The Old Familiar Faces | Guide to Daily Reading 11/26/22

Coventry Patmore died on this date in 1896

Daily readings:

Just so you know, if Charles Lamb is among the daily choices, I’m going with him. We need to work hard to bring him back, and his sister Mary as well. Their Tales from Shakespeare (1807) was a tremendous contribution to Children’s Literature. Tales and Swiss Family Robinson are the only two children’s books from that era which have been continuously in print to the present day.

Mary gets short shrift in the Daily Readings–none–but her stories and books for girls were especially well-loved, and gave to girls a literature of their own. Yes. Yes, I know that as a young woman she stabbed her mother to death with a butcher knife, but that takes nothing away from her later writings.

The Old Familiar Faces

–Charles Lamb

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 seemed 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 —
How 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.