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1832

CVI.

TO MR. MOXON [1].

February, 1832.

Dear Moxon,--The snows are ankle-deep, slush, and mire, that 't is hard to get to the post-office, and cruel to send the maid out. 'Tis a slough of despair, or I should sooner have thanked you for your offer of the "Life," which we shall very much like to have, and will return duly. I do not know when I shall be in town, but in a week or two at farthest, when I will come as far as you, if I can. We are moped to death with confinement within doors, I send you a curiosity of G. Dyer's tender conscience. Between thirty and forty years since, George published the "Poet's Fate," in which were two very harmless lines about Mr. Rogers; but Mr. R. not quite approving of them, they were left out in a subsequent edition, 1801. But George has been worrying about them ever since; if I have heard him once, I have heard him a hundred times express a remorse proportioned to a consciousness of having been guilty of an atrocious libel. As the devil would have it, a fool they call Barker, in his "Parriana" has quoted the identical two lines as they stood in some obscure edition anterior to 1801, and the withers of poor George are again wrung, His letter is a gem: with his poor blind eyes it has been labored out at six sittings. The history of the couplet is in page 3 of this irregular production, in which every variety of shape and size that letters can be twisted into is to be found. Do show his part of it to Mr. Rogers some day. If he has bowels, they must melt at the contrition so queerly charactered of a contrite sinner. G. was born, I verily think, without original sin, but chooses to have a conscience, as every Christian gentleman should have; his dear old face is insusceptible of the twist they call a sneer, yet he is apprehensive of being suspected of that ugly appearance. When he makes a compliment, he thinks he has given an affront,--a name is personality. But show (no hurry) this unique recantation to Mr. Rogers: 't is like a dirty pocket-handerchief mucked with tears of some indigent Magdalen. There is the impress of sincerity in every pot-hook and hanger; and then the gilt frame to such a pauper picture! It should go into the Museum.

[1] Lamb's future publisher. He afterwards became the husband of Lamb's protégée, Emma Isola.


Charles Lamb

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