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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 6 August 1800

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
Aug. 6th, 1800.

DEAR Coleridge,—I have taken to-day, and delivered to Longman and Co., Imprimis: your books, viz., three ponderous German dictionaries, one volume (I can find no more) of German and French ditto, sundry other German books unbound, as you left
Percy’s Ancient Poetry, and one volume of Anderson’s Poets. I specify them, that you may not lose any. Secundo: a dressing-gown (value, fivepence), in which you used to sit and look like a conjuror, when you were translating “Wallenstein.” A case of two razors and a shaving-box and strap. This it has cost me a severe struggle to part with. They are in a brown-paper parcel, which also contains sundry papers and poems, sermons, some few Epic Poems,—one about Cain and Abel, which came from Poole, &c, &c., and also your tragedy; with one or two small German books, and that drama in which Got-fader performs. Tertio: a small oblong box containing all your letters, collected from all your waste papers, and which fill the said little box. All other waste papers, which I judged worth sending, are in the paper parcel aforesaid. But you will find all your letters in the box by themselves. Thus have I discharged my conscience and my lumber-room of all your property, save and except a folio entitled Tyrrell’s Bibliotheca Politica, which you used to learn your politics out of when you wrote for the Post, mutatis mutandis, i.e., applying past inferences to modern data. I retain that, because I am sensible I am very deficient in the politics myself; and I have torn up—don’t be angry, waste paper has risen forty per cent., and I can’t afford to buy it—all Buonaparte’s Letters, Arthur Young’s Treatise on Corn, and one or two more light-armed infantry, which I thought better suited the flippancy of London discussion than the dignity of Keswick thinking. Mary says you will be in a damned passion about them when you come to miss them; but you must study philosophy. Read Albertus Magnus de Chartis Amissis five times over after phlebotomising,—’tis Burton’s recipe—and then be angry with an absent friend if you can. I have just heard that Mrs. Lloyd is delivered of a fine boy, and mother and boy are doing well. Fie on sluggards, what is thy Sara doing? Sara is obscure. Am I to understand by her letter, that she sends a kiss to Eliza Buckingham? Pray tell your wife that a note of interrogation on the superscription of a letter is highly ungrammatical—she proposes writing my name Lamb? Lambe is quite enough. I have had the Anthology, and like only one thing in it, Lewti; but of that the last stanza is detestable, the rest most exquisite!—the epithet enviable would dash the finest poem. For God’s sake (I never was more serious), 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 that, the meaning of gentle is equivocal at best, and almost always means poor-spirited, the very quality of gentleness is abhorrent to such vile trumpetings. My sentiment is long since vanished. I hope my virtues have done sucking. I can scarce think but
you meant it in joke. I hope you did, for I should be ashamed to think that you could think to gratify me by such praise, fit only to be a cordial to some green-sick sonneteer.

I have hit off the following in imitation of old English poetry, which, I imagine, I am a dab at. The measure is unmeasureable; but it most resembles that beautiful ballad of the “Old and Young Courtier;” and in its feature of taking the extremes of two situations for just parallel, it resembles the old poetry certainly. If I could but stretch out the circumstances to twelve more verses, i.e., if I had as much genius as the writer of that old song, I think it would be excellent. It was to follow an imitation of Burton in prose, which you have not seen. But fate “and wisest Stewart” say No.

I can send you 200 pens and six quires of paper immediately, if they will answer the carriage by coach. It would be foolish to pack ’em up cum multia libris et cæteris,—they would all spoil. I only wait your commands to coach them. I would pay five-and-forty thousand carriages to read W.’s tragedy, of which I have heard so much and seen so little—only what I saw at Stowey. Pray give me an order in writing on Longman for “Lyrical Ballads.” I have the first volume, and, truth to tell, six shillings is a broad shot. I cram all I can in, to save a multiplying of letters—those pretty comets with swingeing tails.

I’ll just crowd in God bless you!

C. Lamb.
Wednesday night.