No friendship will abide the test,
That stands on sordid interest,
Or mean self-love erected;
Nor such as may awhile subsist
and in friendship to swift enlist
For vicious ends connected.
Who seek a friend should come dispos’d
To exhibit, in full bloom disclos’d,
The graces and the beauties
That form the character he seeks,
For ‘tis a union that bespeaks
But will sincerity suffice?
It is indeed above all price,
And must be made the basis;
But every virtue of the soul
Must constitute the charming whole,
All shining in their places.
A fretful temper will divide
The closest knot that may be tied,
By ceaseless sharp corrosion;
A temper passionate and fierce
May suddenly your joys disperse
At one immense explosion.
Sometimes the fault is all our own,
Some blemish in due time made known
By trespass or omission;
Sometimes occasion brings to light
Our friend’s defect, long hid from sight,
And even from suspicion.
Then judge yourself, and prove your man
As circumspectly as you can,
And, having made election,
Beware no negligence of yours,
Such as a friend but ill endures,
Enfeeble his affection.
That secrets are a sacred trust,
friends should be sincere and just,
That constancy befits them,
Are observations on the case,
That savor much of commonplace,
And all the world admits them.
But ‘tis not timber, lead, and stone,
An architect requires alone
To finish a fine building—
The palace were but half complete,
If he could possibly forget
The carving and the gilding.
Pursue the search, and you will find
Good sense and knowledge of mankind
To be at least expedient,
And, after summing all the rest,
Religion ruling in the breast
A principal ingredient.
The noblest Friendship ever shown
The Saviour’s history makes known,
Though some have turn’d and spurn’d it;
And, whether being crazed or blind,
Or seeking with a biass’d mind,
Have not, it seems, discern’d it.