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  The Lost Bells  

 

Year after year the artist wrought
     With earnest, loving care,
The music flooding all his soul
     To pour upon the air.

For this no metal was too rare,
     He counted not the cost;
Nor deemed the years in which he toiled
     As labor vainly lost.

When morning flushed with crimson light
     The golden gates of day,
He longed to fill the air with chimes
     Sweet as a matin's lay.

And when the sun was sinking low
     Within the distant West,
He gladly heard the bells he wrought
     Herald the hour of rest.

The music of a thousand harps
     Could never be so dear
As when those solemn chants and thrills
     Fell on his list'ning ear.

He poured his soul into their chimes,
     And felt his toil repaid;
He called them children of his soul,
     His home a'near them made.

But evil days came on apace,
     War spread his banner wide,
And from his village snatched away
     The artist's love and pride.

At dewy morn and stilly eve
     The chimes no more he heard;
With dull and restless agony
     His spirit's depths was stirred.

A weary longing filled his soul,
     It bound him like a spell;
He left his home to seek the chimes--
     The chimes he loved so well.

Where lofty fanes in grandeur rose,
     Upon his ear there fell
No music like the long lost chimes
     Of his beloved bell.

And thus he wandered year by year.
     Touched by the hand of time,
Seeking to hear with anxious heart
     Each well remembered chime.

And to that worn and weary heart
     There came a glad surcease:
He heard again the dear old chimes,
     And smiled and uttered peace.

"The chimes! the chimes!" the old man cried,
     "I hear their tones at last;"
A sudden rapture filled his heart,
     And all his cares were past.

Yes, peace had come with death's sweet calm,
     His journeying was o'er,
The weary, restless wanderer
     Had reached the restful shore.

It may be that he met again,
     Enfolded in the air,
The dear old chimes beside the gates
     Where all is bright and fair;

That he who crossed and bowed his head
     When Angelus was sung
In clearer light touched golden harps
     By angel fingers strung.

       - Frances E. W. Harper


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