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Why steals a half-regretful pain
     Across my wayward breast
When ere I think of thee, as tho'
     We might have been more blest?--

As tho' we'd lost, by some mischance -
     Or by some turn of Fate,
Something that might have made to both
     A life less desolate! -

Friends? - we're friends - I seek your eyes
     And find my answer there  --
But still - and yet I cannot wish
     To make the name less dear! -

Friends?  -- what is friendship? - may I come
And tell you all the changeful thoughts
     That torture and beguile? -

Tell you, without a fear or thought
     Of harm, or future ill
All of the follies, dreams and hopes
     That hold my moodful will?

And we are friends - ah, yes - what then? -
     What test can friendship stand?
And yours - 'twill vanish at the touch
     Or lifting of the hand! -

Forgive - mon ami - let me plead
     A waste of ruined years -
A fair young life whose heritage
     Has been a weight of cares! -

The bitter scoff - the haughty doubt -
     'Tis not for love now fled -
For all true, love stood my scorn
     'Til pity's self was dead!

And I now pause, and think it o'er -
     This changeful life of mine -
Why should a half-regret steal in
     And bow my soul to thine? -

Enough!  I lift a smiling face,
     Gold in its dauntless pride,
Unto the darken'd Future, and
     Dare all it may betide! -

Yet, friend or foe - come good or ill
     I'll not forget the dream -
The "might have been" in days now lost
     'Mid things "that only seem."

     I had commenced these lines on Friday - it is now about 11 - I expect - Saturday night - and I have just caught up my pen and in a "moment of time" wrote seven verses more! --- Sudden inspiration -  a-hem!
     The most sensible thing I can do now, it to go to bed - and I'm going! -----

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