Patriotic pieces from the Great War/Bells of Flanders


Sunday it is in Flanders,
And, blue as flax, the sky
O'er plain and windmill stretches
Its peaceful canopy.
The bells, high in the belfries,
Are singing blithe and gay,
The overflowing gladness
Of coming Holiday.
Ring out! Ring on! Ring loudly
The merry Flemish peal!

But suddenly there rises
To heaven a cry of fear—
Quick! To the belfry, quickly!
The ravenous horde is here,
See them! the crows and vultures,
Sowers of dire alarms;
Oh! bells, from out your steeples
Fling forth your call to arms!
Ring out! Ring on! Ring madly
The valiant Flemish peal!

The fell sword of the troopers—
Brief triumph shall they know—
Upon your soil ancestral
E'en now your sons lay low!
But to the ruthless victor
Your freedom dear you sell,
Proud, dauntless, little nation,
Whom only numbers quell!
Ring out! Ring on! Ring sadly
The noble Flemish peal!

But see! in the dark heavens
The dawn of justice light!
There to the dim horizon
The brutal horde takes flight.
The radiant day of glory
Day of revenge is here,
Oh! bells, proclaim your triumph
With music loud and clear!
Ring out! Ring on! Ring proudly
The free-born Flemish peal.

—From the French of Dominique Bonnaud