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The Inheritance of Friendship
When twenty years have circled round,
The lads now standing at my knee
Will cherish one poor spot of ground
Sacred to memory and me.
Gazing upon the humble sod,
Recalling each fond, loving word,
They'll keep one link in memory's chain
Bright, till the hour we meet again.
Such is the lesson I impart
At evening's set when prayers are said
The last sweet sentiment at heart
Ere little eyes are closed in bed.
That when upon life's billows tossed,
In worldly selfishness engrossed,
A Cable Tow the thought shall prove
To draw them by a Father's love.
When twenty years have come and gone
They who shall fondly look for you
Must leave the scenes you now adorn,
And seek the sodded hillock, too
Tears will bedew the grass beneath,
Sighs will unite with nature's breath,
T' embalm within that hallowed bed,
A father loved, a father dead.
There's Brotherhood in honest sighs,
There's Brotherhood in earnest tears
Our sons, made kindred by such ties,
Shall interchange their hopes and fears
Yours to the West their steps will bend
To honor their dear Father's friend
Mine to the East will make their way
A pious pilgrimage to pay.
Such was the dream that fired my brain
Last night as 'mid my loved ones lying,
It came again, again, again,
And traced itself in lines undying.
I dreamed we twain had joined the bands
Who live and love in other lands,
And from high seats beheld with joy
The step of each dear pilgrim boy.
I dreamed that on some sunny plain
They, o'er whose couch we've bent at night,
Met, twined with eager hands the chain,
The Chain of Love, the Chain of Light
With glowing lips exchanged the Word, —
No fonder does our tongue afford,
And covenanted by that faith
Their fathers pledged and kept till death.
Then be it so, dear Friend, and while
For earthly labors we are spared,
Let's teach our sons to cherish well
The friendship we've so freely shared.
Then at life's sunset we may die
And yet the power of Death defy
Then by the Monster victor slain,
In our dear Children live again!
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