Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Spain, &c.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and Holland: Vols. XIV–XV.  1876–79.
Belgium: Bruges
Incident at Bruges
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
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        5
  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        15
  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,
  ’T was through an iron grate.
Not always is the heart unwise,        25
  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
O, 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        35
  From the maiden at my side;
Less tribute could she pay than this,
  Borne gayly o’er the sea,
Fresh from the beauty and the bliss
  Of English liberty?        40

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