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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,
To sounds that ascend from below;
From the spirits on earth that adore,
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.
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,
His pinions in nebulous bars.
And the legend, I feel, is a part
The frenzy and fire of the brain, That grasps at the fruitage forbidden, The golden pomegranates of Eden,
To quiet its fever and pain.
OR THE POET'S AFTERTHOUGHT.
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 !