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Which image, in their bulk, both lakes and shores
CHARLES LAMB. 1775-1834. It is said that Lamb was a nervous, timid, and thoughtful boy, and " while others were all fire and play, he stole along with all the selfconcentration of a monk.” For thirty-five years, he was a clerk in the East India Company, at the end of which he retired on a generous pension. A peculiar attachment existed between him and his “ gentle sister Mary," and the last part of his life they lived together, neither of them ever having married. Her occasional attacks of insanity, on the approach of which they were sometime seen walking and weeping to the place of her confinement, was the only thing which marred their happiness with each other. His sufferings from this source do much to palliate the only infirmity of his character of which we hear. Some of his most intimate friends, besides Coleridge, were Wordsworth, Southey, Talfourd, and Hazlitt. The most celebrated prose writings of this author are the Essays of Elia. He wrote some poems, but none of any great note.
FROM LETTERS TO COLERIDGE. MY DEAREST FRIEND:
White, or some of my friends, or the public papers, by this time, may have informed you of the terrible calamities that have fallen on our family. I will only give you the outlines :- My poor, dear, dearest sister, in a fit of insanity, has been the death of her own mother! I was at hand only time enough to snatch the knife out of her grasp. She is at present in a mad-house, from whence I fear she must be removed to a hospital. God has preserved me my senses, - I eat, and drink, and sleep, and have my judgment, I believe, very sound. My poor father was slightly wounded, and I am left to take care of him and my aunt. Thank God, I am very calm and composed, and able to do the best that remains to do. Write as religious a letter as possible, but no mention of what is gone and done with. With me “the former things have passed away," and I have something more to do than to feel. God Almighty have us well in his keeping ! * * *
Your own judgment will convince you not to take any notice of this yet, to your dear wife. You look after your family, - I have my reason and strength left to take care of mine. I charge you don't think of coming to see me — write. I will not see you, if you come. God Almighty love you, and all of us !
MY DEAREST FRIEND:
Your letter was an inestimable treasure to me. It will be a comfort to you, I know, to know that our prospects are somewhat brighter. My poor, dear, dearest sister, the unhappy and unconscious instrument of the Almighty's judgment to our house, is restored to her senses; to a dreadful sense and recollection of what has past, awful to her mind and impressive, as it must be to the end of life, but tempered with religious resignation, and the reasonings of a sound judgment, which, in this early stage, knows how to distinguish between a deed committed in a transient fit of frenzy, and the terrible guilt of a mother's murderer. I have seen her. I found her, this morning, calm and serene ; far, very far, from an indecent, forgetful serenity; she has a most affectionate and tender concern for what has happened. * * God be praised, Coleridge, wonderful as it is to tell, I have never once been otherwise than collected and calm ; even on the dreadful day; and in the midst of the terrible scene, I preserved a tran
quillity which bystanders may have construed into indifference -a tranquillity not of despair. Is it folly or sin in me to say that it was a religious principle that most supported me? On that first evening, my aunt was lying insensible, to all appearance, like one dying, - my father, with his poor forehead plastered over, from a wound he had received from a daughter dearly loved by him, and who loved him no less dearly, — my mother a dead and murdered corpse in the next room — yet was I wonderfully supported. I closed not my eyes in sleep that night, but lay without terrors and without despair. I have lost no sleep since. * * * One little incident may serve to make you understand my way of managing my mind. Within a day or two after the fatal one, we dressed for dinner a tongue, which we had had salted, for some weeks, in the house. As I sat down, a feeling like remorse struck me; - this tongue poor Mary got for me, and I can partake of it now, when she is far away! A thought occurred, and relieved me, — if I give in to this way of feeling, there is not a chair, a room, an object in our rooms, that will not awaken the keenest griefs ; I must rise above such weaknesses. * * *
The good lady of the mad-house, and her daughter, an elegant, sweet-behaved young lady, love Mary, and are taken with her amazingly; and I know, from her own mouth, she loves them, and longs to be with them as much. Poor thing! they say she was but the other morning saying, she knew she must go to Bethlem for life -- that she had often, as she passed Bethlem, thought it likely, “ here it may be my fate to end my days," conscious of a certain flightiness in her poor head oftentimes, and mindful of more than one severe illness of that nature before.
Mary will, I fancy, if she stays, make one of the family, rather than of the patients; and the old and young ladies I like exceedingly, and she loves dearly; and they, as the saying is, take to her very extraordinarily, if it is extraordinary that people, who see my sister, should love her. Of all the people I ever saw in the world, my poor sister was most thoroughly devoid of the least tincture of selfishness. I will enlarge upon her qualities, poor, dear, dearest soul, in a future letter, for my own comfort, for I understand her thoroughly; and, if I mistake not, in the most trying situation that a human being can be found in, she will be found, - I speak not with sufficient humility, I fear, but humanly and foolishly speaking, - she will be found, I trust, uniformly great and amiable. God keep her in her present mind, to whom be thanks and praise for all his dispensations to mankind !
THOMAS PRINGLE. 1788–1834. Thomas Pringle was engaged in the establishment of Blackwood's Magazine, and for some time was editor of Friendship's Offering. He was the author of several poems, distinguished for fine feeling and cultivated taste.
AFAR IN THE DESERT.
Afar in the desert I love to ride, With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side ; When the wild turmoil of this wearisome life, With its scenes of oppression, corruption and strife, The proud man's frown, and the base man's fear, And the scorner's laugh, and the sufferer's tear, And malice, and meanness, and falsehood, and folly, Dispose me to musing and dark melancholy; When my bosom is full, and my thoughts are high, And my soul is sick with the bondman's sighO there! there is freedom, and joy, and pride, Afar in the desert alone to ride! There is rapture to vault on the champing steed, And to bound away with the eagle's speed, With the death-fraught firelock in my hand The only law of the desert land; But 't is not the innocent to destroy, For I hate the huntsman's savage joy.
Afar in the desert I love to ride, With the silent Bush-boy alone by my side ; Away, away from the dwellings of men, By the wild deer's haunt, and the buffalo's glen, By valleys remote, where the oribi plays, Where the gnoo, the gazelle and the hartbeest graze, And the gemsbok and eland, unhunted, recline By the skirts of gray forests o'ergrown with wild vine, And the elephant browses at peace in his wood, And the river-horse gambols unscared in the flood, And the mighty rhinoceros wallows at will In the Vley where the wild ass is drinking his fill.
Afar in the desert I love to ride,