"BRUSSELS." [poem]
BRUSSELS.
THE racking clouds were fleeting fast
Upon the bosom of the blast; 1
In wild confusion fiercely driven
Fled they across the face of heaven.
The fitful gust came shrieking high;
Ruskin's line number
5
System generated line number
5

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.
Ruskin's line number
10
System generated line number
10

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,
Ruskin's line number
15
System generated line number
15

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.
Ruskin's line number
20
System generated line number
20

It stirs, to see the human tide
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
Ruskin's line number
25
System generated line number
25

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 power was sped:
Ruskin's line number
30
System generated line number
30

Yet in her streets was something seen
Spoke what the city once had been.
Our rapid course as now we wheel
Where rose the huge Hôtel de ville, 3
The noble spireʼs proportions high
Ruskin's line number
35
System generated line number
35

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
Ruskin's line number
40
System generated line number
40

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.
Ruskin's line number
45
System generated line number
45

Brussels, thy battlements have been
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;
Ruskin's line number
50
System generated line number
50

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,
Ruskin's line number
55
System generated line number
55

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
Ruskin's line number
60
System generated line number
60

Of dark destruction fierce and fell.