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

The Old Familiar Faces

I HAVE had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days--
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies--
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a Love once, fairest among women:
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her--
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man:
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar ...

Read the full of The Old Familiar Faces

As When A Child...

As when a child on some long winter's night
Affrighted clinging to its Grandam's knees
With eager wond'ring and perturbed delight
Listens strange tales of fearful dark decrees
Muttered to wretch by necromantic spell;
Or of those hags, who at the witching time
Of murky midnight ride the air sublime,
And mingle foul embrace with fiends of Hell:
Cold Horror drinks its blood! Anon the tear

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