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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

choly 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 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


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



This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling,

Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms;
But from their silent pipes no anthem pealing

Startles the villages with strange alarms.
Ah! what a sound will rise, how wild and dreary,

When the death-angel touches those swift keys !
What loud lament and dismal miserere

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


In long reverberations reach our own.
On helm and harness rings the Saxon hammer,

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;
And ever and anon, in tones of thunder,

The diapason of the cannonade.
Is it, О man! with such discordant noises,

With such accursèd instruments as these,
Thou drownest Nature's sweet and kindly voices,

And jarrest the celestial harmonies ?
Were half the power that fills the world with terror,

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.


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. 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.

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