by Rudyard Kipling

She did not know that she was dead  
But, when the pang was o'er,  
Sat down to wait her Master's tread  
Upon the Golden Floor,

With ears full-cock and anxious eyes,  
Impatiently resigned;  
But ignorant that Paradise  
Did not admit her kind.

There was one step along the Stair  
That led to Heaven's Gate;  
And, till she heard it, her affair  
Was -- she explained -- to wait.

And she explained with flattened ear,  
Bared lip and milky tooth--  
Storming against Ithuriel's Spear  
That only proved her truth!

Sudden -- far down the Bridge of Ghosts  
That anxious spirits clomb--  
She caught that step in all the hosts,  
And knew that he had come.

She left them wondering what to do,  
But not a doubt had she.  
Swifter than her own squeal she flew  
Across the Glassy Sea;

Flushing the Cherubs everywhere,  
And skidding as she ran,  
She refuged under Peter's Chair  
And waited for her man.

* * * * * *

There spoke a Spirit out of the press,  
'Said: -- "Have you any here  
That saved a fool from drunkenness,  
And a coward from his fear?

"That turned a soul from dark to day  
When other help was vain;  
That snatched it from Wanhope and made  
A cur a man again?"

"Enter and look," said Peter then,  
And set the Gate ajar.  
"If I know aught of women and men  
I trow she is not far."

"Neither by virtue, speech nor art  
Nor hope of grace to win;  
But godless innocence of heart  
That never heard of sin:

"Neither by beauty nor belief  
Nor white example shown.  
Something a wanton -- more a thief --  
But -- most of all -- mine own."

"Enter and look," said Peter then,  
"And send you well to speed;  
But, for all that I know of women and men  
Your riddle is hard to read."

Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,  
Into his arms she flew --  
And licked his face from chin to hair  
And Peter passed them through!

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