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Like the odor of brine from the ocean
Comes the thought of other years.
And I think how many thousands
Of care-encumbered men, Each bearing his burden of sorrow,
Have crossed the bridge since then. I see the long procession
Still passing to and fro, The young heart hot and restless,
And the old subdued and slow !
And forever and forever,
As long as the river flows, As long as the heart has passions,
As long as life has woes;
The moon and its broken reflection
And its shadows shall appear, As the symbol of love in heaven,
And its wavering image here.
Have you read in the Talmud of old,
Of the limitless realms of the air, Have you read it,—the marvellous story Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,
Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer?
How, erect, at the outermost gates
With his feet on the ladder of light, That, crowded with angels unnumbered, By Jacob was seen, as he slumbered
Alone in the desert at night?
The Angels of Wind and of Fire
With the song's irresistible stress;
By music they throb to express.
But serene in the rapturous throng,
With eyes unimpassioned and slow, Among the dead angels, the deathless
Sandalphon stands listening breathless
To sounds that ascend from below:
From the spirits on earth that adore,
In the fervor and passion of prayer;
Too heavy for mortals to bear.
And he gathers the prayers as he stands,
Into garlands of purple and red;
Is wafted the fragrance they shed.
It is but a legend, I know,-
Of the ancient Rabbinical lore;
But haunts me and holds me the more.
When I look from my window at night,
All throbbing and panting with stars,