Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
The Grandame
By Charles Lamb (1775–1834)
 
ON the green hill-top,
Hard by the house of prayer, a modest roof,
And not distinguished from its neighbour barn,
Save by a slender-tapering length of spire,
The Grandame sleeps: a plain stone barely tells        5
The name and date to the chance passenger.
For lowly born was she, and long had eat
Well-earn’d, the bread of service;—her’s was else
A mounting spirit, one that entertain’d
Scorn of base action, deed dishonourable,        10
Or aught unseemly. I remember well
Her reverend image: I remember, too,
With what a zeal she serv’d her Master’s house;
And how the prattling tongue of garrulous age
Delighted to recount the oft-told tale;        15
Or anecdote domestic. Wise she was,
And wondrous skilled in genealogies,
And could in apt and voluble terms discourse
Of births, of titles, and alliances;
Of marriages, and intermarriages;        20
Relationship remote, or near of kin;
Of friends offended, family disgraced—
Maiden high born, but wayward, disobeying
Parental strict injunction, and regardless
Of unmix’d blood, and ancestry remote,        25
Stooping to wed with one of low degree.
But these are not thy praises: and I wrong
Thy honour’d memory, recording chiefly
Things light or trivial. Better ’twere to tell,
How with a nobler zeal, and warmer love,        30
She serv’d her Heavenly Master. I have seen
That reverend form bent down with age and pain,
And rankling malady: yet not for this
Ceas’d she to praise her Maker, or withdrew
Her trust from Him, her faith, and humble hope—        35
So meekly had she learn’d to bear her cross—
For she had studied patience in the school
Of Christ; much comfort she had thence deriv’d,
And was a follower of the Nazarene.
 
 
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