Two angels stood without The City's gate
And down beside the wall where ran a stream,
And palms hung over, and the day was mild.
These angels' chosen duty was to aid
Weak comers to The City from our world.
For when they saw a spirit down the void
Mounting on weary, nigh exhausted wings,
They flew to it and helped it to The Gate.
So, often in communion with the souls
That from this life depart, these angels learned
Much of our world, which, to their sight, was like
A glowing topaz far below in space.
Beside the jasper wall where fell a stream,
And palms waved over and the light was soft,
I marveled much to hear the angels speak.
For both were weary of the long regret
That, tho' the Christ is worshiped in the world,
And tho' his name is great and spread abroad,
There are so few obedient to his will.
Still extant are the sins that wrought his death.
The envy of the chief priests and the scribes,
The avarice of false Iscariot,
The slander of the blatant multitude,
The lack of manhood, the servility
Of Pontius Pilate, these four sins, and more,
Continue unabated as the seas.
Old, savage error in the blood survives,
Ignores the truth and sullies its domain.
Of those who hopefully avow the faith,
Few for their enemies pray, or aught forgive,
Or with fair favors unkind acts return.
And fewer still judge not lest they be judged;
For most fling wide uncharities of speech,
Warped prejudice all false, or calumny.
Many evil with evil resist, nor fear
To punish those who wrong them, as if God
Were not a jealous God, and had forgot
That vengeance is his fixed, essential right
And his alone.
Both voices swelled and chimed
All variously and like cathedral bells.
Then the swift angels, with white wings outspread,
Plunged down th' abrupt, interminable gulf.
They disappeared, but soon to sight returned,
And I beheld a ray of love divine
Illumine their calm faces, as each bore
A rescued spirit Godward to The Gate.