Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Bells

Blest Sabbath bells! blest Sabbath bells!
My heart with solemn rapture swells;
I come! I come! how blessed there,
How joyful in the house of prayer
The anthem swells!
'Tis Christmas tide; ring, blessed bells!
The angels' song your anthem swells-
'To us this day a Child is given:
A Saviour born, the Christ from heaven!'
Ring, blessed bells!
Glad marriage bells! glad marriage bells!
Ring out-your joyous music tells
That love and beauty, hand in hand,
Before the holy altar stand
Their vows to tell.
Your merry chimes ring, jocund bells!
A father's heart exulting swells,
A mother's arms embrace her boy,
The heir is born-ring out the joy,
Each chiming bell!
Sad passing bell! sad passing bell!
Sad hearts bereaved will throb and swell;
Ring out a knell, some dear one's dead,
The clay is cold, the spirit fled,
Ring out the knell!
Toll, slowly toll, sad funeral bell!
We bring the dead in earth to dwell-
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
We give till God shall call the just;
Cease, tolling bell!
Peal, peal, ye loud, triumphant bells!
For victory peal-the tumult swells;
The reeling air is stunned and thrilled,
Peal, loudly peal for thousands killed!
Say, is it well?
O pealing bells! O pealing bells!
With pity, grief, and horror swells
My heart, when pealing from afar
I hear the tocsin bell of war,
And carnage fell.
Ring out, ring out! O warning bell!
At morn upon the waters fell
A blinding fog, ring out and tell
Of danger near: they pass; all's well;
Still sailing on.
O warning bell! mute was thy tongue
When o'er the dark waves wildly rung
A crash-a shriek of wild despair;
Two vessels met, but one is there
Alone, alone!
Placed on a rock, a warning bell,
Rung out when ocean winds would swell,
Warning the sailor from the rock,
Where else his ship, with deadly shock,
Would meet her doom.
A warning voice, a warning bell,
O'er life's tumultuous ocean swell,
Peals high above the breakers' roar,
'Turn, turn, or sink for evermore
In guilt and gloom!'
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