Wide World of Quotes > Charles Lamb Quotes


Charles Lamb
English writer
(1775-1834)



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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.
-- "The Old Familiar Faces" (1798).

I came home ... hungry as a hunter.
-- Letter to D. Wordsworth, 1821

"Presents," I often say, "endear Absents."
-- "A Dissertation on Roast Pig", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

We are nothing; less than nothing, and dreams. We are only what might have been, and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before we have existence, and a name."
-- "Dream Children", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair.
-- "Imperfect Sympathies", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

In everything that relates to science, I am a whole Encyclopaedia behind the rest of the world.
-- "The Old and New Schoolmaster", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

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.
-- "The Two Races of Men", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

Your borrowers of books—those mutilators of collections, spoilers of the symmetry of shelves, and creators of odd volumes.
-- "The Two Races of Men", in: Essays of Elia (1823)

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.
-- "Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading", in: Last Essays of Elia (1833)

I can read anything which I call a book. There are things in that shape which I cannot allow for such. In this catalogue of books which are no books -- biblia a-biblia -- I reckon Court Calendars, Directories, ... Almanacs, Statures at Large, the works of Hume, Gibbon, ... and, generally, all those volumes which "no gentleman's library should be without."
-- "Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading", in: Last Essays of Elia (1833)

Things in books' clothing.
-- "Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading", in: Last Essays of Elia (1833)

A pun is a pistol let off at the ear; not a feather to tickle the intellect.
"Popular Fallacies": IX, in: Last Essays of Elia (1833)

If peradventure, Reader, it has been thy lot to waste the golden years of thy life—thy shining youth—in the irksome confinement of an office; to have thy prison days prolonged through middle age down to decrepitude and silver hairs, without hope of release or respite; to have lived to forget that there are such things as holidays, or to remember them but as the prerogatives of childhood; then, and then only, will you be able to appreciate my deliverance.
-- “The superannuated man”, in: Last Essays of Elia (1833)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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