Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
Poems of Friendship
Edward Young (1681–1765)
From “Night Thoughts,” Night II.

  CELESTIAL Happiness, whene’er she stoops
To visit Earth, one shrine the goddess finds,
And one alone, to make her sweet amends
For absent Heaven—the bosom of a friend;
Where heart meets heart, reciprocally soft,        5
Each other’s pillow to repose divine.
Beware the counterfeit; in passion’s flame
Hearts melt, but melt like ice, soon harder froze.
True love strikes root in reason; passion’s foe:
Virtue alone entenders us for life:        10
I wrong her much—entenders us for ever:
Of Friendship’s fairest fruits, the fruit most fair
Is virtue kindling at a rival fire,
And, emulously, rapid in her race.
O the soft enmity! endearing strife!        15
This carries friendship to her noontide point,
And gives the rivet of eternity.
  From Friendship, which outlives my former themes,
Glorious survivor of old Time and Death;
From Friendship, thus that flower of heavenly seed;        20
The wise extract Earth’s most Hyblean bliss,
Superior wisdom, crowned with smiling joy.
*        *        *        *        *
  What if (since daring on so nice a theme)
I show thee friendship delicate, as dear,
Of tender violations apt to die?        25
Reserve will wound it; and distrust, destroy
Deliberate in all things with thy friend,
But since friends grow not thick on every bough,
Nor every friend unrotten at the core;
First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself,        30
Pause, ponder, sift; not eager in the choice,
Nor jealous of the chosen; fixing, fix;
Judge before friendship, then confide till death.
*        *        *        *        *
Friendship ’s the wine of life; but friendship new
(Not such was his) is neither strong, nor pure.        35
O! for the bright complexion, cordial warmth,
And elevating spirit, of a friend,
For twenty summers ripening by my side,
All feculence of falsehood long thrown down;
All social virtues rising in his soul;        40
As crystal clear; and smiling as they rise!
Here nectar flows; it sparkles in our sight;
Rich to the taste, and genuine from the heart:
High-flavored bliss for gods! on Earth how rare!

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