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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Charles Abraham Elton, [17 August 1824?]

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
to which place all letters addressed
to C. L. commonly come.
[August 17, 1821 (?).]

MY dear Sir, You have overwhelmed me with your favours. I have received positively a little library from Baldwyn’s. I do not know how I have deserved such a bounty.

We have been up to the ear in the classics ever since it came. I have been greatly pleased, but most, I think, with the Hesiod,—the Titan battle quite amazed me. Gad, it was no child’s play—and then the homely aphorisms at the end of the works—how adroitly you have turned them! Can he be the same Hesiod who did the Titans? the latter is—
Which to madness does incline.”
But to read the
Days and Works, is like eating nice brown bread, homely sweet and nutritive. Apollonius was new to me. I had confounded him with the conjuror of that name. Medea is glorious; but I cannot give up Dido. She positively is the only Fine Lady of Antiquity: her courtesy to the Trojans is altogether queen-like. Eneas is a most disagreeable person. Ascanius a pretty young master. Mezentius for my money. His dying speech shames Turpin—not the Archbishop I mean, but the roadster of that name.

I have been ashamed to find how many names of classics (and more than their names) you have introduced me to, that before I was ignorant of. Your commendation of Master Chapman arrideth me. Can any one read the pert modern Frenchify’d notes, &c., in Pope’s translation, and contrast them with solemn weighty prefaces of Chapman, writing in full faith, as he evidently does, of the plenary inspiration of his author—worshipping his meanest scraps and relics as divine—without one sceptical misgiving of their authenticity, and doubt which was the properest to expound Homer to their countrymen. Reverend Chapman! you have read his hymn to Pan (the Homeric)—why, it is Milton’s blank verse clothed with rhyme. Paradise Lost could scarce lose, could it be so accoutred.

I shall die in the belief that he has improved upon Homer, in the Odyssey in particular—the disclosure of Ulysses of himself, to
Alcinous, his previous behaviour at the song of the stern strife arising between Achilles and himself (how it raises him above the
Iliad Ulysses!) but you know all these things quite as well as I do. But what a deaf ear old C. would have turned to the doubters in Homer’s real personality! They might as well have denied the appearance of J. C. in the flesh.—He apparently believed all the fables of H.’s birth, &c.

Those notes of Bryant have caused the greatest disorder in my brain-pan. Well, I will not flatter when I say that we have had two or three long evening’s good reading out of your kind present.

I will say nothing of the tenderest parts in your own little volume, at the end of such a slatternly scribble as this, but indeed they cost us some tears. I scrawl away because of interruptions every moment You guess how it is in a busy office—papers thrust into your hand when your hand is busiest—and every anti-classical disavocation.

[Conclusion cut away.]