Charles Lamb

(10 February 1775 – 27 December 1834 / London)

Prologue To Faulkener - Poem by Charles Lamb


An author who has given you all delight
Furnished the tale our stage presents to-night.
Some of our earliest tears he taught to steal
Down our young cheeks, and forced us first to feel.
To solitary shores whole years confined,
Who has not read how pensive Crusoe pined?
Who, now grown old, that did not once admire
His goat, his parrot, his uncouth attire,
The stick, due-notched, that told each tedious day
That in the lonely island wore away?
Who has not shuddered, where he stands aghast
At sight of human footsteps in the waste?
Or joyed not, when his trembling hands unbind
Thee, Friday, gentlest of the savage kind?

The genius who conceived that magic tale
Was skilled by native pathos to prevail.
His stories, though rough-drawn and framed in haste,
Had that which pleased our homely grandsires' taste.

His was a various pen, that freely roved
Into all subjects, was in most approved.
Whate'er the theme, his ready Muse obeyed-
Love, courtship, politics, religion, trade-
Gifted alike to shine in every sphere,
Novelist, historian, poet, pamphleteer.

In some blest interval of party-strife,
He drew a striking sketch from private life,
Whose moving scenes of intricate distress
We try to-night in a dramatic dress:
A real story of domestic woe,
That asks no aid from music, verse, or show,
But trusts to truth, to Nature, and Defoe.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, April 10, 2010

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