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THE

POETICAL WORKS

OF

CHARLES LAMB.

DEDICATION.

TO S. T. COLERIDGE, ESQ. MY DEAK COLERIDGE, You will smile to see the slender labors of your friend designated by the title of Works; but such was the wish of the gentlemen who have kindly undertaken the trouble of collecting them, and from their judgment could be no appeal.

It would be a kind of disloyalty to offer to any one but yourself a volume containing the early pieces, which were first published among your poems, and were fairly derivatives from you and them. My friend Lloyd and myself came into our first battle (authorship is a sort of warfare) under cover of the greater Ajax. How this association, which shall always be a dear and proud recollection to me, came to be broken --who snapped the threefold cord, - whether yourself (but I know that was not the case ) grew ashamed of your former companions,-or whether ( which is by much the more probable) some ungracious bookseller was author of the separation,-1 cannot tell ;—but wanting the support of your friendly elm (I speak for myself), my vine has, since that time, put forth few or no fruits; the sap (if ever it had any) lias become, in a manner, dried up and extinct.

Am I right in assuming this as the cause ? or is it that, as years come upon us (except with some more healthyhappy spirits), life itself loses much of its Poetry for us? we transcribe but what we read in the great volume of Nature; and, as the characters grow dim, we turn off, and look another way. You yourself write no Christabels, nor Ancient Mariners, now.

Some of the Sonnets, which shall be carelessly turned over by the general reader, may happily awaken in you remembrances, which I should be sorry should be ever totally extinct--the memory

Of summer days and of delightful years— even so far back as to those old suppers at our old ***** Inn,—when life was fresh, and topics exhaustless, -and you first kindled in me, if not the power, yet the love of poctry, and beauty, and kindliness.

What words have I heard

Spoke at the Mermaid ! The world has given you many a shrewd nip and gird since that time; but either my eyes are grown dimmer, or my old friend is the same, who stood before me three-and-twenty years ago-his hair a little confessing the land of time, but still shrouding the same capacious brain,-his heart not altered, scarcely where it • alteration finds, »

One piece, Coleridge, I have ventured to publish in its original form, though I have heard you complain of a certain over-imitation of the antique in the style. If I could see any way of getting rid of the objection, without rewriting it entirely, I would make some sacrifices. But when I wrote John Woodvil, I never proposed to myself any distinct deviation from common English. I had been newly initiated in the writings of our elder dramatists; Beaumont and Fletcher, and Massinger, were then a first love; and from what I was so freshly conversant in, what wonder if my language im perceptibly took a tinge? The very time, which I had chosen for my story, that which immediately followed the Restoration, seemed to require, in an English play, that the English should be of rather an older cast, than that of the precise year in which it happened to be written. I wish it had not some faults which I can less vindicate than the language.--I remain, My dear Coleridge,

Your's, with unabated esteem,

C. LAMB.

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DANIEL.

ALL.

PETER

PETER.

A delicate song

DANIEL

PETER

MARTIN

a

MARTIN.
JOHN WOODVIL.

And to thee, Daniel.

[ Drinks. FRANCIS. And to thee, Peter.

[ Drinks. ACT I.

PETER
SCENE I.

Thank you, Francis. And here's to thee. (Drinks.

MARTIN.
A Servants' Apartment in Woodvil Hall.

I shall be fuddled anon.
Servants drinking-Time, the morning.

And drunkenness I hold to be a very despicable vice.
A Song, by Daniel.
When the King enjoys his own again.»

O! a shocking vice.

[ They drink round.

In as much as it taketh away the understanding. Where did 'st learn it, fellow?

DÁNIEL.

And makes the eyes red. Even there, where thou learnest thy oaths and thy

PETER politics—at our master's table.—Where else should a

And the tongue to stammer.
serving-man pick up his
poor accomplishments ?

DANIEL.
MARTIN

And to blab out secrets.
Well spoken, Daniel. O rare Daniel!-his oaths and

[During this conversation they continue drinking. his politics! excellent!

PETER.
FRANCIS.

Some men do not know an enemy from a friend And where did'st pick up thy knavery, Daniel ? when they are drunk.

DANIEL That came to him by inheritance. His family have Certainly sobriety is the health of the soul. supplied the shire of Devon, time out of mind, with

MARTIN good thieves and bad serving-men. All of his race bave Now I know I am going to be drunk. come into the world without their conscience.

DANIEL

How canst tell, dry-bones? Good thieves, and bad serving-men! Better and

MARTIN. þetter. I marvel what Daniel hath got to say in reply. Because I begin to be melancholy. That's alw DANIEL.

sign. I marvel more when thou wilt say any thing to the

FRANCIS purpose, thou shallow serving-man, whose swiftest con

Take care of Martin, he 'll topple off his seat else. ceit carries thee no higher than to apprehend with diffi

[MARTIN drops asleep. cully the stale jests of us thy compeers.

When was 't

PETER. ever known to club thy own particular jest among us ? Times are greatly altered, since young master took MARTIN.

upon himself the government of this household. Most unkind Daniel, to speak such biting things of

ALL. me!

Greatly altered.
FRANCIS.

FRANCIS See-if he hath not brought tears into the poor fel- I think every thing be altered for the better since Ilis low's eyes with the saltness of bis rebuke.

Majesty's blessed restoration.
DANIEL,
No offence, brother Martin-1 meant none. Tis

In Sir Walter's days there was no encouragement true, Heaven gives gifts, and withholds them. It has riven to good house-keeping. been pleased to bestow upon me a nimble invention to the manufacture of a jest; and upon thee, Martin, an None. indifferent bad capacity to understand my meaning.

MARTIN
Is that all? I am content. Here's my hand.

For instance, no possibility of getting drunk before

two in the afternoon. FRANCIS

PETER Well, I like a little innocent mirth myself, but never could endure bawdry.

Every man his allowance of ale at breakfast-his

quart! DANIEL,

ALL. Quot homines tot sententiæ.

[In derision. MARTIN And what is that?

Nothing left to our own sweet discretions.

PETER 'T is Greek, and argues difference of opinion.

Whereby it may appear, we were treated more like MARTIN.

beasts than what we were-discreet and reasonable servI hope there is none between us.

ing-men. DANIEL. Here's to thee, brother Martin.

[ Drinks.

Like beasts.

PETER

ALL.

DANIEL.

A quart!!

DANIEL.

DANIEL

ALL.

DANIEL.

FRANCIS.

a

MARTIN.

DANIEL.

SANDFORD.

MARTIN.

FRANCIS.

MARTIN (opening his eyes).

You lazy feasters at another's cost,
Like beasts.

That eat like maggots into an estate,

And do as little work,
To sleep, wag-tail!

Being indeed but foul excrescences,

And no just parts in a well-order'd family;
I marvel all this while where the old gentleman has You base and rascal imitators,
found means to secrete himself. It seems no man has Whn act up to the height your master's vices,
heard of him since the day of the King's return. Can But cannot read his virtues in your bond :
any tell why our young master, being favoured by the Which of you, as I enter'd, spake of betraying ?
court, should not have interest to procure his father's Was it you, or you, or, thin-face, was it you ?
pardon?

Whom does he call thin-face?
Marry, I think 't is the obstinacy of the old Knight,
that will not be beholden to the court for his safety. No prating, loon, but tell me who he was,

That I may brain the villain with my staff,
Now that is wilful.

That seeks Sir Walter's life?

You miserable men,
But can any tell me the place of his concealment?

With minds more slavish than your slave's estate,

Have you that noble bounty so forgot,
That cannot I; but I have my conjectures.

Which took you from the looms, and from the ploughs,
Which better had

ye follow'd, fed

ye, clothed ye, Two hundred pounds, as I hear, to the man that shall And entertain'd ye in a worthy service, apprehend laim.

Where your best wages was the world's repute,

That thus ye seek his life, by whom ye live?
Well, I have my suspicions.

Have ycu forgot too,

How often in old times
And so have I.

Your drunken mirths have stunn'd day's sober ears,

Carousing full cups to Sir Walter's health ?—
And I can keep a secret.

Whom now ye would betray, but that he lies
FRANCIS (to Peter).

Out of the reach of your poor treacheries.
Warwickshire, you mean.

(Aside.

This learn from me,

Our master's secret sleeps with trustier tongues,
Perliaps not.

Than will unlock themselves to carls like you.

Go, get you gone, you knaves. Who stirs? this staff Nearer perhaps.

Shall teach you better manners else.

PETER

DANIEL.

FRANCIS.

PETER

MARTIN

1

PETER

FRANCIS.

PETER.

ALL.

DANIEL.

SANDFORD.

ALL.

curse.

SANDFORD.

DANIEL.

I say nothing

Well, we are going.
I hope there is none in this company would be mean

And quickly too : ye bad better, for I see
enough to betray him.

Young mistress Margaret coming this way.

[Exeunt all but SANDFORD. O Lord ! surely not.

[They drink to SIR Enter MARGARET, as in a fright, pursued by a GentleWALTER's safety.

man, who, seeing SANDFORD, retires muttering a
FRANCIS.
I have often wondered how our master came to be ex-
cepted by name in the late Act of Oblivion.

SANDFORD, MARGARET.
DANIEL.
Shall I tell the reason ?

Good morrow to my fair mistress. 'T was a chance
ALL.

I saw you, lady, so intent was I
Aye, do.

On chiding hence these graceless serving-men,

Who cannot break their fast at morning meals 'Tis thought he is no great friend to the present happy without debauch and mis-timed riotings. establishment

This house hath been a scene of nothing else

But atheist riot and profane excess,
O! monstrous !

Since my old master quitted all his rights here.
Fellow servants, a thought strikes me.-Do we, or do Each day I endure fresh insult from the scorn
we not, come under the penalties of the treason-act, by Of Woodvil's friends, the uncivil jests,
reason of our being privy to this man's concealment. And free discourses, of the dissolute men

That haunt this mansion, making me their mirth.
Truly a sad consideration.
To then enters SANDFORD suddenly.

Does my young master know of these affronts ?

I cannot tell. Perhaps he has not been told ;
You well-fed and unprofitable grooms,

Perhaps he might have seen them if he would.
Maintained for state, not use;

I have known liim more quick-sighted. Let that pass.

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SANDFORD.

MARGARET.

All things seem changed, I think. I had a friend | Portray without its terrors, painting lies (I can't but weep to think him alter'd too),

And representments of fallacious libertyThese things are best forgotten; but I knew

You know not what it is to leave the roof that shielters A man, a young man, young, and full of honor,

you. That would have pick'd a quarrel for å straw,

MARGARET. And fought it out to the extremity,

I have thought on every possible event, E'en with the dearest end he had alive,

The dangers and discouragements you speak of, On but a bare surmise, a possibility,

Even till my

woman's heart haih ceased to fear them, That Margaret had suffer'd an affront.

And cowardice grows enamour'd of rare accidents. Some are too tame, that were too splenetic once.

Nor am I so unfurnish d, as you think,

Of practicable schemes. 'T were best he should be told of these affronts.

SANDFORD.

Now God forbid; think twice of this, dear lady. I am the daughter of his father's friend,

MARGARET. Sir Walter's orphan-ward.

I

pray you spare me, Mr Sandford, I am not his servant-maid, that I should wait

And once for all believe, nothing can shake my purpose. The opportunity of a gracious hearing,

SANDFORD. Jnquire the times and seasons when to put

But what course have you thought on? My peevish prayer up at young Woodvil's fect,

MARGARET. And sue to him for slow redress, who was

To seek Sir Walter in the forest of Sherwood.
Himself a suitor late to Margaret.

I have letters from young Simon,
I am somewhat proud : and Woodvil taught me pride. Acquainting me with all the circumstances
I was his favorite once, his playfellow in infancy, Of their concealment, place, and manner of life,
And joyful mistress of his youth.

And the merry hours they spend in the green haunts None once so pleasant in his eyes as Margaret : Of Sherwood, nigh which place they have ta'en a house His conscience, his religion, Margaret was,

In the town of Nottingham, and pass for foreigners,
His dear heart's confessor, a heart within that heart, Wearing the dress of Frenchmen.-
And all dear things summ'd up in her alone.

All which I have perused with so attent
As Margaret smiled or frown'd John lived or died: And child-like longings, that to my doting ears
His dress, speech, gesture, studies, friendships, all Two sounds now seem like one,
Being fashion'd to her liking.

One meaning in two words, Sherwood and Liberty. His flatteries taught me first this self-esteem,

And, gentle Mr Sandford, His flatteries and caresses, while he loved.

"T is you that must provide now The world esteem'd her happy, who had won

The means of my departure, which for safety His heart, who won all hearts;

Must be in boy's apparel.
And ladies envied me the love of Woodvil.

SANDFORD.
Since
you

will have it so He doth affect the courtier's life too much,

(My careful

age trembles at all may happen), Whose art is to forget,

I will engage to furnish
And that has wrought this seeming change in him, I have the keys of the wardrobe, and can fit you
That was by nature noble.

With garments to your size.
'T is these court-plagues, that swarm about our house, I know a suit
Have done the mischief, making his fancy giddy Of lively Lincoln Green, that shall much grace you
With images of state, preferment, place,

In the wcar, being glossy fresh, and worn but seldom. Tainting his generous spirits with ambition.

Young Stephen Woodvil wore them, while he lived.

I have the keys of all this house and passages, I know not how it is;

And ere day-break will rise and let you

forth, A cold protector is John grown to me.

What things soe'er you have necd of I can furnish you;
The mistress, and presumptive wife, of Woodvil And will provide a horse and trusty guide,
Can never stoop so low to supplicate

To bear you on your way to Nottingham.
A man, her equal, to redress those wrongs,
Which he was bound first to prevent;

That once this day and night were fairly past !
But which his own neglects have sanctioned rather, For then I'll bid this house and love farewell;
Both sanction'd and provoked: a mark'd neglect, Farewell, sweet Devon ; farewell, lukewarm John;
And strangeness fast'ning bitter on his love,

For with the morning's light will Margaret be gone. His love which long has been upon

the wane.

Thanks, courteous Mr Sandford. For me, am determined what to do:

(Exeunt divers

ways. To leave this house this night, and lukewarm John, And trust for food to the earth and Providence.

ACT II. O lady, have a care

SCENEI.
Of these indefinite and spleen-bred resolves.

An Apartment in Woodvil Hall.
You know not half the dangers that attend
Upon a life of wand'ring, which your thoughts now,

JOHN Woodvil-alone.
Feeling the swellings of a lofty anger,

(Reading l'arts of a Letter.) To your abused fancy, as 't is likely,

* Woen Love grows cold, and indifference has usurp

SANDFORD.

you:

MARGARET

MARGARET.

SANDFORD.

LOVEL.

WOODVIL.

LOVEL.

WOODVIL.

LOVEL

WOODVIL.

LOVEL.

LOVEL.

WOODVIL.

ed upon old esteem, it is no marvel if the world begin

WOODYIL. to account that dependence, which hitherto has been To say the truth, my love for her has of late stopt esteemed honorable shelter. The course I have taken short on this side idolatry. (in leaving this house, not easily wrought thereunto), seemed to me best for the once-for-all releasing of As all good Christians' should, I think. yourself (who in times past have deserved well of me) from the now daily, and not-to-be-endured, tribute of I am sure, I could have loved her still within the forced love, and ill-dissembled reluctance of affection. limits of warrantable love.

MARGARET,

A kind of brotherly affection, I take it.
Gone! gone! my girl ? so hasty, Margaret !
And never a kiss at parting ? shallow loves,

We should have made excellent man and wife in
And likings of a ten days' growth, use courtesies, time.
And show red eyes at parting. Who bids farewell -
In the same lone he cries «God speed you, Sir?»

A good old couple, when the snows fell, to crowd Or tells of joyful victories at sea,

about a sea-coal fire, and talk over old matters. Where he hath ventures ? does not rather muffle His organs to emit a leaden sound,

While each should feel, what neither cared to acTo suit the melancholy dull - farewell,

knowledge, that stories oft repeated may, at last, come Which they in Heaven not use?

to lose some of their grace by the repetition. So peevish, Margaret? But 't is the common error of your sex,

Which hoth of you may yet live long enough to When our idolatry slackens, or grows less,

discover. For, take my word for it, Margaret is a bird (As who of woman born can keep his faculty

that will come back to you without a lure. Of admiration, being a decaying faculty,

WOODVIL. For ever strain'd to the pitch? or can at pleasure Never, never, Lovel. Spite of my levity, with tears I Make it renewable, as some appetites are,

confess it, she was a lady of most confirmed honor, of an As, namely, Hunger, Thirst ?-) this being the case, unmatchable spirit, and determinate in all virtuous reThey tax us with neglect, and love grown cold, solutions; not hasty to anticipate an affront, nor slow to Coin plainings of the perfidy of men,

feel, where just provocation was given. Which into maxims pass, and apophthegms To be retailed in ballads. –

What made

you neglect her, then? I know them all. They are jealous, when our larger hearts receive Mere levity and youthfulness of blood, a malady More guests than one (Love in a woman's heart

incident to young men : physicians call it caprice. Being all in one). For me, I am sure I have room here Nothing else. He, that slighted her, knew her value : For more disturbers of my sleep than one.

and 't is odds, but, for thy sake, Margaret, John will Love shall have part, but Love shall not have all. yet go to his grave a bachelor. Ambition, Pleasure, Vanity, all by turns,

[A noise heard, as of one drunk and singing. Shall lie in my bed, and keep me fresh and waking; Yet Love not be excluded.-Foolish wench,

Here comes one, that will quickly dissipate these I could have loved her twenty years to come,

humours. And still have kept my liking. But since 't is so,

(Enter one drunk.) Why, fare thee well, old play-fellow! I'll try To squeeze a tear for old acquaintance sake.

Good-morrow to you, gentlemen. Mr Lovel, I am I shall not grudge so much.

your humble servant. Honest Jack Woodvil, I will get To him enters LOVEL.

drunk with you to-morrow.

And why to-morrow, honest Mr Freeman? Bless us, Woodvil! what is the matter? I protest, man, I thought you had been weeping.

I scent a traitor in that question. A beastly question.

Is it not his Majesty's birth-day? the day of all days in Nothing is the matter, only the wench has forced the year, on which King Charles the second was grasome water into my eyes, which will quickly disband. ciously pleased to be born. (Sings) -Great pity 't is such LOVEL.

days as those should come but once a year.: I cannot conceive you.

LOVEL.

Drunk in a morning! foh! how he stinks! Margaret is flown.

And why not drunk in a morning ? can'st tell, bully? Upon what pretence ?

WOODVIL.
Because, being the sweet and tender infancy of the

day, methinks, it should ill endure such early blightings. Neglect on my part : which it seems she has liad the

DRUNKEN MAN wit to discover, maugre all my pains to conceal il.

I grant you, 't is in some sort the youth and tender

nonage of the day. Youth is bashful, and I give it a Then, you confess the charge ?

cup to encourage it. (Sings) · Ale that will make

LOVEL.

DRUNKEN MAN.

WOODYIL

LOVEL.

DRUNKEN MAN.

WOODYIL.

WOODVIL.

DRUNKEN MAN.

LOVEL.

WOODVIL.

LOVEL

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