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  Paradise  

 

Once in a dream I saw the flowers
    That bud and bloom in Paradise;
    More fair they are than waking eyes
Have seen in all this world of ours.
And faint the perfume-bearing rose,
    And faint the lily on its stem,
And faint the perfect violet
        Compared with them.

I heard the songs of Paradise:
    Each bird sat singing in his place;
    A tender song so full of grace
It soared like incense to the skies.
Each bird sat singing to his mate
    Soft-cooing notes among the trees:
The nightingale herself were cold
        To such as these.

I saw the fourfold River flow,
    And deep it was, with golden sand;
    It flowed between a mossy land
With murmured music grave and low.
It hath refreshment for all thirst,
    For fainting spirits strength and rest;
Earth holds not such a draught as this
        From east to west.

The Tree of Life stood budding there,
    Abundant with its twelvefold fruits;
    Eternal sap sustains its roots,
Its shadowing branches fill the air.
Its leaves are healing for the world,
    Its fruit the hungry world can feed,
Sweeter than honey to the taste,
        And balm indeed.

I saw the gate called Beautiful;
    And looked, but scarce could look within;
    I saw the golden streets begin,
And outskirts of the glassy pool.
Oh harps, oh crowns of plenteous stars,
    O green palm branches many-leaved--
Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,
        Nor heart conceived!

I hope to see these things again,
    But not as once in dreams by night;
    To see them with my very sight,
And touch and handle and attain:
To have all Heaven beneath my feet
    For narrow way that once they trod;
To have my part with all the saints,
        And with my God.

       - Christina G. Rossetti


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