On Visiting a Friend


As friendly traders into haven come,
From far-off lands and perilous voyages,
Forgetful of their fears, their thoughts of home,
Forgetful of the dark and stormy seas,
Turn all their treasures over in their hands,
And linger on some pearl from Persia’s shore,
Or corals from the Australasian sands,
Plunged for by breathless divers o’er and o’er,
So you and I recount the golden days,
And tell our gathered wealth from end to end,
The lore of poets, words of some old friend,
Or visions of earth’s beauty, strange and far.
Thus musing, we forget the tortuous ways,
The times becalmed, the nights without a star.


Though I have seen the summer’s glory die
Into the dust, and night’s blind, empty shade
Fold up earth’s beauty, or my dear hopes fade
Like far-hung vapors in the dusking sky,
And friends grow distant till they silently
Vanish forever, or my own soul come
Before me, ah ! so cold and stony-dumb,
So poor and so profaned, — yet now with thee
I touch the limits of the world again ;
The ages fill with beauty ; thou dost give
A meaning to the stars, and Time’s dark dream ;
Not vain are strong ones fallen, nor in vain
Proud cities gone to dust; the years redeem
Their round in thee, and make it great to live.
William A. Dunn.