Of old, within the valley of the Nile,

A city stood, and still its records stand,

With massive walls encircling mile on mile,

And gates at every hand.

An hundred gates there were; to south and north,

To east and west, their hinges swinging wide;

Let those within, if so they would, go forth

To all the world outside.

This to the desert led, where camels' feet

Toiled through the sand, yet left no dint of hoof;

That to the mountain, which from tempest and heat

Kept its high head aloof;

This to the river's lotus-bordered shore;

That to the tombs cut in th' enduring rocks;

Another to the plain, where lowly, poor,

The shepherds kept their flocks.

Thence went the beggar, crouching for his alms;

Hence came a stranger, seeking an shade;

There was a street, shady with dates and palms,

Here an unsheltered road.

As Thebes of old, so has the human soul

Her hundred gates; lo, how in going forth

She has all clime, all range, from pole to pole,

East, west, and south, and north.

Aye, and it needs strong guard at every gate;

Outside are roving, warring hosts of sin,

Armed to the teeth, who ever watch and wait

To steal unhindered in;

There to lay waste the temple and the shrine,

To fire with torch, to rob, to smite with sword,

To ruin and make desolate this divine'

Fair city of the Lord.

Then, O my soul, knowing the fate that waits

One careless hour, a faithful vigil keep!

Set sentinels at all thy hundred gates,

Nor let them faint nor sleep!



Clara Doty Bates.