« AnteriorContinuar »
Fairies,” a most agreeable poem lately put forth by my friend Thomas Hood; of the first half of which the above is nothing but a meagre and harsh prose abstract. Farewell !
The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo.
home in a petty village in —-shire, where for years they have been struggling to raise a girls' school with no effect. Poor deaf Robert (and the less hopeful for being so) is thrown upon a deaf world, without the comfort to his father on his death-bed of knowing him provided for. They are left almost provisionless. "Some life assurance there is ; but, I fear, not exceeding - Their hopes must be from your corporation, which their father has served for fifty years. Who or what are your leading members now, I know not. Is there any, to whom, without impertinence, you can represent the true circumstances of the family? You cannot say good enough of poor R. and his poor wife. Oblige me and the dead, if you can.
[In these Essays Charles Lamb assumed the name of an Italian, who was one of his colleagues in the South Sea House. ]
SOUTH SEA HOUSE. Mr. John Lamb, the Essayist's brother, was a clerk in the South Sea House. His passion for picture collecting is recorded in the admirable sketch of him (as James Elia) in “My Relations."
OXFORD IN THE VACATION. “G. D.," Mr. George Dyer, author of a “History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge.” The passage in brackets was suppressed at the earnest remonstrance of Dyer, who complained that it conveyed quite a false impression of the treatment he had received from his various employers. Mr. Procter vouches for the truth of the anecdote about Dyer's calling at “M— 's, in Bedford Square ;” another example of his extreme absence of mind will be found in a later Essay, “Amicus Redivivus."
To Elia's confession of his aversion to MSS., on page 172, line 26, was appended the following note in the original Essay :
There is something to me repugnant at any time in written hand. The text never seems determinate. Print settles it. I had thought of the Lycidas as of a full-grown beauty—as springing up with all its II.
parts absolute-till, in an evil hour, I was shown the original written copy of it, together with the other minor poems of its author, in the library of Trinity, kept like some treasure, to be proud of. I wish they had thrown them in the Cam, or sent them after the latter cantos of Spenser, into the Irish Channel. How it staggered me to see the fine things in their ore ! interlined, corrected ! as if their words were mortal, alterable, displaceable at pleasure! as if they might have been otherwise, and just as good! as if inspiration were made up of parts, and those fluctuating, successive, indif. ferent! I will never go into the workshop of any great artist again, nor desire a sight of his picture till it is fairly off the easel ; no, not if Raphael were to be alive again, and painting another Galatea,
After “none thinks of offering violence or injustice to him," page 173, line 16, there was reference to the following note :
Violence or injustice, certainly none, Mr. Elia. But you will acknowledge that the charming unsuspectingness of our friend has sometimes laid him open to attacks, which, though savouring (we hope) more of waggery than of malice-such is our unfeigned respect for G. D.-might, we think, much better have been omitted. Such was that silly joke of L- , who, at the time the question of the Scotch novels was first agitated, gravely assured our friend--who as gravely went about repeating it in all companies—that Lord Castlereagh had acknowledged himself to be the author of Waverley !-Note, not by Elia.
This is a fact. “L--” was Elia himself.
CHRIST'S HOSPITAL THIRTY-FIVE
YEARS AGO. This Essay is a review of, or rather, perhaps, a pendant to, C. Lamb's own “ Recollections of Christ's Hospital," and gives some of the less favourable characteristics of the system adopted there. Tobin was a friend of Lamb's, of whom little is known. In a letter to Wordsworth, full of elation at the acceptance of his farce, entitled “Mr. H.,” by the managers of Drury Lane Theatre, Lamb says: “On the following Sunday, Mr. Tobin comes. The scent of a manager's letter brought him. He would have gone farther any day on such a business. I read the letter to him. He deems it authentic and peremptory.” In a subsequent letter to Southey, dated August 15, 1815, he says:"Tobin is dead." Godwin's tragedy “Antonio," we learn from a letter of Lamb's, came out “in a feigned name, as one Tobin's.”
This Essay contains a very faithful representation of Lamb's teachers and schoolfellows at Christ's Hospital. Boyer and Field both received their appointments in 1776. The Rev. L. P. Stevens, who was Grecian in 1788, left Christ's Hospital in 1807. Dr. T- e (the Rev. Arthur William Trollope) retired in 1827, and died in the same year. The Right Honourable Sir Edward Thornton was Grecian in 1785, and third wrangler at Cambridge in 1789. Through the interest of Mr. Pitt, he became Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Portugal and the Brazils. George Richards was Grecian in 1785, before Middleton. Mr. Charles Valentine Le Grice supplied a good deal of information about Elia's schooldays. His younger brother, Samuel Le Grice, was “like a brother" to Lamb at the time of his mother's death. He died of the yellow fever, in Jamaica. Robert Allen was Grecian in 1792. (See also “Newspapers Thirty-five Years Ago.") Frederick William Franklin, Master of Hertford, and Marmaduke Thompson, complete the list of those companions of Lamb's school-days who can now be identified.
TWO RACES OF MEN “Ralph Bigod." John Fenwick, editor of the Albion newspaper, to which Lamb at one time contributed, was the original of this character. (See “Newspapers Thirty-five Years Ago," in the “Last Essays of Elia.")