Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
The Enquiry
By Katherine Philips (‘Orinda’) (1632–1664)
 
IF we no old historian’s name
  Authentic will admit,
But think all said of Friendship’s fame
  But Poetry or Wit:
Yet what’s revered by minds so pure,        5
Must be a bright Idea sure.
 
But as our immortality
  By inward sense we find,
Judging that if it could not be,
  It would not be design’d:        10
So here how could such copies fall,
If there were no original?
 
But if truth be in ancient song,
  Or story we believe,
If the inspired and graver throng        15
  Have scornèd to deceive;
There have been hearts whose friendship gave
Them thoughts at once both soft and brave.
 
Among that consecrated few,
  Some more seraphic shade        20
Lend me a favourable clew
  Now mists my eyes invade.
Why, having filled the world with fame,
Left you so little of your flame?
 
Why is’t so difficult to see        25
  Two bodies and one mind?
And why are those who else agree
  So differently kind?
Hath Nature such fantastic art,
That she can vary every heart;        30
 
Why are the bands of Friendship tied
  With so remiss a knot,
That by the most it is defied,
  And by the rest forgot?
Why do we step with so light sense        35
From Friendship to Indifference?
 
If Friendship sympathy impart,
  Why this ill-shuffled game,
That heart can never meet with heart,
  Or flame encounter flame?        40
What does this cruelty create?
Is’t the intrigue of Love or Fate?
 
Had Friendship ne’er been known to men,
  (The Ghost at last confest)
The World had been a stranger then        45
  To all that Heaven possest.
But could it all be here acquired,
Not Heaven itself would be desired.
 
 
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