xml/lby.00045.xml Icons of Liberty: "Liberty Bells"

Martha Hempstead, "Liberty Bells," Liberty Bell (1851)

Transcribed from pages 1-3 of the Liberty Bell, for the year 1851.

  • "Liberty Bells!" where ring they not,
  • Save where tyrant fingers
  • Have ruthlessly unhung
  • The music breathing tongue?
  • And even then, a hovering cadence lingers
  • Around such spot,—
  • So that the earnest soul's attentive ear
  • Faint murmurings of a tone may sometimes hear.
  • Away on the mountain's sunny side,
  • Away in the shadowy dells,
  • Go listen! not a sound
  • Breaks on the air around,
  • Unmingled with the voice of those sweet bells,
  • From morn to eventide;
  • Out from the blossom cup, from shrub and tree,
  • Peel forth the chimes, so joyously and free.
  • Steepled far from human hands
  • On the rocky height,
  • And in grottoes low,
  • Where no step may go,
  • And the spar and wreathing gems are bright
  • As fairy wands—
  • There ring they on, for hands that weary never,
  • Those bright, but unseen strings, are holding ever.
  • Out upon the ocean's wings,
  • Plumed with silvery spray,
  • As they rise and fall;
  • Soft, and musical,
  • Freedom's bells are ringing night and day,
  • Like tireless things;
  • And the great bosom of the chainless tide
  • Heaves up to greet those echoing notes with pride.
  • But within the human soul,
  • That hath listened well,
  • Nature's every tone,
  • Blended into one,
  • Floweth serenely on, the uprising swell
  • Of that great whole—
  • That perfect choir, whose music would become
  • Discordant all, if Freedom's Bells were dumb.

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