Verse > Anthologies > Augustin S. Macdonald, comp. > A Collection of Verse by California Poets
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Augustin S. Macdonald, comp.  A Collection of Verse by California Poets.  1914.
 
The Angelus
By F. Bret Harte
 
Heard at the Mission Dolores, 1868

BELLS of the Past, whose long-forgotten music
    Still fills the wide expanse,
Tingeing the sober twilight of the Present
    With color of romance:
 
I hear your call, and see the sun descending        5
    On rock and wave and sand,
As down the coast the Mission voices blending
    Girdle the heathen land.
 
Within the circle of your incantation
    No blight nor mildew falls;        10
Nor fierce unrest, nor lust, nor low ambition
    Passes those airy walls.
 
Borne on the swell of your long waves receding,
    I touch the farther Past,—
I see the dying glow of Spanish glory,        15
    The sunset dream and last!
 
Before me rise the dome-shaped Mission towers,
    The white Presidio;
The swart commander in his leathern jerkin,
    The priest in stole of snow.        20
 
Once more I see Portola’s cross uplifting
    Above the setting sun;
And past the headland, northward, slowly drifting
    The freighted galleon.
 
O solemn bells! whose consecrated masses        25
    Recall the faith of old,—
O tinkling bells! that lulled with twilight music
    The spiritual fold!
 
Your voices break and falter in the darkness,—
    Break, falter, and are still;        30
And veiled and mystic, like the Host descending,
    The sun sinks from the hill!
 
 
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