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Angel Faces

"And with the dawn those angel faces smile
That I have loved long since, and lost awhile."


I

I shall not paint them. God them sees, and I:
No other can, nor need. They have no form,
I may not close with human kisses warm
Their eyes which shine afar or from on high,
But never will shine nearer till I die.
How long, how long! See, I am growing old;
I have quite ceased to note in my hair's fold
The silver threads that there in ambush lie;
Some angel faces bent from heaven would pine
To trace the sharp lines graven upon mine;
What matter? in the wrinkles ploughed by care
Let age tread after, sowing immortal seeds;
All this life's harvest yielded, wheat or weeds,
Is reaped, methinks: at my little field lies bare.


II

But in the night time, 'twixt it and the stars,
The angel faces still come glimmering by;
No death-pale shadow, no averted eye
Marking the inevitable doom that bars
Me from them. Not a cloud their aspect mars;
And my sick spirit walks with them hand in hand
By the cool waters of a pleasant land:
Sings with them o'er again, without its jars,
The psalm of life, that ceased, as one by one
Their voices, dropping off, left mine alone
With dull monotonous wail to grieve the air.
O solitary love, that art so strong,
I think God will have pity on thee erelong,
And take thee where thou'lt find those angel faces fair.
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