Cale Young Rice

(1872-1943 / United States)

Chanson of the Bells of Oseney Poem by Cale Young Rice


Thirteenth Century

The bells of Oseney
(Hautclere, Doucement, Austyn)
Chant sweetly every day,
And sadly, for our sin.
The bells of Oseney
(John, Gabriel, Marie)
Chant lowly,
   Chant slowly,
Chant wistfully and holy
Of Christ, our Paladin.

Hautclere chants to the East
(His tongue is silvery high),
And Austyn like a priest
Sends west a weighty cry.
But Doucement set between
(Like an appeasive nun)
Chants cheerly,
   Chants clearly,
As if Christ heard her nearly,
A plea to every sky.

A plea that John takes up
(He is the evangelist)
Till Gabriel's angel cup
Pours sound to sun or mist.
And last of all Marie
(The virgin-voice of God)
Peals purely,
   Demurely,
And with a tone so surely
Divine, that all must hear.

The bells of Oseney
(Doucement, Austyn, Hautclere)
Pour ever day by day
Their peals on the rapt air;
And with their mellow mates
(John, Gabriel, Marie)
Tell slowly,
   Tell lowly,
Of Christ the High and Holy,
Who makes the whole world fair.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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