1. Certain it is that………type it.
In these lines, culled (selected) from Charles Lamb’s Reverie; Dream Children, there is a reference to Mrs. Field, the great grandmother of the children. She lived in a great house in Norfolk. It was believed that this great house is hundred times bigger than that in which they lived and had been the scene of the tragic incidents with which they had become familiar from the ballad of the children in the Wood. This ballad, this dance-song known as ‘The Babes in the Wood’ is the tragic tale of two little orphans whose uncle got them murdered. The children were ill- treated by their cruel uncle. Their grief ended in death. They died in one another’s arm. They did not receive the burial of any man. But birds called Robin Redbreast rest piously covered there with leaves. The whole story of the unfortunate babes could be seen fairly carved out in wood upon the chimney-piece of the great hall. But a foolish rich person purchased the great house. Lamb in his fantasy, records the reactions of Alice, the daughter of his fancy, to the reference to the tragic story of children in the woods. Alice was deeply moved by the ballad. She was deeply saddened by the tragic-death of the children cruelly treated by their uncle.
2. Then I told how she was yet I never saw the infants.
These lines occur in Charles Lamb’s romantic personal essay, ‘Dream Children’. Here the essayist is in a reminiscent mood. He tells the children of his fancy-Alice and John-about great-grandmother Mrs. Field. She lived in a great house. She used to ‘sleep alone in a big apartment in the deserted mansion.’ She believed that the spirit of the two babes could be seen at midnight. The ghost was seen moving slowly up and down the long stair- case. She slept near the stair-case haunted by the spirits of the babes. She confidently said that the innocent babes in their bodily form would not cause her any injury. Lamb recalls how he was afraid of the ghosts, though in his childhood, he slept with his maid because he was not half so religious and pure as Mrs. Field. Yet Lamb never saw the spirits of the infants.
3. Here John expanded all his eye-bows and tried to look courageous.
In these lines, selected from his fanciful essay, ‘Dream Children”, Charles Lamb records the imaginary reactions of his dream-son, John, to the story of ‘Babes in the Wood’. People were moved by the cruelty of their uncle to the babes, who died in the Wood. They were afraid of the spirit of the innocent babes. Even Charles Lamb, the essayist, was afraid of the spirit of the babes. John, the son of Lamb’s fancy, tried to show in his child-like, innocent way, how he was not afraid of ghosts in the least. He widened his eye-brows and made an attempt to appear bold. These are realistic touches. There is a blend of realism and fancy in the essay. The basis of the essay is the wistful thinking of Charles Lamb. His bachelor life thirsts for children. He shows them as real children, children in flesh and blood.
4. I had more pleasure in strolling about………at their impertinent friskings.
These lines occur in Charles Lamb’s Reverie “Dream Children”. Here the essayist is in a reminiscent mood. Like Wordsworth, he recollects his emotions in tranquillity. He tells the children of his fancy-Alice and John- about his wanderings in the garden attached to Mrs. Field’s-his grand- mother’s big house. He found intense joy in wandering in the garden. There were strange Yew trees with sad looks. There were tall fir trees. Charles Lamb in his boyhood, took intense pleasure in picking up the red berries and the fir apples.
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The fir apples had nothing substantial about them; they were not really fruits, they were simply beautiful in appearance. Lamb as a boy found pleasure in lying about upon the new grass. He enjoyed the sweet smell of fruits and flowers in the garden. For him there was great joy in enjoying the sunshine in the midst of orange trees. The pleasure of the garden gave him the feeling of getting ripe like the fruits, the oranges and the limes (lemons) in that pleasant warmth. There was also great joy in observing the dace (a variety of fish) that rushed hither and thither in the fish-pond at the low area garden. At places a pike (another variety of fish) keeping itself suspended down the water motionlessly. It appeared that the pike made fun of the moments of the little fishes which showed their rudeness to the big fish. the majestic pike the king of fishes.
5. I had more pleasure…….relinquish them for the present as irrelevant.
In these lines, from Charles Lamb’s fine personal essay, ‘Dream Children, there is a detailed description of the author’s pleasure in strolling about the garden attached to the great House of Mrs. Field, his grand-mother. The author got intense joy in his frolics in the garden. These pleasures were far greater than the sweet, pleasant, delicious smells of peaches, nectarines, oranges and fruits which usually tempt and lure children to eat them.
This essay is written about Lamb’s two children of fancy-John and Alice. Here the reactions of John to the narration of the joyful life in the big garden are vividly and realistically described. John was deeply influenced by his dear papa’s likes and dislikes. Lamb’s deep love for nature had a stimulating effect on his dream-child, John. John cleverly and intelligently put back upon the plate a bunch of grapes. He had thought of taking some grapes from Alice’s share without being noticed by the sister of fancy, Both the dream children appeared to be willing to give up the pleasures of eating fruits for the greatness of listening to ‘their papa’s charming account of his pleasures in the great garden.
6. I missed his kindness………..took off his limb.
In these lines, taken from his dream-fantasy, ‘Dream Children”, Charles Lamb refers, in a mood of recollection, to his brother and their uncle, John Lamb. He recalls that his grand-mother, Mrs. Field was fond of all her grandchildren but she was particularly fond of John Lamb, Charle’s brother. John Lamb was a very handsome and adventurous young man. He was a king of the children, their supreme boss. Instead of moving secretly or loafing in lonely. places, like some of the children, he would ride on the most mischieveous horse when he was just a little child of the age of John and Alice, Charles Lamb’s children of fancy. John Lamb would mount on the unruly horse and compel it to take him half across the country on a morning. He would join the hunters. Mrs. Field admired him most. The essayist here refers to his being lame. At that time, he could not walk as he was a cripple. He was physically handicapped. Next the essayist refers to the untimely death his brother, John Lamb. He was ever remained of the charitable nature of his handsome brother. He missed also his anger and irritations at his physical inability of being lame-footed. He missed the vexed temper of John Lamb. Though they sometimes had disputes, he missed him greatly, John Lamb’s limb had to be amputated on account of serious injury. The author shared his sufferings. The emotional reaction of the children of fancy are here vividly projected. The children began to weep and cry. They wanted to know whether they were in a state of mourning for their uncle. They begged Charles Lamb to stop telling about their uncle. They wanted to know about their dear mother.