My 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 virtues 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 honored 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.