Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
III. Friendship
By Constance C. W. Naden (1858–1889)
THE HUMAN soul that crieth at thy gates,
  Of man or woman, alien or akin,
’Tis thine own Self that for admission waits—
            Rise, let it in.
Bid not thy guest but sojourn and depart,        5
  Keep him, if so it may be, till the end,
If thou have strength and purity of heart
            To be his friend.
Not only, at bright morn, to wake his mind
  With noble thoughts, and send him forth with song,        10
Nor only, when night falls, his wounds to bind;
            But all day long
To help with love, with labour, and with lore,
  To triumph when, by others’ aid, he wins,
To carry all his sorrows, and yet more—        15
            To bear his sins;
To keep a second conscience in thine own,
  Which suffers wound on wound, yet strongly lives,
Which takes no bribe of tender look or tone,
            And yet forgives.        20
But, should some mortal vileness blast with death
  Thy love for comrade, leader, kinsman, wife—
Seek no elixir to restore false breath,
            And loathsome life.
Thy love is slain—thou canst not make it whole        25
  With all thy store of wine, and oil, and bread:
Some passions are but flesh—thine had a soul,
            And that is dead.

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