After the Burial

The family had buried him,
Their bread-bringer, their best:
They had returned to the house, whose hush a dim
Vague vacancy expressed.

There sat his sons, mute, rigid-faced,
His daughters, strained, red-eyed,
His wife, whose wan, worn features, vigil-traced,
Bent over him when he died.

At once a peal bursts from the bells
Of a large tall tower hard by:
Along the street the jocund clangour swells,
And upward to the sky.

Probably it was a wedding-peal,
Or possibly for a birth,
Or townsman knighted for political zeal,
This resonant mark of mirth.

The mourners, heavy-browed, sat on
Motionless. Well they heard,
They could not help it; nevertheless thereon
Spoke not a single word,

Nor window did they close, to numb
The bells' insistent calls
Of joy; but suffered the harassing din to come
And penetrate their souls.
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