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you read in the Talmud of old,

In the Legends the Rabbins have told Of the limitless realms of the air,


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you read it, the marvellous story Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory, Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer?

How, erect, at the outermost gates
Of the City Celestial he waits,

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
Chaunt only one hymn, and expire

With the song's irresistible stress;
Expire in their rapture and wonder,
As harp-strings are broken asunder
By music they throb to express.

But serene in the rapturous throng,
Unmoved by the rush of the song,

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,
From the souls that entreat and implore

In the fervor and passion of prayer;

From the hearts that are broken with losses,

And weary with dragging the crosses

Too heavy for mortals to bear.

And he gathers the prayers as he stands,
And they change into flowers in his hands,
Into garlands of purple and red;
And beneath the great arch of the portal,
Through the streets of the City Immortal
Is wafted the fragrance they shed.

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A fable, a phantom, a show,

Of the ancient Rabbinical lore;

Yet the old medieval tradition,

The beautiful, strange superstition,

But haunts me and holds me the more.

When I look from my window at night,
And the welkin above is all white,

All throbbing and panting with stars,
Among them majestic is standing
Sandalphon the angel, expanding
His pinions in nebulous bars.

And the legend, I feel, is a part

Of the hunger and thirst of the heart, The frenzy and fire of the brain, That grasps at the fruitage forbidden, The golden pomegranates of Eden,

To quiet its fever and pain.



HAVE I dreamed? or was it real,

What I saw as in a vision,

When to marches hymeneal

In the land of the Ideal

Moved my thought o'er Fields Elysian?

What! are these the guests whose glances Seemed like sunshine gleaming round me ? These the wild, bewildering fancies,

That with dithyrambic dances

As with magic circles bound me ?

Ah! how cold are their caresses!

Pallid cheeks, and haggard bosoms! Spectral gleam their snow-white dresses,

And from loose, dishevelled tresses

Fall the hyacinthine blossoms!

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