She sat within Life's Banquet Hall at noon,
When word was brought unto her secretly:—
"The Master cometh onwards quickly; soon
Across the Threshold He will call for thee."
Then she rose up to meet Him at the Door,
But turning, courteous, made a farewell brief
To those that sat around. From Care and Grief
She parted first:—"Companions sworn and true
Have ye been ever to me, but for Friends
I knew ye not till later, and did miss
Much solace through that error; let this kiss,
Late known and prized, be taken for amends.
Thou, too, kind, constant Patience, with thy slow,
Sweet counsels aiding me, I did not know
That ye were angels, until ye display'd
Your wings for flight; now bless me."
But they said, "We blest thee long ago."
Then turning unto twain
That stood together, tenderly and oft
She kiss'd them on their foreheads, whispering soft:
''Now must we part; yet leave me not before
Ye see me enter safe within the Door,
Kind bosom-comforters, that by my side
The darkest hour found ever closest bide.
A dark hour waits me, ere for evermore
Night with its heaviness is overpast;
Be with me till I cross the Threshold o'er."
So Faith and Hope stayed by her till the last.
But giving both her hands
To one that stood the nearest:—
"Thou and I May pass together; for the holy bands
God knits on earth are never loosed on high.
Long have I walk'd with Thee; thy name arose
E'en in my sleep, and sweeter than the close
Of music was thy voice; for thou wert sent
To lead me homewards from my banishment
By devious ways, and never hath my heart
Swerved from Thee, though our hands were wrung apart
By spirits sworn to sever us; above Soon shall I look upon
Thee as Thou art." So she cross'd o'er with Love.