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