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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

FROM
THE BEST OF
EVERT * 1 ENDELL

1918

LONDON :

BRADBURY AND EVANS, PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

.

tesbr

TO

MARY ANNE LAMB,

These Letters,

THE MEMORIALS OF MANY YEARS WHICH SHE SPENT WITH THE WRITER

IN UNDIVIDED AFFECTION;

OF THE SORROWS AND THE JOYS SHE SHARED,

OF

THE GENIUS WHICH SHE CHERISHED,

AND OF

THE EXCELLENCES WHICH SHE BEST KNEW ;

ARE

RESPECTFULLY AND AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED,

BY THE EDITOR.

PREFACE.

The share of the editor in these volumes can scarcely be regarded too slightly. The successive publications of Lamb's works form almost the only events of his life which can be recorded ; and upon these criticism has been nearly exhausted. Little, therefore, was necessary to accompany the Letters, except such thread of narrative as might connect them together; and such explanations as might render their allusions generally understood. The reader's gratitude for the pleasure which he will derive from these memorials of one of the most delightful of English writers is wholly due to his correspondents, who have kindly entrusted the precious relics to the care of the Editor, and have permitted them to be given to the world ; and to Mr. Moxon, by whose interest and zeal they have been chiefly collected. He may be allowed to express his personal sense of the honour which he has received in such a trust from men, sonue of whom are amoug the greatest of England's living authors, -to Wordsworth, Southey, Manning, Barton, Procter, Gilman, Patmore, Walter Wilson, Field, Robinson, Dyer, Cary, Ainsworth, to Mr. Green, the executor of Coleridge, and to the surviving relatives of Hazlitt. He is also most grateful to Lamb's esteemed schoolfellow, Mr. Le Grice, for supplying an interesting part of his history. Of the few additional facts of Lamb's history, the chief have been supplied by Mr. Moxon, in whose welfare he took a most affectionate interest to the close of his life ; and who has devoted some beautiful sonnets to bis memory.

The recentness of the period of some of the letters has rendered it necessary to omit many portions of them, in which the humour and beauty are interwoven with personal references, which, although wholly free from any thing which, rightly understood, could give pain to any human being, touch on subjects too sacred for public exposure. Some of the personal allusions which have been retained, may scem, perhaps, too free to a stranger; but they have been retained only in cases in which the Editor is well assured the parties would be rather gratified than displeased at seeing their names connected in life-like association with one so dear to their memories.

The italics and the capitals are invariably those indicated by the MSS. It is to be regretted that in the printed letters the reader must lose the curious varieties of writing with which the originals abound, and which are scrupulously adapted to the subjects.

Many letters yet remain unpublished, which will further illustrate the character of Mr. Lamb, but which must be reserved for a future time, when the Editor hopes to do more justice to his own senso of the genius and the excellences of his friend, than it has been possible for him to accomplish in these volumes.

T. N. T.

Russell Square, 26th June 1837.

LETTERS, &c.

OF

CHARLES LAMB.

CHAPTER I.

and discharging its duties with the most patient

assiduity, he was not without literary ambition ; [1775 to 1796.)

and having written some occasional verses to Lamb's Parentage, School-days, and Youth, to the com

grace the festivities of a benefit society of which mencement of his Correspondence with Coleridge.

he was a member, was encouraged by his broCharles LAMB was born on 18th February, / ther members to publish,in a thin quarto,“ Poeti1775, in Crown Office Row, in the Inner Tem- cal Pieces on several occasions.” This volume ple, where he spent the first seven years of his

contains a lively picture of the life of a lady's life. His parents were in a humble station, footman of the last century; the “ History of but they were endued with sentiments and with Joseph,” told in well-measured heroic couplets ; manners which might well become the gentlest and a pleasant piece, after the manner of blood ; and fortune, which had denied them

“Gay's Fables,” entitled the “Sparrow's Wedwealth, enabled them to bestow on their childing,” which was the author's favourite, and dren some of the happiest intellectual advan

which, when he fell into the dotage of age, he tages which wealth ever confers. His father,

man of quality that had drawn upon him, and pummelled Mr. John Lamb, who came up a little boy from

him severely with the hilt of it. The swordsman had Lincoln, fortunately both for himself and his

offered insult to a female-an occasion upon which no master, entered into the service of Mr. Salt,

odds against him could have prevented the interference of one of the benchers of the Inner Temple, a Lovel. He would stand next day bare-headed to the same widower, who growing old within its precincts, person, modestly to excuse his interference; for L. never was enabled to appreciate and to reward his

forgot rank where something better was not concerned.

L. was the liveliest little fellow breathing; had a face as devotedness and intelligence ; and to whom he

gay as Garrick's, whom he was said greatly to resemble ; became, in the language of his son,“ his clerk,

(I have a portrait of him which confirms it ;) possessed a his good servant, his dresser, his friend, his

fine turn for humorous poetry-next to Swift and Prior; flapper, his guide, stop-watch, auditor, trea moulded heads in clay or plaster of Paris to admiration, surer.” Although contented with his lot, by the dint of natural genius merely; turned cribbage

boards and such small cabinet toys to perfection ; took a * Lamb has given characters of his father (under the hand at quadrille or bowls with equal facility; made name of Lovel), and of Mr. Salt, in one of the most exqui. punch better than any man of his degree in England ; had site of all the Essays of Elia_" The Old Benchers of the the merriest quips and conceits; and was altogether as Inner Temple.“ Of Lovel, he says, “ He was a man of an brimful of rogueries and inventions as you could desire. incorrigible and losing honesty. A good fellow withal, He was a brother of the angle, moreover; and just such a and would strike.' In the cause of the oppressed, he never free, hearty, honest companion as Mr. Izaak Walton would considered inequalities, or calculated the number of his have chosen to go a fishing with."-Essays of Elia (First opponents. He once wrested a sword out of the hand of a Series), p. 57.

B

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