The Old Familiar Faces

Original Text: 
Charles and Mary Lamb, Poems and Plays (London: Methuen, 1912): 25-26. PR 4860 A2 1912 Trinity College Library. From The Works of Charles Lamb (London: Ollier, 1818), 2 vols. B-10 7222 Fisher Rare Book Library.
2In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
3All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
4I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
5Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
6All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
7I loved a love once, fairest among women;
8Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her --
9All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
10I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
11Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
12Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.
13Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
14Earth seemed a desart I was bound to traverse,
15Seeking to find the old familiar faces.
16Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
17Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
18So might we talk of the old familiar faces --
19How some they have died, and some they have left me,
20And some are taken from me; all are departed;
21All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.


1] Lucas (323) gives the following note:
In its 1798 form the poem began with this stanza: --
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.
And the last stanza began with the word "For," and italicised the words
And some are taken from me.
I am inclined to think from this italicisation that it was Mary Lamb's new seizure that was the real impulse of the poem.
Of course it was Mary Lamb who, when insane, killed their mother in 1796. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Charles Lloyd and Charles Lamb, Blank Verse
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 2000.