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English essayist and humorist
(1775 - 1834)
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They are a piece of stubborn antiquity, compared with which Stonehenge is in its nonage. They date beyond the Pyramids.
      - [Jews]

This is the magnanimity of authorship, when a writer having a topic presented to him, fruitful of beauties for common minds, waives his privilege, and trusts to the judicious few for understanding the reason of his abstinence.
      - [Authorship]

To be thankful for what we grasp exceeding our proportion is to add hypocrisy to injustice.
      - [Avarice]

Vocal portraits of the national mind.
      - [Ballads]

We all have some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering it was an acquired one.
      - [Taste]

We encourage one another in mediocrity.
      - [Associates]

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.
      - [Associates]

While childhood, and while dreams, producing childhood, shall be left, imagination shall not have spread her holy wings totally to fly the earth.
      - [Children]

I ask and wish not to appear
  More beauteous, rich or gay:
    Lord, make me wiser every year,
      And better every day.
      - A Birthday Thought [Prayer]

I even think that, sentimentally, I am disposed to harmony. But organically I am incapable of a tune.
      - A Chapter of Ears [Music]

"Presents," I often say, endear Absents."
      - A Dissertation upon Roast Pig [Gifts]

For I hate, yet love thee, so
  That, whichever thing I show,
    The plain truth will seem to be
      A constrained hyperbole,
        And the passion to proceed
          More from a mistress than a weed.
      - A Farewell to Tobacco [Tobacco]

For thy sake, tobacco, I
  Would do anything but die.
      - A Farewell to Tobacco [Tobacco]

Nay, rather,
  Plant divine, of rarest virtue;
    Blisters on the tongue would hurt you.
      - A Farewell to Tobacco [Tobacco]

Thou in such a cloud dost bind us,
  That our worst foes cannot find us,
    And ill fortune, that would thwart us,
      Shoots at rovers, shooting at us;
        While each man, through thy height'ning steam,
          Does like a smoking Etna seem.
      - A Farewell to Tobacco [Tobacco]

Thou through such a mist dost show us,
  That our best friends do not know us.
      - A Farewell to Tobacco [Tobacco]

Your absence of mind we have borne, till your presence of body came to be called in question by it.
      - Amicus Redivivus [Absence]

A woman asked a coachman, "Are you full inside?" Upon which Lamb put his head through the window and said, "I am quite full inside; that last piece of pudding at Mr. Gillman's did the business for me."
      - Autobiographical Recollections,
        by Charles R. Leslie [Eating]

Damn the age; I will write for Antiquity.
      - Bon Mots by Charles Lamb and Douglas Jerrold

He might have proved a useful adjunct, if not an ornament to society.
      - Captain Starkey [Society]

Shut not thy purse-strings always against painted distress.
      - Complaint of the Decay of Beggars in the Metropolis

He hath a fair sepulchre in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure--and for such a tomb might be content to die.
      - Dissertation upon Roast Pig [Eating]

Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment.
      - Essays of Elia--Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading

What a place to be in is an old library! It seems as though all the souls of all the writers that have bequeathed their labours to these Bodleians were reposing here as in some dormitory, or middle state. I do not want to handle, to profane the leaves, their winding-sheets. I could as soon dislodge a shade. I seem to inhale learning, walking amid their foliage; and the odor of their old moth-scented coverings is fragrant as the first bloom of those sciential apples which grew amid the happy orchard.
      - Essays of Elia--Oxford in the Vacation

Not if I know myself at all.
      - Essays of Elia--The Old and the New Schoolmaster

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