The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 519 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4.

Title:  The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV Poems and Plays

Author:  Charles and Mary Lamb

Release Date:  March 14, 2004 [EBook #11576]

Language:  English

Character set encoding:  ASCII

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The works of Charles and Mary lamb

IV.  Poems and plays

[Illustration:  Charles Lamb (aged 23)
From a drawing by Robert Hancock]

Poems and plays


Charles and Mary lamb


The earliest poem in this volume bears the date 1794, when Lamb was nineteen, the latest 1834, the year of his death; so that it covers an even longer period of his life than Vol.  I.—­the “Miscellaneous Prose.”  The chronological order which was strictly observed in that volume has been only partly observed in the following pages—­since it seemed better to keep the plays together and to make a separate section of Lamb’s epigrams.  These, therefore, will be found to be outside the general scheme.  Such of Lamb’s later poems as he did not himself collect in volume form will also be found to be out of their chronological position, partly because it has seemed to me best to give prominence to those verses which Lamb himself reprinted, and partly because there is often no indication of the year in which the poem was written.

Another difficulty has been the frequency with which Lamb reprinted some of his earlier poetry.  The text of many of his earliest and best poems was not fixed until 1818, twenty years or so after their composition.  It had to be decided whether to print these poems in their true order as they were first published—­in Coleridge’s Poems on Various Subjects, 1796; in Charles Lloyd’s ems on the Death of Priscilla Farmer, 1796; in Coleridge’s Poems, second edition, 1797; in Blank Verse by Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb, 1798; and in John Woodvil, 1802—­with all their early readings; or whether to disregard chronological sequence, and wait until the time of the Works—­1818—­had come, and print them all together then.  I decided, in the interests of their biographical value, to print them in the order as they first appeared, particularly as Crabb Robinson tells us that Lamb once said of the arrangement of a poet’s works:  “There is only one good order—­and that is the order in which they were written—­that is a history of the poet’s mind.”  It then had to be decided whether to print them in their first shape, which, unless I repeated them later,

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