John Lawson Stoddard Poems >>

'Tis not in the bitterest woes of life
That the love of friends, as a rule, grows cold;
Still less does it melt in the heat of strife,
Or die from the canker of borrowed gold;

For pity comes when they see us grieved,
Or forced to lie on a couch of pain,
And a hasty word is soon retrieved,
And the loan of money may leave no stain.

'Tis oftenest lost through the deadly blight
Of Society's pestilential air,
Which blackens the robe of purest white,
And fouls what once was sweet and fair.

An envious woman's whispered word,
A slander born of a cruel smile,
The repetition of something heard,
The imputation of something vile,

Or possibly even a fancied slight
For a feast declined, or a call delayed,
Or jealousy caused by petty spite,
Or the wish for a higher social grade,--

'Tis one, or all of these combined,
That saps the love of our dearest friends,
And slowly poisons heart and mind,
Till the joy of generous friendship ends.

Last night they were in a cordial mood,
To-day they suddenly seem estranged!
Shall we, then, grieve and sadly brood
O'er the unknown cause that has made them changed?

Ask once, that they make the matter clear,
But ask no more, if the lesson fail;
Let changelings go, however dear,
And shed no tears for a love so frail.

Be not the slave of a friend's migraine,
Nor let him play, now hot, now cold;
The master of thyself remain,
And the key of thine inmost heart withhold!

For they who weep and sue and plead,
Are used and dropped, like a worn-out glove,
And the friends with "moods" are the friends who need
To learn that they are not worth our love.