The Belfry of Bruges
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Afternoon in February An April Day The Arrow and the Song The Arsenal at Springfield Autumn Autumn Within The Beleaguered City The Belfry of Bruges Birds Of Passage Blind Bartimeus The Bridge Burial of the Minnisink Carillon Changed Children The Children's Hour The Courtship of Miles Standish Curfew Dante Day is Done Drinking Song Endymion Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie The Evening Star Excelsior Fata Morgana Flowers Footsteps of Angels A Gleam of Sunshine Goblet of Life God's Acre The Good Part, That Shall Not be Taken Away Hymn of the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem at the Consecration of Pulaski's Banner Hymn to the Night It Is Not Always May L'Envoi The Ladder of St. Augustine The Light of Stars Loss And Gain Maidenhood Mezzo Cammin Midnight Mass for the Dying Year My Lost Youth Nature The Norman Baron Nuremburg The Occultation of Orion The Old Clock on the Stairs Paul Revere's Ride A Psalm of Life The Quadroon Girl Rain in Summer The Rainy Day The Reaper and the Flowers The Republic The Skeleton in Armor The Slave In the Dismal Swamp The Slave Singing at Midnight The Slave's Dream Snow-Flakes The Song of Hiawatha The Sound Of The Sea Spirit of Poetry St. John's, Cambridge Sunrise on the Hills The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls To a Child To an Old Danish Song-Book To the Driving Cloud To the River Charles To William E. Channing Village Blacksmith Voices Of the Night Walter Von Der Vogel Weid The Warning The Witnesses Woods in Winter Wreck of the Hesperus
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 vapors 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 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 melancholy 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 Bucq and 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 light 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 square.