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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Early Journalism, II

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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Early Journalism, II

On January 6 (Twelfth Night), 1802, the following fable was printed in the Morning Post. That Lamb was the author no one need have any doubt after reading the Elia essay “Rejoicings on the New Year’s Coming of Age”:—

Fable For Twelfth Day

Once upon a high and solemn occasion all the great fasts and festivals in the year presented themselves before the throne of Apollo, God of Days.—Each brought an offering in his hand, as is the custom all over the East, that no man shall appear before the presence of the King empty-handed. Shrove-Tuesday was there with his pan-cakes, and Ash-Wednesday with his oblation of fish. Good Friday brought the mystical bun. Christmas-Day came bending underneath an intolerable load of turkeys and mince-pies, his snow-white temples shaded with holly and the sacred misletoe, and singing a carol as he advanced.
Next came the Thirtieth of January, bearing a calfs-head in a charger; but Apollo no sooner understood the emblematical meaning of the offering, than the stomach of the God turned sick, and with visible indignation and abhorrence he ordered the unfortunate Day out of his presence—the contrite Day returned in a little time, bearing in his hands a Whig (a sort of cake well-tempered and delicious)—the God with smiles accepted the atonement, and the happy Day understood that his peace was made, he promising never to bring such a dish into the presence of a God again. Then came the august Fourth of June, crowned with such a crown as British Monarchs commonly wear, leading into the presence the venerable Nineteenth of MayApollo welcomed the royal pair, and placed them nearest to himself, and welcomed their noble progeny, their eldest-born and heir, the accomplished Twelfth of August, with all his brave brothers and handsome sisters. Only the merry First of April, who is retained in the Court of Apollo as King’s Jester, made some mirth by his reverent inquiries after the health of the Eighteenth of January, who, being a kept mistress, had not been deemed a proper personage to be introduced into such an assembly. Apollo, laughing, rebuked the petulance of his wit; so all was mirth and good humour in the palace—only the sorrowful Epiphany stood silent and abashed—he was poor, and had come before the King without an oblation. The God of Days perceived his confusion, and turning to the Muses (who are nine), and to the Graces, his hand-maids (who are three in number), he beckoned to them, and gave to them in charge to prepare a Cake of the richest and preciousest ingredients: they obeyed, tempering with their fine and delicate fingers the spices of the East, the bread-flour of the West, with the fruits of the South, pouring over all the Ices of the North. The God himself crowned the whole with talismanic figures, which contained this wondrous virtue—that whosoever ate of the Cake should forthwith become Kings and Queens. Lastly, by his heralds, he invested the trembling and thankful Epiphany with the privilege of presenting this Cake before the King upon an annual festival for ever. Now this Cake is called Twelfth Cake upon earth, after the number of the virgins who fashioned the same, being nine and three.