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 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!

World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York : Hearst"s International Library Company 1916.

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