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The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey
Robert Southey to Edward Moxon, 3 February 1836

Vol. I Contents
Early Life: I
Early Life: II
Early Life: III
Early Life: IV
Early Life: V
Early Life: VI
Early Life: VII
Early Life: VIII
Early Life: IX
Early Life: X
Early Life: XI
Early Life: XII
Early Life: XIII
Early Life: XIV
Early Life: XV
Early Life: XVI
Early Life: XVII
Ch. I. 1791-93
Ch. II. 1794
Ch. III. 1794-95
Ch. IV. 1796
Ch. V. 1797
Vol. II Contents
Ch. VI. 1799-1800
Ch. VII. 1800-1801
Ch. VIII. 1801
Ch. IX. 1802-03
Ch. X. 1804
Ch. XI. 1804-1805
Vol. III Contents
Ch. XII. 1806
Ch. XIII. 1807
Ch. XIV. 1808
Ch. XV. 1809
Ch. XVI. 1810-1811
Ch. XVII. 1812
Vol. IV Contents
Ch. XVIII. 1813
Ch. XIX. 1814-1815
Ch. XX. 1815-1816
Ch. XXI. 1816
Ch. XXII. 1817
Ch. XXIII. 1818
Ch. XXIV. 1818-1819
Vol. IV Appendix
Vol. V Contents
Ch. XXV. 1820-1821
Ch. XXVI. 1821
Ch. XXVII. 1822-1823
Ch. XXVIII. 1824-1825
Ch. XXIX. 1825-1826
Ch. XXX. 1826-1827
Ch. XXXI. 1827-1828
Vol. V Appendix
Vol. VI Contents
Ch. XXXII. 1829
Ch. XXXIII. 1830
Ch. XXXIV. 1830-1831
Ch. XXXV. 1832-1834
Ch. XXXVI. 1834-1836
Ch. XXXVII. 1836-1837
Ch. XXXVIII. 1837-1843
Vol. VI Appendix
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“Keswick, Feb. 3. 1836.
“My dear Sir,

“I have been too closely engaged in clearing off the second volume of Cowper to reply to your inquiries concerning poor Lamb sooner. His acquaintance with Coleridge began at Christ’s Hospital; Lamb was some two years, I thinks his junior. Whether he was ever one of the Grecians there, might be ascertained, I suppose, by inquiring. My own impression is, that he was not. Coleridge introduced me to him in the winter of 1794-5, and to George Dyer also, from whom, if his memory has not failed, you might probably learn more of Lamb’s early history than from any other person. Lloyd, Wordsworth, and Hazlitt became known to him through their connection with Coleridge.

“When I saw the family (one evening only, and at that time), they were lodging somewhere near Lincoln’s Inn, on the western side (I forget the street), and were evidently in uncomfortable circumstances. The father and mother were both living; and I have some dim recollection of the latter’s invalid appearance. The father’s senses had failed him before that time. He published some poems in quarto. Lamb showed me once an imperfect copy: the Sparrow’s Wedding was the title of the longest piece, and this was the author’s favourite; he liked, in his dotage, to hear Charles read it.

“His most familiar friend, when I first saw him.
Ætat. 60. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 287
White, who held some office at Christ’s Hospital, and continued intimate with him as long as he lived. You know what Elia says of him. He and Lamb were joint authors of the Original Letters of Falstaff. Lamb, I believe, first appeared as an author in the second edition of Coleridge’s Poems (Bristol, 1797), and, secondly, in the little volume of blank verse with Lloyd (1798). Lamb, Lloyd, and White were inseparable in 1798; the two latter at one time lodged together, though no two men could be imagined more unlike each other. Lloyd had no drollery in his nature; White seemed to have nothing else. You will easily understand how Lamb could sympathise with both.

Lloyd, who used to form sudden friendships, was all but a stranger to me, when unexpectedly he brought Lamb down to visit me at a little village (Burton) near Christ Church, in Hampshire, where I was lodging in a very humble cottage. This was in the summer of 1797, and then, or in the following year, my correspondence with Lamb began. I saw more of him in 1802 than at any other time, for I was then six months resident in London. His visit to this county was before I came to it; it must have been either in that or the following year: it was to Lloyd and to Coleridge.

“I had forgotten one of his school-fellows, who is still living—C. V. Le Grice, a clergyman at or near Penzance. From him you might learn something of his boyhood.

Cottle has a good likeness of Lamb, in chalk, taken by an artist named Robert Hancock, about the
year 1798. It looks older than Lamb was at that time; but he was old-looking.

Coleridge introduced him to Godwin, shortly after the first number of the Anti-Jacobin Magazine and Review was published, with a caricature of Gillray, in which Coleridge and I were introduced with asses’ heads, and Lloyd and Lamb as toad and frog. Lamb got warmed with whatever was on the table, became disputatious, and said things to Godwin which made him quietly say, ‘Pray, Mr. Lamb, are you toad or frog?’ Mrs. Coleridge will remember the scene, which was to her sufficiently uncomfortable. But the next morning S. T. C. called on Lamb, and found Godwin breakfasting with him, from which time their intimacy began.

“His angry letter to me in the Magazine arose out of a notion that an expression of mine in the Quarterly Review would hurt the sale of Elia: some one, no doubt, had said that it would. I meant to serve the book, and very well remember how the offence happened. I had written that it wanted nothing to render it altogether delightful but a saner religious feeling. This would have been the proper word if any other person had written the book. Feeling its extreme unfitness as soon as it was written, I altered it immediately for the first word which came into my head, intending to re-model the sentence when it should come to me in the proof; and that proof never came. There can be no objection to your printing all that passed upon the occasion, beginning with the passage in the Quarterly Review, and giving his letter.

Ætat. 60. OF ROBERT SOUTHEY. 289

“I have heard Coleridge say that, in a fit of derangement, Lamb fancied himself to be young Norval. He told me this in relation to one of his poems.

“If you print my lines to him upon his Album Verses, I will send you a corrected copy. You received his letters, I trust, which Cuthbert took with him to town in October. I wish they had been more, and wish, also, that I had more to tell you concerning him, and what I have told were of more value. But it is from such fragments of recollection, and such imperfect notices, that the materials for biography must, for the most part, be collected.

Yours very truly,
Robert Southey.”