Charles Warren Stoddard

Bells Of San Gabriel

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Thine was the corn and the wine,
The blood of the grape that nourished;
The blossom and fruit of the vine
That was heralded far away.
These were thy gifts; and thine,
When the vine and the fig tree flourished,
The promise of peace and of glad increase
Forever and ever and aye.
What then wert thou, and what art now?
Answer me, O, I pray!
And every note of every bell
Sang Gabriel! rang Gabriel!
In the tower that is left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, the Archangel.
Oil of the olive was thine;
Flood of the wine-press flowing;
Blood o’ the Christ was the wine —
Blood o’ the Lamb that was slain.
Thy gifts were fat o’ the kine
Forever coming and going
Over the hills, the thousand hills,
Their lowing a soft refrain.
What then wert thou, and what art now?
Answer me, once again!
And every note of every bell
Sang Gabriel! rang Gabriel!
In the tower that is left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, the Archangel.
Seed o’ the corn was thine —
Body of Him thus broken
And mingled with Blood o’ the vine —
The bread and the wine of life;
Out of the good sunshine
They were given to thee as a token —
The body of Him, and the blood of Him,
When the gifts of God were rife.
What then wert thou, and what art now,
After the weary strife?
And every note of every bell
Sang Gabriel! rang Gabriel!
In the tower that is left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, the Archangel.
Where are they now, O bells?
Where are the fruits o’ the Mission?
Garnered, where no one dwells
Shepherd and flock are fled.
O'er the Lord's vineyard swells
The tide that with fell perdition
Sounded their doom and fashioned their tomb
And buried them with the dead.
What then wert thou, and what art now? —
The answer is still unsaid.
And every note of every bell
Sang Gabriel! rang Gabriel!
In the tower that is left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, the Archangel.
Where are they now, O tower!
The locusts and wild honey?
Where is the sacred dower
That the bride of Christ was given?
Gone to the builders of power,
The misers and minters of money;
Gone for the greed that is their creed —
And these in the land have thriven.
What then wert thou, and what art now,
And wherefore hast thou striven?
And every note of every bell
Sang Gabriel! rang Gabriel!
In the tower that is left the tale to tell
Of Gabriel, the Archangel.

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Charles Warren Stoddard