James Edwin Campbell

Amici Tres

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Some friends I had, they numbered three --
Tom, Lee and Ben; staunch friends were we.
O, life was sweet and life was young,
And love filled all the songs we sung.
Boy's love for boy is stronger than
The honeyed love of maid for man,
Like David's love for Jonathan.
Life's tide rolled on, we all grew up
And drained the lees of manhood's cup --
A sweetheart parted Ben and me,
A race for office drove off Lee,
And money loaned was Tom's sole plea --
The money that was loaned by me.


Some friends I had, they numbered three --
My mother, wife, myself. You see
We made another trinity.
The first and second always true,
But shall I tell the truth to you?
I found the third, worst enemy.
More dangerous than the foe without,
Who rushes on with sword and shout,
Is Self, who never makes a din,
But, like a sapper, works within,
Until he undermines the wall
And sends it crashing to its fall!


Again my friends they number three --
Wife, mother, Christ -- great trinity!
When in the fiery furnace tried
I found these three walked at my side;
They faced the fiercest furnace heat
That 'gainst my shrinking soul did beat,
Nor storm nor calm nor joy nor grief,
Nor trials sore beyond belief.
Myself within, fierce foes without,
Dismay them not with battle shout.
Again I count my friends as three --
Wife, mother, Christ, the strongest three,
My all sufficing trinity!

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James Edwin Campbell