The Church Bells

A poem by Edward Dyson

The Viennese authorities have melted down the great bell in St. Stephen's to supply metal for guns or muntions. Every poor village has made a similar gift. - Lokal Anzeiger.


The great bell booms across the town,
Reverberant and slow,
And drifting from their houses down
The calm-eyed people go.
Their feet fall on the portal stones
Their fathers' fathers trod;
And still the bell, with reverent tones,
From cottage nooks and purple thrones
Is calling souls to God.

The chapel bells with ardor spake
Above the poplars tall,
And perfumed Sabbath seemed to wake.
Responsive to their call
From dappled vale and green hillside
And nestling village hives
The peasants came in simple pride
To hear how their Lord Jesus died
To sweeten all their lives.

They boom beyond the battered town;
The hills are belching smoke;
And valleys charred and ranges brown
Are quaking 'neath the stroke.
The iron roar to Heaven swells,
And domes and steeples nod;
Through cities vast and ferny dells
And village streets the clamant bells
Are calling souls to God!

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