Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Little Book of Modern Verse
Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Little Book of Modern Verse.  1917.
127. Azrael
By Robert Gilbert Welsh
THE ANGELS in high places
  Who minister to us,
Reflect God’s smile,—their faces
  Are luminous;
Save one, whose face is hidden,        5
  (The Prophet saith),
The unwelcome, the unbidden,
  Azrael, Angel of Death.
And yet that veilèd face, I know
  Is lit with pitying eyes,        10
Like those faint stars, the first to glow
  Through cloudy winter skies.
That they may never tire,
  Angels, by God’s decree,
Bear wings of snow and fire,—        15
  Passion and purity;
Save one, all unavailing,
  (The Prophet saith),
His wings are gray and trailing,
  Azrael, Angel of Death.        20
And yet the souls that Azrael brings
  Across the dark and cold,
Look up beneath those folded wings,
  And find them lined with gold.


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