Regency Man Monday: Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb by Henry Hoppner Meyer.jpg
Charles Lamb (February 10, 1775 – December 27, 1834)

Charles Lamb was an English writer and essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children’s book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced with his sister, Mary Lamb.

He also wrote a number of poems, and was part of a literary circle in England, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth, whom he befriended. He has been referred to by E. V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as “the most lovable figure in English literature”.

The Old Familiar Faces
BY CHARLES LAMB
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 old familiar faces —

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

Further Reading:

Charles Lamb – Wikipedia
Charles Lamb – Biography
Charles Lamb – Encyclopedia Britannica
Charles Lamb – The Charles Lamb Society
Charles Lamb – Poetry Foundation

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