»  Thomas Hood's "I Remember, I Remember"

 

I Remember, I Remember

by Thomas Hood, 1799-1845

 

•  Background

Thomas Hood seems to have been a witty and amiable fellow. He was in fact thought a comic writer, famous especially for puns. Nowadays, however, he is mainly remembered for rather somber poems like this one.

Thackeray wrote a touching tribute to Hood, reproduced on the Hood website.

There is, by the way, another poem titled "I Remember, I Remember," by Philip Larkin. Larkin obviously had this one in mind; his poem is a sort of counterpoint to it.

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•  Play the reading

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•  Text of the poem

I remember, I remember
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember
The roses red and white,
The violets and the lily cups —
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday, —
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow.

I remember, I remember
The fir-trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy.