A WOMAN'S LOVE
1839 - 1905
A sentinel angel sitting high in glory
Heard this shrill wail ring out from Purgatory; ---
"Have mercy, mighty angel ! Hear my story.
" I loved, --- and, blind with passionate love, I fell.
Love brought me down to death, and death to Hell:
For God is just, and death for sin is well.
"I do not rage against His high decree,
Nor for myself do ask that grace shall be;
But for my Love on earth, who mourns for me.
"Great Spirit ! Let me see my Love again,
And comfort him one hour, and I were fain
To pay a thousand years of fire and pain ! "
Then said the pitying angel --- "Nay ! Repent
That wild vow: look ! The dial-finger's bent
Down to the last hour of thy punishment !
But still she wail'd --- "I pray thee let me go !
I can not rise to peace and leave him so:
O, let me soothe him in his bitter woe ! "
The brazen gates ground sullenly ajar,
And upward, joyous, like a rising star,
She rose and vanish'd in the ether far.
But soon adown the dying sunset sailing,
And like a wounded bird her pinions trailing,
She flutter'd back, with broken-hearted wailing.
She sobb'd --- "I found him by the summer sea
Reclined, his head upon a maiden's knee, ---
She curl'd his hair and kiss'd him. Woe is me ! "
She wept: "Now let my punishment begin !
I have been fond and foolish. Let me in
To expiate my sorrow and my sin ! "
The angel answer'd --- "Nay, sad soul ! Go higher !
To be deceived in your true heart's desire
Was bitterer than a thousand years of fire."