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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 tower. 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 melan
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 Bucqand Cressy, Philip, Guy de Dampierre. I beheld the pageants splendid, that adorned those
days of old; Stately dames, like queens attended, knights 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
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 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
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!” 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-illumined
THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.
This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,
Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms;
Startles the villages with strange alarms.
When the death-angel touches those swift keys !
Will mingle with their awful symphonies! I hear even now the infinite fierce chorus, The cries of agony,
the endless groan, Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own.
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song, And loud, amid the universal clamour,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong. I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din, And Aztec priests upon their teocallis
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin; The tumult of each sacked and burning village ;
The shout that every prayer for mercy drowns; The soldier's revels in the midst of pillage;
The wail of famine in beleaguered towns;
The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder,
The rattling musketry, the clashing blade;
The diapason of the cannonade.
With such accursèd instruments as these,
And jarrest the celestial harmonies?
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts, Given to redeem the human mind from error,
There were no need of arsenals nor forts:
The warrior's name would be a name abhorrèd!
And every nation that should lift again Its hand against a brother, on its forehead
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain!
Down the dark future, through long generations,
The echoing sounds grow fainter, and then cease ; And like a bell, with solemn, sweet vibrations, I hear once more the voice of Christ say,
“ Peace!" Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals
The blast of War's great organ shades the skies ! But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of love arise.
A GLEAM OF SUNSHINE.
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.
There the green lane descends,
O gentlest of my friends!
Lay moving on the grass;
A shadow, thou didst pass.
And thy heart as pure as they :
Did walk with me that day.
Bend down thy touch to meet,
Rise up to kiss thy feet.
Of earth and folly born!”
On that sweet Sabbath morn.
Poured in a dusty beam,
By Jacob in his dream. And ever and anon the wind,
Sweet-scented with the hay, Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves
That on the window lay.