THE BELLS OF MALINES
AUGUST 17, 1914
The gabled roofs of old Malines
Are russet red and gray and green,
And o'er them in the sunset hour
Looms, dark and huge, St. Rombold's tower.
High in that rugged nest concealed,
The sweetest bells that ever pealed,
The deepest bells that ever rung,
The lightest bells that ever sung,
Are waiting for the master's hand
To fling their music o'er the land.
And shall they ring to-night, Malines?
In nineteen hundred and fourteen,
The frightful year, the year of woe,
When fire and blood and rapine flow
Across the land from lost Liege,
Storm-driven by the German rage?
The other carillons have ceased:
Fallen is Hasselt, fallen Diest,
From Ghent and Bruges no voices come,
Antwerp is silent, Brussels dumb!
But in thy belfry, O Malines,
The master of the bells unseen
Has climbed to where the keyboard stands,--
To-night his heart is in his hands!
Once more, before invasion's hell
Breaks round the tower he loves so well,
Once more he strikes the well-worn keys,
And sends aerial harmonies
Far-floating through the twilight dim
In patriot song and holy hymn.
O listen, burghers of Malines!
Soldier and workman, pale beguine,
And mother with a trembling flock
Of children clinging to thy frock,--
Look up and listen, listen all!
What tunes are these that gently fall
Around you like a benison?
"The Flemish Lion," "Brabanconne,"
"O brave Liege," and all the airs
That Belgium in her bosom bears.
Ring up, ye silvery octaves high,
Whose notes like circling swallows fly;
And ring, each old sonorous bell,--
'' Jesu," "Maria," "Michael!"
Weave in and out, and high and low,
The magic music that you know,
And let it float and flutter down
To cheer the heart of the troubled town.
Ring out, "Salvator," lord of all,--
"Roland" in Ghent may hear thee call!
O brave bell-music of Malines,
In this dark hour how much you mean!
The dreadful night of blood and tears
Sweeps down on Belgium, but she hears
Deep in her heart the melody
Of songs she learned when she was free.
She will not falter, faint, nor fail,
But fight until her rights prevail
And all her ancient belfries ring
"The Flemish Lion," "God Save the King !"
THE NAME OF FRANCE
Give us a name to fill the mind
With the shining thoughts that lead mankind,
The glory of learning, the joy of art,--
A name that tells of a splendid part
In the long, long toil and the strenuous fight
Of the human race to win its way
From the feudal darkness into the day
Of Freedom, Brotherhood, Equal Right,--
A name like a star, a name of light.
I give you France!
Give us a name to stir the blood|
With a warmer glow and a swifter flood,
At the touch of a courage that knows not fear,--
A name like the sound of a trumpet, clear,
And silver-sweet, and iron-strong,
That calls three million men to their feet,
Ready to march, and steady to meet
The foes who threaten that name with wrong, --
A name that rings like a battle-song.
I give you France!
Give us a name to move the heart
With the strength that noble griefs impart,
A name that speaks of the blood outpoured
To save mankind from the sway of the sword,--
A name that calls on the world to share
In the burden of sacrificial strife
When the cause at stake is the world's free life
And the rule of the people everywhere,--
A name like a vow, a name like a prayer.
I give you France!
The Hague, September, 1916.
JEANNE D'ARC RETURNS
What hast thou done, O womanhood of France,
Mother and daughter, sister, sweetheart, wife,
What hast thou done, amid this fateful strife,
To prove the pride of thine inheritance
In this fair land of freedom and romance?
I hear thy voice with tears and courage rife,--
Smiling against the swords that seek thy life,--
Make answer in a noble utterance:
"I give France all I have, and all she asks.
Would it were more! Ah, let her ask and take:
My hands to nurse her wounded, do her tasks,--
My feet to run her errands through the dark,--
My heart to bleed in triumph for her sake,--
And all my soul to follow thee, Jeanne d'Arc!"
April 16, 1916.