Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Poems Subjective and Reminiscent
With Copies of the Author’s Writings

FRIEND of mine! whose lot was cast
With me in the distant past;
Where, like shadows flitting fast,
Fact and fancy, thought and theme,
Word and work, begin to seem        5
Like a half-remembered dream!
Touched by change have all things been,
Yet I think of thee as when
We had speech of lip and pen.
For the calm thy kindness lent        10
To a path of discontent,
Rough with trial and dissent;
Gentle words where such were few,
Softening blame where blame was true,
Praising where small praise was due;        15
For a waking dream made good,
For an ideal understood,
For thy Christian womanhood;
For thy marvellous gift to cull
From our common life and dull        20
Whatsoe’er is beautiful;
Thoughts and fancies, Hybla’s bees
Dropping sweetness; true heart’s-ease
Of congenial sympathies;—
Still for these I own my debt;        25
Memory, with her eyelids wet,
Fain would thank thee even yet!
And as one who scatters flowers
Where the Queen of May’s sweet hours
Sits, o’ertwined with blossomed bowers,        30
In superfluous zeal bestowing
Gifts where gifts are overflowing,
So I pay the debt I ’m owing.
To thy full thoughts, gay or sad,
Sunny-hued or sober clad,        35
Something of my own I add;
Well assured that thou wilt take
Even the offering which I make
Kindly for the giver’s sake.


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