixt the branches! I had not walked (in the body) with Romance before. Then suppose so much of a space cleared as maketh a small church lawn to be sprinkled with old gravestones, and in the midst the church itself, a small Christian dovecot, such as Lamb has truly described it, like a little temple of Juan Fernandes. I could have been sentimental and wished to lie some day in that place, its calm tenants seeming to come through such quiet ways, through those verdant alleys, to their graves.
In coming home I killed a viper in our serpentine path, and Mrs. Fernor says I am by that token to overcome an enemy. Is Taylor or Hessey dead? The reptile was dark and dull, his blood being yet sluggish from the cold; howbeit, he tried to bite, till I cut him in two with a stone. I thought of Hessey’s long back-bone when I did it.
They are called adders,
tell your father, because two and two of
them together make four.]
CHARLES LAMB TO BERNARD BARTON
[P.M. August 17, 1824.]