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Three Souls

From the Omaha Daily Bee, April 14, 1913.
 By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

 Three souls there were that reached the Heavenly Gate,
 And gained permission of the guard to wait.
 Barred from the bliss of Paradise by sin,
 They did not ask, or hope, to enter in.
 “We loved one woman,” (thus their story ran);
 “We lost her, for she chose another man.
 So great our love, it brought us to this door;
 We only ask to see her face once more.
 Then will we go to realms where we belong,
 And pay our penalty for doing wrong.”
 “And were thou friends on earth?” (The Guard spake thus),
 “Nay, we were foes; but Death made friends of us.
 The dominating thought within each Soul
 Brought us together, comrades, to this goal,
 To see her face, and in its radiance bask
 For one great moment—that is all we ask.
 And, having seen her, we must journey back
 The path we came—a hard and dangerous track.”
 “Wait, then,” the Angel said, “beside me here,
 But do not strive within God’s gate to peer
 Nor converse hold with Spirits clothed in light
 Who pass this way; thou hast not earned the right.”
 They waited year on year. Then, like a flame,
 News of the woman’s death from earth-land came.
 The eager lovers scanned with hungry eyes
 Each Soul that passed the Gates of Paradise.
 The well-beloved face in vain they sought,
 Until one day, the Guardian Angel brought
 A message to them. “She has gone,” he said,
 “Down to the lower regions of the dead;
 Her chosen mate went first; so great her love
 She has resigned the joys that wait above
 To dwell with him, until perchance some day,
 Absolved from sin, he seeks the Better Way.”
 Silent, the lovers turned. The pitying Guard
 Said: “Stay” (the while his hand the door unbarred),
 “There waits for thee no darker grief or woe;
 Enter the Gates, and all God’s glories know,
 But to be ready for so great a bliss,
 Pause for a moment and take heed of this:
 The dearest treasure by each mortal lost
 Lies yonder, when the Threshold has been crossed,
 And thou shalt find within that Sacred Place
 The shining wonder of her worshipped face.
 All that is past is but a troubled dream;
 Go forward now and claim the Fact Supreme.”
 Then clothed like Angels, fitting their estate,
 Three Souls went singing, singing through God’s Gate.

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