Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SELF-EXILED, by WALTER CHALMERS SMITH



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THE SELF-EXILED, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There came a soul to the gate of heaven
Last Line: And the angels were not silent.
Subject(s): Heaven; Service; Paradise


THERE came a soul to the gate of Heaven
Gliding slow --
A soul that was ransomed and forgiven,
And white as snow:
And the angels all were silent.
A mystic light beamed from the face
Of the radiant maid,
But there also lay on its tender grace
A mystic shade:
And the angels all were silent.
As sunlit clouds by a zepher borne
Seem not to stir,
So to the golden gates of morn
They carried her:
And the angels all were silent.
"Now open the gate, and let her in,
And fling it wide,
For she has been cleansed from stain of sin,"
Saint Peter cried:
And the angels all were silent.
"Though I am cleansed from stain of sin"
She answered low,
"I came not hither to enter in,
Nor may I go:"
And the angels all were silent.
"I come," she said," to the pearly door,
To see the Throne
Where sits the Lamb on the Sapphire Floor,
With God alone:"
And the angels all were silent.
"I come to hear the new song they sing
To Him that died,
And note where the healing waters spring
From his pierced side:"
And the angels all were silent.
"But I may not enter there," she said,
"For I must go
Across the gulf where the guilty dead
Lie in their woe:"
And the angels all were silent.
"If I enter heaven I may not pass
To where they be,
Though the wail of their bitter pain, alas!
Tormenteth me:"
And the angels all were silent.
"If I enter heaven I may not speak
My soul's desire
For them that are lying distraught and weak
In flaming fire:"
And the angels all were silent.
"I had a brother, and also another
Whom I loved well;
But if, in anguish, they curse each other
In the depths of hell ?"
And the angels all were silent.
"How could I touch the golden harps,
When all my praise
Could be so wrought with grief-full warps
Of their sad days ?"
And the angels all were silent.
"How love the loved who are sorrowing,
And yet be glad?
How sing the songs we are fain to sing,
While I am sad?"
And the angels all were silent.
"Oh, clear as glass in the golden street
Of the city fair,
And the tree of life it maketh sweet
The lightsome air:"
And the angels all were silent.!
"And the white-robed saints with their crowns and palms
Are good to see,
And oh, so grand are the sounding, psalms!
But not for me:"
And the angels all were silent.
"I come where there is no night," she said,
"To go away,
And help if yet may help, the dead
That have no day."
And the angels all were silent.
Saint Peter he turned the keys about,
And answered grim:
"Can you love the Lord and abide without,
Afar from Him?"
And the angels all were silent.
"Can you love the Lord who died for you,
And leave the place
Where His glory is all disclosed to view
And tender grace?"
And the angels all were silent.
"They go not out who come in here;
It were not meet:
Nothing they lack, for he is here;
And bliss complete."
And the angels all were silent.
"Should I be nearer Christ," she said,
"By pitying less
The sinful living or woful dead
In their helplessness?"
And the angels all were silent.
"Should I be liker Christ were I
To love no more
The loved, who in their anguish lie
Outside the door?"
And the angels all were silent.
"Did He not hang on the cursed tree,
And bear its shame,
And clasp to his heart, for love of me,
My guilt and blame?"
And the angels all were silent.
"Should I be liker, nearer Him,
Forgetting this,
Sighing all day with the Seraphim,
In selfish bliss?"
And the angels all were silent.
The Lord Himself stood by the gate,
And heard her speak
Those tender words compassionate,
Gentle and meek:
And the angels all were silent.
Now, Pity is the touch of God
In human hearts,
And from that way He ever trod
He ne'er departs:
And the angels all were silent.
And He said,"Now will I go with you,
Dear child of love,
I am weary of all this glory, too,
In heaven above:"
And the angels all were silent.
"We will go seek and save the lost,
If they will hear,
They who are worst but need me most
And all are dear:"
And the angels were not silent.




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