A golden place—whose portals shine
So far across Life's dead-flat level,
That they have drawn this heart of mine
To question if the tale be true
That says—'Here rest shall come to you'—
Or whether leasing of the Devil.
Bring me my horse for far away—
Across our Life's most dreary level
The golden city lies, they say—
That city of eternal ease,
With firmly-founded palaces
Strong fenced against each earthly devil
A mile beyond our city wall—
But one scant mile along the level
I wandered, and at even fall
Returned, for I had gotten grace
To dwell forever in that place
Which is not scaled of any devil.
'And what good lay beyond the wall?
What profit in the outer levels?
Why wander wide at evenfall
Seeing that none of us ere went
A furlong from the Battlement
But found thy country full of devils
That rend and tear us limb from limb
That roam in droves along the levels
When first the daylight draweth dim
Perplexing us in heart and mind,
No certain rest a man may find
Who wanders out among these devils
How got you grace to dwell therein?
How came you scatheless o'er the levels?
Is there a city, we may win
Builded of gold such as they say,
If only we shall dare to stray
Alone, among the shadowy devils?'
Nay 'twas a little place indeed—
A little place along the levels—
But large enough to serve my need
And built so firmly, it will last
Until our city's life be past
Our town and its besieging devils
Its walls are sweeter far to see
Than my dream city's in the levels
Two weak white arms that cling to me
A pure mouth with a bridge of red
Two eyes that struck a light heart dead
And drew it from the lewd loose devils.
Two dark grey eyes that have more light
Than lurid meteors on the levels—
And they have kept my soul aright
This was the golden place I found
Thus am I strong through being bound
Stronger than all the restless devils
And if another man may win
A golden city in the levels—
And if he wish to dwell therein
It must be that he go alone—
Into the desert: which is grown
A habitation for all Devils—
A dwelling place of lust & sin—
And there take harness—fight or fall
A furlong from our city wall—
For so it was—I crossed the levels.