A door is open'd in Heaven to-day, and I get me a vision all fair,
A throne with the Lamb in the midst is seen, in His beauty beyond compare,
And a sea of glass, and a rainbow arch, and a throng in vestments of white,
Who prostrate fall and their Sanctus lift where the seven lamps of Fire shed their light.
"What!" cries the World, "Do you really think that the glory of Heaven is like this?
O fools, to believe that worship and song will fill up your measure of bliss:
Better gifts I bestow, the love of the world, ambition's reward and renown."
O World, thy rewards will be wanting there, thy pomp, and thy perishing crown.
See! Angel-borne censers are flinging the smoke of incense up to the Throne,
Powers, Principalities veiling their face from glories to mortals unknown;
And the City four-square, rings forth with the shout, "Worthy the Lamb that was slain."
The City of peace, where, tears wip'd away, there is no more sorrow or pain.
"What!" rails the Flesh, "Do you really think that the joy of your Heaven will be found
In vestments and lights, prostrations and forms, and prayers in a wearisome round?
I have better delights than these for mine, pride of life, and lust of the eyes."
O Flesh, pride and lust will have no place there, nor the serpent in angel's guise.
Her gates are of pearl, and her city gold, her foundations of precious stone,
Nor ray of the sun, nor of silver moon for light in her borders is shown;
And the cry goes up like the thunder's peal, or the sound of the waters' force,
As the nine-fold ranks of the Angel-choir, sweetest antiphons sing in course.
"What!" sneers the Fiend, "Do you really think that your Heaven is a temple of praise,
Where Intellect falls at visions of God, through ages of infinite days?
Man worship thyself, thou, greater than He, be throned in a temple as well."
O Fiend, thy dark form is never seen there, nor one of thy legions of hell.
Ah ! the World, I suppose, is worldly wise, and the Flesh to the flesh is true,
And the Devil stands well to the gates of Hell, lest his victims grow too few;
Foolish and weak, superstitious, misled; thus these three in their pride condemn,
But I turn me once more to the open door of the New Jerusalem.
~ William Chatterton Dix
"A Vision of All Saints & Other Poems", 1871