Published on Academy of American Poets (

At the Church Gate

  Although I enter not,
  Yet round about the spot
      Ofttimes I hover:
  And near the sacred gate,
  With longing eyes I wait,
      Expectant of her.

  The Minster bell tolls out
  Above the city's rout,
      And noise and humming:
  They've hush'd the Minster bell:
  The organ 'gins to swell:
      She's coming, she's coming!

  My lady comes at last,
  Timid, and stepping fast,
      And hastening hither,
  With modest eyes downcast:
  She comes—she's here—she's past—
      May heaven go with her!

  Kneel, undisturb'd, fair Saint!
  Pour out your praise or plaint
      Meekly and duly;
  I will not enter there,
  To sully your pure prayer
      With thoughts unruly.

  But suffer me to pace
  Round the forbidden place,
      Lingering a minute
  Like outcast spirits who wait
  And see through heaven's gate
      Angels within it.


This poem is in the public domain. 

About this Poem

From Ballads and Songs (London: Cassell and Company, 1896).



William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray, born July 18, 1811, was an English writer best known for his novels, particularly The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (The Mershon Company Publishers, 1852) and Vanity Fair (Bradbury and Evans, 1848). While in school, Thackeray began writing poems, which he published in a number of magazines, chiefly Fraser and Punch. He died on December 24, 1863.

Date Published: 2018-07-11

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