First published in Limits and Renewals where it precedes “The Woman in His Life”, collected in the Sussex Edition Volume 11, page 35 ,and Volume 43, page 400; also, with a slight variation, in Inclusive Verse, Definitive Verse, and The Works of Rudyard Kipling (Wordsworth Poetry Library).
Notes on the text
The Golden Floor an echo of the Harvest Festival hymn and various references to threshing-floors in the Bible including Matthew 3,12. It is to be found as no. 382 in some editions of Hymns Ancient and Modern:
Come ye thankful people come..
All upon the golden floor
Praising thee for evermore.
Full cock a play upon words – a firearm is ‘cocked’ when ready for firing, an animal ‘cocks its ears’ when listening intently.
Ithuriel’s Spear The touch of the Angel Ithuriel’s spear exposes truth.
The Glassy Sea an echo of Hymn No. 160 in Hymns Ancient and Modern:
Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD GOD Almighty ! …
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea…
Peter St. Peter, the chief disciple of Jesus in the New Testament, and traditionally regarded as keeper of the gate of Heaven. See also the notes to “On the Gate” in Debits and Credits page 331 line 17, and the heading to “The Church that was at Antioch” in Limits and Renewals.
Chair Cathedra Petri (Latin) a chair in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1647-53; but here the chair used by St. Peter in heaven.
The Gate the Gate of Heaven – see Verse 8 above.
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