Upon the bosom of the blast;
In wild confusion fiercely driven
Fled they across the face of heaven.
The fitful gust came shrieking high;
The rattling rain flew driving by;
But where the horizon stretched away
Towards the couch of parting day,
A streak of paly light was seen,
The heaped and darkling clouds between.
Against that light, for time full brief,
Brussels arose in dark relief.
Colossal on the western fire
Seemed massive towʼr and slender spire.
Nearer, and nearer as we drew,
More strongly marked the outlines grew,
Till of the buildings you might see
Distinct, the Gothic tracerie.
The drawbridge rung,—we passed the gate, 2
And regal Brussels entered straight.
That marks a city in its pride!
That fitful oceanʼs eddying sweep
Is still more changeful than the deep:
For those dark billows as they roll
Mark movements of the human soul.
Yet in that city there was none
Of that confused and busy hum,
That tells of traffic and of trade;
No, Brusselsʼ time of powʼr was sped:
Yet in her streets was something seen
Spoke what the city once had been.
Where rose the huge Hôtel de ville, 3
The noble spireʼs proportions high
Stood forth upon the cloudy sky
In all its fretted majesty:
And his last light the sun had sent
On buttress and on battlement;
That, while the houses were arrayed
In all the depth of twilight shade,
Yet shot there, faint, a yellow glow
Where the tall arches shafted show;—
Glimmered a moment there the ray,
Then fainter grew, and past away.
Of many an action strange the scene!
Thou sawʼst, on Julyʼs dreadful night, 4
The veterans rushing to the fight:—
Thou heardest when the word was spoken;
At midnight thy repose was broken
By tramp of men and neigh of steed,—
Battalions bursting forth to bleed;
Till the dark phalanxʼ waving crest
Forth from thy gates was forward prest,
And breaking with the morning mild
The distant roar of battle wild.
And, later still, the rabble shout,
And revolutionʼs riot rout;
Leaving such marks as long shall tell
Of dark destruction fierce and fell.