Charles Lamb

The Great Grandfather

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My father's grandfather lives still,
His age is fourscore years and ten;
He looks a monument of time,
The agedest of aged men.


Though years lie on him like a load,
A happier man you will not see
Than he, whenever he can get
His great grandchildren on his knee.


When we our parents have displeased,
He stands between us as a screen;
By him our good deeds in the sun,
Our bad ones in the shade are seen.


His love's a line that's long drawn out,
Yet lasteth firm unto the end;
His heart is oak, yet unto us
It like the gentlest reed can bend.


A fighting soldier he has been--
Yet by his manners you would guess,
That he his whole long life had spent
In scenes of country quietness.


His talk is all of things long past,
For modern facts no pleasure yield--
Of the famed year of forty-five,
Of William, and Culloden's field.


The deeds of this eventful age,
Which princes from their thrones have hurled,
Can no more interest wake in him
Than stories of another world.


When I his length of days revolve,
How like a strong tree he hath stood,
It brings into my mind almost
Those patriarchs old before the flood.

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Charles Lamb