Poem: "The Angel of Discontent," by Sam Walter Foss

When the world was formed and the morning stars
Upon their paths were sent,
The loftiest-browed of the angels was made
The Angel of Discontent.

And he dwelt with man in the caves of the hills,
Where the crested serpent stings
And the tiger tears and the she-wolf howls,–
And he told of better things.

And he led man forth to the towered town,
And forth to the fields of corn;
And told of the ampler work ahead
For which his race was born.

And he whispers to men of those hills he sees
In the blush of the misty west;
And they look to the heights of his lifted eye–
And they hate the name of rest.

In the light of that eye does the slave behold
A hope that is high and brave;
And the madness of war comes into his blood–
For he knows himself a slave.

The serfs of wrong by the light of that eye
March with victorious songs;
For the strength of the right comes into their hearts
When they behold their wrongs.

‘Tis by the light of that lifted eye
That Error’s mists are rent:
A guide to the table-lands of Truth
Is the Angel of Discontent

And still he looks with his lifted eye,
And his glance is far away.
On a light that shines on the glimmering hills
Of a diviner day.

Learn more about the poet, Sam Walter Foss.

Source: Cornell University Library.

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