things, and that our ancestors wandered to and fro groping! I am not the man to decide the limits of civil and ecclesiastical authority I am plain Elia no Selden nor Archbishop Usher though at present in the thick of their books, here in the heart of learning, under the shadow of the mighty Bodley. In effect, Hull shows Lamb turning traditional rural/urban imagery on its head. Commenced life, after a course of hard study in the house of 'pure Emmanuel as usher to a knavish fanatic schoolmaster at * * at a salary of eight pounds per annum, with board and lodging. He was a regular contributor to the London Magazine, in which the Essays of Elia first appeared. In the first place * * * and then it sends you home with such increased appetite to your books * * * not to say, that your outside sheets, and waste wrappers of foolscap, do receive into them, most kindly and naturally, the impression.
At the very time when, personally encountering thee, he passes on with no recognition - or, being stopped, starts like a thing surprised - at that moment, Reader, he is on Mount Tabor - or Parnassus - or co-sphered with Plato - or, with Harrington. Indeed, one of Hull's most interesting arguments is that the work of famous essayists of the period-Lamb, Hunt, Hazlitt, De Quincey-actually constitutes a genre not necessarily defined by the essay form itself but by an ethos of Romantic metropolitanism. How it staggered me to see the fine things in their ore! Yet here and in later chapters, Hull insists that the very act of contributing them to periodicals makes Lamb's essays political. Only in a custom of such long standing, methinks, if their Holinesses the Bishops had, in decency, been first sounded but I am wading out of my depths. I confess that it is my humour, my fancy in the forepart of the day, when the mind of your man of letters requires some relaxation (and none better than such as at first sight seems most abhorrent from his beloved studies) to while away. Or what half Januses are we, that cannot look forward with the same idolatry with which we for ever revert!