Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
Western States: Mission Dolores, Cal.
The Angelus
Bret Harte (1836–1902)
Heard at the Mission Dolores, 1868

BELLS of the Past, whose long-forgotten music
            Still fills the wide expanse,
Tingeing the sober twilight of the Present
            With colors of romance:
I hear your call, and see the sun descending        5
            On rock and wave and sand,
As down the coast the Mission voices blending
            Girdle the heathen land.
Within the circle of your incantation
            No blight nor mildew falls;        10
Nor fierce unrest, nor lust, nor low ambition
            Passes those airy walls.
Borne on the swell of your long waves receding,
            I touch the farther Past,—
I see the dying glow of Spanish glory,        15
            The sunset dream and last!
Before me rise the dome-shaped Mission towers,
            The white Presidio;
The swart commander in his leathern jerkin,
            The priest in stole of snow.        20
Once more I see Portala’s cross uplifting
            Above the setting sun;
And past the headland, northward, slowly drifting
            The freighted galleon.
O solemn bells! whose consecrated masses        25
            Recall the faith of old,—
O tinkling bells! that lulled with twilight music
            The spiritual fold!
Your voices break and falter in the darkness,—
            Break, falter, and are still;        30
And veiled and mystic, like the Host descending,
            The sun sinks from the hill!

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