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
Wife, Children, and Friends
William Robert Spencer (1770–1834)
WHEN the black-lettered list to the gods was presented
  (The list of what Fate for each mortal intends),
At the long string of ills a kind goddess relented,
  And slipped in three blessings,—wife, children, and friends.
In vain surly Pluto maintained he was cheated,        5
  For justice divine could not compass its ends;
The scheme of man’s penance he swore was defeated,
  For earth becomes heaven with—wife, children, and friends.
If the stock of our bliss is in stranger hands vested,
  The fund, ill secured, oft in bankruptcy ends;        10
But the heart issues bills which are never protested,
  When drawn on the firm of—wife, children, and friends.
Though valor still glows in his life’s dying embers,
  The death-wounded tar, who his colors defends,
Drops a tear of regret as he dying remembers        15
  How blessed was his home with—wife, children, and friends.
The soldier, whose deeds live immortal in story,
  Whom duty to far distant latitudes sends,
With transport would barter whole ages of glory
  For one happy day with—wife, children, and friends.        20
Though spice-breathing gales on his caravan hover,
  Though for him all Arabia’s fragrance ascends,
The merchant still thinks of the woodbines that cover
  The bower where he sat with—wife, children, and friends.
The dayspring of youth, still unclouded by sorrow,        25
  Alone on itself for enjoyment depends;
But drear is the twilight of age, if it borrow
  No warmth from the smile of—wife, children, and friends.
Let the breath of renown ever freshen and nourish
  The laurel which o’er the dead favorite bends;        30
O’er me wave the willow, and long may it flourish,
  Bedewed with the tears of—wife, children, and friends.
Let us drink, for my song, growing graver and graver,
  To subjects too solemn insensibly tends;
Let us drink, pledge me high, love and virtue shall flavor        35
  The glass which I fill to—wife, children, and friends.

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