Incident at Brugès


In Brugès town is many a street
 Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet
 The grass-grown pavement tread.
There heard we, halting in the shade
 Flung from a Convent-tower,
A harp that tuneful prelude made
 To a voice of thrilling power.

The measure, simple truth to tell,
 Was fit for some gay throng;
Though from the same grim turret fell
 The shadow and the song.
When silent were both voice and chords,
 The strain seemed doubly dear,
Yet sad as sweet,—for English words
 Had fallen upon the ear.

It was a breezy hour of eve;
 And pinnacle and spire
Quivered and seemed almost to heave,
 Clothed with innocuous fire;
But, where we stood, the setting sun
 Showed little of his state;
And, if the glory reached the Nun,
 'Twas through an iron grate.

Not always is the heart unwise,
 Nor pity idly born,
If even a passing Stranger sighs
 For them who do not mourn.
Sad is thy doom, self-solaced dove,
 Captive, whoe'er thou be!
Oh! what is beauty, what is love,
 And opening life to thee?

Such feeling pressed upon my soul,
 A feeling sanctified
By one soft trickling tear that stole
 From the Maiden at my side;
Less tribute could she pay than this,
 Borne gaily o'er the sea,
Fresh from the beauty and the bliss
 Of English liberty?
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