Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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;        5
  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!        10
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,        15
  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.        20
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        25
  To pardon guilt and sin?
Perchance the Lord himself unbarred the gates
  And led the wanderer in.

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