Nonfiction > Verse > Ralph Waldo Emerson > The Complete Works > Poems
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882).  The Complete Works.  1904.
Vol. IX. Poems
VI. Poems of Youth and Early Manhood (1823–1834)
The Bell
I LOVE 1 thy music, mellow bell,
  I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
  Which calls the sons of Time.
Thy voice upon the deep        5
  The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
  It cheers him as he sails.
To house of God and heavenly joys
  Thy summons called our sires,        10
And good men thought thy sacred voice
  Disarmed the thunder’s fires.
And soon thy music, sad death-bell,
  Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind        15
  That sweeps my native shore.

Note 1. As was said in the Preface, these verses are printed, not for their poetical merit, but as showing the influence, on Mr. Emerson’s character, thought and expression, of the sad and the happy events of the third decade of his life. Only a reserve in his strength that could hardly have been expected, together with the serenity of his nature, which was content to wait until the storm blew by, preserved his life during this period with disease ever threatening when it was not actually disabling him. After his establishment of his home in Concord and his second marriage, his health was almost uniformly good, in spite of the very serious exposure involved in his winter lecturing journeys afar, for the remainder of his life. [back]

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