Affectionately inscribed to my father's friend, Hon. D. F. Miller
Dear friend, 'twas not thy word of praise,
Bestowed upon my simple lays,
That woke, as if by magic art,
A thrill responsive in my heart.
'Twas the fond mention of a word
That all my tenderest feelings stirred,—
A name the Past endeared to thee,
And fraught with love and trust to me.
His step, his touch, his vanished tone
Seem mingling often with thine own.
The teacher, as in days of yore,
Repeats his sage instructions o'er;
The pupil, in the flush of youth,
Lists to those golden words of truth,
And dreams such dreams as manhood may
When proud ambition points his way.
Ah ! neither then had locks of white !
He, on life's grand meridian height,
Thou, with thy powers as yet untried,
And I a prattler at thy side.
It seems so strange to see thee now
With frosts of age upon thy brow,
Yet sweet to know thy love for him
Has never faltered nor grown dim.
How much they gain of heavenly lore,
Our loved and lost who 'go before' !
The jasper walls will brighter glow
When from them lean the forms we know.
Our foretaste of celestial bliss
Will be a welcoming clasp and kiss;
Our recompense for every pain
Will be this 'gathering home' again.
And wilt thou not hold converse sweet
Where constant friends their vows repeat?
Where change can mar, nor time can dim,
Wilt thou not learn again of him?
With the deep mystery of the skies
Unveiled before thy wondering eyes,
What guide more meet, if choice be given,
To lead thee to the highest heaven ?