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Poem by Frederick Locker-Lampson


Old Letters


    Fragile creations of still frailer man,
          That men outlast,
    Though to eternity, from whence he came,
          The scribe be past.

    O there are tongues within these dry brown leaves
          That speak as Autumns do;
    They cry of death and sorrow,
          To meto you.

    Mr George Thornbury.

Old letters! wipe away the tear,
   And gaze upon these pale mementoes,
A pilgrim finds his journal here
   Since first he took to walk on ten toes.

Yes, here are scrawls from Clapham Rise,
   Do mothers still their school-boys pamper?
O, how I hated Doctor Wise!
   O, how I lovd a well-filld hamper!

How strange to commune with the Dead
   Dead joys, dead loves, and wishes thwarted:
Heres cruel proof of friendships fled,
   And sad enough of friends departed.

And heres the offer that I wrote
   In 33 to Lucy Diver;
And here John Wylies begging note
   He never paid me back a stiver.

And here my feud with Major Spike,
   Our bet about the French Invasion;
On looking back I acted like
   A donkey upon that occasion.

And here a letter from the Row,
   How mad I was when first I learnt it!
They would not take my Book, and now
   Id give a trifle to have burnt it.

And here a heap of notes, at last,
   With love and dove, and sever never
Though hope, though passion may be past,
   Their perfume is as sweet as ever.

A human heart should beat for two,
   Whatever say your single scorners,
And all the hearths I ever knew
   Had got a pair of chimney corners.

See here a double violet
   Two locks of haira deal of scandal:
Ill burn what only brings regret
   Go, Betty, fetch a lighted candle.



Frederick Locker-Lampson


Frederick Locker-Lampson's other poems:
  1. My Life Is A
  2. My Firstborn
  3. The Old Clerk
  4. The Pilgrims of Pall Mall
  5. St Georges, Hanover Square


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Norman Gale Old Letters ("LAST night some yellow letters fell")

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