“For SAINT CECILIA, At Sign’r Vincenzo Novello’s Music Repository, No. 67 Frith Street. Soho.”
They were signed C. Lamb. One might imagine Emma, the nut-brown maid, to be Emma Isola, as that was a phrase Lamb was fond of applying to her—assuming the title “The Sisters” to be a pleasantry; but the late Miss Mary Sabilia Novello assured me that the sisters were herself, Emma Aloysia Novello and Clara Anastasia Novello (see above).
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Page 102. Love will Come.
“Love will Come” was included by Lamb in a letter to Miss Fryer, a school-fellow of Emma Isola. Lamb writes:—“By desire of Emma I have attempted new words to the old nonsense of Tartar Drum; but with the nonsense the sound and spirit of the tune are unaccountably gone, and we have agreed to discard the new version altogether. As you may be more fastidious in singing mere silliness, and a string of well-sounding images without sense or coherence—Drums of Tartars, who use none, and Tulip trees ten foot high, not to mention Spirits in Sunbeams, &c.,—than we are, so you are at liberty to sacrifice an enspiriting movement to a little sense, tho’ I like LITTLE SENSE less than his vagarying younger sister NO SENSE—so I send them.—The 4th line of 1st stanza is from an old Ballad.”
The old ballad is, I imagine, “Waly, Waly,” of which Lamb was very fond.
Page 102. To Margaret W——.
This poem, believed to be the last that Lamb wrote, was printed in The Athenaeum for March 14, 1835. I have not been able to ascertain who Margaret W—— was.
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Page 104. What is an Album?
These lines were probably written for Emma Isola’s Album, which must not be confounded with her Extract Book. The Album was the volume for which Lamb, in his letters, occasionally solicited contributions. It was sold some years ago to Mr. Quaritch, and is now, I believe, in a private collection, although in a mutilated state, several of the poems having been cut out. These particular lines of Lamb’s were probably written by him also in other albums, for John Mathew Gutch, his old school-fellow, discovered them on the fly-leaf of a copy of John Woodvil, and sent them to Notes and Queries, Oct. 11, 1856. In that version the twenty-first line ran:—
There you have, Madelina, an album complete.
Lamb quoted from the lines in his review of his Album Verses, under the title “The Latin Poems of Vincent Bourne,” in the Englishman’s Magazine (see Vol. I.). Two versions of the lines are copied by Lamb into one of his Commonplace Books.
Line 6. Sweet L.E.L.’s. L.E.L. was, of course, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, afterwards Mrs. Maclean (1802-1838), famous as an Album-and Annual-poetess. Lamb, if an entry in P.G. Patmore’s diary is correct, did not admire her, or indeed any female author. He said, “If she belonged to me I would lock her up and feed her on bread and water till she left off writing poetry.”