Sketches of Southern Life
I had a dream, a varied dream:
Before my ravished sight
The city of my Lord arose,
With all its love and light.
The music of a myriad harps
Flowed out with sweet accord;
And saints were casting down their crowns
In homage to our Lord.
My heart leaped up with untold joy;
Life’s toil and pain were o’er;
My weary feet at last had found
The bright and restful shore.
Just as I reached the gates of light,
Ready to enter in,
From earth arose a fearful cry
Of sorrow and of sin.
I turned, and saw behind me surge
A wild and stormy sea;
And drowning men were reaching out
Imploring hands to me.
And ev’ry lip was blanched with dread
And moaning for relief;
The music of the golden harps
Grew fainter for their grief.
Let me return, I quickly said,
Close to the pearly gate;
My work is with these wretched ones,
So wrecked and desolate.
An angel smiled and gently said:
This is the gate of life,
Wilt thou return to earth’s sad scenes,
Its weariness and strife,
To comfort hearts that sigh and break,
To dry the falling tear,
Wilt thou forego the music sweet
Entrancing now thy ear?
I must return, I firmly said,
The strugglers in that sea
Shall not reach out beseeching hands
In vain for help to me.
I turned to go; but as I turned
The gloomy sea grew bright,
And from my heart there seemed to flow
Ten thousand cords of light.
And sin-wrecked men, with eager hands,
Did grasp each golden cord;
And with my heart I drew them on
To see my gracious Lord.
Again I stood beside the gate.
My heart was glad and free;
For with me stood a rescued throng
The Lord had given me.