Monday, June 23, 2008


Dry Drudgery

Charles Lamb, Work:
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?
Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
Task ever plies 'mid rotatory burnings,
That round and round incalculably reel—
For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel—
In that red realm from which are no returnings;
Where toiling, and turmoiling, ever and aye
He, and his thoughts, keep pensive working-day.
Lamb sent this sonnet to Hazlitt in a letter dated July 19, 1824. Lamb had also called Satan sabbathless in an 1815 letter to Matilda Bentham.

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