Edgar Albert Guest

(20 August 1881 - 5 August 1959 / Birmingham / England)

Old Friends - Poem by Edgar Albert Guest

I do not say new friends are not considerate and true,
Or that their smiles ain't genuine, but still I'm tellin' you
That when a feller's heart is crushed and achin' with the pain,
And teardrops come a-splashin' down his cheeks like summer rain,
Becoz his grief an' loneliness are more than he can bear,
Somehow it's only old friends, then, that really seem to care.
The friends who've stuck through thick an' thin, who've known you, good an' bad,
Your faults an' virtues, an' have seen the struggles you have had,
When they come to you gentle-like an' take your hand an' say:
'Cheer up! we're with you still,' it counts, for that's the old friends' way.

The new friends may be fond of you for what you are today;
They've only known you rich, perhaps, an' only seen you gay;
You can't tell what's attracted them; your station may appeal;
Perhaps they smile on you because you're doin' something real;
But old friends who have seen you fail, an' also seen you win,
Who've loved you either up or down, stuck to you, thick or thin,
Who knew you as a budding youth, an' watched you start to climb,
Through weal an' woe, still friends of yours an' constant all the time,
When trouble comes an' things go wrong, I don't care what you say,
They are the friends you'll turn to, for you want the old friends' way.

The new friends may be richer, an' more stylish, too, but when
Your heart is achin' an' you think your sun won't shine again,
It's not the riches of new friends you want, it's not their style,
It's not the airs of grandeur then, it's just the old friend's smile,
The old hand that has helped before, stretched out once more to you,
The old words ringin' in your ears, so sweet an', Oh, so true!
The tenderness of folks who know just what your sorrow means,
These are the things on which, somehow, your spirit always leans.
When grief is poundin' at your breast — the new friends disappear
An' to the old ones tried an' true, you turn for aid an' cheer.


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, July 12, 2014



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