Unwin, I should but ill repay
The kindness of a friend,
Whose worth deserves as warm a lay
As ever friendship penned,
Thy name omitted in a page
That would reclaim a vicious age.

An union formed, as mine with thee,
Not rashly or in sport,
May be as fervent in degree,
And faithful in its sort,
And may as rich in comfort prove,
As that of true fraternal love.

The bud inserted in the rind,
The bud of peach or rose,
Adorns, though differing in its kind,
The stock whereon it grows
With flower as sweet or full as fair
As if produced by nature there.

Not rich, I render what I may,
I seize thy name in haste,
And place it in this first essay,
Lest this should prove the last.
'Tis where it should be, in a plan
That holds in view the good of man.

The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,
Should be the poet's heart;
Affection lights a brighter flame
Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend
I sink the poet in the friend.

More verses by William Cowper

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