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And I thought how like these chimes
ways, Hearing the music as they pass, But deeming it no more, alas! Than the hollow sound of brass. Yet perchance a sleepless wight, Lodging at some humble inn In the narrow lanes of life, When the dusk and hush of night Shut out the incessant din Of daylight and its toil and strife, May listen with a calm delight To the poet's melodies, Till he hears, or dreams he hears, Intermingled with the song, Thoughts that he has cherished long; Hears amid the chime and singing The bells of his own village ringing, And wakes, and finds his slumberous eyes Wet with most delicious tears. Thus dreamed I, as by night I lay In Bruges, at the Fleur-de-Blé, Listening with a wild delight To the chimes that, through the night, Rang their changes from the Belfry Of that quaint old Flemish city.
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES.
In the market-place of Bruges stands the belfry
old and brown; Thrice consumed and thrice rebuilded, still it
watches o'er the town.
As the summer morn was breaking, on that lofty
tower I stood, And the world threw off the darkness, like the
weeds of widowhood.
Thick with towns and hamlets studded, and with
streams and vapors gray, Like a shield embossed with silver, round and vast
the landscape lay.
At my feet the city slumbered. From its chim
neys, here and there, Wreaths of snow-white smoke, ascending, van
ished, ghost-like, into air.
Not a sound rose from the city at that early morn
ing hour, But I heard a heart of iron beating in the ancient From their nests beneath the rafters sang the
swallows wild and high; And the world, beneath me sleeping, seemed more
distant than the sky.
Then most musical and solemn, bringing back the
olden times, With their strange, unearthly changes rang the
Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the
nuns sing in their choir; And the great bell tolled among them, like the
chanting of a friar.
Visions of the days departed, shadowy phantoms
filled my brain; They who live in history only seemed to walk the
All the Foresters of Flanders,—mighty Baldwin
Bras de Fer, Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy Philip, Guy de
I beheld the pageants splendid that adorned those
days of old;
Stately dames, like queens attended, knights who Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden
bore the Fleece of Gold.
argosies; Ministers from twenty nations; more than royal
pomp and ease.
I beheld proud Maximilian, kneeling humbly on
the ground; I beheld the gentle Mary, hunting with her hawk
And her lighted bridal-chamber, where a duke
slept with the queen, And the armed guard around them, and the sword
I beheld the Flemish weavers, with Namur and
Juliers bold, Marching homeward from the bloody battle of
the Spurs of Gold;
Saw the fight at Minnewater, saw the White
Hoods moving west, Saw great Artevelde victorious scale the Golden
And again the whiskered Spaniard all the land
with terror smote;