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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, [20 May 1803]

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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[No date. May, 1803.]

Mary sends love from home.

DC.,—I do confess that I have not sent your books as I ought to be [have] done; but you know how the human freewill is tethered, and that we perform promises to ourselves no better than to our friends. A watch is come for you. Do you want it soon, or shall I wait till some one travels your way? You, like me, I suppose, reckon the lapse of time from the waste thereof, as boys let a cock run to waste: too idle to stop it, and rather amused with seeing it dribble. Your poems have begun printing; Longman sent to me to arrange them, the old and the new together. It seems you have left it to him. So I classed them, as nearly as I could, according to dates. First, after the Dedication, (which must march first) and which I have transplanted from before the Preface (which stood like a dead wall of prose between) to be the first poem—then comes “The Pixies,” and the things most juvenile—then on “To Chatterton,” &c.—on, lastly, to the “Ode on the Departing Year,” and “Musings,”—which finish. Longman wanted the Ode first; but the arrangement I have made is precisely that marked out in the dedication, following the order of time. I told Longman I was sure that you would omit a good portion of the first edition. I instanced in several sonnets, &c.—but that was not his plan, and, as you have done nothing in it, all I could do was to arrange ’em on the supposition that all were to be retained. A few I positively rejected; such as that of “The Thimble,” and that of “Flicker and Flicker’s wife,” and that not in the manner of Spenser, which you yourself had stigmatised—and the “Man of Ross,”—I doubt whether I should this last. It is not too late to save it. The first proof is only just come. I have been forced to call that Cupid’s Elixir “Kisses.” It stands in your first volume as an Effusion, so that, instead of prefixing The Kiss to that of “One Kiss, dear Maid,” &c., I have ventured
to entitle it “To Sara.” I am aware of the nicety of changing even so mere a trifle as a title to so short a piece, and subverting old associations; but two called “Kisses” would have been absolutely ludicrous, and “Effusion” is no name; and these poems come close together. I promise you not to alter one word in any poem whatever, but to take your last text, where two are. Can you send any wishes about the book? Longman, I think, should have settled with you. But it seems you have left it to him. Write as soon as you possibly can; for, without making myself responsible, I feel myself in some sort accessory to the selection which I am to proof-correct. But I decidedly said to
Biggs that I was sure you would omit more. Those I have positively rubbed off I can swear to individually, (except the “Man of Ross,” which is too familiar in Pope,) but no others—you have your cue. For my part, I had rather all the Juvenilia were kept—memoriæ causa.

Rob Lloyd has written me a masterly letter, containing a character of his father;—see, how different from Charles he views the old man! Literatim, “My father smokes, repeats Homer in Greek, and Virgil, and is learning, when from business, with all the vigour of a young man Italian. He is really a wonderful man. He mixes public and private business, the intricacies of discording life with his religion and devotion. No one more rationally enjoys the romantic scenes of nature, and the chit-chat and little vagaries of his children; and, though surrounded with an ocean of affairs, the very neatness of his most obscure cupboard in the house passes not unnoticed. I never knew any one view with such clearness, nor so well satisfied with things as they are, and make such allowance for things which must appear perfect Syriac to him.” By the last he means the Lloydisms of the younger branches. His portrait of Charles (exact as far as he has had opportunities of noting him) is most exquisite. “Charles is become steady as a church, and as straightforward as a Roman road. It would distract him to mention anything that was not as plain as sense; he seems to have run the whole scenery of life, and now rests as the formal precisian of non-existence.” Here is genius I think, and ’tis seldom a young man, a Lloyd, looks at a father (so differing) with such good nature while he is alive. Write—

I am in post-haste,

C. Lamb.

Love, &c., to Sara, P., and H.