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The Bells of Notre Dame
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

What though the radiant thoroughfare
   Teems with a noisy throng?
What though men bandy everywhere
   The ribald jest and song?
Over the din of oaths and cries
   Broodeth a wondrous calm,
And 'mid that solemn stillness rise
   The bells of Notre Dame.

"Heed not, dear Lord," they seem to say,
   "Thy weak and erring child;
And thou, O gentle Mother, pray
   That God be reconciled;
And on mankind, O Christ, our King,
   Pour out Thy gracious balm,"---
'T is thus they plead and thus they sing,
   Those bells of Notre Dame.

And so, methinks, God, bending down
   To ken the things of earth,
Heeds not the mockery of the town
   Or cries of ribald mirth;
For ever soundeth in His ears
   A penitential psalm,---
'T is thy angelic voice He hears,
   O bells of Notre Dame!

Plead on, O bells, that thy sweet voice
   May still forever be
An intercession to rejoice
   Benign divinity;
And that thy tuneful grace may fall
   Like dew, a quickening balm,
Upon the arid hearts of all,
   O bells of Notre Dame!

 

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Page last updated: 21 January 1999
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