The Heights

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   I cried, ‘Dear Angel, lead me to the heights,
      And spur me to the top.’
      The Angel answered, ‘Stop
   And set thy house in order; make it fair
   For absent ones who may be speeding there.
      Then will we talk of heights.’

   I put my house in order. ‘Now lead on!’
      The Angel said, ‘Not yet;
      Thy garden is beset
   By thorns and tares; go weed it, so all those
   Who come to gaze may find the unvexed rose;
      Then will we journey on.’

   I weeded well my garden. ‘All is done.’
      The Angel shook his head.
      ‘A beggar stands,’ he said,
   ‘Outside thy gates; till thou hast given heed
   And soothed his sorrow, and supplied his need,
      Say not that all is done.’

   The beggar left me singing. ‘Now at last—
      At last the path is clear.’
      ‘Nay, there is one draws near
   Who seeks, like thee, the difficult highway.
   He lacks thy courage; cheer him through the day
      Then will we cry, “At last!”’

   I helped my weaker brother. ‘Now the heights;
      Oh, Guide me, Angel, guide!’
      The Presence at my side,
   With radiant face, said, ‘Look, where are we now?’
   And lo! we stood upon the mountain’s brow—
      The heights, the shining heights!


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