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.
 
Hester
By Charles Lamb (1775–1834)
 
WHEN 1 maidens such as Hester die,
Their place ye may not well supply,
Though ye among a thousand try
      With vain endeavour.
 
A month or more hath she been dead,        5
Yet cannot I by force be led
To think upon the wormy bed,
      And her together.
 
A springy motion in her gait,
A rising step, did indicate        10
Of pride and joy no common rate,
      That flushed her spirit:
 
I know not by what name beside
I shall it call:—if ’twas not pride,
It was a joy to that allied,        15
      She did inherit.
 
Her parents held the Quaker rule,
Which doth the human feeling cool,
But she was train’d in Nature’s school
      Nature had blest her.        20
 
A waking eye, a prying mind,
A heart that stirs, is hard to bind,
A hawk’s keen sight ye cannot blind,
      Ye could not Hester.
 
My sprightly neighbour, gone before        25
To that unknown and silent shore,
Shall we not meet, as heretofore,
      Some summer morning—
 
When from thy cheerful eyes a ray
Hath struck a bliss upon the day,        30
A bliss that would not go away,
      A sweet forewarning?
 
Note 1. Lamb wrote these verses on the death of a young Quakeress, Hester Savory, a daughter of Joseph Savory, a goldsmith in the Strand. She was born in 1777, and married Charles Stoke Dudley, in 1802. In a letter to Manning, quoted by Mr. Lucas, Lamb writes: “I send you some verses I have made on the death of a young Quaker you may have heard me speak of as being in love with for some years while I lived in Pentonville, though I had never spoken to her in my life. She died about a month since.” [back]
 
 
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