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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 27 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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Produced by CATH
27th May, 1803.

MY dear Coleridge,—The date of my last was one day prior to the receipt of your letter, full of foul omens. I explain, lest you should have thought mine too light a reply to such sad matter. I seriously hope by this time you have given up all thoughts of journeying to the green islands of the Blest—voyages in time of war are very precarious—or at least, that you will take them in your way to the Azores. Pray be careful of this letter till it has done its duty, for it is to inform you that I have booked off your watch (laid in cotton like an untimely fruit), and with it Condillac and all other books of yours which were left here. These will set out on Monday next, the 29th May, by Kendal waggon, from White Horse, Cripplegate. You will make seasonable inquiries, for a watch mayn’t come your way again in a hurry. I have been repeatedly after Tobin, and now hear that he is in the country, not to return till middle of June. I will take care and see him with the earliest. But cannot you write pathetically to him, enforcing a speedy mission of your books for literary purposes? He is too good a retainer to Literature, to let her interests suffer through his default. And why, in the name of Beelzebub, are your books to travel from Barnard’s Inn to the Temple, and then circuitously to Cripplegate, when their business is to take a short cut down Holborn-hill, up Snow do., on to Wood-street,
1803“THE MAN OF ROSS”273
&c.? The former mode seems a sad superstitious subdivision of labour. Well! the “
Man of Ross” is to stand; Longman begs for it; the printer stands with a wet sheet in one hand and a useless Pica in the other, in tears, pleading for it; I relent. Besides, it was a Salutation poem, and has the mark of the beast “Tobacco” upon it. Thus much I have done; I have swept off the lines about widows and orphans in second edition, which (if you remember) you most awkwardly and illogically caused to be inserted between two Ifs, to the great breach and disunion of said Ifs, which now meet again (as in first edition), like two clever lawyers arguing a case. Another reason for subtracting the pathos was, that the “Man of Ross” is too familiar to need telling what he did, especially in worse lines than Pope told it; and it now stands simply as “Reflections at an Inn about a known Character,” and sucking an old story into an accommodation with present feelings. Here is no breaking spears with Pope, but a new, independent, and really a very pretty poem. In fact, ’tis as I used to admire it in the first volume, and I have even dared to restore
“If ’neath this roof thy wine-cheer’d moments pass,”
“Beneath this roof if thy cheer’d moments pass.”
“Cheer’d” is a sad general word; “wine-cheer’d” I’m sure you’d give me, if I had a speaking-trumpet to sound to you 300 miles. But I am your factotum, and that (save in this instance, which is a single case, and I can’t get at you) shall be next to a fac-nihil—at most, a fac-simile. I have ordered “
Imitation of Spenser” to be restored on Wordsworth’s authority; and now, all that you will miss will be “Flicker and Flicker’s Wife,” “The Thimble,” “Breathe, dear harmonist,” and, I believe, “The Child that was fed with Manna.” Another volume will clear off all your Anthologic Morning-Postian Epistolary Miscellanies; but pray don’t put “Christabel” therein; don’t let that sweet maid come forth attended with Lady Holland’s mob at her heels. Let there be a separate volume of Tales, Choice Tales, “Ancient Mariners,” &c.

C. Lamb.