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HELL AND HATE, by             Poem Explanation     Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Two demons thrust their arms out over the world
Last Line: To the darkness out of sight.
Alternate Author Name(s): Bridges, Robert+(2)
Subject(s): Hate; Hell

Two demons thrust their arms out over the world,
Hell with a ruddy torch of fire,
And Hate with gasping mouth,
Striving to seize two children fair
Who play'd on the upper curve of the Earth.

Their shapes were vast as the thoughts of man,
But the Earth was small
As the moon's rim appeareth
Scann'd through an optic glass.

The younger child stood erect on the Earth
As a charioteer in a car
Or a dancer with arm upraised;
Her whole form -- barely clad
From feet to golden head --
Leapt brightly against the uttermost azure,
Whereon the stars were splashes of light
dazed in the gulfing beds of space.

The elder might have been stell'd to show
The lady who led my boyish love;
But her face was graver than e'er to me
When I look'd in her eyes long ago,
And the hair on her shoulders fal'n
Nested its luminous brown
I' the downy spring of her wings:
Her figure aneath was screen'd by the Earth,
Whereoff -- so small that was
No footing for her could be --
She appeared to be sailing free
I' the glide and poise of her flight.

Then knew I the Angel Faith,
Who was guarding human Love.

Happy were both, of peaceful mien,
Contented as mankind longeth to be,
Not merry as children are;
And show'd no fear of the Fiends' pursuit,
As ever those demons clutched in vain;
And I, who had fear'd awhile to see
Such gentleness in such jeapardy,
Lost fear myself; for I saw the foes
Were slipping aback and had no hold
On the round Earth that sped its course.

The painted figures never could move,
But the artist's mind was there:
The longer I look'd the more I knew
They were falling, falling away below
To the darkness out of sight.

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