Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1030. A Song of Two Angels
By Laura Elizabeth Richards
TWO angels came through the gate of Heaven.
(White and soft is a mother’s breast!)
  Stayed them both by the gate of Heaven;
Rested a little on folded wings,
  Spake a little of holy things.        5
(In Heaven alone is perfect rest!)
Over them rose the golden steeps,
Heaven’s castled and golden steeps;
Under them, depth on depth of space
Fell away from the holy place.        10
“Brother, and now I must take my way,
Glad and joyful must take my way,
Down to the realm of day and night;
Down to yon earth that rolls so bright.”
“Brother, I too am thither sent;        15
Sad and silent, am thither sent.
Let us together softly wing
Our flight to yon world of sorrowing.”
Down they swept through the shining air,
Swiftly sped through the shining air,—        20
This one bright as the sunset’s glow,
That one white as the falling snow.
“Brother, and tell me your errand now!
Tell me your joyful errand now!”
“A little new soul must wake on earth,        25
And I carry the blessing for its birth.”
“And tell me, brother, what task is yours?
Dear white angel, what task is yours?”
“To bear a soul back to Heaven’s height,—
A mother, whose child is born to-night.”        30
“Ah! will the mother be sad to go?
Loath to leave her baby and go?”
“Hush, dear angel! she will not know.
God in His mercy wills it so.”
“Ah! will the baby wake forlorn?        35
Seek its mother, and weep forlorn?”
“Hush, dear angel! we may not know.
God, knowing all things, wills it so.”
Down they swept through the dusky air
Swiftly sped through the dusky air;        40
Trod the dim earth with noiseless feet;
Softly stole through a village street.
Now they came to a cottage door,
Stayed them both at a cottage door,—
This one bright as the sunset’s glow,        45
That one white as the falling snow.
“Brother, I trow we here must part!
Dear white angel, we here must part!
For this low door I must enter by.”
“Alas! and alas! so too must I!”        50
Sad they gazed in each other’s face;
(White and soft is a mother’s breast;)
  Lingered and looked in each other’s face;
Then folded their hands in silent prayer,
  And so together they entered there.        55
(In Heaven alone is perfect rest.)


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