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The tidal wave of deeper souk
And lifts us unawares
Out of all meaner cares.
Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus thought I, as by night I read
The wounded from the battle-plain,
The cheerless corridors,
The cold and stony floors.
Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom.
And slow, as in a dream of bliss,
As if a door in heaven should be
On England's annals, through the long
A Lady with a Lamp shall stand
A noble type of good,
Nor even shall be wanting here
The symbols that of yore
Saint Filomena bore.
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 uuimpassioned 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; 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,