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N FT have I seen at some cathedral door
A laborer, pausing in the dust and heat, Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet
Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor
Far off the noises of the world retreat ;
Become an undistinguishable roar.
And leave my burden at this minster gate,
Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray, The tumult of the time disconsolate
To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
L OW strange the sculptures that adorn these towers !
This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
But fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves
And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers !
What exultations trampling on despair,
What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong, What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,
Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
M IDWAY upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost. Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear. So bitter is it, death is little more;
But of the good to treat, which there I found,
Speak will I of the other things I saw there. I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
In which I had abandoned the true way.
At that point where the valley terminated,