Quotes by Charles Lamb

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Charles Lamb (10 February 1775 - 27 July 1834) was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb (17641847).

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Pain is life -- the sharper, the more evidence of life.

Tis the privilege of friendship to talk nonsense, and have her nonsense respected.
My motto is: Contented with little, yet wishing for more.
Don't introduce me to that man! I want to go on hating him, and I can't hate a man whom I know.
We gain nothing by being with such as ourselves. We encourage one another in mediocrity. I am always longing to be with men more excellent than myself.
Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever puts one down without the feeling of disappointment.
A laugh is worth a hundred groans in any market.
The greatest pleasure I know, is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident.
I love to lose myself in other men's minds. When I am not walking, I am reading. I cannot sit and think; books think for me.
The vices of some men are magnificent.
The teller of a mirthful tale has latitude allowed him. We are content with less than absolute truth.
A pun is not bound by the laws which limit nicer wit. It is a pistol let off at the ear; not a feather to tickle the intellect.
For God's sake (I never was more serious) don't make me ridiculous any more by terming me gentle-hearted in print... substitute drunken dog, ragged head, seld-shaven, odd-eyed, stuttering, or any other epithet which truly and properly belongs to the gentleman in question.
Riches are chiefly good because they give us time.
In everything that relates to science, I am a whole Encyclopaedia behind the rest of the world.
How a sickness enlarges the dimensions of a man's self to himself! He is his own exclusive object. Supreme selfishness is inculcated in him as his only duty,
Why are we never quite at ease in the presence of a schoolmaster? Because we are conscious that he is not quite at his ease in ours. He is awkward, and out of place in the society of his equals. He comes like Gulliver from among his little people, and he cannot fit the stature of his understanding to yours.
He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides.
Lawyers I suppose were children once.
The man must have a rare recipe for melancholy, who can be dull in Fleet Street.
To be sick is to enjoy monarchical prerogatives.
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.
Presents, I often say, endear absents.
Separate from the pleasure of your company, I don't much care if I never see another mountain in my life.
The red-letter days, now become, to all intents and purposes, dead-letter days.
The beggar wears all colors fearing none.
A poor relation is the most irrelevant thing in nature, a piece of impertinent correspondence, an odious approximation, a haunting conscience, a preposterous shadow, lengthening in the noon-tide of our prosperity. He is known by his knock.
Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them.
Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.
When I consider how little of a rarity children are -- that every street and blind alley swarms with them -- that the poorest people commonly have them in most abundance -- that there are few marriages that are not blest with at least one of these bargains -- how often they turn out ill, and defeat the fond hopes of their parents, taking to vicious courses, which end in poverty, disgrace, the gallows, etc. -- I cannot for my life tell what cause for pride there can possibly be in having them.
Cards are war, in disguise of a sport.
Boys are capital fellows in their own way, among their mates; but they are unwholesome companions for grown people.
Borrowers of books --those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes.
He has left off reading altogether, to the great improvement of his originality.
The beggar is the only person in the universe not obliged to study appearance.
It was like passing out of Time into Eternity--for it is a sort of Eternity for a man to have his Time all to himself.
How swift have flown To me thy girlish times, a woman grown Beneath my heedless eyes! in vain I rack My fancy to believe the almanac, That speaks thee Twenty-One.
Array'd--a half-angelic sight--In vests of pure Baptismal white, The Mother to the Font doth bring The little helpless nameless thing, With hushes soft and mild caressing, At once to get--a name and blessing.
Riddle of destiny, who can show What thy short visit meant, or know What thy errand here below? Shall we say, that Nature blind Check'd her hand, and changed her mind, Just when she had exactly wrought A finish'd pattern without fault?
I could never hate anyone I knew.
In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnizing our proper birth-day hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand any thing in it beyond cake and orange.
No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam.
This is the day on which those charming little missives, ycleped Valentines, cross and inter-cross each other at every street and turning. The weary and all forespent two-penny postman sinks beneath a load of delicate embarrassments, not his own.
Good morrow to my Valentine, sings poor Ophelia; and no better wish, but with better auspices, we wish to all faithful lovers, who are not too wise to despise old legends, but are content to rank themselves humble diocesans of old Bishop Valentine, and his true church.
Who first invented work, and bound the free And holyday-rejoicing spirit down To the ever-haunting importunity Of business in the green fields, and the town--To plough, loom, anvil, spade--and oh! most sad, To that dry drudgery at the desk's dead wood?
Gluttony and surfeiting are no proper occasions for thanksgiving.
Where, though I, by sour physician, Am debarr'd the full fruition Of thy favours, I may catch Some collateral sweets, and snatch Sidelong odours, that give life Like glances from a neighbour's wife; And still live in the by-places And the suburbs of thy graces; And in thy borders take delight.
I must have leave, in the fulness of my soul, to regret the abolition, and doing away-with altogether, of those consolatory interstices and sprinklings of freedom, through the four seasons,--the red-letter days, now become, to all intents and purposes, dead-letter days. . . . These were bright visitations in a scholar's and clerk's life--"far off their coming shone."
I own that I am disposed to say grace upon twenty other occasions in the course of the day besides my dinner. I want a form for setting out upon a pleasant walk, for a moonlight ramble, for a friendly meeting, or a solved problem. Why have we none for books, these spiritual repasts--a grace before Milton--a grace before Shakespeare--a devotional exercise proper to be said before reading The Fairie Queene ?

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