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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

of widowhood.

Thick with towns and hamlets studded, and with

streams and vapours gray, 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,

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

tower.

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

lancholy chimes,

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

again ;

All the Foresters of Flanders, 6—mighty Baldwin Bras

de Fer, Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy, Philip, Guy de Dam

pierre.

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

and ease.

I beheld proud Maximilian, kneeling humbly on the

ground; I beheld the gentle Mary,' hunting with her hawk and

hound;

And her lighted bridal-chamber, where a duke slept

with the queen, And the armed guard around them, and the sword

unsheathed between.

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

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!”

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

mined square.

A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,

Let me review the scene,
And summon from the shadowy Past

The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite

Beneath Time's flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook,

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 ;
Between them and the moving boughs,

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.

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