1866 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Charles Lamb

Bryan Waller Procter, in Charles Lamb: a Memoir (1866) 162-63.



As a comprehension of all delights he loved London; with its bustle and its living throngs of men and women; its shops, its turns and windings; the cries and noises of trade and life; beyond all other things. He liked also old buildings and out-of-the-way places; colleges; solemn churchyards, round which the murmuring thousands floated unheeding. In particular he was fond of visiting, in his short vacations, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Although (he writes) "Mine have been anything but studious hours," he professes to have received great solace from those "repositories of 'mouldering' learning." "What a place to be is an old library!" he exclaims, "where the souls of old writers seem reposing, as in some dormitory of middle state." The odor of the "moth-scented" coverings of the old books is "as fragrant as the blooms of the tree of knowledge which grew in the happy orchard."