“Those eternal bells depress me. The closed shops repel me.” Explain the line from Lamb’s essay “The Superannuated Man”

This brief expression is an extract from Charles Lamb’s familiar essay, “The Superannuated Man”. The superannuated man of the essay is the author himself, who had particularly a fondness for holidays. In this connection, his attitude to the state of London on Sunday, which was his only weekly holiday, is stated.

After his hard drudgery for six days, Lamb had Sunday as his weekly holiday. But Sunday proved a total failure and could not give him the entertainment that he had sought. As a matter of fact, Lamb was a lover of the crowd, of the noise and recreation, but Sunday, as a day of worship, could not afford him any such pleasure, sight, or sound. All that he could hear was the continuous ringing of the church bell, which seem to call the devout Christian to the prayer for eternal rest. Lamb also could not find the usual, colorful interesting scenes of the streets of London. He could only see closed shops with their shut-out windows. The whole situation was only repulsive to him. He did not like such a dreary, gloomy environment of Sunday.

The passage is well illustrative of the familiar character of the Elian essay. It indicates certainly the author’s love for the crowd and noise, the sights and sounds of the city of London. There is also a fine touch of humor in the expression-‘eternal bells depress me and closed shops repel me’-—and this also serves to indicate the state of mind of the author who was sick of the dull Sunday life in London.

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