Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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INCIDENT AT BRUGES

          IN Bruges 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;                              10
          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;                              20
          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!                                 30
          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?                                       40
                                                              1828.


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