LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, [7 June 1809]

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
June 7th, 1809.

DEAR Coleridge,—I congratulate you on the appearance of “The Friend.” Your first number promises well, and I have no doubt the succeeding numbers will fulfil the promise. I had a kind letter from you some time since, which I have left unanswered. I am also obliged to you, I believe, for a review in the “Annual,” am I not? The “Monthly Reviewsneers at me, and asks “if ‘Comus’ is not good enough for Mr. Lamb?” because I have said no good serious dramas have been written since the death of Charles the First, except “Samson Agonistes”; so because they do not know, or won’t remember, that “Comus” was written long before, I am to be set down as an undervaluer of Milton! O Coleridge, do kill those reviews, or they will kill us—kill all we like! Be a friend to all else, but their foe. I have been turned out of my chambers in the Temple by a landlord who wanted them for himself; but I have got other at No. 4, Inner Temple Lane, far more commodious and roomy. I have two rooms on third floor and five rooms above, with an inner staircase to myself, and all new painted, &c., and all for £30 a year! I came into them on Saturday week; and on Monday following, Mary was taken ill with fatigue of moving, and affected, I believe, by the novelty of the home; she could not sleep, and I am left alone with a maid quite a stranger to me, and she has a month or two’s sad distraction to go through. What sad large pieces it cuts out of life—out of her life, who is getting rather old; and we may not have many years to live together! I am weaker, and bear it worse than I ever did. But I hope we shall be comfortable by and bye. The rooms are delicious, and the best look backwards into Hare Court, where there is a pump always going. Just now it is dry. Hare Court trees come in at the window, so that it’s like living in a garden. I try to persuade myself it is much pleasanter than Mitre Court; but, alas! the household gods are slow to come in a new mansion. They are in their infancy to me; I do not feel them yet; no hearth has blazed to them yet. How I hate and dread new places!

I was very glad to see Wordsworth’s book advertised; I am to have it to-morrow lent me, and if Wordsworth don’t send me an order for one upon Longman, I will buy it. It is greatly extolled and liked by all who have seen it. Let me hear from some of you, for I am desolate. I shall have to send you, in a week or two, two volumes of Juvenile Poetry, done by Mary and me within the last
six months, and that
tale in prose which Wordsworth so much liked, which was published at Christmas, with nine others, by us, and has reached a second edition. There’s for you! We have almost worked ourselves out of child’s work, and I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I think of a drama, but I have no head for play-making; I can do the dialogue, and that’s all. I am quite aground for a plan, and I must do something for money. Not that I have immediate wants, but I have prospective ones. O money, money, how blindly thou hast been worshipped, and how stupidly abused! Thou art health, and liberty, and strength; and he that has thee may rattle his pockets at the foul fiend!

Nevertheless, do not understand by this that I have not quite enough for my occasions for a year or two to come. While I think on it, Coleridge, I fetch’d away my books which you had at the “Courier” Office, and found all but a third volume of the old plays, containing “The White Devil,” “Green’s Tu Quoque,” and the “Honest Whore,”—perhaps the most valuable volume of them all—that I could not find. Pray, if you can, remember what you did with it, or where you took it out with you a walking perhaps; send me word; for, to use the old plea, it spoils a set. I found two other volumes (you had three), the “Arcadia,” and “Daniel,” enriched with manuscript notes. I wish every book I have were so noted. They have thoroughly converted me to relish Daniel, or to say I relish him, for, after all, I believe I did relish him. You well call him sober-minded. Your notes are excellent. Perhaps you’ve forgot them. I have read a review in the “Quarterly,” by Southey, on the Missionaries, which is most masterly. I only grudge it being there. It is quite beautiful. Do remember my Dodsley; and pray do write, or let some of you write. Clarkson tells me you are in a smoky house. Have you cured it? It is hard to cure anything of smoking. Our little poems are but humble, but they have no name. You must read them, remembering they were task-work; and perhaps you will admire the number of subjects, all of children, picked out by an old Bachelor and an old Maid. Many parents would not have found so many. Have you read “Cœlebs?” It has reached eight editions in so many weeks; yet literally it is one of the very poorest sort of common novels, with the draw-back of dull religion in it. Had the religion been high and flavoured, it would have been something. I borrowed this “Cœlebs in Search of a Wife” of a very careful, neat lady, and returned it with this stuff written in the beginning:—
“If ever I marry a wife
I’d marry a landlord’s daughter,
For then I may sit in the bar.
And drink cold brandy-and-water.”


I don’t expect you can find time from your “Friend” to write to me much, but write something, for there has been a long silence. You know Holcroft is dead. Godwin is well. He has written a very pretty, absurd book about sepulchres. He was affronted because I told him it was better than Hervey, but not so good as Sir T. Browne. This letter is all about books; but my head aches, and I hardly know what I write; but I could not let “The Friend” pass without a congratulatory epistle. I won’t criticise till it comes to a volume. Tell me how I shall send my packet to you?—by what conveyance?—by Longman, Short-man, or how? Give my Kindest remembrances to Wordsworth. Tell him he must give me a book. My kind love to Mrs. W. and to Dorothy separately and conjointly. I wish you could all come and see me in my new rooms. God bless you all.

C. L.