Robert Gilbert Welsh: Azrael

Azrael

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,
(The Prophet saith),
The unwelcome, the unbidden,
Azrael, Angel of Death.
And yet that veilèd face, I know
Is lit with pitying eyes,
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, —
Passion and purity;
Save one, all unavailing,
(The Prophet saith),
His wings are gray and trailing,
Azrael, Angel of Death.
And yet the souls that Azrael brings
Across the dark and cold,
Look up beneath those folded wings,
And find them lined with gold.