I have a friend who came, I know not how,
Nor he. Among the crowd, apart,
I feel the pressure of his hand, and hear
In very truth the beating of his heart.
My soul had shut the door of abode,
So poor it seemed for any guest
To tarry there a night, until he came,
Asking, not entertainment, only rest.
Our hands were empty,-his and mine alike,
He says until they joined. I see
The gifts he brought; but where were mine
That he should say "I too have need of thee?"
Without the threshold of his heart I wait
Abashed, afraid to enter where
So radiant a company do meet,
Yet enter boldly, knowing I am there.
Whether his hand shall press my latch to-night,
To-morrow, matters not. He came
Unsummoned, he will come again; and I,
Though dead, shall answer to my name.
And yet, dear friend, in whom I rest content,
Speak to me now lest when we meet
Where tears and hunger have no grace,
A little word of friendship be less sweet.