Poem by Charles Williams
Ballade of a Street Door
As I came up into the town
Wherein my father's house abide,
I met a man in tattered gown,
In ragged garment blowing wide,
With terror fleet and open-eyed;
'Ho, whither now so fast, I pray?'
Fearfully looked he back and cried:
'I pulled the bell and ran away!
'Good sir, if thou hast held renown
Among this people, be my guide!
I from their welcome, not their frown,
In shelter would obscurely hide.
For when, being tired, a latch I tried.
Whence came a sound of revels gay.
Fear rose within me like a tide,—
I pulled the bell and ran away.
'A voice called " Bring the festal crown!"
And running footsteps gateward hied.
Wherethrough I heard, as they came down.
Great names that challenged and replied.
And torchlight through the chinks I spied
My soul became a wild dismay.
And as the doors began to slide
I pulled the bell and ran away!'
Prince, was it you and I whose pride
So turned, so fled, upon our Day?
Was it our voices then which sighed
'I pulled the bell and ran away'?
This poem is helpful in understanding Descent into Hell.