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Poem by Charles Lamb

The Sister's Expostulation on the Brother's Learning Latin

Shut these odious books up, brother;
They have made you quite another
Thing from what you used to be:
Once you liked to play with me,
Now you leave me all alone,
And are so conceited grown
With your Latin, you'll scarce look
Upon any English book.
We had used on winter eves
To con over Shakespeare's leaves,
Or on Milton's harder sense
Exercise our diligenceЧ
And you would explain with ease
The obscurer passages,
Find me out the prettiest places,
The poetic turns, and graces,
Which, alas! now you are gone,
I must puzzle out alone,
And oft miss the meaning quite,
Wanting you to set me right.
All this comes since you've been under
Your new master. I much wonder
What great charm it is you see
In those words, musa, musæ;
Or in what they do excel
Our word, song. It sounds as well
To my fancy as the other.
Now believe me, dearest brother,
I would give my finest frock,
And my cabinet, and stock
Of new playthings, every toy,
I would give them all with joy
Could I you returning see
Back to English and to me.

Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb's other poems:
  1. Incorrect Speaking
  2. Love, Death, and Reputation
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Blindness
  5. The Two Boys

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