“The Choice Is Yours”
“The choice is yours, of course. What can I say?
You ask too much, the time is short, delay
Here profits no one. And if you gain you may
Be sure that in that gain you lose your innocence but once, and stray
Not quite so happily as presently you do without a thought to where.
I am no teacher as I claim the equal station of the friend,
Because it is certain that truths imparted surely will offend and send
You from me should you hear my words. Beware; take care.
Gains supplying mastery imply a parting in the ways. “But why?”
Said I, and he continued, “Nothing gained from me
Can serve your heart while I am with you, since to be
As I am you must be prepared to see with eyes
That are not yours but mine; your actions, then, cannot guarantee
A timeless innocence every bent and compromised
and inevitable rebellion brought to light to bury me.”
…a wise teacher once told me that it is impossible to be a teacher and a friend at the same time; teachers instruct while friends never criticise one another. I heard this years ago and have found that the statement has stood the test of time…