A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Produced by Keren Vergon, Virginia Paque and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team.






THE WORKS OF CHARLES AND MARY LAMB

IV. POEMS AND PLAYS


[Illustration: Charles Lamb (aged 23)
From a drawing by Robert Hancock]




POEMS AND PLAYS

BY

CHARLES AND MARY LAMB




INTRODUCTION

The earliest poem in this volume bears the date 1794, when Lamb was
nineteen, the latest 1834, the year of his death; so that it covers an
even longer period of his life than Vol. I.--the "Miscellaneous Prose."
The chronological order which was strictly observed in that volume has
been only partly observed in the following pages--since it seemed better
to keep the plays together and to make a separate section of Lamb's
epigrams. These, therefore, will be found to be outside the general
scheme. Such of Lamb's later poems as he did not himself collect in
volume form will also be found to be out of their chronological
position, partly because it has seemed to me best to give prominence to
those verses which Lamb himself reprinted, and partly because there is
often no indication of the year in which the poem was written.

Another difficulty has been the frequency with which Lamb reprinted some
of his earlier poetry. The text of many of his earliest and best poems
was not fixed until 1818, twenty years or so after their composition. It
had to be decided whether to print these poems in their true order as
they were first published--in Coleridge's _Poems on Various Subjects_,
1796; in Charles Lloyd's _ems on the Death of Priscilla Farmer_, 1796;
in Coleridge's _Poems_, second edition, 1797; in _Blank Verse_ by
Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb, 1798; and in John Woodvil, 1802--with
all their early readings; or whether to disregard chronological
sequence, and wait until the time of the _Works_--1818--had come, and
print them all together then. I decided, in the interests of their
biographical value, to print them in the order as they first appeared,
particularly as Crabb Robinson tells us that Lamb once said of the
arrangement of a poet's works: "There is only one good order--and that
is the order in which they were written--that is a history of the poet's
mind." It then had to be decided whether to print them in their first
shape, which, unless I repeated them later, would mean the relegation of
Lamb's final text to the Notes, or to print them, at the expense of a
slight infringement upon the chronological scheme, in their final 1818
state, and relegate all earlier readings to the Notes. After much
deliberation I decided that to print them in their final 1818 state was
best, and this therefore I did in the large edition of 1903, to which
the student is referred for all variorum readings, fuller notes and many
illustrations, and have repeated here. In order, however, that the
scheme of Lamb's 1818 edition of his _Works_ might be preserved, I have
indicated in the text the position in the _Works_ occupied by all the
poems that in the present volume have been printed earlier.

The chronological order, in so far as it has been followed, emphasises
the dividing line between Lamb's poetry and his verse. As he grew older
his poetry, for the most part, passed into his prose. His best and
truest poems, with few exceptions, belong to the years before, say,
1805, when he was thirty. After this, following a long interval of
silence, came the brief satirical outburst of 1812, in _The Examiner_,
and the longer one, in 1820, in _The Champion_; then, after another
interval, during which he was busy as Elia, came the period of album
verses, which lasted to the end. The impulse to write personal prose,
which was quickened in Lamb by the _London Magazine_ in 1820, seems to
have taken the place of his old ambition to be a poet. In his later and
more mechanical period there were, however, occasional inspirations, as
when he wrote the sonnet on "Work," in 1819; on "Leisure," in 1821; the
lines in his own Album, in 1827, and, pre-eminently, the poem "On an
Infant Dying as Soon as Born," in 1827.

This volume contains, with the exception of the verse for children,
which will be found in Vol. III. of this edition, all the accessible
poetical work of Charles and Mary Lamb that is known to exist and
several poems not to be found in the large edition. There are probably
still many copies of album verses which have not yet seen the light. In
the _London Magazine_, April, 1824, is a story entitled "The Bride of
Modern Italy," which has for motto the following couplet:--

My heart is fixt:
This is the sixt.--_Elia_.

but the rest of what seems to be a pleasant catalogue is missing. In a
letter to Coleridge, December 2, 1796, Lamb refers to a poem which has
apparently perished, beginning, "Laugh, all that weep." I have left in
the correspondence the rhyming letters to Ayrton and Dibdin, and an
epigram on "Coelebs in Search of a Wife." I have placed the dedication
to Coleridge at the beginning of this volume, although it belongs
properly only to those poems that are reprinted from the _Works_ of
1818, the prose of which Lamb offered to Martin Burney. But it is too
fine to be put among the Notes, and it may easily, by a pardonable
stretch, be made to refer to the whole body of Lamb's poetical and
dramatic work, although _Album Verses_, 1830, was dedicated separately
to Edward Moxon.

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 TEXT NOTE
PAGE PAGE

Dedication 1 307
Lamb's earliest poem, "Mille viae mortis" 3 307
Poems in Coleridge's _Poems on Various Subjects_, 1796:--
"As when a child ..." 4 308
"Was it some sweet device ..." 4 309
"Methinks how dainty sweet ..." 5 311
"Oh! I could laugh ..." 5 311
From Charles Lloyd's _Poems on the Death of Priscilla
Farmer_, 1796;--
The Grandame 6 312
Poems from Coleridge's _Poems_, 1797:--
"When last I roved ..." 8 315
"A timid grace ..." 8 315
"If from my lips ..." 9 315
"We were two pretty babes ..." 9 315
Childhood 9 315
The Sabbath Bells 10 316
Fancy Employed on Divine Subjects 10 316
The Tomb of Douglas 11 316
To Charles Lloyd 12 316
A Vision of Repentance 13 317
Poems Written in the Years 1795-98, and not Reprinted by
Lamb:--
"The Lord of Life ..." 16 317
To the Poet Cowper 16 317
Lines addressed to Sara and S.T.C. 17 318
Sonnet to a Friend 18 318
To a Young Lady 18 319
Living Without God in the World 19 319
Poems from _Blank Verse_, by Charles Lloyd and Charles
Lamb, 1798:--
To Charles Lloyd 21 320
Written on the Day of My Aunt's Funeral 21 320
Written a Year After the Events 22 321
Written Soon After the Preceding Poem 24 322
Written on Christmas Day, 1797 25 322
The Old Familiar Faces 25 322
Composed at Midnight 26 323
Poems at the End of _John Woodvil_, 1802:--
Helen. By Mary Lamb 28 323
Ballad. From the German 29 324
Hypochondriacus 29 324
A Ballad Noting the Difference of Rich and Poor 30 324
Poems in Charles Lamb's _Works_, 1818, not Previously
Printed in the Present Volume:--
Hester 32 325
Dialogue Between a Mother and Child. By Mary Lamb 33 325
A Farewell to Tobacco 34 325
To T.L.H. 38 326
Salome. By Mary Lamb 39 ---
Lines Suggested by a Picture of Two Females by
Lionardo da Vinci. By Mary Lamb 41 327
Lines on the Same Picture being Removed. By Mary Lamb 41 327
Lines on the Celebrated Picture by Lionardo da Vinci,
called "The Virgin of the Rocks" 42 327
On the Same. By Mary Lamb 42 327
To Miss Kelly 43 328
On the Sight of Swans in Kensington Garden 43 328
The Family Name 44 328
To John Lamb, Esq 44 329
To Martin Charles Burney, Esq 45 329
_Album Verses_, 1830:--
Album Verses:--
In the Album of a Clergyman's Lady 46 332
In the Autograph Book of Mrs.



Pages: | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.