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The night was gloomy. Through the skies of June
Rolled the eternal moon,

'Midst dark and heavy clouds that bore
A shadowy likeness to those fabled things
That sprung of old from man's imaginings.
Each seem'd a fierce reality: some wore
The forms of sphinx and hippogriff, or seemed
Nourished among the wonders of the deep,
And wilder than the poet ever dreamed :

And there were cars-steeds with their proud necks bent—
Tower,-and temple,—and broken continent:

And all, as upon a sea,

In the blue ether floated silently.

This was the close :

And then I heard the sullen waters roar,
And saw them cast their surf upon the strand,
And then, rebounding toward some far-seen land,
They washed and washed its melancholy shore,
And the terrific spirits, bred

In the sea-caverns, moved by those fierce jars,
Rose up like giants from their watery bed,
And shook their silver hair against the stars.
Then, bursts like thunder-joyous outcries wild-
Sounds as from trumpets, and from drums,
And music, like the lulling noise that comes
From nurses when they hush their charge to sleep,
Came in confusion from the deep.
Methought one told me that a child

Was that night unto the great Neptune born;
And then old Triton blew his curled horn,

And the Leviathan lashed the foaming seas,

And the wanton Nereides

Came up like phantoms from their coral halls,
And laughed and sung like tipsy Bacchanals,
Till all the fury of the ocean broke

Upon my ear.--I trembled and awoke.

Page 69, line 33. Ino Leucothea. Ino, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia, fleeing from her husband, leaped into the sea and was transformed into a sea goddess by Neptune, under the name Leucothoe. She is called the "white goddess." In Chapter V. of Lamb's Adven tures of Ulysses is a beautiful passage describing her rescue of Ulysses. Page 69. Last paragraph. In the original MS. of this essay (now in the Dyce and Forster collection at South Kensington) the last paragraph ran thus :—

"When I awoke I came to a determination to write prose all the rest of my life; and with submission to some of our young writers, who are yet diffident of their powers, and balancing perhaps between verse and prose, they might not do unwisely to decide the preference by the texture of their natural dreams. If these are prosaic, they may depend upon it they have not much to expect in a creative way from their artificial ones. What dreams must not Spenser have had!"

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Browne's Christian Morals.

Page 70, beginning. At that point of life. Lamb was forty-six on February 10, 1821. Page 70, line 10. Christian Morals was published posthumously in 1716, thirty-four years after Sir Thomas Browne's death. The passage is in Section XXII. of the third part. Browne is referring to the man who has lived sixty years :

He may have a close apprehension what it is to be forgotten, while he hath lived to find none who could remember his Father, or scarce the friends of his youth, and may sensibly see with what a face in no long time oblivion will look upon himself.

By an error Wilkin's edition of Browne's Works, 1846 (Vol. IV., page 108), omits "it" before "is to be forgotten."

Page 70, line 17. I had an aunt. Aunt Hetty, who died in 1797 (see the essay on "Christ's Hospital," page 13, and note on page 316).

Page 70, line 23. Thomas à Kempis, in Stanhope's Translation. George Stanhope (1660-1728), Dean of Canterbury. His translation of à Kempis's Imitatio Christi was published in 1698 under the title The Christian's Pattern; or, A Treatise of the Imitation of Christ. Page 70, line 31. The Adventures of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman. The full title of this work is: The Unfortunate Young Nobleman; a Tale of Sympathy, Founded on Fact. In which are depicted the Unprecedented Sufferings of an Affectionate Husband, and the Forlorn State of an amiable Mother and her Infant Child. The story tells how the unfortunate Mons. du F- —, eldest son of the Baron du F —, married against his father's will, and suffered in consequence many privations, including imprisonment in a convent, from which he escaped by a jump of fifty feet.

Page 70, line 32. The chapel in Essex-street. The headquarters of "that heresy," Unitarianism. Lamb was at first a Unitarian, but afterwards dropped away from all sects.

Page 71, line 10. Brother, or sister, I never had any-to know them. Lamb is writing strictly as the imagined Elia, Elia being Lamb in mind rather than Lamb in fact. It amused him to present his brother John and his sister Mary as his cousins James and Bridget Elia. We have here an excellent example of his whimsical blending of truth and invention: brothers and sisters he denies, yet admits one sister, Elizabeth, who died in both their infancies. Lamb had in reality two sisters named Elizabeth, the former of whom he never knew. She was born in 1762. The second Elizabeth, his parents' fifth child, was born in 1768, seven years before Charles. Altogether the Lambs had seven children, of whom only John (born 1763), Mary Anne (born 1764) and Charles (born 1775) grew up. Again Lamb confesses to several cousins in Hertfordshire, and to two others. The two others were fictitious, but it was true that he had Hertfordshire relations (see the essay "Mackery End, in Hertfordshire," page 75).

John Lamb's character is perhaps sufficiently described in this essay and in "Dream Children," page 102. He was a well-to-do official in

the South-Sea House, succeeding John Tipp as accountant. Crabb Robinson found him too bluff and noisy to be bearable; and he once knocked Hazlitt down in a dispute about painting. He died on October 26, 1821, to his brother's great grief, leaving Charles everything. He married late in life a Mrs. Dowden. Probably she had her own money and needed none of her second husband's. Hence the peculiarity of the will. Mrs. John Lamb died in 1826.

John Lamb's sympathy with animals led him to write in 1810 a pamphlet entitled A Letter to the Right Hon. William Windham, on his opposition to Lord Erskine's Bill for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Mr. Windham having expressed it as his opinion that the subject was not one for legislation. Lamb sent the pamphlet to Crabb Robinson on February 7, 1810, saying:

"My Brother whom you have met at my rooms (a plump good looking man of seven and forty!) has written a book about humanity, which I transmit to you herewith. Wilson the Publisher has put it in his head that you can get it Reviewed for him. I dare say it is not in the scope of your Review-but if you could put it into any likely train, he would rejoyce. For alas! our boasted Humanity partakes of Vanity. As it is, he teazes me to death with chusing to suppose that I could get it into all the Reviews at a moment's notice.-I!! who have been set up as a mark for them to throw at and would willingly consign them all to Hell flames and Megæra's snaky locks.

But here's the Book-and don't shew it Mrs. Collier, for I remember she makes excellent Eel soup, and the leading points of the Book are directed against that very process.

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Crabb Robinson's review would be probably The London Review, founded by Richard Cumberland, in February, 1809, and ending in November of the same year. Either Lamb was unaware of its cessation or his letter should be dated not 1810 but 1809.

The pamphlet in question was identified by Mr. Luther S. Livingston, who found it in a volume of odds and ends from Lamb's library. This is the passage-one red-hot sentence-concerning eels :—

"If an eel had the wisdom of Solomon, he could not help himself in the ill-usage that befalls him; but if he had, and were told, that it was necessary for our subsistence that he should be eaten, that he must be skinned first, and then broiled; if ignorant of man's usual practice, he would conclude that the cook would so far use her reason as to cut off his head first, which is not fit for food, as then he might be skinned and broiled without harm; for however the other parts of his body might be convulsed during the culinary operations, there could be no feeling of consciousness therein, the communication with the brain being cut off; but if the woman were immediately to stick a fork into his eye, skin him alive, coil him up in a skewer, head and all, so that in the extremest agony he could not move, and forthwith broil him to death: then were the same Almighty Power that formed man from the dust, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, to call the eel into a new existence, with a knowledge of the treatment

he had undergone, and he found that the instinctive disposition which man has in common with other carnivorous animals, which inclines him to cruelty, was not the sole cause of his torments; but that men did not attend to consider whether the sufferings of such insignificant creatures could be lessened: that eels were not the only sufferers; that lobsters and other shell fish were put into cold water and boiled to death by slow degrees in many parts of the sea coast; that these, and many other such wanton atrocities, were the consequence of carelessness occasioned by the pride of mankind despising their low estate, and of the general opinion that there is no punishable sin in the illtreatment of animals designed for our use; that, therefore, the woman did not bestow so much thought on him as to cut his head off first, and that she would have laughed at any considerate person who should have desired such a thing; with what fearful indignation might he inveigh against the unfeeling metaphysician that, like a cruel spirit alarmed at the appearance of a dawning of mercy upon animals, could not rest satisfied with opposing the Cruelty Prevention Bill by the plea of possible inconvenience to mankind, highly magnified and emblazoned, but had set forth to the vulgar and unthinking of all ranks, in the jargon of proud learning, that man's obligations of morality towards the creatures subjected to his use are imperfect obligations! "The Beggar-Man," in Poetry for Children, 1809 (see Vol. III., page 395), was also from John Lamb's pen.

The poem

Page 71, line 25. Yorick. Laurence Sterne, author of Tristram Shandy.

Page 72, line 25.


Page 72, line 29.


Lost, II., line 164.
Page 73, line 35.

John Murray's street. Albemarle Street,

"Thus sitting, thus consulting." See Paradise

"Cynthia of the minute." Pope's phrase in the third "Moral Essay," the "Epistle to Martha Blount," lines 17-20 :

Come then, the colours and the ground prepare,

Dip in the rainbow, trick her off in air;
Choose a firm cloud, before it fall, and in it

Catch, ere she change, the Cynthia of this minute.

"Set forth in pomp

Page 74, line 1.
V., Scene 1, lines 78-80.
Page 74, line 25.

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"Richard II.," Act

Like the

That "all for pity he could die." poet in The Faerie Queen, Book I., Canto III., Stanza 1.

Page 74, line 28. Thomas Clarkson. Thomas Clarkson (17601846), the anti-slavery agitator, a friend of Lamb's. The quotation, "true yoke-fellow with Time," is from Wordsworth's sonnet to Clarkson.

Page 74, line 38. Lamb's Key. Page 75, line 10. "Through the green plains of pleasant Hertfordshire." This line occurs in a sonnet of Lamb's written many years before the essay (see Vol. V., page 14). Probably, however, Lamb

Society for the Relief of-Distrest Sailors, says

did not invent it, for (Mr. W. J. Craig points out) in Leland's Itinerary, which Lamb must have known, if only on account of the antiquary's remarks on Hertfordshire, is quoted a poem by William Vallans (ƒ. 1578-1590), "The Tale of the Two Swans," containing the line—

The fruitful fields of pleasant Hertfordshire

which one can easily understand would have lingered in Lamb's mind very graciously.

In the London Magazine the essay ended with the words, "Till then, Farewell."


Page 75. MACKERY END, IN HERTFORDSHIRE. London Magazine, July, 1821. Reprinted in Elia, 1823, as written, save for the omission of italics from many passages. Bridget Elia, who is met also in "Mrs. Battle" (page 37), in “ Relations" (page 71) and in "Old China" (page 247), was, of course, Mary Lamb. Page 75, line 19. Lamb may have been thinking of Ophelia's words to Hamlet-"O you must wear your rue with a difference" ("Hamlet," Act IV., Scene 5, line 183).

"With a difference."

Page 75, line 29. She must have a story. Thomas Westwood, in his reminiscences of the Lambs in later years, printed in Notes and Queries, speaks of Mary Lamb's passion for novel-reading in the Enfield days, when he was a boy.

Page 75, last line. She "holds Nature more clever." From Gay's "Epitaph of Byewords," line 4.

Page 76, line 6. Margaret Newcastle. Lamb's devotion to this lady is expressed again in the essay on "The Two Races of Men," page 26, in the essay on Beggars on page 115 and again in "Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading," page 174.


Page 76, line 9. William Godwin, perhaps alone among Lamb's friends, quite answers to the description of leader of novel philosophies and systems; but there had been also Thomas Holcroft and John Thelwall among the Lambs' acquaintance (see the list of Lamb's friends in his "Letter to Southey," Vol. I., page 229). And Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt would come within this description.

Page 76, line 32. Stuff of the conscience. From "Othello," Act I., Scene 2, line 2.

Page 76, line 37. Good old English reading. The reference is to Samuel Salt's library in the Temple (see note of "The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple ").

to page $65,3 Page 77, line 9. Mackery End. The position of Mackery End is indicated in the accompanying chart, kindly prepared for me by Miss

M. C. G. Jackson.

The farmhouse still stands, although new front rooms have been added. At the end of the present hall, one passes through what was in Lamb's time the front door, and thereafter the house is exactly as it used to be save that its south windows have been filled in.

By kind invita


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