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affairs of life, he has left a name which moves our mingled pity and admiration. His chief pictures were "Dentatus," "Christ's entry into Jerusalem," "The Judgment of Solomon," and "Napoleon at St. Helena." His " Journal," from which this extract is taken, is a delightful book of literary anecdote. Haydon was born in 1786: he died in 1846.
In December Wordsworth was in town, and as Keats wished to know him, I made up a party to dinner of Charles Lamb, Wordsworth, Keats, and Monkhouse his friend, and a very pleasant party we had.
I wrote to Lamb and told him the address was 22, Lisson Grove, North, at Rossi's, half-way up, right-hand corner. I received his characteristic reply—
"My Dear Haydon,
"I will come with pleasure to 22, Lisson Grove, North, at Rossi's, half-way up, right hand corner, if I can find it.
"C. Lamb." "20, Russell Court, Covent Garden, East,
Half way up, next the corner, left-hand side."
On December 28th the immortal dinner came off, in my painting room, with Jerusalem towering up behind us on a background. Wordsworth was in fine cue, and we had a set-to on Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, and Virgil. Lamb got exceedingly merry and exquisitely witty; and his fun, in the midst of Wordsworth's solemn intonations of oratory, was like the sarcasm and wit of the fool in the intervals of Lear's passion. Lamb soon got delightfully merry. He made a speech and voted me absent, and made them drink my health.
"Now," said Lamb, "you old lake poet—you rascally poet, why do you call Voltaire dull?"
We a 1 defended Wordsworth, and affirmed there was a state of mind when Voltaire would be dull.
"Well," said Lamb, "here's Voltaire, the Messiah of the French nation, and a very proper one, too." He then in a strain of humour beyond description abused me for putting Newton's head into my picture. "A fellow," said he, " who believed nothing unless it was as clear as the three sides of a triangle." And then he and Keats agreed he had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to the prismatic colours. It was impossible to resist him, and we all drank "Newton's health, and confusion to mathematics." It was delightful to see the good-humour of Wordsworth in giving in to all our frolics without affectation, and laughing as heartily as the best of us.
By this time other friends joined, amongst them poor Eitchie, who was going to penetrate by Fezzan to Timbuctoo. I introduced him to all "as a gentleman going to Africa." Lamb seemed to take no notice; but all of a sudden he roared out "Which is the gentleman we are going to lose?" We then drank the victim's health, in which Ritchie joined.
In the morning of this delightful day a gentleman, a perfect stranger, had called on me. He said he knew my friends; had an enthusiasm for Wordsworth; and begged I would procure him the happiness of an introduction. He told me he was a comptroller of stamps, and often had correspondence with the poet. I thought it a liberty, but still, as he seemed a gentleman, I told him he might come.
When we retired to tea we found the Comptroller. In introducing him to Wordsworth I forgot to say who he was. After a little time the Comptroller looked down, looked up, and said to Wordsworth, "Don't you think, sir, Milton was a great genius?" Keats looked at me. Wordsworth looked at the Comptroller. Lamb, who was dozing at the fire, turned round and said, " Pray, sir, did you say Milton was a great genius?" "No, sir; I asked Mr. Wordsworth if he were not." "Oh," said Lamb, "then you are a silly fellow." "Charles,—my dear Charles," said Wordsworth; but Lamb, perfectly innocent of the confusion he had created, was off again by the fire.
After an awful pause the Comptroller said, "Don't you think Newton a great genius?" I could not stand it any longer. Keats put his head into my books. Ritchie squeezed in a laugh. Wordsworth seemed asking himself, "Who is this?" Lamb got up, and taking a candle, said, "Sir, will you allow me to look at your phrenological development?" He then turned his back on the poor man, and at every question of the Comptroller he chanted
"Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,
The man in office finding Wordsworth did not know who he was, said in a spasmodic and half-chuckling anticipation of easy victory, "I have had the honour of some correspondence with you, Mr. Wordsworth." "With me, sir?" said Wordsworth; "not that I remember." "Don't you, sir? I am a Comptroller of stamps." There was a dead silence, the Comptroller evidently thinking that was enough. While we were waiting for Wordsworth's reply, Lamb sung out,
"Hey diddle, diddle,
"My dear Charles," said Wordsworth.
"Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,"
chanted Lamb; and then rising exclaimed, "Do let me have another look at that gentleman's organs?" Keats and I hurried Lamb into the painting room, shut the door, and gave way to inextinguishable laughter. Monkhouse followed and tried to get Lamb away. We went back, but the Comptroller was irreconcileable. We soothed and smiled, and asked him to supper. He stayed, though his dignity was sorely affected. However, being a good-natured man, we parted all in good humour, and no ill effects followed.
All the while, until Monkhouse succeeded, we could hear Lamb struggling in the painting room, and calling at intervals, "Who is that fellow? Allow me to see his organs once more?"
It was indeed an immortal evening. Wordsworth's fine intonation as he quoted Milton and Virgil, Keats's eager, inspired look, Lamb's quaint sparkle of lambent humour, so speeded the stream of conversation that in my life I never passed a more delightful time. All our fun was within bounds. Not a word passed that an apostle might not have listened to. It was a night worthy of the Elizabethan age, and my solemn Jerusalem flashing up by the flame of the fire, with Christ hanging over us like a vision, all made up a picture which will long glow upon
"That inward eye, Which is the hliss of solitude."
Keats made Eitchie promise he would carry his Endymion to the great desert of Sahara, and fling it in the midst.
Poor Ritchie went to Africa and died, as Lamb foresaw, in 1819. Keats died in 1821 at Rome. C. Lamb is gone, joking to the last.
Monkhouse is dead, and Wordsworth and I are the only two now living (1841) of that glorious party.
Notes. — Wordsworth, William. — A fine English poet. Born, 1795; died at great English poet. Born, 1770; died, Koine, of consumption, in 1821, at the 1850. His principal poem is called age of 26. See Endymion. Lamb, Charles. "The Excursion;" but it is on his —One of the finest of our English essayshorter poems that his fame rests per- ists, and, in life, one of the most genial haps most securely. Keats, John.—A and kindly of men. He used the pseudonym Elia in writing' his most famous flippant irreverence. He had faith in essays. His kindness to his sister is one nothing, in fact, except in his own surof the mosttouchingandheautifulstories passing merits. Christ.—In the picture in the annals of a brother's love. Born, of "The Entry," &c. Endymion.—The 1775; died, 1834. Buried at Edmonton. principal poem of Keats. Ritchie.—An Monkhouse.—An unknown friend of African traveller. Newton, Sir Isaac.— Keats. Jerusalem.—Haydon's picture of Born, 1642; died, 1727. One of the Christ's entry into Jerusalem. Homer, greatest of English men of science. To &c—See notes to other extracts. Lear. him we owe the discovery of the law of —One of the tragedies of Shakspere. gravitation and the final solution of the Voltaire.— A famous French writer. laws of the Solar System. Fezzan.—The Born, 1694; died, 1778. A clever, vain, region south of Tripoli, in Africa, rimworthless man. Right in his hatred of buctoo.—An inland African city on the tyranny, he was worse than wrong in his Niger.
A GREAT SOLAR ERUPTION.—R. A. Proctor, M.A.
An eminent living writer on Astronomy. He has published manybooks, and his papers in Good Words and other periodicals are equally delightful and instructive.
A Mass of cloudlike form seemed as though suspended in the solar atmosphere upon five bright stems or stalks. I know no better way of describing the appearance of this object than by comparing it to what may be seen at night in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, and elsewhere in the midland regions, when enormous chimneys pour forth masses of smoke into the air, the issuing smoke being intensely illuminated by the glowing fires beneath, while there hangs a vast mass of smoke over the whole district, illuminated (but far less brilliantly) by the fiery columns which seem to stand above the furnaces. It had remained, with very little change, since the preceding noon—a long, low, quiet-looking cloud, not very dense or brilliant, nor in any way remarkable except for its size. It was made up mostly of filaments nearly horizontal, with its lower surface at a height of some 15,000 miles, but was connected with the mass below, as is usually the case, by three or four vertical columns, brighter and more active than the rest. The dimensions of this cloud were not extraordinary compared with those of other objects of the class, though by comparison with all our terrestrial measurements they appear simply stupendous. It was about 100,000 miles long, and about 54,000 miles high. In other words, twelve globes, such as this earth on which we live, might be set in a row without exceeding the length of this monstrous cloud; while six such globes, standing one upon the other, would not have equalled it in height.
At half-past twelve there were some indications of an approaching change. They were but slight, however. One of the smoke-columns of my illustration had become exceedinglybright, and was curiously bent to one side; and near the base of another a little brilliant lump had developed itself, shaped much like those white masses of cloud which are sometimes