"God Keeps A Niche In Heaven To Hold Our Idols"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: This sonnet is typical of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in that it reflects her theme of social consciousness. In beginning the poem "O beloved voices," she is addressing the people who have already died or broken off "in the middle of that song we sang together softly." These people with whom she "sang" are those who tried, along with Mrs. Browning, "to enrich the poor world with the sense of love." Though these companions have now died, the poetess reaffirms her faith in an afterlife and in the fact that she will meet her "idols" in heaven. She goes on to state that these "idols" will be especially recognized by God and "glorified."

And O belovèd voices, upon which
Ours passionately call, because ere-long
Ye brake off in the middle of that song
We sang together softly, to enrich
The poor world with the sense of love, and witch
The heart out of things evil,–I am strong,
Knowing ye are not lost for aye among
The hills with last year's thrush. God keeps a niche
In heaven to hold our idols; and albeit
He brake them to our faces, and denied
That our close kisses should impair their white,
I know we shall behold them raised, complete,
The dust swept from their beauty,–glorified
New Memnons singing in the great God-light.