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any beloved 'mild-eyed maid.' And did there not remain to console him that life-long comrade, his pipe, the parting from which for a season he celebrates in a piece of mirthful fantasy that would readily run from verse into the quaint prose of Elia? For less pensive companionship he had now and again little Hartley Coleridge, or Thornton Hunt, a guileless traitor enduring imprisonment with his father when Lamb addressed him in verse. Nor in those innocent days of albums was Elia unacquainted with maiden-petitioners-Edith Southey, Dora Wordsworth, Lucy Barton-bashful yet intent to acquire the autograph. Lamb's deeper and sadder heart lay for the most part in quiet concealment; but once at least, in the mournful music of his Old Familiar Faces, its monody is heard.



When maidens such as Hester die,
Their place ye may not well supply,
Though ye among a thousand try,
With vain endeavour.

A month or more hath she been dead,
Yet cannot I by force be led
To think upon the wormy bed,
And her together.

A springy motion in her gait,
A rising step, did indicate
Of pride and joy no common rate,
That flushed her spirit.

I know not by what name beside
I shall it call:if 'twas not pride,
It was a joy to that allied,
She did inherit.

Her parents held the Quaker rule,
Which doth the human feeling cool,
But she was train'd in Nature's school,
Nature had blest her.

A waking eye, a prying mind,

A heart that stirs, is hard to bind,

A hawk's keen sight ye cannot blind,
Ye could not Hester.

My sprightly neighbour, gone before
To that unknown and silent shore,
Shall we not meet, as heretofore,
Some summer morning,

When from thy cheerful eyes a ray
Hath struck a bliss upon the day,
A bliss that would not go away,
A sweet fore-warning?


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.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her-
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like I paced round the haunts of my childhood,
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,

Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
So might we talk of the oid familiar faces-

How some they have died, and some they have let me,
And some are taken from me; all are departed;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.


On the green hill top,

Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof,
And not distinguished from its neighbour-barn,
Save by a slender-tapering length of spire,
The Grandame sleeps. A plain stone barely tells
The name and date to the chance passenger.

For lowly born was she, and long had eat,
Well-earned, the bread of service :-hers was else
A mounting spirit, one that entertained
Scorn of base action, deed dishonourable,
Or aught unseemly. I remember well
Her reverend image: I remember, too,

With what a zeal she served her master's house:
And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age
Delighted to recount the oft-told tale

Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was,
And wondrous skilled in genealogies,

And could in apt and voluble terms discourse
Of births, of titles, and alliances;
Of marriages, and intermarriages;
Relationship remote, or near of kin;
Of friends offended, family disgraced-
Maiden high-born, but wayward, disobeying
Parental strict injunction, and regardless
Of unmixed blood, and ancestry remote,
Stooping to wed with one of low degree.
But these are not thy praises; and I wrong
Thy honoured memory, recording chiefly
Things light or trivial. Better 'twere to tell,
How with a nobler zeal, and warmer love,
She served her heavenly master. I have seen
That reverend form bent down with age and pain,
And rankling malady. Yet not for this
Ceased she to praise her Maker, or withdrew
Her trust in him, her faith, and humble hope-
So meekly had she learned to bear her cross-
For she had studied patience in the school
Of Christ, much comfort she had thence derived,
And was a follower of the Nazarene.


I saw where in the shroud did lurk

A curious frame of Nature's work.
A floweret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,
Was in her cradle coffin lying;

Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying:
So soon to exchange the imprisoning womb
For darker closets of the tomb !

She did but ope an eye, and put

A clear beam forth, then straight up shut

For the long dark: ne'er more to see
Through glasses of mortality.

Riddle of destiny, who can show

What thy short visit meant, or know

What thy errand here below?

Shall we say, that Nature blind

Checked her hand, and changed her mind,

Just when she had exactly wrought

A finished pattern without fault?

Could she flag, or could she tire,

Or lacked she the Promethean fire

(With her nine moons' long workings sickened)
That should thy little limbs have quickened?
Limbs so firm, they seemed to assure
Life of health, and days mature :
Woman's self in miniature!
Limbs so fair, they might supply
(Themselves now but cold imagery)
The sculptor to inake Beauty by.
Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry,
That babe, or mother, one must die;
So in mercy left the stock,

And cut the branch; to save the shock
Of young years widowed; and the pain,
When Single State comes back again

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