THE BEST OF ALL
GIVE me wine of the ruby hue,
One sweet love, and a friend or two—
Wine and a Woman and one true Friend,
These are best, to the world’s end!
. . . . .
Then I drank of the wine-cup, rich and deep,
I drank like a god, and I fell asleep:
And out of the cup a serpent crept
And stung my soul, while my body slept.
I trusted my Love and I had no fear.
But gazed in her eyes that shone so clear:
And out of their depths the soul of Sin
Sprang like a fiend, and drew me in.
I loved my friend, and I knew not why,
I asked no token to love him by:
But only I knew him for my friend—
And that was good, to the world’s end.
Macdonald, W. “The Best of All.” The Evergreen; A Northern Seasonal, vol. 4, Winter 1896-7, p. 141. Evergreen Digital Edition, edited by Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2016-2018. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/egv4_macdonald_best/