Charles Lamb

(10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834 / London)

Charles Lamb Quotes

  • ''Were I Diogenes, I would not move out of a kilderkin into a hogshead, though the first had had nothing but small beer in it, and the second reeked claret.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Letter, March 28, 1809, to Thomas Manning. Vol. 2, Complete Works of Charles Lamb (1882). On his horror of moving.
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  • ''The greatest pleasure I know, is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Athenaeum (London, Jan. 4, 1834), "Table Talk by the Late Elia."
  • ''Shakespeare is one of the last books one should like to give up, perhaps the one just before the Dying Service in a large Prayer book.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. letter, Feb. 1, 1806, to William Wordsworth. Bibliophile (1840).
  • ''Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see another mountain in my life.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. letter, Jan. 30, 1801, to William Wordsworth. Complete Works, vol. 3 (1882).
  • ''He has left off reading altogether, to the great improvement of his originality.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. "Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading," The Last Essays of Elia (1833).
  • ''Borrowers of books—those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Essays of Elia, "The Two Races of Men," (1820-23).
  • ''The human species, according to the best theory I can form of it, is composed of two distinct races, the men who borrow and the men who lend.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Essays of Elia, "The Two Races of Men," (1820-1823).
  • ''Not many sounds in life ... exceed in interest a knock at the door.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Essays of Elia, "Valentine's Day," (1820-1823).
  • ''Boys are capital fellows in their own way, among their mates; but they are unwholesome companions for grown people.''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Essays of Elia, "The Old and the New Schoolmaster," (1820-1823).
  • ''"Presents," I often say, "endear absents."''
    Charles Lamb (1775-1834), British essayist, critic. Essays of Elia, "A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig," (1820-23).

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Best Poem of Charles Lamb

A Vision Of Repentance

I saw a famous fountain, in my dream,
Where shady path-ways to a valley led;
A weeping willow lay upon that stream,
And all around the fountain brink were spread
Wide branching trees, with dark green leaf rich clad,
Forming a doubtful twilight-desolate and sad.


The place was such, that whoso enter'd in,
Disrobed was of every earthly thought,
And straight became as one that knew not sin,
Or to the world's first innocence was brought;
Enseem'd it now, he stood on holy ground,
In sweet and tender melancholy wrapt around.


A most strange calm ...

Read the full of A Vision Of Repentance

A Ballad

In a costly palace Youth goes clad in gold;
In a wretched workhouse Age's limbs are cold:
There they sit, the old men by a shivering fire,
Still close and closer cowering, warmth is their desire.

In a costly palace, when the brave gallants dine,
They have store of good venison, with old canary wine,
With singing and music to heighten the cheer;
Coarse bits, with grudging, are the pauper's best fare.

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