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
William B. Terrett
I HAD sworn to be a bachelor, she had sworn to be a maid,
For we quite agreed in doubting whether matrimony paid;
Besides, we had our higher loves,—fair science ruled my heart,
And she said her young affections were all wound up in art.
So we laughed at those wise men who say that friendship cannot live        5
’Twixt man and woman, unless each has something more to give:
We would be friends, and friends as true as e’er were man and man;
I ’d be a second David, and she Miss Jonathan.
We scorned all sentimental trash,—vows, kisses, tears, and sighs;
High friendship, such as ours, might well such childish arts despise;        10
We liked each other, that was all, quite all there was to say,
So we just shook hands upon it, in a business sort of way.
We shared our secrets and our joys, together hoped and feared,
With common purpose sought the goal that young Ambition reared;
We dreamed together of the days, the dream-bright days to come,        15
We were strictly confidential, and we called each other “chum.”
And many a day we wandered together o’er the hills,
I seeking bugs and butterflies, and she, the ruined mills
And rustic bridges, and the like, that picture-makers prize
To run in with their waterfalls, and groves, and summer skies.        20
And many a quiet evening, in hours of silent ease,
We floated down the river, or strolled beneath the trees,
And talked, in long gradation from the poets to the weather,
While the western skies and my cigar burned slowly out together.
Yet through it all no whispered word, no tell-tale glance or sigh,        25
Told aught of warmer sentiment than friendly sympathy.
We talked of love as coolly as we talked of nebulæ,
And thought no more of being one than we did of being three.
*        *        *        *        *
“Well, good-bye, chum!” I took her hand, for the time had come to go.
My going meant our parting, when to meet, we did not know.        30
I had lingered long, and said farewell with a very heavy heart;
For although we were but friends, ’t is hard for honest friends to part.
“Good-bye, old fellow! don’t forget your friends beyond the sea,
And some day, when you ’ve lots of time, drop a line or two to me.”
The words came lightly, gayly, but a great sob, just behind,        35
Welled upward with a story of quite a different kind.
And then she raised her eyes to mine,—great liquid eyes of blue,
Filled to the brim, and running o’er, like violet cups of dew;
One long, long glance, and then I did, what I never did before—
Perhaps the tears meant friendship, but I ’m sure the kiss meant more.        40

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