Semper Fidelis

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

"Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted."

Think you, had we two lost fealty, something would not, as I sit
With this book upon my lap here, come and overshadow it?
Hide with spectral mists the pages, under each familiar leaf
Lurk, and clutch my hand that turns it with the icy clutch of grief?

Think you, were we twain divided, not by distance, time, or aught
That the world calls separation, but we smile at, better taught,
That I should not feel the dropping of each link you did untwine
Clear as if you sat before me with your true eyes fixed on mine?

That I should not, did you crumble as the other false friends do
To the dust of broken idols, know it without sight of you,
By some shadow darkening daylight in the fickle skies of spring,
By foul fears from household corners crawling over everything?

If that awful gulf were opening which makes two, however near,
Parted more than we were parted, dwelt we in each hemisphere,
Could I sit here, smiling quiet on this book within my hand,
And while earth was cloven beneath me, feel no shock nor understand?

No, you cannot, could not alter. No, my faith builds safe on yours,
Rock-like; though the winds and waves howl, its foundation still endures:
By a man's will "See, I hold thee: mine thou art, and mine shalt be."
By a woman's patience "Sooner doubt I my own soul than thee."

So, Heaven mend us! we'll together once again take counsel sweet;
Though this hand of mine drops empty, that blank wall my blank eyes meet:
Life may flow on: men be faithless, ay, forsooth, and women too!
One is true; and as He liveth, I believe in truth, and you.

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