The gorgeous Vatican was steeped in night,
The organs trembled to my heart no more,
But with the blend of colors on my sight
I loitered through a somber corridor
And suddenly I heard behind a screen
The faintest whisper, as from one in prayer,
I glanced around, then passed, for I had seen
A hushed and lonely room .... and two were there—
A ragged friar, half in dream's embrace
Leaned sideways, soul intent, as if to seize
The last grey ice of sin that ached to melt
And faltered from the lips of him who knelt—
A little bent old man upon his knees
With pain and sorrow in his holy face.
After the initial publication in Nassau Lit, the poem was re-published in collection: Van Dyke, Henry, ed. A Book of Princeton verse II. 1919. Princeton, Princeton University press .
And see the revised version of this poem in The Notebooks, J, entry 861.
Published in Nassau Literary Magazine magazine (February 1919).