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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Eliza Cook (1818–1889)

The Old Arm-Chair

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 hallowèd 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 grew gray;

And I almost worshiped 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.