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THE WORKS OF CHARLES AND MARY LAMB, VOLUME 2

ELIA; and THE LAST ESSAYS OF ELIA

BY

CHARLES LAMB

EDITED BY

E.V. LUCAS





[Illustration]





WITH A FRONTISPIECE



INTRODUCTION


This volume contains the work by which Charles Lamb is best known and
upon which his fame will rest--_Elia_ and _The Last Essays of Elia_.
Although one essay is as early as 1811, and one is perhaps as late as
1832, the book represents the period between 1820 and 1826, when Lamb
was between forty-five and fifty-one. This was the richest period of
his literary life.

The text of the present volume is that of the first edition of each
book--_Elia_, 1823, and _The Last Essays of Elia_, 1833. The principal
differences between the essays as they were printed in the _London
Magazine_ and elsewhere, and as they were revised for book form by
their author, are shown in the Notes, which, it should be pointed out,
are much fuller in my large edition. The three-part essay on "The Old
Actors" (_London Magazine_, February, April, and October, 1822), from
which Lamb prepared the three essays; "On Some of the Old Actors,"
"The Artificial Comedy of the Last Century," and "The Acting of
Munden," is printed in the Appendix as it first appeared. The absence
of the "Confessions of a Drunkard" from this volume is due to the fact
that Lamb did not include it in the first edition of _The Last Essays
of Elia_. It was inserted later, in place of "A Death-Bed," on account
of objections that were raised to that essay by the family of
Randal Norris. The story is told in the notes to "A Death-Bed." The
"Confessions of a Drunkard" will be found in Vol. I.

In Mr. Bedford's design for the cover of this edition certain Elian
symbolism will be found. The upper coat of arms is that of Christ's
Hospital, where Lamb was at school; the lower is that of the Inner
Temple, where he was born and spent many years. The figures at the
bells are those which once stood out from the faηade of St. Dunstan's
Church in Fleet Street, and are now in Lord Londesborough's garden in
Regent's Park. Lamb shed tears when they were removed. The tricksy
sprite and the candles (brought by Betty) need no explanatory words of
mine.

E.V.L.




CONTENTS

APPENDIX
TEXT NOTE
PAGE PAGE

The South-Sea House 1 342
Oxford in the Vacation 8 345
Christ's Hospital Five and Thirty Years Ago 14 350
The Two Races of Men 26 355
New Year's Eve 31 358
Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist 37 361
A Chapter on Ears 43 363
All Fools' Day 48 367
A Quaker's Meeting 51 367
The Old and the New Schoolmaster 56 369
Valentine's Day 63 370
Imperfect Sympathies 66 370
Witches, and other Night-Fears 74 372
My Relations 80 373
Mackery End, in Hertfordshire 86 375
Modern Gallantry 90 377
The Old Benchers of the Inner Temple 94 379
Grace Before Meat 104 384
My First Play 110 385
Dream-Children; A Reverie 115 388
Distant Correspondents 118 389
The Praise of Chimney-Sweepers 124 390
A Complaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Metropolis 130 392
A Dissertation upon Roast Pig 137 395
A Bachelor's Complaint of the Behaviour of Married
People 144 397
On Some Old Actors 150 397
On the Artificial Comedy of the Last Century 161 399
On the Acting of Munden 168 400


THE LAST ESSAYS OF ELIA
TEXT NOTE
PAGE PAGE

Preface, by a Friend of the late Elia 171 402
Blakesmoor in H----shire 174 405
Poor Relations 178 408
Stage Illusion 185 408
To the Shade of Elliston 188 409
Ellistoniana 190 410
Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading 195 411
The Old Margate Hoy 201 415
The Convalescent 208 416
Sanity of True Genius 212 416
Captain Jackson 215 416
The Superannuated Man 219 417
The Genteel Style in Writing 226 420
Barbara S---- 230 421
The Tombs in the Abbey 235 423
Amicus Redivivus 237 424
Some Sonnets of Sir Philip Sydney 242 426
Newspapers Thirty-five Years Ago 249 428
Barrenness of the Imaginative Faculty in the
Productions of Modern Art 256 433
Rejoicings upon the New Year's Coming of Age 266 436
The Wedding 271 436
The Child Angel: a Dream 276 437
A Death-Bed 279 437
Old China 281 438
Popular Fallacies--
I. That a Bully is always a Coward 286 440
II. That Ill-gotten Gain never Prospers 287 440
III. That a Man must not Laugh at his own Jest 287 440
IV. That such a One shows his Breeding.--That
it is Easy to Perceive he is no Gentleman 288 440
V. That the Poor Copy the Vices of the Rich 288 440
VI. That Enough is as Good as a Feast 290 440
VII. Of Two Disputants, the Warmest is Generally
in the Wrong 291 440
VIII. That Verbal Allusions are not Wit, because
they will not Bear a Translation 292 440
IX. That the Worst Puns are the Best 292 440
X. That Handsome is that Handsome does 294 441
XI. That We must not look a Gift-horse in the
Mouth 296 441
XII. That Home is Home though it is never so
Homely 298 442
XIII. That You must Love Me, and Love my Dog 302 442
XIV. That We should Rise with the Lark 305 443
XV. That We should Lie Down with the Lamb 308 443
XVI. That a Sulky Temper is a Misfortune 309 443


APPENDIX
TEXT NOTE
PAGE PAGE

On Some of the Old Actors (_London Magazine_, Feb., 1822) 315 444
The Old Actors (_London Magazine_, April, 1822) 322 444
The Old Actors (_London Magazine_, October, 1822) 331 444

NOTES 337
INDEX 447


FRONTISPIECE

ELIA

From a Drawing by Daniel Maclise, now preserved in the Victoria and
Albert Museum.




ELIA

(_From the 1st Edition, 1823_)

THE SOUTH-SEA HOUSE


Reader, in thy passage from the Bank--where thou hast been receiving
thy half-yearly dividends (supposing thou art a lean annuitant
like myself)--to the Flower Pot, to secure a place for Dalston, or
Shacklewell, or some other thy suburban retreat northerly,--didst thou
never observe a melancholy looking, handsome, brick and stone edifice,
to the left--where Threadneedle-street abuts upon Bishopsgate? I dare
say thou hast often admired its magnificent portals ever gaping wide,
and disclosing to view a grave court, with cloisters and pillars, with
few or no traces of goers-in or comers-out--a desolation something
like Balclutha's.[1]

This was once a house of trade,--a centre of busy interests. The
throng of merchants was here--the quick pulse of gain--and here some
forms of business are still kept up, though the soul be long since
fled. Here are still to be seen stately porticos; imposing staircases;
offices roomy as the state apartments in palaces--deserted, or thinly
peopled with a few straggling clerks; the still more sacred interiors
of court and committee rooms, with venerable faces of beadles,
door-keepers--directors seated in form on solemn days (to proclaim a
dead dividend,) at long worm-eaten tables, that have been mahogany,
with tarnished gilt-leather coverings, supporting massy silver
inkstands long since dry;--the oaken wainscots hung with pictures
of deceased governors and sub-governors, of queen Anne, and the
two first monarchs of the Brunswick dynasty;--huge charts, which
subsequent discoveries have antiquated;--dusty maps of Mexico, dim as
dreams,--and soundings of the Bay of Panama!--The long passages hung
with buckets, appended, in idle row, to walls, whose substance might
defy any, short of the last, conflagration;--with vast ranges of
cellarage under all, where dollars and pieces of eight once lay,
an "unsunned heap," for Mammon to have solaced his solitary heart
withal,--long since dissipated, or scattered into air at the blast of
the breaking of that famous BUBBLE.--

Such is the SOUTH-SEA HOUSE.



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