1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lamb

William Clarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie, in The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most eminent Persons who have flourished in Great Britain (1832-34) 3:580-81.



CHARLES LAMB, better known by his literary appellation of Elia, and so celebrated for his essays under that name, is a native of London, and was educated at Christ's Hospital. In early life, he was intimate with Southey, Coleridge, and Lloyd; and made his first appearance in print, as an author of some blank verse, by himself and Charles Lloyd. In the same year, (1798,) he published A Tale of Rosamond Grey and Old Blind Margaret; in 1802, a tragedy, called John Woodville; and, in 1807, two small volumes of Tales from Shakspeare. About the same time, he brought out an unsuccessful farce at Drury Lane, entitled Mr. H. An edition of all his works, up to that time, appeared in 1818. Mr. Lamb held, for some years, a situation in the accomptant-general's office at the India house, and was long connected with The London Magazine, to which he contributed numerous articles of great originality. His poetry is quaint, and something in the style of Coleridge, in its philosophical simplicity, if we may use the term; but between them, as poets, there is no other resemblance. As a prose writer for a periodical work, Mr. Lamb stands at the head of his class. Indeed, the Essays of Elia may be said to have formed an era in magazine literature.