‘Hello, Soldier!’

The Church Bells

Edward Dyson

The Viennese authorities have melted down the great bell in St. Stephen’s to supply metal for guns or muntions. Every poor village has made a similar gift.
—Lokal Anzeiger.

THE GREAT BELL booms across the town,
    Reverberant and slow,
And drifting from their houses down
    The calm-eyed people go.
Their feet fall on the portal stones
    Their fathers’ fathers trod;
And still the bell, with reverent tones,
From cottage nooks and purple thrones
    Is calling souls to God.

The chapel bells with ardor spake
    Above the poplars tall,
And perfumed Sabbath seemed to wake.
    Responsive to their call
From dappled vale and green hillside
    And nestling village hives
The peasants came in simple pride
To hear how their Lord Jesus died
    To sweeten all their lives.

.     .     .     .     .

They boom beyond the battered town;
    The hills are belching smoke;
And valleys charred and ranges brown
    Are quaking ’neath the stroke.
The iron roar to Heaven swells,
     And domes and steeples nod;
Through cities vast and ferny dells
And village streets the clamant bells
    Are calling souls to God!

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