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Imperial Magazine;




til St. Some Account of

1. Mr. CHARLES LAMB was born in Crown

office Row, Inner Temple, in 1775, and in MR. CHARLES LAMB.?

1782 was admitted into Christ's Hospital, ( With a Portrait.)

where he received his education. In this BIOGRAPHY is at all times, and under the seminary, from which many celebrated chamost favourable circumstances, a task of racters have emanated, he was contemporary great difficulty and delicacy; but it becomes with Thomas Fanshaw Middleton, who peculiarly so when employed upon charac- afterwards became bishop of Calcutta, and ters who have not yet passed the state of also with Mr. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, probation, into that region, where they can two scholars of pre-eminent abilities, but of neither be elated by the praise, nor affected widely different characters. With the last by the censure, of mortals. Unless a person of these distinguished gentlemen, he then condescends to be his own historian, and the formed an intimacy, which, ripening into recorder of his intellectual progress, his friendship, has continued thus far through memoir, however elaborate in detail, or life. On quitting this foundation, Mr. Lamb speciously written, will necessarily be defec- became a junior clerk in the South Sea tive, for the want of that freedom of delinea House, under his elder brother, who held the tion which can alone give interest to the office of accountant there, but died a few years subject, and without which all ornament is since. From this employment he was rez wasted in vain.

moved in 1792, to a situation in the acOf those persons who have figured in the countant's office in the East India House, public theatre of the world, either in the where he remained until 1825, when indistented field or the councils of state, much position compelled him to retire. We, may be said, drawn from the services in however, have reason to believe, that as illwhich they were employed, and the parties health was the sole cause of his removing, with whom they have been associated. But he still enjoys a pension from the munitiin regard to men who have passed their cence of that liberal and wealthy company. days in an unvaried course, "content,” as His first appearance as an author was in the judicious Hooker said, " to see God's | 1798, when he published, in conjunction blessings spring out of their mother earth, with his friend and schoolfellow Charles and eat their bread in peace and privacy,” Lloyd, a small volume, entitled, “ Blank. little can be told to excite or gratify curio Verses.” In the same year Mr. Lamb prosity, out of the immediate circle enlivened duced, alone, the pleasing and moral tale of by their talents and virtues. Even where “ Rosamond Grey and Old Blind Margaan individual has, by the extraordinary ret.” His next performance was the undisplay of genius, rendered himself an acted tragedy of John Woodville," printobject of attention and inquiry, it seldom ed in 1802. Five years afterwards he happens that the tenour of his private life | published two volumes, entitled, “ Tales affords incidents more remarkable than from Shakspeare," differing in many rethose of ordinary men. Of the finest spects from the historical illustration of the writers of antiquity the memoirs are very great dramatist by Mrs. Charlotte Lenox. scanty, and form a striking contrast to the In 1808, Mr. Lamb gave to the public, tumid volumes of modern biography. The “ The Adventures of Ulysses,” a pretty history of Horace, for instance, is only little book, in imitation of Fenelon, but the known from the casual hints thrown out by materials were taken from the Odyssey. himself in his familiar epistles, where he About the same time he published “ Špecitells us, accidentally as it were, that he was mens of English Dramatic Poets, with humble in his origin, and had been ex Notes.” None of these works attracted tremely fortunate in his connexions.

much notice; nor does it seem that the This is our apology, if an apology were author ever aimed at popularity. necessary, for the brevity of the present The productions of his genius that have narrative.

excited most attention, are those to which 111.-VOL. X,


Some Account of Mr. Charles Lamb.


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his name is not affixed. Some of his best | Quaker's meeting.-Those first hermits did essays in verse and prose, have been thrown certainly understand this principle, when out to take their chance in the world; and they retired into Egyptian solitudes, not it has so happened, that these light and singly, but in shoals, to enjoy one another's fugitive effusions are read and admired, want of conversation. The Carthusian is while the more laborious performances of bound to his brethren by this agreeing spirit the writer are slighted and forgotten. of incommunicativeness. In secular occa

In the year 1820, the late unfortunate sions, what so pleasant as to be reading a Mr. John Scott having projected the esta- | book through a long winter evening, with a blishment of the “ London Magazine," friend sitting by-say a wife-he, or she drew to his assistance Mr. Lamb, who, too (if that be probable) reading another, under the appellation of Elia, enriched without interruption or oral communication ! that periodical with some original pieces, can there be no sympathy without the satirical, descriptive, and pathetic. As one gabble of words ? Give me a sympathetic of the most happy specimens of this au solitude. thor's spirit, we shall select the following “To pace alone, in the cloisters or

side aisles of some cathedral, time-stricken, « Reader, wouldst thou know what is but a vulgar luxury compared with that true peace and quiet mean; wouldst which those enjoy, who come together for thou find a refuge from the noises and cla- the purposes of more complete, abstracted mours of the multitude; wouldst thou solitude. The Abbey church of Westenjoy at once solitude and society; wouldstminster hath nothing so solemn, so spirit. thou possess the depth of thy own spirit in soothing, as the naked walls and benches stillness, without being shut up from the of a Quaker's meeting. Here are no tombs, consolatory faces of thy species; wouldst no inscriptions ; but here is something thou be alone, and yet accompanied; soli- which throws antiquity herself into the foretary, yet not desolate; singular, yet not ground-SILENCE-eldest of things~lanwithout some to keep thee in countenance ; guage of Old Night-primitive discoursera unit in aggregate; a simple in compo. to which the insolent decays of mouldering site;-come with me into a Quaker's meet- grandeur have but arrived by a violent, ing.

and, as we may say, unnatural progression, “ Dost thou love silence, deep as that " If the spiritual pretensions of the before the winds were made ? go not out Quakers have abated, at least they make into the wilderness, descend not into the few pretences. Hypocrites, they certainly profundities of the earth; shut not up thy are not in their preaching. It is seldom casements, nor pour wax into the little indeed that you shall see one get up cells of thy ears; -retire with me into a amongst them to hold forth. Only now Quaker's meeting.

and then a trembling female, generally an“ For a man to refrain even from good cient, voice is heard—you cannot guess words, and to hold his peace, it is com from what part of the meeting it proceeds mendable; but for a multitude, it is great with a low, buzzing, musical sound, laying mastery.

out a few words which she thought might “ What is the stillness of the desert com- suit the condition of some present,' with a pared with this place? What the uncom- quaking diffidence, which leaves no possimunicating muteness of fishes? Here the bility of supposing that any thing of female goddess Silence reigns and revels. Boreas vanity was mixed up, where the tones were and Cesias and Argestes loud, do not with so full of tenderness, and a restraining their interconfounding uproars more aug- | modesty. The men, for what I have ment the brawl-nor the waves of the observed, speak seldomer. blown Baltic with their clubbed sounds- “ Once only, and it was some years ago, than their opposite, Silence her sacred I witnessed a sample of the old Foxian self—is multiplied and rendered more in- orgasm. It was a man of giant stature, tense by numbers and sympathy. She too who, as Wordsworth phrases it, might have hath her deeps, that call unto deeps. Ne- | danced from head to foot, equipt in iron gation itself hath a positive, more and less; máil.' Ilis frame was of iron too. But and closed eyes would seem to obscure the he was malleable. I saw him shake all great obscurity of midnight. There are over with the spirit-I dare not say, of wounds which an imperfect solitude cannot delusion-the strivings of the outer man heal. By imperfect I mean, that which a were unutterable ;-he seemed not to speak, man enjoyeth by himself. The perfect is but to be spoken from. I saw the strong that which he can sometimes attain in man bowed down, and his knees to fail crowds, but no where so absolutely as in a his joints all seemed loosening it was a

figure to set off against Paul preaching. prudence, amply justified the unbounded The words he uttered were few and sound; confidence reposed in him. He made the he was evidently resisting his will keeping concerns of the family his own, avoiding down his own word, wisdom, with more all useless expenditure, and watching with a mighty effort than the world's orators strain jealous eye over his master's property. He for theirs. He was a wit in his youth,' was the first instructor of the children in he told us, with expressions of a sober the family, during their infancy. His merits remorse. And it was not till long after the deserve to be distinctly recorded, not only impression had begun to wear away, that I because such a servant is a kind of rara was enabled, with something like a smile, avis in terris, but because, as in the present to recall the striking, incongruity of the instance, he may contribute essentially to confession-understanding the term in its the general good, by preventing the waste worldly acceptation-with the frame and of those means which a benevolent spirit physiognomy of the person before me.' will ever feel anxious to consecrate to purHis brow would have scared away the poses of public utility. levities-the Joci Risusque- faster than John grew old in his master's service, the lovers fled the face of Dis at Enna. and in the year 1553 expired in his house, By wit, even in his youth, I will be sworn, after the long residence of almost thirty-four he understood something far within the years, amidst the affectionate regrets of limits of an allowable liberty.

the whole family. Melancthon invited the There is a solemn hue diffused over this academicians to his funeral, delivered an sketch, which would lead one to suppose oration over his grave, and composed a that the author must be of a saturnine cast Latin epitaph for his tombstone, of which the of temper. But, if we have been rightly following is a translation. informed, the case is far otherwise, and so

« Here, at a distance from his native land, far from being himself a lover of silence or

nce or Came faithful John, at Philip's first command: solitude, Mr. La.nb is one of the most

Companion of his exile, doubly dear,

Who in a servant found a friend sinceresociable, the most pleasing, and most lively And more than friend, a man of faith and prayer, of mortals. He shines best, it is true, in

Assiduous soother of his piaster's care ;

Here to the worms his lifeless body's given, serious conversation, but the sallies of his But his immortal soul sees God in heaven." wit are brilliant, and Swift himself could not be fonder of a pun.

This peculiarity of combination may be ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE INDEFECTIgathered from the diversified articles of which

BILITY OF THE SAINTS. Elia” is composed. Among these we might ERRORS in the translation of the scriptures, instance, that the levity of his “Grace before although apparently inconsiderable, have Meat” is but badly compensated by the wit often been employed as means of opposing and humour with which it is encircled. His a true doctrine, and of defending a false account, on the contrary, of “Christ's Hos- one. Of this there is a notable instance in pital five-and-thirty Years ago," displays Hebrews vi. 4, 5, 6; in which passage the much originality of thinking, as well as sin. translation of the former clause of verse 6, is gular acuteness of observation. In this, his undeniably inaccurate; having been evidentvivacity of expression, and talents at descrip | ly made with a design to meet the views of tion, appear to great advantage.

those, who maintain the absolute and unconditional perseverance of the saints. In

these three verses are five participles, all MELANCTHON'S SERVANT JOHN.

aorists; OwTLOJEVTas, yevo Aueves, twice, The following extract is from Fox's Life of yevnJevtas, napartegovTAc. Now there is Melancthon.

no reason for translating παραπεσοντας, If “ It is proper to mention with marked they shall fall away, than for translating respect, an invaluable servant of the name owTiodevtas, If they shall be enlightened; of John, who lived with him many years. yevo aueves, If they shall taste ; yevnJevrac, John was a man of tried honesty and fidelity, If they shall be made. The manner in adorning the humble sphere in which he which these participles are connected by moved, and very much beloved by his the conjunctions te kai, is another proof master. To his management we must in that they are all similar in construction and part look for an explanation of the mystery application. Had it been the apostle's to which we have alluded, namely, the pos- design to convey the idea expressed in our sibility of being so lavishly benevolent with version, it is reasonable to suppose that he such restricted means. The whole duty of would have adopted a phraseology similar provisioning the family, was intrusted to to that employed elsewhere in this epistle, this domestie, whose care, assiduity, and in referring to future and contingent events.

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