John Greenleaf Whittier’s “The Angel of Patience”

by Ann Neilson

Being in need of healing poetry once more—a trend I seem to be taking on lately—I turned to no one other than Whittier for solace. I know I have been sharing but all of his poetry as of late; however,  is it no wonder he is considered one of our greatest American poets?

“The Angel of Patience”
A Free Paraphrase of the German

TO weary hearts, to mourning homes,
God’s meekest Angel gently comes:
No power has he to banish pain,
Or give us back our lost again;
And yet in tenderest love our dear
And heavenly Father sends him here.

There ’s quiet in that Angel’s glance,
There ’s rest in his still countenance!
He mocks no grief with idle cheer,
Nor wounds with words the mourner’s ear;
But ills and woes he may not cure
He kindly trains us to endure.

Angel of Patience! sent to calm
Our feverish brows with cooling palm;
To lay the storms of hope and fear,
And reconcile life’s smile and tear;
The throbs of wounded pride to still,
And make our own our Father’s will!

O thou who mournest on thy way,
With longings for the close of day;
He walks with thee, that Angel kind,
And gently whispers, “Be resigned:
Bear up, bear on, the end shall tell
The dear Lord ordereth all things well!”