Chimes of Noon

Noon by God's unerring dial, — highest noon of earth and time, —
Through the great cathedral heavens, hark! the chimes peal out sublime!
Chimes that marked the rounding ages, ever grander in their play,
Ringing clear when Right was victor, up through all the morning gray;
Now they blend and rise triumphant, — blessed Bells! how sweet your singing!
'T is the chorus of the ages, — 't is the noonday chimes are ringing!

God be praised! we softly echo, as the wondrous music swells,
Swaying all the warm tides hidden deep in feeling's holy wells;
God be praised! it is the singing earth has yearned so long to hear
Stealing through the tumult, bringing promise of the nobler year!
" Liberty for every creature! " — thus the mellow measures flow, —
" Liberty and Love and Honor! " chant the bells serene and slow.

Fainter now — the peans falter — while a wailing, alien strain,
Winding through its mournful minor, thrills the air with sudden pain;
List! the happy voices drown it, — sorrow shall not mar the boon
Of the bells that high and cheerly sound the glorious airs of Noon!
" Liberty the wide earth over! " — still the measures rise and fall, —
" God, the Father — Man, the Brother — so an end of scorn and thrall. "

Chimes celestial! we are drifting by your calm, melodious tune,
Out of cloudy, misty morning into sunlit afternoon.
There are seas for wary sailing, there are mountains steep to climb,
Ere we gain the placid regions of the world's millennial prime;
Still the rage and roar of battle, still the pride and power of wrong,
Yet our labor shall be lighter, hearing sweet your prophet-song.

From the Future, while we listen, fades the filmy veil away,
Broad the sunset glory brightens, burns to greet the Eternal Day!
Vanish earth's despairing shadows, — o'er her plains what splendors shine!
Drained, the brimming cup of vengeance, now she quaffs divinest wine!
Clearer, sweeter chimes are rising as in radiance melts the sun, —
'T is the welcome of the angels. Alleluiah! Heaven is won!
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