Church Bells

The Church bell chimes, how sweet they blend
With summer breezes, soft and clear,
Like voice of some beloved friend —
Returning to the ear;
Like echo from his native shore,
To weary wanderer homeward bound;
The dark green wood they murmur o'er,
And much I love the sound.

They tell of high and holy thought,
Pure feelings hallow'd long,
Since first in happy childhood brought,
I walk'd with yonder throng:
When, as they whisper'd, week by week
The high ones hither trod,
And here, the peasant came to seek
An audience of his God.

Back to my soul that music brings
Dreams of mine early innocence,
Which ever loved in outward things
To trace a hidden sense.
And still I thought, when Church bells rang,
Sweet Angels pour'd a welcome lay;
And Seraph voices, as they sang
Bade mortals praise and pray.

That was the day-dream of a boy,
Yet wearing now my threescore years,
I know that God's good angels joy
O'er sinners' contrite tears;
And prayers of penitential dread
Shall fill to-day yon sacred nave;
And words of pardon shall be said,
Through Him who died to save.

Lord, lift thou up each trembling lip,
Each heart thy Spirit give,
To hold our holy fellowship,
To live as angels live;
That when for us the last bell tolls
On Earth, to cold earth given,
Rejoicing o'er our ransom'd souls,
Their harps may ring in Heaven.
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