To a Friend (Coleridge)

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For works with similar titles, see To a Friend.

Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse,
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wandering far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-lov’d Sister’s bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,        10
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I too a SISTER had, an only Sister —
She lov’d me dearly, and I doted on her!
To her I pour’d forth all my puny sorrows,
(As a sick Patient in a Nurse’s arms)
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That shrink asham'd from even Friendship's eye.
O! I have woke at midnight, and have wept,
Because SHE WAS NOT! — Cheerily, dear CHARLES!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year:        20
Such warm presages feel I of high Hope.
For not uninterested the dear Maid
I’ve view’d — her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish’d wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant’s head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading Love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepar’d, when he his healing ray vouchsafes,        30
Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart,
And praise Him Gracious with a Brother’s Joy!

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