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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, [22 November 1823]

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
[p.m. November 22, 1823.]

DEAR B. B.—I am ashamed at not acknowledging your kind little poem, which I must needs like much, but I protest I thought I had done it at the moment. Is it possible a letter has miscarried? Did you get one in which I sent you an extract from the poems of Lord Sterling? I should wonder if you did, for I sent you none such.—There was an incipient lye strangled in the birth. Some people’s conscience is so tender! But in plain truth I thank you very much for the verses. I have a very kind letter from the Laureat, with a self-invitation to come and shake hands with me. This is truly handsome and noble. ’Tis worthy of my old idea of Southey. Shall not I, think you, be covered with a red suffusion?

You are too much apprehensive of your complaint. I know many that are always ailing of it, and live on to a good old age. I know a merry fellow (you partly know him) who when his Medical Adviser told him he had drunk away all that part, congratulated himself (now his liver was gone) that he should be the longest Liver of the two. The best way in these cases is to keep yourself as ignorant as you can—as ignorant as the world was before Galen—of the entire inner construction of the Animal Man—not to be conscious of a midriff—to hold kidneys (save of sheep and swine) to be an agreeable fiction—not to know whereabout the gall grows—to account the circulation of the blood an idle whimsey of Harvey’s
to acknowledge no mechanism not visible. For, once fix the seat of your disorder, and your fancies flux into it like bad humours. Those medical gentries chuse each his favourite part—one takes the lungs—another the aforesaid liver—and refer to that whatever in the animal economy is amiss. Above all, use exercise, take a little more spirituous liquors, learn to smoke, continue to keep a good conscience, and avoid tampering with hard terms of art—viscosity, schirossity, and those bugbears, by which simple patients are scared into their grave. Believe the general sense or the mercantile world, which holds that desks are not deadly. It is the mind, good
B. B., and not the limbs, that taints by long sitting. Think of the patience of taylors—think how long the Chancellor sits—think of the Brooding Hen.

I protest I cannot answer thy Sister’s kind enquiry, but I judge I shall put forth no second volume. More praise than buy, and T. and H. are not particularly disposed for Martyrs.

Thou wilt see a funny passage, and yet a true History, of George Dyer’s Aquatic Incursion, in the next “London.” Beware his fate, when thou comest to see me at my Colebrook Cottage. I have filled my little space with my little thoughts. I wish thee ease on thy sofa, but not too much indulgence on it. From my poor desk, thy fellow-sufferer this bright November,

C. L.