Eliza Cook

(24 December 1818 – 23 September 1889 / London Road / Southwark / England)

The Old Arm-chair


I LOVE it, I love it ; and who shall dare
To chide me for loving that old Arm-chair ?
I've treasured it long as a sainted prize ;
I've bedewed it with tears, and embalmed it with sighs.
' Tis bound by a thousand bands to my heart ;
Not a tie will break, not a link will start.
Would ye learn the spell ? -- a mother sat there ;
And a sacred thing is that old Arm-chair.

In Childhood's hour I lingered near
The hallowed seat with listening ear ;
And gentle words that mother would give ;
To fit me to die, and teach me to live.
She told me shame would never betide,
With truth for my creed and God for my guide ;
She taught me to lisp my earliest prayer ;
As I knelt beside that old Arm-chair.

I sat and watched her many a day,
When her eye grew dim, and her locks were grey :
And I almost worshipped her when she smiled,
And turned from her Bible, to bless her child.
Years rolled on; but the last one sped--
My idol was shattered; my earth-star fled :
I learnt how much the heart can bear,
When I saw her die in that old Arm-chair.

'Tis past, 'tis past, but I gaze on it now
With quivering breath and throbbing brow :
'Twas there she nursed me ; 'twas there she died :
And Memory flows with lava tide.
Say it is folly, and deem me weak,
While the scalding drops start down my cheek ;
But I love it, I love it ; and cannot tear
My soul from a mother's old Arm-chair.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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