The Old Familiar Faces by Charles Lamb

He is more famous for his essays. When we say essay, we often think of boring prose pieces about uninteresting things that we would rather not waste our time upon. However, ‘Essays of Elia’ written by Charles Lamb are far from such dull discourses. They thrive with Lamb’s wit and melt your heart with the poignancy that lies hidden under the brilliantly humorous lines.

Charles Lamb loved life and all its myriad shades. More than dwelling into the silent world of nature, it was the human life with all its joys, sorrows, freaks and foibles that inspired him and tickled his fancy. His essays are all alive with such characters that are real, ordinary, a bit quirky too, sometimes. We all come across such characters all the time. But while we just pass them by, Lamb observed them, loved them for their quirks and foibles, laughed at them and with them and ingrained them in the texture of his wonderful essays.

Charles Lamb was blessed with a happy wit, but not with a happy life. Insanity ran deep in his family. Insanity made his own sister Mary take the life of their mother. It forced Charles and Mary to inhabit the dank rooms of asylum more than once in their life. But none of this could dishearten this brilliant writer. At 21 years of age, he became the head of his family and took it upon himself to be a life-long guardian of Mary. This prevented him from getting married and having the children that he so yearned for.

The poignancy of this want in his life clearly rings out in his essay ‘Dream Children’ where he is telling stories to the little boy and girl that he never had. It’s a happy piece, full of pleasant recollection and happy reminiscences. But all along, we know that it is just a wishful dream of a yearning heart.

Here is  one gem from the beautiful works of this great writer.


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~*~ The Old Familiar Faces ~*~

By: – Charles Lamb.

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 lov’d a love once, fairest among women;

Clos’d 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 pac’d 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 were 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.

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How far can a person go to fulfill the dream’s of someone else?

Read Dream’s Sake to find out. Click on the picture for reviews and free preview of the novel

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