By Charles Sangster




How mildly passed her second birth,
     How sweet the assurance given:
One Angel less upon the Earth,
     One Spirit more in Heaven!
We knew she was a tender flower,


     Dropped, but not planted here,
And, knowing, feared the coming hour,
     Too bitter for the tear
That Grief itself had not the power
     To shed upon her bier.


We watched her with her pleasing smile,
     The first that kissed her mouth,
Like sunlight on some coral isle
     Within the amorous South;
The blue of heaven in her eye,


     The sun’s breath in her hair,
Celestial balm in every sigh,
     That pass’d her rose-lips fair—
A living floweret from the sky,
     The Angels missed her there.


And day by day their voices fell,
     Theirs and the cherubims,
As if through some illumined dell
     Swept echoings of hymns:
Fell like harp-whispers on her ears,


     Like star-beams on her mind, [Page 130]
So faintly did they cleave the spheres;
     And like the evening wind
That wafts down prayers from mountaineers,
     Left melody behind.


Then she would sit apart and muse
     Upon their gentle words,
Gentle as falling summer dews,
     Or caroling of birds,
And wonder how these whispers came


     Unto her ears alone;
Above her playmates’ loud acclaim
     She felt each Eden-tone,
As feels the Poet the pure flame
     The crowd can never own.


And when her infant mind was filled
     With melody divine,
Down came the starry Angels mild,
     Like pilgrims to a shrine,
Each, with an offering of love,


     To lure her from the earth,—
They envied us the spotless dove
     So quiet in her mirth—
They claimed her for their home above;
     We, for our homely hearth.


They were forever hovering,
     Like halos, o’er her head,
And one, with wider, whiter wing, [Page 131]
     Kept watch above her bed;
Her dreams were of a sunny clime,


     Of skies serenely bright,
Where, in their everlasting prime,
     These messengers of light
Joined in a harmony sublime,
     That thrilled through heaven’s height.


Thus was her mind forever turned
     From our poor earth away,
For milder scenes her child-heart yearned,
     And when she knelt to pray,
Her strange companions by her side


     Knelt down in silence, too,
And to her inner voice replied,
     As pass the echoes through
Some balmy valley ere they glide
     Above the distant blue.


The Rose of Health still deeply bloomed
     Upon her dimpled cheek,
When, lo! the yearning angels plumed
     Her spirit pure and meek;
They gave it white wings like their own,


     And crowned her wide young brow
With flowers, gathered where the sun
     Doth kiss them as they grow,
Blanching their petals, one by one,
     Till whiter than the snow. [Page 132]


And there stood two, like Faith and Hope,
     Above the child that died,
With thoughts pure as the stars that ope
     Their wings at eventide;
One, struggling with a weight of pain,


     In silence wild and deep,
The other, tranquil as the main
     In whose breast earthquakes sleep—
On their great hearts Grief falls like rain.
     God, only, knows they weep.


Like an Ideal Thought she came,
     A star upon Love’s crest,
Then vanished like the sunset flame
     That warms the ardent West;
And like a thought of priceless worth,


     Filled with ambrosial leaven,
She passed up to her second birth,
     Above the Pleiades seven,
One Angel less upon the Earth,
     One Spirit more in Heaven. [Page 133]