Verse > Anthologies > J. C. Squire, ed. > A Book of Women’s Verse
J. C. Squire, ed.  A Book of Women’s Verse.  1921.
To Phylocles, inviting him to Friendship
By ‘Ephelia’ (17th Cent.?)
BEST of thy sex! if sacred friendship can
Dwell in the bosom of inconstant man,
As cold and clear as ice, as snow unstained,
With Love’s loose crimes unsullied, unprofaned,
Or you a woman with that name dare trust,        5
And think to friendship’s ties we can be just,
In a strict league together we’ll combine,
And [        ] friendship’s bright example shine.
We will forget the difference of sex,
Nor shall the world’s rude censure us perplex        10
Think me all man: my soul is masculine,
And capable of as great things as thine.
I can be generous, just and brave,
Secret and silent as the grave,
And if I cannot yield relief,        15
I’ll sympathise in all thy grief.
I will not have a thought from thee I’ll hide,
In all my actions thou shalt be my guide;
In every joy of mine thou shalt have share,
And I will bear a part in all thy care.        20
Why do I vainly talk of what we’ll do?
We’ll mix our souls, you shall be me, I you;
And both so one it shall be hard to say
Which is Phylocles, which Ephelia.
Our ties shall be as strong as the chains of Fate,        25
Conquerors and kings our joys shall emulate;
Forgotten friendship, held at first divine,
To its native purity we will refine.

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