A Lost Friend

Forget me notsMy friend he was; my friend from all the rest;
With childlike faith he oped to me his breast;
No door was locked on altar, grave or grief;
No weakness veiled, concealed no disbelief;
The hope, the sorrow and the wrong were bare,
And ah, the shadow only showed the fair!

I gave him love for love; but, deep within,
I magnified each frailty into sin:
Each hill-topped foible in the sunset glowed,
Obscuring vales where rivered virtttes flowed.
Reproof became reproach, till common grew
The captious word at every fault I knew.
He smiled upon the censorship, and bore
With patient love the touch that wounded sore;
Until at length, so had my blindness grown,
He knew I judged him by his faults alone.

Alone, of all men, I who knew him best,
Refused the gold, to take the dross for test!
Cold strangers honoured for the worth they saw;
His friend forgot the diamond in the flaw.

At last it came—the day he stood apart
When from my eyes he proudly veiled his heart;
When carping judgment and uncertain word
A stern resentment in his bosom stirred;
When in his face I read what I had been,
And with his vision saw what he had seen.

Too late! too late! Oh, could he then have known,
When his love died, that mine had perfect grown;
That when the veil was drawn, abased, chastised,
The censor stood, the lost one truly prized.

Too late we learn—a man must hold his friend
Unjudged, accepted, trusted to the end.

John Boyle O’Reilly

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s