A Locked Way

(AFTER LONG YEARS)

'Open the Gate!
  The dawn is very near at hand.
My eyes are heavy, I have wandered late,
  And trod the white road from a distant land 
That stretches 'neath the stars. Open the Gate!'

'What good is it?
  I set the heavy bars up long ago. 
The lock is rusted; I have lost the key.
  How should I open to my overthrow?
0 Youth's love, what have I to do with thee?'

'Open the Gate!
  The night is passing-thou mayest see it pass. 
Behold, the upland hills are tipped with fire!
  The dawn-winds blow across the upland grass. 
The cocks crow. Open thou, my heart's desire!'

'That will not I.
  This is no true daybreak my sad eyes see.
How shall I open? Broadens not one whit
  The white light that so often mockèd me. 
How shall I open to a lying cry?
  What good is it?'

'Open the Gate!
  The night is truly ended, 0 my dear! 
My feet are bleeding! I am sick to death!
  Open the Gate! God's own red sun is here! 
The shadows flee, and the land quickeneth.
  O Love, for Pity, open thou the Gate!'

Nay then - for ruth
  I open. I have little love for thee,
And I am sorely changèd since our youth, 
  And there is little beauty left in me . . .
For Pity have I opened . . . but, in truth,
  I. . . had . . . not . . . thought . . . with Pity . . . Love might be!'