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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, [29 June 1796]

Contents vol. VI
Letters: 1796
Letters: 1797
Letters: 1798
Letters: 1799
Letters: 1800
Letters: 1801
Letters: 1802
Letters: 1803
Letters: 1804
Letters: 1805
Letters: 1806
Letters: 1807
Letters: 1808
Letters: 1809
Letters: 1810
Letters: 1811
Letters: 1812
Letters: 1814
Letters: 1815
Letters: 1816
Letters: 1817
Letters: 1818
Letters: 1819
Letters: 1820
Letters: 1821
Contents vol. VII
Letters: 1821
Letters: 1822
Letters: 1823
Letters: 1824
Letters: 1825
Letters: 1826
Letters: 1827
Letters: 1828
Letters: 1829
Letters: 1830
Letters: 1831
Letters: 1832
Letters: 1833
Letters: 1834
Appendix I
Appendix II
Appendix III
List of Letters
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Produced by CATH
[Probably begun on Wednesday, June 29. p.m. July 1, 1796.]

THE first moment I can come I will, but my hopes of coming yet a while yet hang on a ticklish thread. The coach I come by is immaterial as I shall so easily by your direction find ye out. My mother is grown so entirely helpless (not having any use of her limbs) that Mary is necessarily confined from ever sleeping out, she being her bed fellow. She thanks you tho’ and will accompany me in spirit. Most exquisite are the lines from Withers. Your own lines introductory to your poem on Self run smoothly and pleasurably, and I exhort you to continue ’em. What shall I say to your Dactyls? They are what you would call good per se, but a parody on some of ’em is just now suggesting itself, and you shall have it rough and unlicked. I mark with figures the lines parodied.
4—Sórely your Dáctyls do drág along límp-footed.
5—Sád is the méasure that hángs a clod roúnd ’em so,
6—Méagre, and lánguid, procláiming its wrétchedness.
1—Wéary, unsátisfied, nót little síck of ’em,
11—Cóld is my tíred heart, Í have no chárity.
2—Paínfully tráveling thus óver the rúgged road.
7—Ó begone, Méasure, half Látin, half Énglish, then.
12—Dísmal your Dáctyls are, Gód help ye, rhýming Ones.
I possibly may not come this fortnight—therefore all thou hast to do is not to look for me any particular day, only to write word immediately if at any time you quit Bristol, lest I come and Taffy be not at home. I hope I can come in a day or two. But young Savory of my office is suddenly taken ill in this very nick of time and I must officiate for him till he can come to work again. Had
the knave gone sick and died and putrefied at any other time, philosophy might have afforded one comfort, but just now I have no patience with him.
Quarles I am as great a stranger to as I was to Withers. I wish you would try and do something to bring our elder bards into more general fame. I writhe with indignation when in books of Criticism, where common place quotation is heaped upon quotation, I find no mention of such men as Massinger, or B. and Fl, men with whom succeeding Dramatic Writers (Otway alone excepted) can bear no manner of comparison. Stupid Knox hath noticed none of ’em among his extracts.

Thursday.—Mrs. C. can scarce guess how she has gratified me by her very kind letter and sweet little poem. I feel that I should thank her in rhyme, but she must take my acknowledgment at present in plain honest prose. The uncertainty in which I yet stand whether I can come or no damps my spirits, reduces me a degree below prosaical, and keeps me in a suspense that fluctuates between hope and fear. Hope is a charming, lively, blue-eyed wench, and I am always glad of her company, but could dispense with the visitor she brings with her, her younger sister, Fear, a white-liver’d, lilly-cheeked, bashful, palpitating, awkward hussey, that hangs like a green girl at her sister’s apronstrings, and will go with her whithersoever she goes. For the life and soul of me I could not improve those lines in your poem on the Prince and Princess, so I changed them to what you bid me and left ’em at Perry’s. I think ’em altogether good, and do not see why you were sollicitous about any alteration. I have not yet seen, but will make it my business to see, to-day’s Chronicle, for your verses on Horne Took. Dyer stanza’d him in one of the papers t’other day, but I think unsuccessfully. Tooke’s friends’ meeting was I suppose a dinner of condolence. I am not sorry to find you (for all Sara) immersed in clouds of smoke and metaphysic. You know I had a sneaking kindness for this last noble science, and you taught me some smattering of it. I look to become no mean proficient under your tuition. Coleridge, what do you mean by saying you wrote to me about Plutarch and Porphyry—I received no such letter, nor remember a syllable of the matter, yet am not apt to forget any part of your epistles, least of all an injunction like that. I will cast about for ’em, tho’ I am a sad hand to know what books are worth, and both those worthy gentlemen are alike out of my line. To-morrow I shall be less suspensive and in better cue to write, so good bye at present

Friday Evening.—That execrable aristocrat and knave Richardson has given me an absolute refusal of leave! The poor man
cannot guess at my disappointment. Is it not hard, “this dread dependance on the low bred mind?” Continue to write to me tho’, and I must be content—— Our loves and best good wishes attend upon you both.


Savory did return, but there are 2 or 3 more ill and absent, which was the plea for refusing me. I will never commit my peace of mind by depending on such a wretch for a favor in future, so shall never have heart to ask for holidays again. The man next him in office, Cartwright, furnished him with the objections.

C. Lamb.