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 bedew’d 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 linger’d near
The hallow’d seat with list’ning 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 watch’d her many a day,
When her eye grew dim, and her locks were grey;
And I almost worshipp’d her when she smil’d
And turn’d from her Bible to bless her child.
Years roll’d on, but the last one sped—
My idol was shatter’d, 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.
Song of Old Time
I wear not the purple of earth-born kings,
Nor the stately ermine of lordly things;
But monarch and courtier, though great they be,
Must fall from their glory and bend to me.
My sceptre is gemless; yet who can say
They will not come under its mighty sway?
Ye may learn who I am,—there’s the passing chime,
And the dial to herald me, Old King Time!
Softly I creep, like a thief in the night,
After cheeks all blooming and eyes all light;
My steps are seen on the patriarch’s brow,
In the deep-worn furrows and locks of snow.
Who laughs at my power? the young and the gay;
But they dream not how closely I track their way.
Wait till their first bright sands have run,
And they will not smile at what Time hath done.
I eat through treasures with moth and rust;
I lay the gorgeous palace in dust;
I make the shell-proof tower my own,
And break the battlement, stone from stone.
Work on at your cities and temples, proud man,
Build high as ye may, and strong as ye can;
But the marble shall crumble, the pillar shall fall,
And Time, Old Time, will be king after all.