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In the market-place of Bruges stands the bel

fry 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 chim

neys, here and there, Wreaths of snow-white smoke ascending, va

nished, 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 an

cient 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 phan

toms filled my brain ; They who live in history only seemed to walk

the earth again;

All the Foresters of Flanders,-mighty Bald

win Bras de Fer, Lyderick du Bucq and Cressy, Philip, Guy de


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.

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