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Record 18282

Reading Experience:

'I send you some verses which I read in the Examiner; I think them very witty, although very abominable'. [What follows is Charle's Lamb's poem, 'The Triumph of the Whale': Io! Paean! Io! sing To the funny people's King. Not a mightier whale than this In the vast Atlantic is; Not a fatter fish than he Flounders round the polar sea. See his blubbers--at his gills What a world of drink he swills, From his trunk, as from a spout, Which next moment he pours out. Such his person--next declare, Muse, who his companions are.-- Every fish of generous kind Scuds aside, or slinks behind; But about his presence keep All the Monsters of the Deep; Mermaids, with their tails and singing His delighted fancy stinging; Crooked Dolphins, they surround him, Dog-like Seals, they fawn around him. Following hard, the progress mark Of the intolerant salt sea shark. For his solace and relief, Flat fish are his courtiers chief. Last and lowest in his train, Ink-fish (libellers of the main) Their black liquor shed in spite: (Such on earth the things _that write_.) In his stomach, some do say, No good thing can ever stay. Had it been the fortune of it To have swallowed that old Prophet, Three days there he'd not have dwell'd, But in one have been expell'd. Hapless mariners are they, Who beguil'd (as seamen say), Deeming him some rock or island, Footing sure, safe spot, and dry land, Anchor in his scaly rind; Soon the difference they find; Sudden plumb, he sinks beneath them; Does to ruthless seas bequeath them. Name or title what has he? Is he Regent of the Sea? From this difficulty free us, Buffon, Banks or sage Linnaeus. With his wondrous attributes Say what appellation suits. By his bulk, and by his size, By his oily qualities, This (or else my eyesight fails), This should be the PRINCE OF WHALES].
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Until: 10 Nov 1812
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: London
specific address: The Albany
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Matthew Lewis
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 9 Jul 1775
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: writer
Religion: n/a
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: Charles Lamb
Title: 'The Triumph of the Whale'
Genre: Poetry
Form of Text: Print: Serial / periodical
Publication details: printed in The Examiner
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 18282  
Source - Print  
  Author: Lady Charlotte Bury
  Editor: A.Francis Steuart
  Title: Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting, The
  Place of Publication: London
  Date of Publication: 1908
  Vol: I
  Page: 75
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Lady Charlotte Bury, A.Francis Steuart (ed.), Diary of a Lady-in-Waiting, The (London, 1908), I, p. 75,, accessed: 25 July 2024

Additional comments:

Letter from Lewis to her is included in Charlotte Bury's diary



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)