New England Sabbath Bells

Methinks I hear those tuneful chimes,
Borne on the breath of morn,
Proclaiming to the silent world
Another Sabbath born.
With solemn sound they echo through
The stilly summer air,
Winning the heart of wayward man
Unto the house of prayer!

New England's sweet church-going bells,
Their memory's very dear;
And oft in dreams we seem to hear
Them ringing loud and clear.
Again we see the village-spire
Pointing toward the skies;
And hear our reverend pastor tell
Of life that never dies!

We see him moving down the aisle,
In light subdued and dim;
The while the organ's swelling notes
Chant forth the grateful hymn.
The forms of those our childhood knew,
By meadow, grove and hill,
Are gathering round with kindly looks,
As if they loved us still!

In careless hours of gladsome youth,
'Twas our thrice-blessed lot,
To dwell upon New England's shores,
Where God is not forgot.
Where temples to his name are raised,
And where, on bended knee,
The Christian sends to heavenly courts
The worship of the free!

New England's Sabbath chimes!--we love
Upon those words to dwell;
They fall upon our spirits with
A sweetly-soothing spell,
Bringing to mind those brighter days
When hope beamed on our way,
And life seemed to our souls but one
Pure and unclouded day!

New England's Sabbath bells!--when last
We heard their merry chime,
The air was rife with pleasant sounds;
For 'twas the glad spring-time!
The robin to those tuneful peals
Poured forth a thrilling strain;
O, 'tis our dearest hope to hear
Those Sabbath bells again!

For now we're many a weary mile
From that New England home;
In lands where laughing summer lies,
Our wandering footsteps roam.
But yet those sweetly-chiming bells
Those heavenward-pointing spires,
Awaken e'er the brightest glow
From memory's vestal-fires.

by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

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