A mute companion at my side
Paces and plods, the whole day long,
Accepts the measure of my stride,
Yet gives no cheer by word or song.
More close than any doggish friend,
Not ranging far and wide, like him,
He goes where’er my footsteps tend,
Nor shrinks for fear of life or limb.
I do not know when first we met,
But till each day’s bright hours are done
This grave and speechless silhouette
Keeps me betwixt him and the sun.
They say he knew me when a child;
Born with my birth, he dies with me;
Not once from his long task beguiled,
Though sin or shame bid others flee.
What if, when all this world of men
Shall melt and fade and pass away,
This deathless sprite should rise again
And be himself my Judgment Day?
Thomas Wentworth Higginson