That I was found—
Shall still my transport be—
That once—on me—those Jasper Gates
That in my awkward—gazing—face—
The Angels—softly peered—
And touched me with their fleeces,
Almost as if they cared—
I'm banished—now—you know it—
How foreign that can be—
You'll know—Sir—when the Savior's face
Turns so—away from you—
F 316 (1862) 256
I’ve stared at this poem for a while, read a few other commentaries on it to see if there is anything I’ve missed, and am unimpressed. It’s bitter in the sort of way that one is when lashing out over some hurt.
Here, the poet begins nicely enough: She may be lost now, but she finds consolation—even joy—in knowing that once in the past the “Jasper Gates” opened to her and Angels touched her. She adds a dig, however, by following that sentiment up with an “Almost as if they cared.” Translating this into the dynamics of a human love relationship—which I think the poem is clearly an analogy of—we have a woman saying, “well, even though you rejected me, I have the happiness that at one time you blazed with love for me … almost as if you cared.” The bitterness overpowers the wonderful memory that the poet says shall be her “transport” or joy.
The last stanza descends. The gentleman, instead of perhaps gently ending the relationship, has “banished” the poet. But he shouldn’t get complacent about it, she says, for when he goes up to the Pearly Gates, he’ll get a dose of his own medicine when Jesus sends him packing. The poem, I think, is weakened by this patently vindictive ending.
Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned," as playwright William Congreve wrote in 1697.