UNTO the Prison House of Pain none willingly repair;
The bravest who an entrance gain
Reluctant linger there,
For Pleasure, passing by that door, stays not to cheer the sight,
And Sympathy but muffles sound and banishes the light.
Yet in the Prison House of Pain things full of beauty blow,—
Like Christmas-roses, which attain
Perfection 'mid the snow;
Love, entering, in his mild warmth the darkest shadows melt,
And often, where the hush is deep, the waft of wings is felt.
Ah, me! the Prison House of Pain!—what lessons there are bought!—
Lessons of a sublimer strain
Than any elsewhere taught;
Amid its loneliness and gloom, grave meanings grow more clear,
For to no earthly dwelling-place seems God so strangely near.