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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Thomas Manning, [November 1802]

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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[November, 1802.]

MY dear Manning,—I must positively write, or I shall miss you at Toulouse. I sit here like a decayed minute hand (I lie; that does not sit), and being myself the exponent of no
time, take no heed how the clocks about me are going. You possibly by this time may have explored all Italy, and toppled, unawares, into Etna, while you went too near those rotten-jawed, gap-toothed, old worn-out chaps of hell,—while I am meditating a quiescent letter to the honest postmaster at Toulouse. But in case you should not have been felo de se, this is to tell you, that your letter was quite to my palate—in particular your just remarks upon Industry, damned Industry (though indeed you left me to explore the reason), were highly relishing.

I’ve often wished I lived in the Golden Age, when shepherds lay stretched upon flowers, and roused themselves at their leisure,—the genius there is in a man’s natural idle face, that has not learned his multiplication table! before doubt, and propositions, and corollaries, got into the world! Now, as Joseph Cottle, a Bard of Nature, sings, going up Malvern Hills,
“How steep! how painful the ascent!
It needs the evidence of close deduction
To know that ever I shall gain the top.”
You must know that Joe is lame, so that he had some reason for so singing. These two lines, I assure you, are taken totidem literis from a very popular
poem. Joe is also an Epic Poet as well as a Descriptive, and has written a tragedy, though both his drama and epopoiea are strictly descriptive, and chiefly of the Beauties of Nature, for Joe thinks man with all his passions and frailties not a proper subject of the Drama. Joe’s tragedy hath the following surpassing speech in it. Some king is told that his enemy has engaged twelve archers to come over in a boat from an enemy’s country and way-lay him; he thereupon pathetically exclaims—
Twelve, dost thou say? Where be those dozen villains!”
Cottle read two or three acts out to us, very gravely on both sides, till he came to this heroic touch,—and then he asked what we laughed at? I had no more muscles that day. A poet that chooses to read out his own verses has but a limited power over you. There is a bound where his authority ceases.

Apropos: if you should go to Florence or to Rome, inquire what works are extant in gold, silver, bronze, or marble, of Benvenuto Cellini, a Florentine artist, whose Life doubtless, you have read; or, if not, without controversy you must read: so hark ye, send for it immediately from Lane’s circulating library. It is always put among the romances, very properly; but you have read it, I suppose. In particular, inquire at Florence for his colossal bronze statue (in the grand square or somewhere) of Perseus. You may read the story in Tooke’sPantheon.” Nothing material has
transpired in these parts.
Coleridge has indited a violent philippic against Mr. Fox in the “Morning Post,” which is a compound of expressions of humility, gentlemen-ushering-in most arrogant charges. It will do Mr. Fox no real injury among those that know him.