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The Old Arm-Chair
Eliza Cook


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.



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:
Like the remembrance of a security blanket.
Posted 08/14/2014 06:16 PM
What a lovely poem. I have just read it to our poetry group. They loved it too.
Posted 08/14/2014 06:05 AM
Lovely poem, endearing :) Maire
Posted 08/14/2014 03:37 AM
Right on, Eliza. The chair as a metaphor for strong women...
Posted 08/13/2014 11:13 PM

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