"When Friends converse together Face to Face; / Then freely they Unbosom their Requests, / And treasure Secrets in each others Breasts, / As in firm Cabinets, close lock'd, where none / Can find the Key, but only each his own."
— Mollineux [née Southworth], Mary (1651-1695)
Those Christal Streams, whereby true Friendship grows;
That dear Affection, that firm Unity,
That Interwoven free Community,
Which so engageth Hearts and Minds together,
No stormy Sea, nor utmost Lands, can sever
These willing Captives: For the Gen'rous Mind
Is not by place, though far remote, confin'd.
True Friends, when they by distance are bereaven
Of Verbal Converse, have their Names engraven
In one anothers Hearts, which cannot be
Cancell'd or Raz'd by Earths vain obloquy:
Yet, lest the same should, as a Glimm'ring Spark,
Seem to expire, as buried in the Dark,
There is by Mediums (if the place deny
Them, viva voce, free Community)
Reciprocal Reflections of its Beams
Unto each other, couch'd in sable Streams;
Tho' the abounding Solace doth increase,
When Friends converse together Face to Face;
Then freely they Unbosom their Requests,
And treasure Secrets in each others Breasts,
As in firm Cabinets, close lock'd, where none
Can find the Key, but only each his own.
Is one oppress'd with Grief? He lays a share
Upon his Friend, that he may help to bear:
Swims one in Solace? Finds he cause of Joy?
'Tis then re-doubled by Community:
Mourns one? the other Mourns: Doth one Rejoyce?
His Second Self then, both in Heart and Voice,
Doth Sympathize: True Friendship may not be
Without an inward secret Sympathy.
But fawning Parasites, tho' they pretend,
In Complement, to be each others Friend,
For meer Self-int'rest, or some close design,
Become, if not proud Enemies, in time
Absolute Strangers; and so manifest
True Friendship ne'er was grounded in their Breast.
Altho' there was some formal Shew, whereby
Some were deluded, through Hypocrisie,
T'impart their hidden Secrets, which are now
Made Proclamations, with a scornful Brow;
Nor are Reproaches, taunting Calumnies,
Backbiting, Railing, other Injuries,
With-held, as opportunity affords
Them vent for Wrath, with either Tongue or Swords;
Surely, because such do not rightly know
That Innate Spring, which makes true Friendship grow:
For this, by Covenant, doth so engage
Their Noble Hearts, that no Self-wounding Rage
Can here prevail, or once dissolve the Knot
Friendship hath ty'd: Mistakes are soon forgot,
If any interpose, or would present
Some Crime, to cause a Frown in discontent.
There's Charity in Friendly Breasts, that heals
Such Scars, whereby true Love, not Rage, prevails:
And when it is unto Perfection grown
In both their Hearts, such Scars are seldom known.
Gentle Advice, whereby one may reclaim
A Friend from Error, doth not wrong the Name,
Or make a Breach in Friendship: None may be
Rightly esteem'd a Friend, that if he see
His Neighbour lose his Way, will not direct
Unto a better; or that will reject
Good Exhortation, fancying Reproof
A greater Crime than he is guilty of.
Self-hood is often Blind; therefore a Friend
Is not prohibited to reprehend,
So he proclaim not Faults. But they that would
Sin uncontroul'd, and hug their Errors, should
Never contract a Friendship, lest thereby
That sacred Name be stain'd with Infamy.
Is any Wise, that when Distempers do
Begin to seize, would not desire to know?
Diseases known, are sooner cur'd; but they
That would indulge and hide them, that they may
Thereby increase, do frequently expose
Themselves, as a Derision to their Foes.
True Cordial Friends, without offence, can bear
Kind Admonition, though it be severe.
The faithful Wounds of Friends are like Incision,
Made by the Skilful Hand of some Physitián,
To let out noxious Humours, that invade
The afflicted Part, and stubbornly impede
The hoped Cure; which afterward with speed
Doth, by some suppling Ointment, well succeed.
See Fruits of Retirement: or, Miscellaneous Poems, Moral and Divine. Being Some Contemplations, Letters, &C. Written on Variety of Subjects and Occasions. By Mary Mollineux, Late of Leverpool, Deceased. To Which Is Prefixed, Some Account of the Author. (London: printed and sold by T. Sowle, in White-Hart-Court in Gracious-Street, 1702). <Link to ESTC>