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Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. VI-VII. Letters
Charles Lamb to Bernard Barton, [11 October 1828]

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
[p.m. October 11 1828.]

A SPLENDID edition of Bunyan’s Pilgrim—why, the thought is enough to turn one’s moral stomach. His cockle hat and staff transformed to a smart cockd beaver and a jemmy cane, his amice gray to the last Regent Street cut, and his painful Palmer’s pace to the modern swagger. Stop thy friend’s sacriligious hand. Nothing can be done for B. but to reprint the old cuts in as homely but good a style as possible. The Vanity Fair, and the pilgrims there—the silly soothness in his setting out countenance—the Christian idiocy (in a good sense) of his admiration of the Shepherds on the Delectable Mountains—the Lions so truly Allegorical and remote from any similitude to Pidcock’s. The great head (the author’s) capacious of dreams and similitudes dreaming in the dungeon. Perhaps you don’t know my edition, what I had when a child: if you do, can you bear new designs from—Martin, enameld into copper or silver plate by—Heath, accompanied with verses from Mrs. Heman’s pen O how unlike his own—
Wouldst thou divert thyself from melancholy?
Wouldst thou be pleasant, yet be far from folly?
Wouldst thou read riddles and their explanation?
Or else be drowned in thy contemplation?
Dost thou love picking meat? or wouldst thou see
A man i’ th’ clouds, and hear him speak to thee?
Wouldst thou be in a dream, and yet not sleep?
Or wouldst thou in a moment laugh and weep?
Or wouldst thou lose thyself, and catch no harm,
And find thyself again without a charm?
Wouldst read thyself, and read thou knowst not what,
And yet know whether thou art blest or not
By reading the same lines? O then come hither,
And lay my book, thy head and heart together.
Shew me such poetry in any of the 15 forthcoming combinations of show and emptiness, yclept Annuals. Let me whisper in your ear that wholesome sacramental bread is not more nutritious than papistical wafer stuff, than these (to head and heart) exceed the visual frippery of
Mitford’s Salamander God, baking himself up to the work of creation in a solar oven, not yet by the terms of the context itself existing. Blake’s ravings made genteel. So there’s verses for thy verses; and now let me tell you that the sight of your hand gladdend me. I have been daily trying to write to you, but paralysed. You have spurd me on this tiny effort, and at
intervals I hope to hear from and talk to you. But my spirits have been in a deprest way for a long long time, and they are things which must be to you of faith, for who can explain depression? Yes I am hooked into the
Gem, but only for some lines written on a dead infant of the Editor’s, which being as it were his property, I could not refuse their appearing, but I hate the paper, the type, the gloss, the dandy plates, the names of contributors poked up into your eyes in 1st page, and whistled thro’ all the covers of magazines, the barefaced sort of emulation, the unmodest candidateship, brot into so little space—in those old Londons a signature was lost in the wood of matter—the paper coarse (till latterly, which spoil’d them)—in short I detest to appear in an Annual. What a fertile genius (an[d] a quiet good soul withal) is Hood. He has 50 things in hand, farces to supply the Adelphi for the season, a comedy for one of the great theatres, just ready, a whole entertainment by himself for Mathews and Yates to figure in, a meditated Comic Annual for next year, to be nearly done by himself.—You’d like him very much. Wordsworth I see has a good many pieces announced in one of em, not our Gem. W. Scott has distributed himself like a bribe haunch among ’em. Of all the poets, Cary has had the good sense to keep quite clear of ’em, with Clergy-gentle-manly right notions. Don’t think I set up for being proud in this point, I like a bit of flattery tickling my vanity as well as any one. But these pompous masquerades without masks (naked names or faces) I hate. So there’s a bit of my mind. Besides they infallibly cheat you, I mean the booksellers. If I get but a copy, I only expect it from Hood’s being my friend. Coleridge has lately been here. He too is deep among the Prophets—the Year-servers—the mob of Gentlemen Annuals. But they’ll cheat him, I know.

And now, dear B. B., the Sun shining out merrily, and the dirty clouds we had yesterday having washd their own faces clean with their own rain, tempts me to wander up Winchmore Hill, or into some of the delightful vicinages of Enfield, which I hope to show you at some time when you can get a few days up to the great Town. Believe me it would give both of us great pleasure to show you all three (we can lodge you) our pleasant farms and villages.—

We both join in kindest loves to you and yours.—

Ch. Lamb redivivus.