by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
They stood before the Angel at the gate;
The Angel asked: ‘Why should you enter in?’
One said: ‘On earth my place was high and great;’
And one: ‘I warned my fellow-men from sin;’
Another: ‘I was teacher of the faith;
I scorned my life and lived in love with death.’
And one stood silent. ‘Speak!’ the Angel said;
‘What earthly deed has sent you here to-day?’
‘Alas! I did but follow where they led,’
He answered sadly: ‘I had lost my way—
So new the country, and so strange my flight;
I only sought for guidance and for light.’
‘You have no passport?’ ‘None,’ the answer came.
‘I loved the earth, tho’ lowly was my lot.
I strove to keep my record free from blame,
And make a heaven about my humble spot.
A narrow life; I see it now, too late;
So, Angel, drive me from the heavenly gate.’
The Angel swung the portal wide and free,
And took the sorrowing stranger by the hand.
‘Nay, you alone,’ he said, ‘shall come with me,
Of all this waiting and insistent band.
Of what God gave, you built your paradise;
Behold your mansion waiting in the skies.’