'Tis Sorrow Builds the Shining Ladder Up

'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up,
Whose golden rounds are our calamities,
Whereon our feet planting, nearer God
The spirit climbs and hath its eyes unsealed.
True it is that Death's face seems stern and cold,
When he is sent to summon those we love,
But all God's angels come to us disguised.
Sorrow and sickness, poverty and death,
One after other lift their frowning masks
And we behold the seraph's face beneath,
All radiant with the glory and the calm
Of having looked upon the front of God.
With every anguish of our earthly part
The spirit's path grows clearer; this was meant
When Jesus touched the blind man's lids with clay.
Life is the jailer; Death the angel sent
To draw the unwilling bolts and set us free.
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