Love, we have looked on many shows
As over lands from sea to sea
Man with his Guardian Angel goes
His shining shadow more than he.
For us the Nile’s first Kings lay covered
Under a mountain made with hands;
Or red bud bloomed and red bird hovered
Over the lost Red Indian lands.
Beside the sledge with fairy bells
The snow slid by like seas of foam;
Mirrored in the marble wells,
The sun sat regnant over Rome.
But not as distance, not as danger,
Not chance, and hardly even change,
You found, not wholly as a stranger,
The place too wondrous to be strange.
Great with a memory more than yearning,
You travelled but you did not roam,
And went not wandering but returning
As to some first forgotten home.
The mystic city, many-gated,
Monstrously pillared, was your own;
Herodian stories gave words and waited
Two thousand years to be your throne.
Strange blossoms burned as rich before you
As that divine and beautiful blood;
The wild flowers were no wilder for you
Than bluebells in an English wood.
*A footnote in The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton: Vol. X, Collected Poetry, Part I (Ignatius Press), says this undated poem was possibly written to celebrate Frances Chesterton’s reception into the Catholic Church in 1926.