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William Makepeace Thackeray

(1811-1863 / India)

At the Church-Gate


Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot,
Ofttimes I hover,
And near the sacred gate,
With longing eyes I wait,
Expectant of her.

The minster-bell tolls out
Above the city's rout,
And noise and humming;
They've hushed the minster-bell,
The organ 'gins to swell, --
She's coming, -- coming!

My lady comes at last,
Timid and stepping fast,
And hastening hither,
With modest eyes downcast;
She comes, -- she's here, -- she's past;
May heaven go with her!

Kneel undisturbed, fair saint,
Pour out your praise or plaint
Meekly and duly;
I will not enter there,
To sully your pure prayer,
With thoughts unruly.

But suffer me to pace
Round the forbidden place,
Lingering a minute,
Like outcast spirits who wait,
And see, through heaven's gate,
Angels within it.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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