Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BELLS, by THOMAS TRAHERNE

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BELLS, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Hark! Hark, my soul! The bells do ring
Last Line: Would yield or feel, or any excellence.
Subject(s): Bells; Public Worship; Church Attendance



Hark! hark, my soul! the bells do ring,
And with a louder voice
Call many families to sing
His public praises, and rejoice:
Their shriller sound doth wound the air,
Their grosser strokes affect the ear,
That we might thither all repair
And more divine ones hear.
If lifeless earth
Can make such mirth,
What then shall souls above the starry sphere!


Bells are but clay that men refine
And raise from duller ore;
Yet now, as if they were divine,
They call whole cities to adore;
Exalted into steeples they
Disperse their sound, and from on high
Chime-in our souls; they every way
Speak to us through the sky:
Their iron tongues
Do utter songs,
And shall our stony hearts make no reply!


From darker mines and earthy caves
At last let souls awake,
And rousing from obscurer graves
From lifeless bells example take;
Lifted above all earthly cares,
Let them (like these) rais'd up on high,
Forsaking all the baser wares
Of dull mortality,
His praises sing,
Tunably ring,
In a less distance from the peaceful sky.



From clay, and mire, and dirt, my soul,
From vile and common ore,
Thou must ascend; taught by the toll
In what fit place thou may'st adore;
Refin'd by fire, thou shalt a bell
Of praise become, in metal pure;
In purity thou must excel,
No soil or grit endure,
Refin'd by love,
Thou still above
Like them must dwell, and other souls allure.


Doth not each trembling sound I hear
Make all my spirits dance?
Each stroke's a message to my ear
That casts my soul into a trance
Of joy: they're us'd to notify
Religious triumphs, and proclaim
The peace of Christianity,
In Jesus' holy name.
And victories
Protect, increase, enrich, adorn the same.


Kings, O my soul, and princes now
Do praise His holy name,
Their golden crowns and sceptres bow
In honour of my Lord: His fame
Is gone throughout the world, who died
Upon the cross for me: and He
That once was basely crucified
Is own'd a Deity.
The higher powers
Have built these towers
Which here aspiring to the sky we see.


Those bells are of a piece, and sound,
Whose wider mouths declare
Our duty to us: being round
And smooth and whole, no splinters are
In them, no cracks, nor holes, nor flaws
That may let out the spirits thence
Too soon; that would harsh jarring cause
And lose their influence.
We must unite
If we delight
Would yield or feel, or any excellence.

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