To A Friend

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My low deserts consist not with applauseSo kindly -- when I fain would deem it so,My sad heart, musing on its proper flaws,Thy gentle commendation must forego;As toys, which, glued together, hold awhile,But, haply brought too near some searching fire,Start from their frail compacture, and beguileThe child, that pieced them, of his fond desire:I was a very child for that brief tide,Whenas I join'd and solder'd thy good wordWith my poor merits -- 'twas a moment's pride --The flames of conscience sunder'd their accord:My heart dropt off in sorrow from thy praise,Self-knowledge baulk'd self-love so many ways.

© Turner Charles (Tennyson)