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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 mom 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, 7
Like a shield embossed with silver, round and vast the landscape lay.
At my feet the city slumbered. From its chimneys, here and there,
Wreaths of snow-white smoke, ascending, vanished, ghostlike, into air.
Not a sound rose from the city at that early morning hour,
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 melancholy chimes,
Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the nuns sing in the 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 earth again; .
All the Foresters of Flanders, — mighty Baldwin Bras de Fer,
Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy, Philip, Guy de Dampierre.
I beheld the pageants splendid, that adorned those days of old;
Stately dames, like queens attendedfknights who bore the Fleece of Gold; .
Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden 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 bound;
And her lighted bridal-chamber, where a duke slept with the queen, And the armed guard around them, and the sword unsheathed between. Longfellow. I. 15
I beheld the Flemish weavers, with Namur and Juliers bold
Marching home’ward 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 Dragon’s nest.
And again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with terror smote
And again the’wild alarum sounded from the tocsin’s throat;
Till the bell of Ghent responded o’er lagoon and dike of sand
“I am Roland! I am Roland! there. is victory in the land!”
. ' I Then the sound of drums aroused me. The awakened city’s roar Chased the phantoms I had summoned back into their graves once more.
Hours had passed away like minutes; and, before I was aware,
Lol the shadow of the belfry crossed the sun-illumined square.
A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.
'I‘ms is the place. Stand still, my steed,
And summon from the shadowy Past
The Past and Present here unite
Here runs the highway to the town;
Through which I walked to church with thee,
The shadow of the linden-trees
Between them and the moving boughs,
Thy dress was like the lilies,
One ofGod’s holy messengers
I saw the branches of the trees
“Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Solemnly sang the village choir
Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Like the celestial ladder seen
And ever and anon, the wind,
Turned o’er the hymn-book’s fluttering leaves
Long was the good man’s sermon,
For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,
Long was the prayer he uttered,
For in my heart I prayed with him,
But now, alas! the place seems changed;
Part of the sunshine'of the scene
Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,
Subdue the. light of noon , and breathe
This memory brightens o’er the past,
Behind some cloud that near us hangs,