The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 408 pages of information about The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4.

  Riddles dark, perplexing sense;
  Darker meanings of offence;
  What but shades—­be banish’d hence.

  Whitest thoughts in whitest dress,
  Candid meanings, best express
  Mind of quiet Quakeress.

* * * * *


  Lady Unknown, who crav’st from me Unknown
  The trifle of a verse these leaves to grace,
  How shall I find fit matter? with what face
  Address a face that ne’er to me was shown? 
  Thy looks, tones, gesture, manners, and what not,
  Conjecturing, I wander in the dark. 
  I know thee only Sister to Charles Clarke! 
  But at that name my cold muse waxes hot,
  And swears that thou art such a one as he,
  Warm, laughter-loving, with a touch of madness,
  Wild, glee-provoking, pouring oil of gladness
  From frank heart without guile.  And, if thou be
  The pure reverse of this, and I mistake—­
  Demure one, I will like thee for his sake.

* * * * *



  Such goodness in your face doth shine,
  With modest look without design,
  That I despair, poor pen of mine
    Can e’er express it. 
  To give it words I feebly try;
  My spirits fail me to supply
  Befitting language for’t, and I
    Can only bless it!


  But stop, rash verse! and don’t abuse
  A bashful Maiden’s ear with news
  Of her own virtues.  She’ll refuse
    Praise sung so loudly. 
  Of that same goodness you admire,
  The best part is, she don’t aspire
  To praise—­nor of herself desire
    To think too proudly.

* * * * *


  Fresh clad from heaven in robes of white,
  A young probationer of light,
  Thou wert, my soul, an album bright,

  A spotless leaf; but thought, and care,
  And friend and foe, in foul or fair,
  Have “written strange defeatures” there;

  And Time with heaviest hand of all,
  Like that fierce writing on the wall,
  Hath stamp’d sad dates—­he can’t recall;

  And error gilding worst designs—­
  Like speckled snake that strays and shines—­
  Betrays his path by crooked lines;

  And vice hath left his ugly blot;
  And good resolves, a moment hot,
  Fairly began—­but finish’d not;

  And fruitless, late remorse doth trace—­
  Like Hebrew lore a backward pace—­
  Her irrecoverable race.

  Disjointed numbers; sense unknit
  Huge reams of folly, shreds of wit;
  Compose the mingled mass of it.

  My scalded eyes no longer brook
  Upon this ink-blurr’d thing to look—­
  Go, shut the leaves, and clasp the book.

Project Gutenberg
The Works of Charles Lamb in Four Volumes, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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