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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Robert Southey, 28 July 1798

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
Saturday, July 28th, 1798.

I AM ashamed that I have not thanked you before this for the “Joan of Arc,” but I did not know your address, and it did not occur to me to write through Cottle. The poem delighted me, and the notes amused me, but methinks she of Neufchatel, in the print, holds her sword too “like a dancer.” I sent your notice to Phillips, particularly requesting an immediate
insertion, but I suppose it came too late. I am sometimes curious to know what progress you make in that same “Calendar:” whether you insert the nine worthies and Whittington? what you do or how you can manage when two Saints meet and quarrel for precedency? Martlemas, and Candlemas, and Christmas, are glorious themes for a writer like you, antiquity-bitten, smit with the love of boars’ heads and rosemary; but how you can ennoble the 1st of April I know not. By the way I had a thing to say, but a certain false modesty has hitherto prevented me: perhaps I can best communicate my wish by a hint,—my birthday is on the 10th of February, New Style; but if it interferes with any remarkable event, why rather than my country should lose her fame, I care not if I put my nativity back eleven days. Fine family patronage for your “Calendar,” if that old lady of prolific memory were living, who lies (or lyes) in some church in London (saints forgive me, but I have forgot what church), attesting that enormous legend of as many children as days in the year. I marvel her impudence did not grasp at a leap-year. Three hundred and sixty-five dedications, and all in a family—you might spit in spirit on the oneness of
Mæcenas’ patronage!

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to the eternal regret of his native Devonshire, emigrates to Westphalia—“Poor Lamb (these were his last words), if he wants any knowledge, he may apply to me,”—in ordinary cases, I thanked him, I have an “Encyclopædia” at hand, but on such an occasion as going over to a German university, I could not refrain from sending him the following propositions, to be by him defended or oppugned (or both) at Leipsic or Gottingen.

Theses Quædam Theologicæ

“Whether God loves a lying angel better than a true man?”


“Whether the archangel Uriel could knowingly affirm an untruth, and whether, if he could, he would?


“Whether honesty be an angelic virtue, or not rather belonging to that class of qualities which the schoolmen term ‘virtutes minus splendidæ et hominis et terræ nimis participes?’”


“Whether the seraphim ardentes do not manifest their goodness by the way of vision and theory? and whether practice be not a sub-celestial, and merely human virtue?”


“Whether the higher order of seraphim illuminati ever sneer?


“Whether pure intelligences can love, or whether they can love anything besides pure intellect?”


“Whether the beatific vision be anything more or less than a perpetual representment to each individual angel of his own present attainments, and future capabilities, something in the manner of mortal looking-glasses?”


“Whether an ‘immortal and amenable soul’ may not come to be damned at last, and the man never suspect it beforehand?

Samuel Taylor C. hath not deigned an answer; was it impertinent of me to avail myself of that offered source of knowledge? Lloyd is returned to town from Ipswich where he has been with his brother. He has brought home three acts of a Play which I have not yet read. The scene for the most part laid in a Brothel. O tempore, O mores! but as friend Coleridge said when he was talking bawdy to Miss —— “to the pure all things are pure.”

Wishing “Madoc” may be born into the world with as splendid promise as the second birth or purification of the Maid of Neufchatel,—I remain yours sincerely,

C. Lamb.

I hope Edith is better; my kindest remembrances to her. You have a good deal of trifling to forgive in this letter.