The Angel of the Annunciation

Down through the village street,
Where the slanting sunlight was sweet,
Swiftly the angel came;
His face was the star of even,
When night is grey in the heaven;
His hair was a blown gold flame.

His wings were purple of bloom,
And eyed as the peacock's plume;
They trailed and flamed in the air;
Clear brows with an aureole rimmed,
The gold ring brightened and dimmed,
Now rose, now fell on his hair.

Oh, the marvellous eyes:
All strange with a rapt surprise,
They mused and dreamed as he went;
The great lids, drooping and white,
Screenèd the glory from sight;
His lips were most innocent.

His clear hands shining withal,
Bore lilies, silver and tall,
That had grown in the pleasaunce of God
His robe was fashioned and spun
Of threads from the heart of the sun;
His feet with white fire were shod.

O friend, with the grave, white brow,
No dust of travel hast thou,
Yet thou hast come from afar,
Beyond the sun and the moon,
Beyond the night and the noon,
And thy brother the evening star.

He entered in at the gate
Where the law-givers sit in their state,
Where the law-breakers shiver and quake;
The rustling of his sweet wings,
Like music from gold harp strings;
Or songs that the dear birds make

None saw as he passed their way;
But the children paused in their play,
And smiled as his feet went by:
A bird sang clear from the nest,
And a babe on its mother's breast
Stretched hands with a small, sweet cry.

The women stood by the well,
Most grave; and the laughter fell,
The chatter and gossip grew mute;
They raised their hands to their eyes—
Had the gold sun waxed in the skies?
Was that the voice of a lute?

All in the stillness and heat
The angel passed through the street,
Nor pausing, nor looking behind;
God's finger-touch on his lips;
His great wings fire at the tips;
His gold hair flame in the wind.
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