New Zealand Minstrelsy
A Tribute to the Memory of Friendship
A Tribute to the Memory of Friendship.
Friendship ’s a blessing much to be esteem’d,
Though faithful friends are miracles indeed
In this degen’rate world. A would-be friend
Has some self-purpose close behind the mask,
Which makes him as a parasite adhere
With studied blindness to thy faults;— ev’n these
To virtues are transform’d, if ends are serv’d.
Is he a friend who willingly assents
To all thy errors, tamp’ring with thy good,
And fears to hold the mirror to thy face,
As did the humble prophet to the king,
Shewing his naked likeness for reproof?—
Is he a friend, who smiles but to betray?
Or who, to court thy favours, would indulge
Thy passions with smooth flattery?—a curse!
Smoothing thy way as ’twere to horror’s pit.—
page 39 Oh what a blessing is a faithful Friend!
One who’d not only make thy cares his own,
Or to thy sorrows lend a willing ear,
Still ready with his aid: but one who feels
An interest in the welfare of thy soul;
Though sympathising with thy frailties,
Yet bold to check thy follies, and direct
Attention to thy dangers, as becomes
The real nature of a faithful friend.—
Aye, this is friendship!—worthy all esteem!—
With whom no earthly treasure is compar’d
Here let me pause;—Remembrance begs to pay
A tribute to the memory of one
Who well deserved the title of a Friend!
Ah, Giffen! oft in fancy have I roved
The scenes of our enjoyments, and conversed
With thy dear fancied presence, which beguiled
Long hours of sorrow, judging none else fit
To hear my mournful tale; and though this earth’s
Great bulk would us divide, ’twas happiness,
Though labouring ’mid adversities, to think
In thee I had a friend in whom my soul
Delighted, and reposed its confidence,
With more than brother’s love! Sweet fellowship
Of early years!—remembrance of thy joys,
As of immortal bloom, have cheered me much,
Inspiring this fond hope—we yet may meet,
And youthful friendship have renew’d in years.—
Vain dream of mine!—Th’ unspeakable delight
of joining hands, and welcoming with joy
To either’s breast a long lost friend, ’s denied!—
Though baulked my hopes, the will of Heaven be done!
No more on this earth’s surface can we meet,
Save dust with dust might mingle. Now alone,
page 40 And in the blow which death’s rude hand has given,
I’ve learn’d the lesson, “Vain are earthly hopes!”
And felt its force press home upon my heart—
He’s worthy the poor requiem I sing!—
Esteem’d by all who knew him in his youth,
For diligence, and piety, and love!
And in his manhood much beloved by those
Who call’d him to the charge of souls for God:—
But how prescribed the course of his career!—
Three summer sun’s had little more than smiled
Upon his labours, when his Master saw
It meet to call him to his heavenly rest.
Should I at his advancement thus repine?
No!—let me rather prove myself a friend!—
Rejoicing at his happiness—set free
From worldly trials, and admitted in
To the enjoyments of eternal bliss.
If happy here to meet, though but to part,
Where death makes havoc oft of all our joys,
Who will describe the pleasure when we hail,
Around our Father’s throne, a friend endeared,
Where joy’s complete, and parting is no more!