By solving the non-relativistic Abraham–Lorentz (AL) equation, I demonstrate that the AL equation of motion is not suited for treating the Lorentz atom, because a steady-state solution does not exist. The AL equation serves as a tool, however, for deducing the appropriate parameters Ω and Γ to be used with the equation of forced oscillations in modelling the Lorentz atom. The electric polarisability, which many authors “derived” from the AL equation in recent years, is shown to violate Kramers–Kronig relations rendering obsolete the extracted photon-absorption rate, for example. Fortunately, errors turn out to be small quantitatively, as long as the light frequency ω is neither too close to nor too far from the resonance frequency Ω. The polarisability and absorption cross section are derived for the Lorentz atom by purely classical reasoning and are shown to agree with the quantum mechanical calculations of the same quantities. In particular, oscillator parameters Ω and Γ deduced by treating the atom as a quantum oscillator are found to be equivalent to those derived from the classical AL equation. The instructive comparison provides a deep insight into understanding the great success of Lorentz’s model that was suggested long before the advent of quantum theory.