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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-bands 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 has 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.

TO AN OLD DANISH SONG-BOOK.

WELCOME, my old friend,
Welcome to a foreign fireside,
While the sullen gales of autumn
Shake the windows.

The ungrateful world
Has, it seems, dealt harshly with thee,
Since, beneath the skies of Denmark,
First I met thee.

There are marks of age,
There are thumb-marks on thy margin,
Made by hands that clasped thee rudely,
At the alehouse.

Soiled and dull thou art;
Yellow are thy time-worn pages
As the russet, rain-molested
Leaves of autumn.

Thou art stained with wine
Scattered from hilarious goblets,
As these leaves with the libations
Of Olympus.

Yet dost thou recall
Days departed, half-forgotten,
When in dreamy youth I wandered
By the Baltic,

When I paused to hear
The old ballad of King Christian
Shouted from suburban taverns
In the twilight.

Thou recallest bards
Who, in solitary chambers,
And with hearts by passion wasted,
Wrote thy pages.

Thou recallest homes
Where thy songs of love and friendship
Made the gloomy northern winter
Bright as summer.

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