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ent occasion, as it has called forth a reproof so Christian-like. His animus at least (whatever become of it in the female termination) hath always been cum Christianis.
Pray make my gratefullest respects to the Poet (do I flatter myself when I hope it may be M y ?) and say how happy I should feel myself in an acquaintance with him. I will just mention that in the middle of the second column, where I have affixed a cross, the line
“One in a skeleton's ribb'd hollow cooped," is undoubtedly wrong. Should it not be
“A skeleton's rib or ribs ?" or,
"In a skeleton ribb’d, hollow-coop?d?” I perfectly remember the plate in Quarles. In the first page esoteric is pronounced esoteric. It should be (if that is the word) esotéric. The false accent may be corrected by omitting the word old. Pray, for certain reasons, give me to the 18th at farthest extremity for my next.
Poor Elia, the real (for I am but a counterfeit), is dead. The fact is, a person of that name, an Italian, was a fellow-clerk of mine at the South Sea House, thirty (not forty) years ago, when the characters I described there existed, but had left it like myself many years; and I having a brother now there, and doubting how he might relish certain descriptions in it, I clapt down the name of Elia to it, which
passed off pretty well, for Elia himself added the function of an author to that of a scrivener, like myself.
I went the other day (not having seen him for a year) to laugh over with him at my usurpation of his name, and found him, alas! no more than a name, for he died of consumption eleven months ago, and I knew not of it.
So the name has fairly devolved to me, I think; and 'tis all he has left me. . Dear sir, yours truly,
C. LAMB Messrs. Taylor & Hessey, Fleet Street, 2. . for J. Taylor, Esq.
To J. TAYLOR
December 7, 1822. DEAR SIR-I should like the enclosed Dedica. tion to be printed, unless you dislike it. I like it. It is in the olden style. But if you object to it, put forth the book as it is; only pray don't let the printer mistake the word .curt for curst.
TO THE FRIENDLY AND JUDICIOUS READER, who will take these Papers, as they were meant; not understanding everything perversely in its absolute and literal sense, but giving fais construction, as to an after-dinner con.
versation; allowing for the rashness and necessary incompleteness of first thoughts; and not remembering, for the purpose of an after taunt, words spoken peradventure after the fourth glass, the Author wishes (what he would will for himself) plenty of good friends to stand by him, good books to solace him, prosperous events to all his honest undertakings, and a candid interpretation to his most hasty words and actions. The other sort (and he hopes many of them will purchase his book too) he greets with the curt invitation of Timon, "Uncover, dogs, and lap;" or he dismisses them with the confident security of the philosopher,-"you beat but on the case of Elia.” On better consideration, pray omit that Dedication. The Essays want no Preface: they are all Preface. A Preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they do nothing else. Pray omit it.
There will be a sort of Preface in the next Magazine, which may act as an advertisement, but not proper for the volume. Let ELIA come forth bare as he was born.
C. L Messrs. Taylor and Hessey,
Booksellers, Fleet Street. No Preface.
TO BERNARD BARTON.*
January 9, 1823. "Throw yourself on the world without any rational plan of support, beyond what the chance employ of booksellers would afford you !!!"
Throw yourself rather, my dear sir, from the steep Tarpeian rock, slap-dash headlong upon iron spikes. If you had but five consolatory minutes between the desk and the bed make much of them, and live a century in them, rather than turn slave to the booksellers. They are Turks and Tartars when they have poor authors at their beck. Hitherto you have been at arm's length from them. Come not within their grasp. I have known many authors for bread, some repining, others envying the blessed security of a countinghouse, all agreeing they would rather have been tailors, weavers,--what not, rather than the things they were. I have known some starved, some to go mad, one dear friend liter, ally dying in a workhouse. You know not what a rapacious, dishonest set these booksellers are Ask even Southey, who (a single case almost) has made a fortune by book drudgery, what he
*The “Quaker poet," a bank clerk in Wood. bridge, Suffolk. His daughter married Edward Fitzgerald, who published in 1849 a volume of notections from Barton's poetry.
has found them. Oh, you know not (may you never know!) the miseries of subsisting by authorship. 'Tis a pretty appendage to a situation like yours' or mine; but a slavery, worse than all slavery, to be a bookseller's dependent, to drudge your brains for pots of ale and breasts of mutton, to change your free thoughts and voluntary numbers for ungracious task work. Those fellows hate us. The reason I také to be, that contrary to other trades, in which the master gets all the credit (a jewel. ler or silversmith for instance), and the journeyman, who really does the fine work, is in the background -in our work the world gives all the credit to us, whom they consider as their journeymen, and therefore do they hate us, and cheat us, and oppress us, and would wring the blood of us out, to put another sixpence in their mechanic pouches! I contend that a bookseller has a relative honesty towards authors, not like his honesty to the rest of the world. B., who first engaged me as "Elia,” has not paid me up yet (nor any of us without repeated mortifying appeals), yet how the knave fawned when I was of service to him! Yet I dare say the fellow is punctual in settling his milk-score, etc.
Keep to your bank, and the bank will keep you. Trust not to the public; you may hang, starve, drown yourself, for anything that worthy personage cares. I bless every star that Providence, not seeing good to make me inde, pendent, has seen it next good to settle me upon