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Written while watching at past midnight, alone by the bedside of a beloved friend.

By Grace Aguilar.

I cannot see ye, beauteous forms, nor mark your brooding wings,
But oh! A deeper quiv'ring sense around my spirit clings,
To whisper ye are near me still,—ye shroud me closer now,
Printing the kiss of sleep and peace, on yon pale suff'rer's brow.

Spirits of light! And love! And joy! Still let me feel ye near!
To share and bless my lonely watch, and dry each ling'ring tear,
To murmur Faith and Hope unto this faint and drooping heart,
And bid the pangs of fell disease from yon lov'd one depart.

Meek messengers of Heaven,* in pitying mercy sent,
Whose balmy pinions float around, with blessings redolent,
Linger beside the couch of pain—unloose that prisoning chain,—
And give, oh give my mother back, to life and health again.

I know that ye are near me; yes! I feel your brooding wing—
It shrouds me, in this silent hour, till sorrow hides her sting,
It fans my brow, it fills my soul with hope's sweet accents mild,
For ye have come from heav'n to save a mother to her child.

'Tis silence, and 'tis midnight, yet my spirit feels not lone,
It lieth wrapt in phantasies, which have no earthly tone,
It holdeth commune full of faith, angelic forms! With ye,
Oh let that commune to my soul, a well of gladness be.

Nearer, yet nearer! Numberless! Ye throng the formless space,
I feel, I feel ye press around, a pure and sinless race,—
Ye people night with glowing forms, make silence one sweet sound,
Whose thrilling tones pierce in, and in, the spirit's depths profound.

The sins of earth mine eyelids veil, and dim my longing ear;
But still, oh still my Father's love permits your lov'ring near,
I know, I know ye come from Him, ye link this earth with heaven,
And earth's dark hours of grief and care to your fond charge are given.

In ev'ry balmy sleep, that seals your sufferer's aching eyes,
In ev'ry smile, that on her lip, in cradled slumber lies,
In ev'ry soothing thought that comes, to check the watcher's tear,
Angels of Heav'n—spirit forms! I know that ye are near;
Oh linger round me! Still, oh still, my silent watch to share,
And upward! Upward on your wings, my fainting spirit bear.

* The Hebrew word מלאך translated angel signifies lit. messengers, applied to whatever is sent by God to execute his will, from לאך Arabic to send or employ.

† "And Jacob dreamed and behold a ladder set upon the earth and the top of it reached to heaven, and the angels of God ascended and descended upon it."