Friendship (“Let such pure hate still underprop…”)

By Henry D. Thoreau

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers.”

Let such pure hate still underprop
Our love, that we may be
Each other’s conscience,
And have our sympathy
Mainly from thence.

We’ll one another treat like gods,
And all the faith we have
In virtue and in truth, bestow
On either, and suspicion leave
To gods below.

Two solitary stars --
Unmeasured systems far
Between us roll,
But by our conscious light we are
Determined to one pole.

What need confound the sphere --
God can afford to wait,
For him no hour’s too late
That witnesseth our duty’s end,
Or to another doth beginning lend.

Love will subserve no use,
More than the tints of flowers,
Only the independent guest
Frequents its bowers,
Inherits its bequest.

No speech though kind has it,
But kinder silence doles
Unto its mates,
By night consoles,
By day congratulates.

What saith the tongue to tongue?
What heareth ear of ear?
By the decrees of fate
From year to year
Does it communicate.

Pathless the gulf of feeling yawns --
No trivial bridge of words,
Or arch of boldest span,
Can leap the moat that girds
The sincere man.

No show of bolts and bars
Can keep the foeman out,
Or ‘scape his secret mine
Who entered with the doubt
That drew the line.

No warden at the gate
Can let the friendly in,
But like the sun o’er all
He will the castle win,
And shine along the wall.

There’s nothing in the world I know
That can escape from love,
For every depth it goes below,
And every height above.

It waits as waits the sky,
Until the clouds go by,
Yet shines serenely on
With an eternal day,
Alike when they are gone,
And when they stay.

Implacable is Love—
Foes may be bought or teased
From their hostile intent,
But he goes unappeased
Who is on kindness bent.

Source: The Dial (October 1841) pp. 204-205