Fairer it seems, its velvet walks were sweet,
Dearer its quiet streets, with gold paved o’er,
Since o’er them lightly fall the little feet—
The light feet bounding through our homes no more;
Oh, heart’s dear music, tearfully missed,
That city’s filled with melody like this.
It is not far away; down from its arches roll
Anthems too sacred for the outward ear,
Pouring their haunting sweetness on the soul;
Oh, how our waiting spirits thrill to hear,
In listening to the low bewildering strain,
Voices they said we should not hear again.
Oh, dear to us that city. He is there,
He whom unseen we love; no need of light;
His tender eyes illume the crystal air
Where His beloved walk in vesture white,
What though on earth they wandered, poor, distressed,
And saw through tears His glory, now they rest.
Oh, that fair city, shining o’er the tide,
Thither we journey through the storm and night;
But soon shall we adown its still bay glide,
Soon will the city’s gate gleam on our sight,
There with our own forever shall we be,
In that fair city rising from the sea.
I am an outcast, sinful and vile I know,
But what are you, my lady, so fair, and proud, and high?
The fringe of your robe just touched me, me so low—
Your feet defiled, I saw the scorn in your eye,
And the jeweled hand, that drew back your garments fine.
What should you say if I told you to your face
Your robes are dyed with as deep a stain as mine,
The only difference is you are better paid for disgrace.
You loved a man, you promised to be his bride,
Strong vows you gave, you were in the sight of Heaven his wife,
And when you sold yourself for another’s wealth, he died;
And what is that but murder? To take a life
That is a little beyond my guilt, I ween,
To murder the one you love is a crime of deeper grade
Than mine, yet in purple you walk on the earth a queen;
I think the wages of sin are very unequally paid.
For what did you receive when you sold yourself for
When with guilty loathing you plighted your white, false hand,
A palace in town and country, his name long centuries old,
A carriage with coachmen and footmen, wealth in broad tracts
Wealth in coffers and vaults, high station, the family gems,
For these you stood at God’s altar and swore to a lie;
But smother your conscience to silence if it condemns,
With this you are liberally paid for your life of infamy.
What wages did I receive when I gave myself for his
So young, so weak, and loving him, loving him so—
What did I get for my sin, O merciful God above!
But the terrible, terrible wages—pain and want and woe;
The world’s scorn, and my own contempt and disdain,
The hideous hue of guilt that stares in every eye.
Like you I cannot ‘broider with gold my garments’ stain,
You see, my lady, you get far better wages than I.