TWO angels stood at Eden's gate
And neither uttered word:
In the eyes of one, indignant hate
Flamed like the flame of his sword.
The other's brand burned also red
With the fire that, avenging, sears,
And he waved the warning thing of dread;
But his eyes were soft with tears.
They twain had watched the Fall's disgrace,
But only one had seen
The mortal pain in the woman's face,
Where never pain had been:
Had marked the clasp of the woman's hand
On his who, Eden gone,
Seemed, through her trembling touch, new-manned,
As he drew her gently on.
Two angels turned from Eden's gate,
For Man had wandered far:
The one passed quickly, joy elate,
From star to beckoning star;
But the other angel sighed, as lone
The heavenly way he trod,
And came at last to the awful throne,
And fell at the feet of God.
Then spake God's voice:—"What earth-born grief
Dims radiance such as thine?"
The angel sighed:—"I beg relief
For woes that are not mine!—
I plead for them that exiled live.
If grace be of Thy plan,
Have mercy!—ah, have mercy! Give
Some comfort, Lord, to Man!"
The fearful angel waited: came
Long silence, then the Voice:—
"Love cannot take from wrong its blame:
Man's woes are of Man's choice;
Yet do thou bear—thy pity's price—
To them that outcast grope
This last, best gift of Paradise—
This key whose name is Hope!"