12 November: The old familiar faces.

Charles Lamb again. The day of horrors  describes his mother's death exactly. Charles's sister Mary, in a fit of madness, stabbed her to death.


THE OLD FAMILIAR FACES 

Where are they gone, the old familiar faces? 
I had a mother, but she died, and left me,
Died prematurely in a day of horrors—
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

 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 seem'd 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. 

For 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. 

January, 1797 

From The Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb.

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