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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

At the Golden Gate

By Walter Learned (1847–1915)

[Born in New London, Conn., 1847. Died, 1915. From Between Times. 1889.]

UPON her wedding robe the dew is damp;

Poor, weary, foolish fair,

Who with gem-circled arms and empty lamp

Stands, waiting, listening, there.

Brief space her erring sisters made their moan;

Nor did they lingering wait,

But left her in her dumb despair, alone

Before the golden gate.

“Come, follow us,” they cried; “the Bridegroom spurns

Our tardy homage. Haste!

For black night falls. Since He no more returns,

Why here the moments waste?

“Lo, still some gallant waits; and love is sweet,

And life is fair; and yet

Somewhere the lute shall stir our dancing feet,

If we can but forget.”

Silent she stood, nor turned; for love was dear,

So dear, it was her choice

To wait and listen, if she might but hear

Only the Bridegroom’s voice.

So stood she; loving, though the door was barred,

Thus sorrowful to wait,

Repentant, though her punishment was hard,

Before the golden gate.

When the night falls, who knows what mercy waits

To pardon guilt and sin?

Perchance the Lord himself unbarred the gates

And led the wanderer in.