Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

Rate this poem:(1.00 / 1 vote)

The Ape

Charles Lamb 1775 (Inner Temple, London) – 1834 (Edmonton, London)

An Ape is but a trivial beast,
Men count it light and vain;
But I would let them have their thoughts,
To have my Ape again.

To love a beast in any sort
Is no great sign of grace;
But I have loved a flouting Ape's
'Bove any lady's face.

I have known the power of two fair eyes,
In smile or else in glance,
And how (for I a lover was)
They make the spirits dance;

But I would give two hundred smiles
Of them that fairest be,
For one look of my staring Ape
That used to stare on me.

This beast, this Ape, it had a face-
If face it might be styled-
Sometimes it was a staring Ape,
Sometimes a beauteous child-

A Negro flat-a Pagod squat,
Cast in a Chinese mould-
And then it was a Cherub's face
Made of the beaten gold!

But Time, that's meddling, meddling still,
And always altering things-
And what's already at the best
To alteration brings,

That turns the sweetest buds to flowers,
And chops and changes toys,
That breaks up dreams, and parts old friends,
And still commutes our joys-

Has changed away my Ape at last
And in its place conveyed,
Thinking therewith to cheat my sight,
A fresh and blooming maid!

And fair to sight is she-and still
Each day doth sightlier grow,
Upon the ruins of the Ape,
My ancient playfellow!

The tale of Sphinx, and Theban jests
I true in me perceive;
I suffer riddles; death from dark
Enigmas I receive:

Whilst a hid being I pursue,
That lurks in a new shape,
My darling in herself I miss,
And, in my ape, the ape.

1806.

Font size:
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:26 min read
121 Views

Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb was an English essayist, poet, and antiquarian, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children's book Tales from Shakespeare, co-authored with his sister, Mary Lamb (1764–1847). Friends with such literary luminaries as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Southey, William Wordsworth, and William Hazlitt, Lamb was at the centre of a major literary circle in England. He has been referred to by E. V. Lucas, his principal biographer, as "the most lovable figure in English literature". more…

All Charles Lamb poems | Charles Lamb Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this Charles Lamb poem with the community:

0 Comments

    Translation

    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)

    Citation

    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

    Style:MLAChicagoAPA

    "The Ape" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/5378/the-ape>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    Browse Poetry.com

    Quiz

    Are you a poetry master?

    »
    A group of lines that form a division of a poem is a _________.
    • A. stanza
    • B. couplet
    • C. paragraph
    • D. line

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets

    »