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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.

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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 chim

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

ished, 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


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 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 I beheld the Flemish weavers, with Namur and

sword unsheathed between.

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 land !"

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