A Friend

"Your invitation, sir, to dine

With you to-night I must decline

Because to-day I lost a friend--

A friend long known and loved;" thus penned

The good Sir Walter, aptly named

The Wizard of the North, and famed

For truest, gentlest heart, among

The homes that love the English tongue.

Great heart, that felt the soul of things

In all its high imaginings,

And showed, mid vexing stress and strife

Of worldly cares, a hero's life!

An humble friend it was he loved,

And oft together they had roved

The heather hills and sweet brae side,

Or braved the rushing river's tide,

And many a frosty winter night

Sat musing by the warm firelight--

A faithful friend, whom chance and change

Of fleeting years could ne'er estrange.

For he who once has gained the love

And friendship of a dog shall prove

Thro' joy and sorrow to the end

The deep devotion of a friend.

What is it? More than instinct fine,

This something man cannot divine,

Which speaks from eyes where lips are mute,

Which makes the creature we name brute

The noblest pattern we may see

Of loving, lasting loyalty.

We dare not call it mind or soul,

We know not what or where its goal,

But aye we know its little span

Of life spells large--Friendship to man;

Nor wonder Scott, in grief, should say,

"I lost a much-loved friend to-day!"