Duty Surviving Self-Love
Unchanged within, to see all changed without,
Is a blank lot and hard to bear, no doubt.
Yet why at others’ wanings should’st thou fret?
Then only might’st thou feel a just regret,
Hadst thou withheld thy love or hid thy light
In selfish forethought of neglect and slight.
O wiselier then, from feeble yearnings freed,
While, and on whom, thou may’st — shine on! nor heed
Whether the object by reflected light
Return thy radiance or absorb it quite:
And though thou notest from thy safe recess
Old Friends burn dim, like lamps in noisome air,
Love them for what they are; nor love them less,
Because to thee they are not what they were.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)