Health to my friend, and many a cheerful day!
Around his seat may peaceful shades abide!
Smooth flow the minutes, fraught with smiles, away,
And, till they crown our union, gently glide!

Ah me! too swiftly fleets our vernal bloom!
Lost to our wonted friendship, lost to joy!
Soon may thy breast the cordial wish resume,
Ere wintry doubt its tender warmth destroy!

Say, were it ours, by Fortune's wild command,
By chance to meet beneath the Torrid Zone,
Wouldst thou reject thy Damon's plighted hand?
Wouldst thou with scorn thy once loved friend disown?

Life is that stranger land, that alien clime;
Shall kindred souls forego their social claim?
Launch'd in the vast abyss of space and time,
Shall dark suspicion quench the generous flame?

Myriads of souls, that knew one parent mould,
See sadly sever'd by the laws of Chance!
Myriads, in Time's perennial list enroll'd,
Forbid by Fate to change one transient glance!

But we have met-where ills of every form,
Where passions rage, and hurricanes descend;
Say, shall we nurse the rage, assist the storm,
And guide them to the bosom-of a friend?

Yes, we have met-through rapine, fraud, and wrong:
Might our joint aid the paths of peace explore!
Why leave thy friend amid the boisterous throng,
Ere death divide us, and we part no more?

For, oh! pale Sickness warns thy friend away;
For me no more the vernal roses bloom!
I see stern Fate his ebon wand display,
And point the wither'd regions of the tomb.

Then the keen anguish from thine eye shall start,
Sad as thou followest my untimely bier;
'Fool that I was-if friends so soon must part,
To let suspicion intermix a fear.'

More verses by William Shenstone

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