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The Bells Of Shandon

Francis Sylvester Mahony

With deep affection and recollection
  I often think of the Shandon bells,
Whose sounds so wild would, in days of childhood,
  Fling round my cradle their magic spells.
On this I ponder, where’er I wander,
  And thus grow fonder, sweet Cork, of thee,
    With thy bells of Shandon,
    That sound so grand on
  The pleasant waters of the river Lee.

I have heard bells chiming full many a clime in,
  Tolling sublime in cathedral shrine;
While at a glib rate brass tongues would vibrate,
  But all their music spoke nought to thine;
For memory, dwelling on each proud swelling
  Of the belfry knelling its bold notes free,
    Made the bells of Shandon
    Sound far more grand on
  The pleasant waters of the River Lee.

I have heard bells tolling “old Adrian’s mole” in,
  Their thunder rolling from the Vatican,
With cymbals glorious, swinging uproarious
  In the gorgeous turrets of Notre Dame;
But thy sounds were sweeter than the dome of Peter
  Flings o’er the Tiber, pealing solemnly.
    Oh! the bells of Shandon
    Sound far more grand on
  The pleasant waters of River Lee.

There’s a bell in Moscow, while on tower and Kiosk, O!
  In St. Sophia the Turkman gets,
And loud in the air calls men to prayer
  From the tapering summit of tall minarets.
Such empty phantom I freely grant ’em,
  But there’s an anthem more dear to me:
    ’Tis the bells of Shandon,
      That sound so grand on
  The pleasant waters of the River Lee.
Online text © 1998-2014 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
From Anthology of Irish Verse | Boni and Liveright, 1922
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