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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.


Charles Lamb (1775–1834)

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 forewarning?