I sit at my cottage window,
   In the light of the sun's last rays,
And the hill-tops glow with splendor,
   And the west is all ablaze.
My room is flooded with glory,
   My soul, with a wild delight,
And my heart is filled with poems,
   That I can not speak, or write.

O, darker, and deeper, and grander,
   The glory flames on high,
And I trace the walls of a city,
   In that beautiful western sky:
A city all gold and crimson--
   All purple and amber red;
And the streets are paved with crystal.
   Where the feet of angels tread.

O, soulless pen and pencil.
   Thy efforts are weak and vain;
The pen of the poet falters,
   And his heart is full of pain:
And the artist drops his pencil,
   And weeps in mute despair,
For he cannot paint the glory
   That lies in the sunset there.

But the city fadeth--fadeth;
   The glory turns to grey;
The golden lights are dying,
   And the splendor melts away.
And I know it was only the shadow
   Of the city built on high--
Only the poor, pale shadow,
   That I saw in the sunset sky.

And I long for that other city-- 
   The city that God hath made,
Where the glory never paleth,
   And the splendors never fade.
O, there at the feet of Jesus,
   In anthems of praise, I know
My soul shall utter the poems
   That fill it to overflow.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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