LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Mary Lamb to Dorothy Wordsworth [7 May 1805]

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
[p.m. May 7, 1805.]

MY dear Miss Wordsworth—I thank you, my kind friend, for your most comfortable letter. Till I saw your own handwriting, I could not persuade myself that I should do well to write to you, though I have often attempted it, but I always left off dissatisfied with what I had written, and feeling that I was doing an improper thing to intrude upon your sorrow. I wished to tell you, that you would one day feel the kind of peaceful state of mind, and sweet memory of the dead which you so happily describe as now almost begun, but I felt that it was improper, and most grating to the feelings of the afflicted, to say to them that the memory of their affliction would in time become a constant part not only of their “dream, but of their most wakeful sense of happiness.” That you would see every object with, and through your lost brother, and that that would at last become a real and everlasting source of comfort to you, I felt, and well knew from my own experience in sorrow, but till you yourself began to feel this
I did not dare tell you so, but I send you some poor lines which I wrote under this conviction of mind, and before I heard
Coleridge was returning home. I will transcribe them now before I finish my letter, lest a false shame prevent me then, for I know they are much worse than they ought to be, written as they were with strong feeling and on such a subject. Every line seems to me to be borrowed, but I had no better way of expressing my thoughts, and I never have the power of altering or amending anything I have once laid aside with dissatisfaction.
Why is he wandering on the sea?
Coleridge should now with Wordsworth be.
By slow degrees he’d steal away
Their woe, and gently bring a ray
(So happily he’d time relief)
Of comfort from their very grief.
He’d tell them that their brother dead
When years have passed o’er their head,
Will be remember’d with such holy,
True, and perfect melancholy
That ever this lost brother John
Will be their heart’s companion.
His voice they’ll always hear, his face they’ll always see,
There’s nought in life so sweet as such a memory.

Mr. and Mrs. Clarkson came to see us last week, I find it was at your request they sought us out; you cannot think how glad we were to see them, so little as we have ever seen of them, yet they seem to us like very old friends. Poor Mrs. Clarkson looks very ill indeed, she walked near a mile, and came up our high stairs, which fatigued her very much, but when she had sat a while her own natural countenance with which she cheared us in your little cottage seemed to return to her, and then I began to have hopes she would get the better of her complaint. Charles does not think she is so much altered as I do. I wish he may be the better judge. We talked of nothing but you. She means to try to get leave of Dr. Beddoes to come and see you—her heart is with you, and I do not think it would hurt her so much to come to you, as it would distress you to see her so ill.

She read me a part of your letter wherein you so kindly express your wishes that we would come and see you this summer. I wish we could, for I am sure it would be a blessed thing for you and for us to be a few weeks together—I fear it must not be. Mrs. Clarkson is to be in town again in a fortnight and then they have promised we shall see more of them.

I am very sorry for the poor little Dorothy’s illness—I hope soon to hear she is perfectly recovered. Remember me with affection to your brother, and your good sister. What a providence it is that your brother and you have this kind friend, and these
dear little ones—I rejoice with her and with you that your brother is employed upon his poem again.

Pray remember us to Old Molly. Mrs. Clarkson says her house is a pattern of neatness to all her neighbours—such good ways she learnt of “Mistress.” How well I remember the shining ornaments of her kitchen, and her old friendly face, not [the] least ornamental part of it.

Excuse the haste I write in. I am unexpectedly to go out to dinner, else I think I have much more to say, but I will not put it off till next post, because you so kindly say I must not write if I feel unwilling—you do not know what very great joy I have in being again writing to you. Thank you for sending the letter of Mr. Evans, it was a very kind one. Have you received one from a Cornet Burgoine? My brother wrote to him and desires he would direct his answer to your brother.

God bless you and yours my dear friend.

I am yours affectionately
M. Lamb.