The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 519 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4.

        O!  I could laugh to hear the midnight wind,
        That, rushing on its way with careless sweep,
        Scatters the ocean waves.  And I could weep
        Like to a child.  For now to my raised mind
        On wings of winds comes wild-eyed Phantasy,
        And her rude visions give severe delight. 
        O winged bark! how swift along the night
        Pass’d thy proud keel! nor shall I let go by
        Lightly of that drear hour the memory,
        When wet and chilly on thy deck I stood,
        Unbonnetted, and gazed upon the flood,
        Even till it seemed a pleasant thing to die,—­
        To be resolv’d into th’ elemental wave,
        Or take my portion with the winds that rave.



(Summer, 1796.  Text of 1818)

On the green hill top,
Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof,
And not distinguish’d 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:—­her’s was else
A mounting spirit, one that entertained
Scorn of base action, deed dishonorable,
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 honor’d 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 learn’d 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.


        (Summer, 1795. Text of 1818)

Project Gutenberg
The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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