The Old Familiar Faces

By Charles Lamb 1775–1834 Charles Lamb
I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her —
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse,
Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother,
Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling?
So might we talk of the old familiar faces —

How some they have died, and some they have left me,
And some are taken from me; all are departed;
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Charles Lamb 1775–1834

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Friends & Enemies, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Refrain

 Charles  Lamb

Biography

Charles Lamb achieved lasting fame as a writer during the years 1820-1825, when he captivated the discerning English reading public with his personal essays in the London Magazine, collected as Essays of Elia (1823) and The Last Essays of Elia (1833). Known for their charm, humor, and perception, and laced with idiosyncrasies, these essays appear to be modest in scope, but their soundings are deep, and their ripples extend to . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Friends & Enemies, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Relationships, Sorrow & Grieving, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Refrain

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.