The Bells, Ostend

William Lisle Bowles

How sweet the tuneful bells' responsive peal!
  As when, at opening morn, the fragrant breeze
  Breathes on the trembling sense of pale disease,
So piercing to my heart their force I feel!
And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall!
  And now, along the white and level tide,
  They fling their melancholy music wide;
Bidding me many a tender thought recall
Of summer-days, and those delightful years
  When from an ancient tower, in life's fair prime,
  The mournful magic of their mingling chime
First waked my wondering childhood into tears!
But seeming now, when all those days are o'er,
The sounds of joy once heard, and heard no more.



Author's own note: Written on landing at Ostend, and hearing, very early in the morning, the carillons.