Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
666. The Passing Bell at Stratford
By William Winter
(It is a tradition in Stratford-upon-Avon that the bell of the Guild Chapel was tolled at the death and funeral of Shakespeare)
SWEET bell of Stratford, tolling slow,
In summer gloaming’s golden glow,
I hear and feel thy voice divine,
And all my soul responds to thine.
As now I hear thee, even so,        5
My Shakespeare heard thee long ago,
When lone by Avon’s pensive stream
He wandered, in his haunted dream:
Heard thee—and far his fancy sped
Through spectral caverns of the dead,        10
And strove—and strove in vain—to pierce
The secret of the universe.
As now thou mournest didst thou mourn
On that sad day when he was borne
Through the green aisle of honied limes,        15
To rest beneath the chambered chimes.
He heard thee not, nor cared to hear!
Another voice was in his ear,
And, freed from all the bonds of men,
He knew the awful secret then.        20
Sweet bell of Stratford, toll, and be
A sacred promise unto me
Of that great hour when I shall know
The path whereon his footsteps go.
Stratford, 14 Sept. 1890.


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