African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

Benjamin Griffith Brawley, "The Bells of Notre Dame" (1901)

Far up in the cathedral, so they tell ,
   There lived the lonely hunch-back all day long
   No thought but of the church -bells, great and strong,
And deaf but feeling full the chorus swell:—
'Tis holiday! O! come! my Gabrielle!
   And all the rest of ye, pour out your song!
   Why stand ye idle, lagging there? Ding! dong!
O! Thibauld, sound your deep, reverberant cell!
O! Sparrows, yield the sweetness that ye bring!
   O! Pasquier, forth your piping music hurl
      To th' multitude below, and all earth fill!
Awake! awake! awake to life and sing!
   But lo! behold ! she comes, the dancing girl!
      The ringer's heart leaps, but the bells are still .

(This sonnet was suggested by Book VI, Chap. III, of Victor Hugo's Novel, "Notre Dame")

Published in Colored American Magazine, November 1901

This page has tags: