Footsteps of Angels
WHEN the hours of Day are numbered
And the voices of the Night
Wake the better soul that slumbered
To a holy calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted 5
And like phantoms grim and tall
Shadows from the fitful firelight
Dance upon the parlor wall;
Then the forms of the departed
Enter at the open door; 10
The beloved the true-hearted
Come to visit me once more;
He the young and strong who cherished
Noble longings for the strife
By the roadside fell and perished 15
Weary with the march of life!
They the holy ones and weakly
Who the cross of suffering bore
Folded their pale hands so meekly
Spake with us on earth no more! 20
And with them the Being Beauteous
Who unto my youth was given
More than all things else to love me
And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep 25
Comes that messenger divine
Takes the vacant chair beside me
Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me
With those deep and tender eyes 30
Like the stars so still and saint-like
Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not yet comprehended
Is the spirit's voiceless prayer
Soft rebukes in blessings ended 35
Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh though oft depressed and lonely
All my fears are laid aside
If I but remember only
Such as these have lived and died! 40