“Friendship! to the unsullied joys belong;
Joys that bless e’en Heaven’s immortal throng,
In these bring realms so rich in every Joy;
That hope herself would but the bliss annoy;
For hope where e’er she comes however fair,
Still fear the attendant of her path is there;
Angelic hosts affection rapture prove
And holy anthems tell their mutual love,
Fair Friendship binds the whole celestial frame,
For love in Heaven and Friendship are the same”
This contribution by Mary Forten (1815-1842) , daughter of James and Charlotte V. Forten, is transcribed from a section of the poem “The Pleasures of Friendship,” by James M’Henry, an Irish-born American politician and author. Though not original verse, this testament to the friendship between Forten and Cassey reads as a personal missive by setting the text in quotation marks. While it is not in the form of a letter, and therefore not strictly of the epistolary genre, it emulates an affectionate correspondence-like dialogue between these two women.
Selected from James McHenry, “The Pleasures of Friendship” in The Pleasures of Friendship and Other Poems, 7th ed. (Philadelphia: Grigg and Elliot, 1836).