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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.

It is but a legend, I know,-
A fable, a phantom, a show,

Of the ancient Rabbinical lore ;
Yet the old mediaval tradition,
The beautiful, strange superstition,

But haunts me and holds me the more.

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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, bewildered 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 !

O my songs ! whose winsome measures

Filled my heart with secret rapture ! Children of my golden leisures ! Must even your delights and pleasures

Fade and perish with the capture ?

Fair they seemed, those songs sonorous,

When they came to me unbidden;
Voices single, and in chorus,
Like the wild birds singing o'er us

In the dark of branches hidden.

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