Two steadfast Friends lived once in Monomtàpa;
They loved as if really they′d had the same pàpa:
What one earned the other earned. Ah! for that land;
It′s worth ten such countries as ours, understand.
One night, when a deep sleep had fallen on all,
And the sun had gone off in the dark, beyond call,
One of these worthy men, woke by a nightmare,
Ran to his friend, in a shiver, and quite bare.
The other at once takes his purse and his sword,
Accosts his companion, and says, "′Pon my word
You seldom are up when all other men snore;
You make better use of the night than to pore
Over books; but come, tell me, you′re ruined at play,
Or you have quarrelled with some one; now, speak out, I say.
Here′s my sword and my purse; or, if eager to rest
On a fond wife′s compassionate, fondling breast,
Take this slave: she is fair." "No, no," said the other,
"′Twas neither of these things that startled me, brother.
Thanks, thanks for your zeal; ′twas a dream that I had:
I saw you appear to me, looking so sad;
I feared you were ill, and ran to you to see:
′Twas that dream, so detestable, brought me to thee."
Which friend loved the most?—come, reader, speak out!
The question is hard, and leaves matter for doubt.
A true friend is choicest of treasures indeed;
In the depths of your heart he will see what you need:
He′ll spare you the pain to disclose woes yourself,
Indifferent to either his trouble or pelf:
A dream, when he loves, or a trifle—mere air—
Will strike him with terror, lest danger be there.