Angels of good and ill are every where;
They haunt the city and the cottage lone;
Their seen or unseen presence fills the air,
And feels the stir of every laugh and moan.
And frequent are good angels as the bane
Of evil men, who name them evil things;
And darkest ministers of death and pain
Oft bear the angel light upon their wings.
So are they changed. The angel of the wind,
That speeds the sailor swiftly o'er the flood,
Is the sea demon of the crew behind,
Whose hands are eager for the stain of blood.
And many a mother has the angel blessed
Of the dark swamp, as with convulsive strain,
She clasps her wondering infant to her breast,
While baffled blood-hounds lick their chops in vain.
Before the wicked city's traitor hold
Stands a swamp angel all unangel-wise;
Perhaps some bondsman's prayer has made it bold,
Thus to put off its old and unseen guise.
And it sends back the hound's deep-throated tone.
Full with the message of resounding ill;
And the pale hunters curse it with a groan,
For the swamp angel is a demon still.