The Best Letters of Charles Lamb

The Best Letters of Charles Lamb

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Best Letters of Charles Lamb Edited by Edward Gilpin JohnsonThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it,give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online atwww.gutenberg.netTitle: The Best Letters of Charles LambAuthor: Charles LambEditor: Edward Gilpin JohnsonRelease Date: November 18, 2003 [EBook #10125]Language: English*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE BEST LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB ***Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon, Sjaani, Tom Allen and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.LAUREL-CROWNED LETTERSCHARLES LAMBIt may well be that the "Essays of Elia" will be found to have kept their perfume, and the LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMBto retain their old sweet savor, when "Sartor Resartus" has about as many readers as Bulwer's "Artificial Changeling,"and nine tenths even of "Don Juan" lie darkening under the same deep dust that covers the rarely troubled pages of the"Secchia Rapita."A.C. SWINBURNENo assemblage of letters, parallel or kindred to that in the hands of the reader, if we consider its width of range, the fruitfulperiod over which it stretches, and its typical character, has ever been produced.W.C. HAZLITT ON LAMB'S LETTERS.THE BEST LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMBEdited with an IntroductionBY EDWARD GILPIN JOHNSONA.D. 1892.CONTENTSINTRODUCTIONLETTER I. ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Best Letters of Charles Lamb Edited by Edward Gilpin Johnson This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The Best Letters of Charles Lamb Author: Charles Lamb Editor: Edward Gilpin Johnson Release Date: November 18, 2003 [EBook #10125] Language: English *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE BEST LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB *** Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Keren Vergon, Sjaani, Tom Allen and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. LAUREL-CROWNED LETTERS CHARLES LAMB It may well be that the "Essays of Elia" will be found to have kept their perfume, and the LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB to retain their old sweet savor, when "Sartor Resartus" has about as many readers as Bulwer's "Artificial Changeling," and nine tenths even of "Don Juan" lie darkening under the same deep dust that covers the rarely troubled pages of the "Secchia Rapita." A.C. SWINBURNE No assemblage of letters, parallel or kindred to that in the hands of the reader, if we consider its width of range, the fruitful period over which it stretches, and its typical character, has ever been produced. W.C. HAZLITT ON LAMB'S LETTERS. THE BEST LETTERS OF CHARLES LAMB Edited with an Introduction BY EDWARD GILPIN JOHNSON A.D. 1892. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION LETTER I. To Samuel Taylor Coleridge II. To Coleridge III. To Coleridge IV. To Coleridge V. To Coleridge VI. To Coleridge VII. To Coleridge VIII. To Coleridge IX. To Coleridge X. To Coleridge XI. To Coleridge XII. To Coleridge XIII. To Coleridge XIV. To Coleridge XV. To Robert Southey XVI. To Southey XVII. To Southey XVIII. To Southey XIX. To Thomas Manning XX. To Coleridge XXI. To Manning XXII. To Coleridge XXIII. To Manning XXIV. To Manning XXV. To Coleridge XXVI. To Manning XXVII. To Coleridge XXVIII. To Coleridge XXIX. To Manning XXX. To Manning XXXI. To Manning XXXII. To Manning XXXIII. To Coleridge XXXIV. To Wordsworth XXXV. To Wordsworth XXXVI. To Manning XXXVII. To Manning XXXVIII. To Manning XXXIX. To Coleridge XL. To Manning XLI. To Manning XLII. To Manning XLIII. To William Godwin XLIV. To Manning XLV. To Miss Wordsworth XLVI. To Manning XLVII. To Wordsworth XLVIII. To Manning XLIX. To Wordsworth L. To Manning LI. To Miss Wordsworth LII. To Wordsworth LIII. To Wordsworth LIV. To Wordsworth LV. To Wordsworth LVI. To Southey LVII. To Miss Hutchinson LVIII. To Manning LIX. To Manning LX. To Wordsworth LXI. To Wordsworth LXII. To H. Dodwell LXIII. To Mrs. Wordsworth LXIV. To Wordsworth LXV. To Manning LXVI. To Miss Wordsworth LXVII. To Coleridge LXVIII. To Wordsworth LXIX. To John Clarke LXX. To Mr. Barren Field LXXI. To Walter Wilson LXXII. To Bernard Barton LXXIII. To Miss Wordsworth LXXIV. To Mr. and Mrs. Bruton LXXV. To Bernard Barton LXXVI. To Miss Hutchinson LXXVII. To Bernard Barton LXXVIII. To Mrs. Hazlitt LXXIX. To Bernard Barton LXXX. To Bernard Barton LXXXI. To Bernard Barton LXXXII. To Bernard Barton LXXXIII. To Bernard Barton LXXXIV. To Bernard Barton LXXXV. To Bernard Barton LXXXVI. To Wordsworth LXXXVII. To Bernard Barton LXXXVIII. To Bernard Barton LXXXIX. To Bernard Barton XC. To Southey XCI. To Bernard Barton XCII. To J.B. Dibdin XCIII. To Henry Crabb Robinson XCIV. To Peter George Patmore XCV. To Bernard Barton XCVI. To Thomas Hood XCVII. To P.G. Patmore XCVIII. To Bernard Barton XCIX. To Procter C. To Bernard Barton CI. To Mr. Gilman CII. To Wordsworth CIII. To Mrs. Hazlitt CIV. To George Dyer CV. To Dyer CVI. To Mr. Moxon CVII. To Mr. Moxon INTRODUCTION. No writer, perhaps, since the days of Dr. Johnson has been oftener brought before us in biographies, essays, letters, etc., than Charles Lamb. His stammering speech, his gaiter-clad legs,—"almost immaterial legs," Hood called them,— his frail wisp of a body, topped by a head "worthy of Aristotle," his love of punning, of the Indian weed, and, alas! of the kindly production of the juniper-berry (he was not, he owned, "constellated under Aquarius"), his antiquarianism of taste, and relish of the crotchets and whimsies of authorship, are as familiar to us almost as they were to the group he gathered round him Wednesdays at No. 4, Inner Temple Lane, where "a clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigor of the game" awaited them. Talfourd has unctuously celebrated Lamb's "Wednesday Nights." He has kindly left ajar a door through which posterity peeps in upon the company,—Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, "Barry Cornwall," Godwin, Martin Burney, Crabb Robinson (a ubiquitous shade, dimly suggestive of that figment, "Mrs. Harris"), Charles Kemble, Fanny Kelly ("Barbara S."), on red-letter occasions Coleridge and Wordsworth,—and sees them discharging the severer offices of the whist- table ("cards were cards" then), and, later, unbending their minds over poetry, criticism, and metaphysics. Elia was no Barmecide host, and the serjeant dwells not without regret upon the solider business of the evening,—"the cold roast lamb or boiled beef, the heaps of smoking roasted potatoes, and the vast jug of porter, often replenished from the foaming pots which the best tap of Fleet Street supplied," hospitably presided over by "the most quiet, sensible, and kind of women," Mary Lamb. The terati Talfourd's day were clearly hardier of digestion than their descendants are. Roast lamb, boiled beef, "heaps of smoking roasted potatoes," pots of porter,—a noontide meal for a hodman,—and the hour midnight! One is reminded, à propos of Miss Lamb's robust viands, that Elia somewhere confesses to "an occasional nightmare;" "but I do not," he adds, "keep a whole stud of them." To go deeper into this matter, to speculate upon the possible germs, the first vague intimations to the mind of Coleridge of the weird spectra of "The Ancient Mariner," the phantasmagoria of "Kubla Khan," would be, perhaps, over-refining. "Barry Cornwall," too, Lamb tells us, "had his tritons and his nereids gambolling before him in nocturnal visions." No wonder! It is not intended here to re-thresh the straw left by Talfourd, Fitzgerald, Canon Ainger, and others, in the hope of discovering something new about Charles Lamb. In this quarter, at least, the wind shall be tempered to the reader,— shorn as he is by these pages of a charming letter or two. So far as fresh facts are concerned, the theme may fairly be considered exhausted. Numberless writers, too, have rung the changes upon "poor Charles Lamb," "dear Charles Lamb," "gentle Charles Lamb," and the rest,—the final epithet, by the way being one that Elia, living, specially resented: "For God's sake," he wrote to Coleridge. "don't make me ridiculous any more by terming me gentle-hearted in print, or do it in better verses. It did well enough five years ago, when I came to see you, and was moral coxcomb enough at the time you wrote the lines to feed upon such epithets; but besides