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Summary. - When we review the wide range and high average excellence of Scott's work, and remember the ease and rapidity with which it was produced, we feel that he possessed a creative power rare even among the great geniuses of the literature. He did not enter deeply into the problems of life either in his poetry or in his novels. He did not seek to teach philosophy under the guise of fiction. For the most part, he was content to please, delighting in the story for the story's sake. He thought that life was good and that a wholesome enjoyment was to be gained from action. He admired honor and courtesy and bravery among men, and beauty and gentleness and modesty among women. He had no “message;" he did not preach to us, but he was a kindly, high-minded gentleman, and it is good to be with him in his books. He rose to be great, “but he was always good,” and his works bear witness to the breadth, sympathy, and purity of one of the great creative intellects of our literature.

CHARLES LAMB

(1775–1834)

While Scott, "the Wizard of the North," was thus turning to the wars and pageantry of the past, with healthy delight in that life of action and glory, Charles Lamb in London, living his quiet life“ amidst the sweet security of streets," was poring over the old dramatists, and writing essays in which a love of old things — old books, old places, old buildings, old names and memories finds a chief place. Scott loves the past for its deeds, Lamb for its thought, its venerability. Himself a rare bit of antiquity, he imparts to his work a flavor of the old writers, without sacrificing his individ

34 BEGULIZIG OF MODERN

walls, and wins us completely by his great and entirely

Lamb is one of the most beloved of Enghh men of letters, and perhaps the most delicate of of buildings in the great metropolis, and there he spent

in the Inner Temple, one of the most venerable groups his first seren years. From the first he was thus surimagination dwelt upon the old “almost effaced sun

rounded by associations with the past. As a child his figures of barristers, in their wigs and court gowns, dials," upon the Gothic Hall, the dignified and solemn "the mythology of the Temple." "In those days," he says, I saw mantle,' walking upon the earth.” His father was a Charles and his sister Mary spent many hours, and clerk to one of the barristers, Mr. Salt, in whose library browsed at will on that fair and wholesome pasturage” of good old English reading.” From his eighth to his fifteenth year Charles studied as a “blue-coat boy” at Christ's Hospital, and there began his lifelong friend338 BEGINNING OD he had in hi are mad suprem of the song

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ship with his fellow-student Coleridge. On leaving
school, Lamb obtained a clerkship in the South Sea
House, and two years later in the India Office, where he
remained for thirty-three years. Soon after his enter-
ing business, Lamb, through the ill health of his father,
became the chief support of the little family. But the
quiet of their household was broken by a terrible event.
Mary Lamb, who had several times been attacked by
temporary insanity, in a new and more terrible paroxysm
stabbed her mother to the heart (1796). Mary was
taken to an asylum, where she recovered, and Charles
procured her release on solemnly promising to take care

of her. This tragedy determined Lamb's future life. Thenceforth, after his father's death, he devoted himself to the care of his afflicted sister. For intervals, which he called “between the acts,” they lived quietly in the most devoted companionship, Mary aiding in her brother's literary work, and presiding at their little receptions, which Coleridge and sometimes Wordsworth attended. Then, again, Mary would "fall ill," and return for a time to the asylum.

Lamb's time was taken up with his duties to his sister, and with his daily work in the India Office. Yet he made many friends and found leisure hours to devote to literature. It was his custom to rise early, to work at the office from ten to four, “in the contemplation of indigoes, cottons, raw-silks, piece-goods, flowered and otherwise," as he facetiously remarks; after office hours to stroll into the suburbs or among the bookshops; and in the evening to poreover his old books, his "midnight darlings” and “ragged veterans," or to write his immortal Essays of Elia. His sister would sit at the end of the table, reading or doing some household work, or writing her tales from Shakespeare. On Wednesday evenings, it was Lamb's custom to give parties for his literary friends. His house was open to all, to come and go as they pleased. There Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, and others met, and enjoyed an evening of whist, cold supper, and brilliant talk. One of that party says, “Often a piece of sparkling humour was shot out that illuminated the whole evening. Sometimes there was a flight of high and earnest talk that took half way towards the stars.' And Hazlitt tells us that Lamb “always made the best pun and the best remark in the course of the evening.” The truth is, Charles Lamb bad the

uality, and wins us completely by his great and entirely frank heart. Lamb is one of the most beloved of English men of letters, and perhaps the most delicate of English humorists.

Life. — Charles Lamb — called by Coleridge the “ gentle-hearted Charles" — was born in London, 1775, in the Inner Temple, one of the most venerable groups of buildings in the great metropolis, and there he spent his first seven years.

From the first he was thus surrounded by associations with the past. As a child his imagination dwelt upon the old “almost effaced sundials,” upon the Gothic Hall, the dignified and solemn figures of barristers, in their wigs and court gowns, “the mythology of the Temple.” “In those days," he says, “I saw Gods, as old men covered with a mantle,' walking upon the earth.” His father was a clerk to one of the barristers, Mr. Salt, in whose library Charles and his sister Mary spent many hours, and “browsed at will on that fair and wholesome pasturage" “of good old English reading." From his eighth to his fifteenth year Charles studied as a “blue-coat boy" at Christ's Hospital, and there began his lifelong friendship with his fellow-student Coleridge. On leaving school, Lamb obtained a clerkship in the South Sea House, and two years later in the India Office, where he remained for thirty-three years. Soon after his entering business, Lamb, through the ill health of his father, became the chief support of the little family. But the quiet of their household was broken by a terrible event. Mary Lamb, who had several times been attacked by temporary insanity, in a new and more terrible paroxysm stabbed her mother to the heart (1796). Mary was taken to an asylum, where she recovered, and Charles procured her release on solemnly promising to take care

of her. This tragedy determined Lamb's future life. Thenceforth, after his father's death, he devoted himself to the care of his afflicted sister. For intervals, which he called “between the acts," they lived quietly in the most devoted companionship, Mary aiding in her brother's literary work, and presiding at their little receptions, which Coleridge and sometimes Wordsworth attended. Then, again, Mary would "fall ill," and return for a time to the asylum.

Lamb's time was taken up with his duties to his sister, and with his daily work in the India Office. Yet he made many friends and found leisure hours to devote to literature. It was his custom to rise early, to work at the office from ten to four, “in the contemplation of indigoes, cottons, raw-silks, piece-goods, flowered and otherwise," as he facetiously remarks; after office hours to stroll into the suburbs or among the bookshops; and in the evening to pore over his old books, his “midnight darlings” and “ragged veterans,” or to write his immortal Essays of Elia. His sister would sit at the end of the table, reading or doing some household work, or writing her tales from Shakespeare. On Wednesday evenings, it was Lamb's custom to give parties for his literary friends. His house was open to all, to come and go as they pleased. There Coleridge, Wordsworth, Southey, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, and others met, and enjoyed an evening of whist, cold supper, and brilliant talk. One of that party says, “Often a piece of sparkling humour was shot out that illuminated the whole evening. Sometimes there was a flight of high and earnest talk that took half way towards the stars." And Hazlitt tells us that Lamb "always made the best pun and the best remark in the course of the evening.” The truth is, Charles Lamb had the

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