Bohemian legends and other poems/The Story of a Lost Soul

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Across a verdant meadow,
Whose diamond dews were tears,
Two blessed souls were walking;
They had not any fears;
And just behind them, sighing,
Came a lost soul in tears.

At length they reached the gateway,
And knocking at the door,
Stood praying at the threshold
To Him whose name they bore;
With radiant faces waiting,
The opening of that door.

Our Lord said to St. Peter,
Who knocks, I pray thee see.”
Two blessed souls, my Saviour,
Who long thy face to see;
And a very sinful soul,
Who fain to Thee would flee.”

The Lord said, “Let them enter,
Those righteous souls and true;
But show that sinful soul
The road that leads to rue;
Where she in cleansing fire,
Shall mourn her sins, not few.”

That poor soul went lamenting,
And weeping very sore,
Till tears of blood were sprinkled,
Upon the robe she wore.
And still her gaze kept seeking,
That distant, close-shut door.

And while she wandered sadly,
And thought upon her dole,
She saw the blessed Virgin,
Who gazed upon her soul,
And asked in accents tender,
Poor soul, what is thy dole?”

Alas! alas!” she answered,
My sins are very great,
I cannot enter Heaven,
My soul in Hell must wait.
Alas! alas! dear mother,
Have pity on my fate.”

The Blessed Virgin answered,
I can do nought but pray,
Come with me, erring daughter,
Upon this narrow way.
And when we come to Heaven,
I for thy soul will pray.”

With trembling fear and anguish—
With many, many tears,
The poor soul stood and waited,
And struggled with her fears,
While the loud knock resounded,
And thundered in her ears.

Our Lord said to St. Peter,
Go see who knocketh so?”
My Lord, it is your Mother,
With a lost soul from woe.”
Then let my mother enter,
But the sinful soul must go.”

Not so, not so, beloved,
My son, I pray thee hear,
Have mercy, I beseech thee,
Upon this soul in fear.
And turn her bitter anguish
To songs of praise, just here.”

Right gladly would I hear thee,
Oh, Blessed Mother mine,
But in my Father’s mansions
That sinful soul would pine;
What good work has she finished,
Meet for this home divine?”

Alas! alas! I sinful
Have walked in my own light;
The world and all its pleasures,
They were my sole delight;
Alas! I am most sinful,
Most sinful in my sight.”

But say, some good work surely—
Some fasts you must have kept?”
The Blessed Mother questioned,
The sinful soul that wept:
Some sins you must have thought of,
And prayed for, ere you slept?”

Alas! alas! I sinful
Have nothing I can show,
Except I sometimes tended
The sick ones in their woe,
And gave a little water
To those down-stricken low.”

Ah, great then was the beauty,
That shown in our Lord’s face:
Give me thy hand, redeemed one,
Thy sins they are effaced;
Come in, come in, redeemed one,
Thou, too, hast won the race.”

And by the hand He took her,
And led her to the throne.
This one,” He said, “did drink me,
And tend me when alone.
This act, oh Holy Father,
For all her sins atone.”