« السابقةمتابعة »
How reverend is the view of these hushed heads,
-A good example of Lamb's habit of constructing a quotation out of his general recollection of a passage. The lines he had in his mind are from Congreve's Mourning Bride, Act II. Scene 1:
"How reverend is the face of this tall pile,
Whose ancient pillars rear their marble heads
By its own weight made stedfast and immoveable,
The writings of John Woolman.-"A journal of the life, gospel labours, and Christian experiences of that faithful minister of Jesus Christ, John Woolman, late of Mount Holly, in the Province of Jersey, North America" (1720-1772). Woolman was an American Quaker of humble origin, an "illiterate tailor," one of the first who had "misgivings about the institution of slavery." Crabb Robinson, to whom Lamb introduced the book, becomes rapturous over it. "His religion is love; his whole existence and all his passions were love!"
-From Wordsworth's verses, written in March 1801, beginning "The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing."
I have noted elsewhere Lamb's strong native sympathy with the Quaker spirit and Quaker manners and customs, a sympathy so marked that it is difficult to believe it was not inherited, and that on one or other side of his parentage he had not relations with the Society of Friends. His picture of the Quakerism of sixty years ago is of almost historical value, so great are the changes that have since divided the Society against itself.
THE OLD AND THE NEW SCHOOLMASTER.-P. 67.
(London Magazine, May 1821.)
My friend M.-Thomas Manning, the mathematician and explorer, whose acquaintance Lamb made early in life at Cambridge. King Basilius.-See Sidney's Arcadia, Book i. (vol. ii. p. 17 of the edition of 1725.)
Even a child, that "plaything for an hour.”—One of Lamb's quotations from himself. The phrase occurs in a charming poem, of three stanzas, in the Poetry for Children :—
"A child's a plaything for an hour;
Then tire and lay it by.
"But I knew one that to itself
All seasons could control;
That would have mocked the sense of pain
"Thou straggler into loving arms,
When I forget thy thousand ways,
IMPERFECT SYMPATHIES.-P. 76.
(London Magazine, August 1821.)
Standing on earth, not rapt above the sky.—Quoted, not with perfect accuracy, from Paradise Lost, vii. 23.
John Buncle.-"The Life of John Buncle, Esq.; containing various observations and reflections, made in several parts of the world, and many extraordinary relations." By Thomas Amory (1756-66). Amory was a staunch Unitarian, an earnest moralist, a humorist, and eccentric to the verge of insanity-four quali fications which would appeal irresistibly to Lamb's sympathies.
A graceful figure, after Leonardo da Vinci.-This print, a present to Lamb from Crabb Robinson in 1816, was of Leonardo da Vinci's Vierge aux Rochers. It was a special favourite with Charles and Mary, and is the subject of some verses by Charles.
B- would have been more in keeping if he had abided by the faith of his forefathers.-Braham, the singer. In a letter to Manning, Lamb describes him as a compound of the "Jew, the gentleman, and the angel."
"To sit a guest with Daniel at his pulse."
-Slightly altered from Paradise Regained, Book ii. line 278.
I was travelling in a stage-coach with three male Quakers. — This adventure happened not to Lamb, but to Sir Anthony Carlisle, the surgeon, from whom Lamb had the anecdote.
WITCHES, AND OTHER NIGHT FEARS.-P. 85.
Headless bear, black man, or ape. - From "The Author's Abstract of Melancholy," prefixed to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.
Dear little T. H.--Thornton Hunt, Leigh Hunt's eldest boy. This passage is interesting as having provoked Southey's violent attack on Leigh Hunt and his principles, in the Quarterly Review for January 1823.
names whose sense we see not Fray us with things that be not." --From Spenser's Epithalamium, line 343.
I have formerly travelled among the Westmoreland Fells.— See Lamb's letter to Manning, in 1802, describing his and Mary's visit to Coleridge at Keswick. "We got in in the evening, travelling in a post-chaise from Penrith, in the midst of a gorgeous sunset, which transmuted all the mountains into colours. We thought we had got into Fairyland. Such an impression I never received from objects of sight before, nor do I suppose that I can ever again.”
VALENTINE'S DAY.-P. 93.
(Leigh Hunt's Indicator, February 14, 1821.)
"Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings."
-Paradise Lost, i. 768.
"Gives a very echo to the throne where hope is seated."Another of Lamb's adaptations of Shakspeare. The original is in Twelfth Night (Act II. Sc. 4.)
A little later on will be noticed a similar free-and-easy use of a passage from Wordsworth.
E. B.-Edward Francis Burney (1760-1848), a portraitpainter, and book-illustrator on a large scale. He was a cousin of Mde. D'Arblay, and not a half-brother as stated in Lamb's "Key." His name may be seen "at the bottom of many a well-executed vignette in the way of his profession in the periodicals of his day. He illustrated for Harrison, the World, Tatler, Guardian, Adventurer, etc., besides the Arabian Nights, and novels of Richardson and Smollett.
MY RELATIONS.-P. 96.
(London Magazine, June 1821.)
In these two successive essays, and in that on the Benchers of the Inner Temple, Lamb draws portraits of singular interest to us, of his father, aunt, brother, and sister-all his near relations with one exception. The mother's name never occurs
in letter or published writing after the first bitterness of the calamity of September 1796 had passed away. This was doubtless out of consideration for the feelings of his sister. Very noticeable is the frankness with which he describes the less agreeable side of the character of his brother John, who was still living, and apparently on quite friendly terms with Charles and Mary.
I had an aunt. A sister of John Lamb the elder, who generally lived with the family, and contributed something to the common income. After the death of the mother, a lady of comfortable means, a relative of the family, offered her a home, but the arrangement did not succeed, and the aunt returned to die among her own people. Charles writes, just before her death in February 1797-" My poor old aunt, who was the kindest creature to me when I was at school, and used to bring me good things; when I, schoolboy-like, used to be ashamed to see her come, and open her apron, and bring out her basin with some nice thing which she had saved for me,-the good old creature is now dying. She says, poor thing, she is glad she is come home to die with me. I was always her favourite." See also the lines "written on the day of my aunt's funeral" in the little volume of Blank Verse, by Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb, published in 1798.
Brother or sister, I never had any to know them.- In this and the next sentence is a curious blending of fact and fiction. Besides John and Mary, four other children had been born to John and Elizabeth Lamb in the Temple, between the years 1762 and 1775, but had apparently not survived their infancy. Two daughters had been christened Elizabeth, one in 1762 and another after her death, in 1768. John and Mary Lamb are now to be described as cousins, under the names of James and Bridget Elia. Charles Lamb actually had relations, in that degree, living in Hertfordshire, in the neighbourhood of Wheathampstead.
James is an inexplicable cousin. -The mixture of the man of the world, dilettante, and sentimentalist—not an infrequent combination-is here described with graphic power. All that we know of John Lamb, the "broad, burly, jovial," living his bachelor-life in chambers at the old Sea-House, is supported and confirmed by this passage. Touching his extreme sensibility to the physical sufferings of animals, there is a letter of Charles to Crabb Robinson of the year 1810, which is worth noting. "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 into his head that you can get it reviewed for him. I daresay it is not in the scope of your review; but if you could put it into any likely train, he would rejoice. For, alas! our boasted humanity partakes of vanity. As it is, he teases me to death with choosing 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 Megara's snaky locks. But here's the book, and don't show it to Mrs. Collier, for I remember she makes excellent eel soup, and the leading points of the book are directed against that very process.'
Through the green plains of pleasant Hertfordshire.
-From an early sonnet of Lamb's.
MACKERY END, IN HERTFORDSHIRE.-P. 103.
Bridget Elia.-Mary Lamb. The lives of the brother and sister are so bound together, that the illustrations of their joint life afforded by this essay, and that on Old China, are of singular interest. They show us the brighter and happier intervals of that life, without which indeed it could hardly have been borne for those eight-and-thirty years. In 1805, during one of Mary Lamb's periodical attacks of mania, and consequent absences from home, Charles writes-"I am a fool bereft of her co-operation. I am used to look up to her in the least and biggest perplexities. To say all that I find her would be more than, I think, anybody could possibly understand. She is older, wiser, and better than I am; and all my wretched imperfections I cover to myself by thinking on her goodness." Compare also the sonnet written by Charles, in one of his "lucid intervals" when himself in confinement, in 1796, ending with the words
the mighty debt of love I owe,
Mary, to thee, my sister and my friend."
The oldest thing I remember is Mackery End, or Mackarel End. The place, now further contracted into "Mackrye End," is about a mile and a half from Wheathampstead, on the Luton Branch of the Great Northern Railway. On leaving the Wheathampstead Station, the traveller must follow the road which runs along the valley towards Luton, nearly parallel with the railway for about a mile, to a group of houses near the "Cherry Trees." At this point, he will turn short to the right, and then take the first turning on his left, along the edge of a pretty