BEARING two crystal goblets in her hands
To a philosopher an Angel came:
One wine shone clear as water o’er white sands,
One red as flame.
“Choose!” said the Angel. “From life’s wine-press flows
For all mankind the vintage which I bring.
The pale cup holds exemption from life’s woes,
The red brings suffering.”
“One wine is colourless,” the dreamer said.
“Who suffer keenest nobler joys attain.”
And to the dregs drained from the goblet red
The draught of pain.
Then spake the Angel: “Thou hast chosen well.
What seemeth loss to thee shall prove thy gain.
All that is pure, and sweet, and beautiful
Is born of pain.”