Unfaithful Friendship

You recollect our younger years, my Friend,
And rambles in the country; life could lend
No choicer volumes for the Student's eye.
You must remember that it was not I
Who brought conclusion to these rambling moods —
Our joint connection with the streams and woods:
'T was ever thou — thou who art steeped in thought,
Subtle and dexterous, wise — but good for naught.
I mean no harm; thou art not good for me —
Thou reasonest, demandest; I ask thee .

Thou didst not know that Friendship is a kiss —
Not thought, philosophy, — some Sage's bliss, —
But a strange fire that falleth from above;
The gods have named this star-shower Human Love.
No — thou wert blinded; thou saidst, " Friend, forbear!
Do not come nigh — my heart thou canst not share. "
(My heart, alas! I gave that all away.)
" I do not love thee near me; bide thy day!
Fashion I seek, and whirling gayety,
Not thou, sad Poet! what art thou to me?
More — I have married an angelic wife,
Who wreathes with roses my enchanted life;
Thou art superfluous — come not thou too near!
Let us be distant friends, and no more dear.

" What were thy eager fancies, running o'er
Half of the world? I anchor near the shore:
Thy silly jests for idlers' ears are fit,
And only silence complements thy wit.
I love thee at arm's-length; my quarantine
Declares pacific measures, and divine.
I would it were not so — poor, helpless thing,
That like a blue jay can but shriek or sing
Those lamentable ditties that refuse
To call themselves productions of the Muse!
Nay! walk not with me in the curling wood!
I stride abroad in quest of solitude.
I love my friends far off; when they come near,
Too warm! too warm the crowded atmosphere. "
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