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The Old Arm Chair
by
Eliza Cook


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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.

This poem is in the public domain.

 

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Eliza Cook (1818 -1889) was born in England, the daughter of a local tradesman. The son of the music master at a local Sunday School she attended encouraged her to produce her first volume of poetry. As her confidence grew, she submitted poems to a variety of newspapers and magazines and was published on a regular basis. Eventually she published her own weekly periodical of "utility and amusement" called Eliza Cooks Journal. Cook was a proponent of political freedom for women, and believed in the ideology of self-improvement through education, something she called "levelling up." This made her hugely popular with the working class public in both England and America.

 


Post New Comment:
Dorcas:
Like the remembrance of a security blanket.
Posted 08/14/2014 06:16 PM
Katrina:
I wonder if this is the same son, taking a trip around Britain? Despite being fiercely against patriotism, I love my country and am grateful to my mother for refusing to have 'three American teenage daughters', when my father's oil job wanted to relocate him to Houston, Texas. The chair this poem draws me to is an old, green corduroy rocking chair with arms and a rhythm, which has lodged in my springs.
Posted 08/14/2014 06:35 AM
rhonasheridan:
What a lovely poem. I have just read it to our poetry group. They loved it too.
Posted 08/14/2014 06:05 AM
Eiken:
Lovely poem, endearing :) Maire
Posted 08/14/2014 03:37 AM
twinkscat:
Right on, Eliza. The chair as a metaphor for strong women...
Posted 08/13/2014 11:13 PM


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