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Gazing, with a timid glance,
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse !
Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem,
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to Fields Elysian ?
Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hear'st thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?
O thou child of many prayers !
Life hath quicksands,-Life hath snares !
Care and age come unawares !
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered ;-
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.
Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.
My way is on the bright blue sea,
My sleep upon the rocky tide; And many an eye has followed me,
Where billows clasp the worn seaside. My plumage bears the crimson blush,
When ocean by the sun is kissed ! When fades the evening's purple flush,
My dark wing cleaves the silver mist. Full many a fathom down beneath
The bright arch of the splendid deep, My ear has heard the sea-shell breathe
O'er living myriads in their sleep. They rested by the coral throne,
And by the pearly diadem, Where the pale sea-grape had o'ergrown
The glorious dwelling made for them. At night, upon my storm-drenched wing,
I poised above a helmless bark, And soon I saw the shattered thing
Had passed away and left no mark.
And when the wind and storm had done,
A ship, that had rode out the gale, Sunk down without a signal-gun,
And none was left to tell the tale. I saw the pomp of day depart
The cloud resign its golden crown, When to the ocean's beating heart
The sailor's wasted corse went down.
Peace be to those whose graves are made
Beneath the bright and silver sea! Peace that their relics there were laid,
With no vain pride and pageantry.
THE BELFRY OF BRUGES.
In the ancient town of Bruges,
In the quaint old Flemish city,
As the evening shades descended,
Low and loud and sweetly blended,
Low at times and loud at times,
And changing like a poet's rhymes,
Rang the beautiful wild chimes,
From the Belfry in the market
Of the ancient town of Bruges.
Then, with deep sonorous clangor
Calmly answering their sweet anger,
When the wrangling bells had ended
Slowly struck the clock eleven,
And, from out the silent heaven,
Silence on the town descended.
Silence, silence everywhere,
On the earth and in the air,
Save that footsteps here and there
Of some burgher home returning,
By the street lamps faintly burning,
For a moment woke the echoes
Of the ancient town of Bruges.
But amid my broken slumbers
Still I heard those magic numbers,
As they loud proclaimed the flight
And stolen marches of the night;
Till their chimes in sweet collision
Mingled with each wandering vision,
Mingled with the fortune-telling
Gipsy-ban of dreams and fancies,
Which amid the waste expanses
of the silent land of trances
Have their solitary dwelling.
All else seemed asleep in Bruges,
In the quaint old Flemish city.
And I thought how like these chimes
Are the poet's airy rhymes,
All his rhymes and roundelays,
His conceits, and songs, and ditties,
From the belfry of his brain,
Scattered downward, though in vain,
On the roofs and stones of cities !
For by night the drowsy ear
Under its curtains cannot hear,
And by day men go their ways,
Hearing the music as they pass,
But deeming it no more, alas!
Than the hollow sound of brass.
Yet perchance a sleepless wight,
Lodging at some humble inn
In the narrow lanes of life,
When the dusk and hush of night
Shut out the incessant din
Of daylight and its toil and strife,
May listen with a calm delight
To the poet's melodies,
Till he hears, or dreams he hears,
Intermingled with the song,
Thoughts that he had cherished long;
Hears amid the chime and singing
The bells of his own village ringing,
And wakes, and finds his slumberous eyes
Wet with most delicious tears.
Thus dreamed I, as by night I lay
In Bruges, at the Fleur-de-Blé,
Listening with a wild delight
To the chimes that, through the night,
Rang their changes from the Belfry
Of that quaint old Flemish city.
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