“Poems of Friendship, Early Friendship” by Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)
The half-seen memories of childish days,
When pains and pleasures lightly came and went;
The sympathies of boyhood rashly spent
In fearful wanderings through forbidden ways;
The vague, but manly wish to tread the maze
Of life to noble ends,—whereon intent,
Asking to know for what man here is sent,
The bravest heart must often pause, and gaze;
The firm resolve to seek the chosen end
Of manhood’s judgment, cautious and mature,—
Each of these viewless bonds binds friend to friend
With strength no selfish purpose can secure:
My happy lot is this, that all attend
That friendship which first came, and which shall last endure.
When I think of the opportunity my sons have to remain life-long friends, I cannot help but think of my own brothers, and the privilege of the enduring friendship I have shared with them through the years. Friendship matures, as individuals do. If nurtured over time, friendship evolves and becomes more resilient, especially if it is constantly buttressed by compassion and forgiveness.
Friendship is one of the primary means by which invisible, formless virtue is given visible, tangible form. In religious terminology, it is a primary channel through which the things of heaven manifest on earth. In other words, it is a vital mechanism for the the will of God (which is, in essence, love conditioned by truth) to be done in earth, as it is in heaven.