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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 morn was breaking, on that lofty tower
I stood, And the world threw off the darkness, like the weeds
Thick with towns and hamlets studded, and with
streams and vapours gray, Like a shield embossed with silver, round and vast the
At my feet the city slumbered. From its chimneys,
here and there, Wreaths of snow-white smoke, ascending, vanished,
ghost-like, into air.
Not a sound rose from the city at that early morning
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 dis
tant than the sky.
Then most musical and solemn, bringing back the
olden times, With their strange, unearthly changes rang the me
Like the psalms from some old cloister, when the nuns
sing in the choir ; And the great bell tolled among them, like the chant
ing of a friar.
Visions of the days departed, shadowy phantoms filled
my brain; They who live in history only seemed to walk the earth
All the Foresters of Flanders, 6—mighty Baldwin Bras
de Fer, Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy, Philip, Guy de Dam
I beheld the pageants splendid, that adorned those
days of old; Stately dames, like queens attended, knights who bore
the Fleece of Gold ;8
Lombard and Venetian merchants with deep-laden ar
gosies; Ministers from twenty nations; more than royal pomp
I beheld proud Maximilian, kneeling humbly on the
ground; I beheld the gentle Mary,' hunting with her hawk and
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 Ju
liers bold, Marching homeward from the bloody battle of the
Spurs of Gold ;10
Saw the fight at Minnewater, 11 saw the White Hoods
moving west, Saw great Artevelde victorious scale the Golden Dra
gon's nest. 12
And again the whiskered Spaniard all the land with
terror smote; And again the wild alarum sounded from the tocsin's
Till the bell of Ghent responded o'er lagoon and dike
of sand, “I am Roland! I am Roland! there is victory in the
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, Lo! the shadow of the belfry crossed the sun-illu
A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.
This is the place. Stand still, my steed,
Let me review the scene,
The forms that once have been.
The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time's flowing tide,
But seen on either side.
Here runs the highway to the town;
There the green lane descends, Through which I walked to church with thee,
O gentlest of my friends!
The shadow of the linden-trees
Lay moving on the grass ;
A shadow, thou didst pass.
Thy dress was like the lilies,
And thy heart as pure as they : One of God's holy messengers
Did walk with me that day.
I saw the branches of the trees
Bend down thy touch to meet, The clover-blossoms in the grass Rise
up to kiss thy feet.
“Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,
Of earth and folly born !" Solemnly sang the village choir
On that sweet Sabbath morn.
Through the closed blinds the golden sun
Poured in a dusty beam, Like the celestial ladder seen
By Jacob in his dream.