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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, 11 September 1822

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
India House, 11 Sept. 1822.

DEAR Sir—You have misapprehended me sadly, if you suppose that I meant to impute any inconsistency (in your writing poetry) with your religious profession. I do not remember what I said, but it was spoken sportively, I am sure. One of my levities, which you are not so used to as my older friends. I probably was thinking of the light in which your so indulging yourself would appear to Quakers, and put their objection in my own foolish mouth. I would eat my words (provided they should be written on not very coarse paper) rather than I would throw cold water upon your, and my once, harmless occupation. I have read Napoleon and the rest with delight. I like them for what they are, and for what they are not. I have sickened on the modern rhodomontade & Byron-
ism, and your plain Quakerish Beauty has captivated me. It is all wholesome cates, aye, and toothsome too, and withal Quakerish. If I were
George Fox, and George Fox Licenser of the Press, they should have my absolute imprimatur. I hope I have removed the impression.

I am, like you, a prisoner to the desk. I have been chained to that gally thirty years, a long shot. I have almost grown to the wood. If no imaginative poet, I am sure I am a figurative one. Do “Friends” allow puns? verbal equivocations?—they are unjustly accused of it, and I did my little best in the “imperfect Sympathies” to vindicate them.

I am very tired of clerking it, but have no remedy. Did you see a sonnet to this purpose in the Examiner?—
Who first invented Work—and tied the free
And holy-day rejoycing spirit down
To the ever-haunting importunity
Of business, in the green fields, and the town—
To plough—loom—anvil—spade—&, oh, most sad,
To this dry drudgery of the desk’s dead wood?
Who but the Being Unblest, alien from good,
Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
Task ever plies ’mid rotatory burnings,
That round and round incalculably reel—
For wrath Divine hath made him like a wheel—
In that red realm from whence are no returnings;
Where toiling and turmoiling ever and aye
He, and his Thoughts, keep pensive worky-day.”
C. L.
I fancy the sentiment exprest above will be nearly your own, the expression of it probably would not so well suit with a follower of
John Woolman. But I do not know whether diabolism is a part of your creed, or where indeed to find an exposition of your creed at all. In feelings and matters not dogmatical, I hope I am half a Quaker. Believe me, with great respect, yours

C. Lamb.

I shall always be happy to see, or hear from you.—