The Girdle of Friendship

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The Girdle of Friendship  (1884) 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

She gathered at her slender waist
  The beauteous robe she wore;
Its folds a golden belt embraced,
  One rose-hued gem it bore.

The girdle shrank; its lessening round
  Still kept the shining gem,
But now her flowing locks it bound,
  A lustrous diadem.

And narrower still the circlet grew;
  Behold! a glittering band,
Its roseate diamond set anew,
  Her neck's white column spanned.

Suns rise and set; the straining clasp
  The shortened links resist,
Yet flashes in a bracelet's grasp
  The diamond, on her wrist.

At length, the round of changes past
  The thieving years could bring,
The jewel, glittering to the last,
  Still sparkles in a ring.

So, link by link, our friendships part,
  So loosen, break, and fall,
A narrowing zone; the loving heart
  Lives changeless through them all.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.