Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Richard Henry Stoddard (1825–1903)

[From Poems. Complete Edition. 1880.]

December 23–24, 1863.

THE ANGEL came by night

(Such angels still come down),

And like a winter cloud

Passed over London town;

Along its lonesome streets,

Where Want had ceased to weep,

Until it reached a house

Where a great man lay asleep;

The man of all his time

Who knew the most of men,

The soundest head and heart,

The sharpest, kindest pen.

It paused beside his bed,

And whispered in his ear;

He never turned his head,

But answered, “I am here.”

Into the night they went,

At morning, side by side,

They gained the sacred Place

Where the greatest Dead abide.

Where grand, old Homer sits

In godlike state benign;

Where broods in endless thought

The awful Florentine;

Where sweet Cervantes walks,

A smile on his grave face;

Where gossips quaint Montaigne,

The wisest of his race:

Where Goethe looks through all

With that calm eye of his;

Where—little seen but Light—

The only Shakespeare is!

When the new Spirit came,

They asked him, drawing near,

“Art thou become like us?”

He answered, “I am here.”