The Belfry Tower (John Liptrot Hatton)

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  • (Posted 2019-04-18)  CPDL #53997:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2019-04-18).   Score information: A4, 17 pages, 178 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Belfry Tower
Composer: John Liptrot Hatton
Lyricist: Camilla Dufour Crosland

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Keyboard

First published: 1869 in Novello Part-Song Book (2nd Series), Vol. 1, no. 56

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

1  Oh, the belfry tow'r has a coat of green,
Where the little birds build the leaves between:
And they twitter around its old grey pate,
Their little love songs, each one to its mate.
Yet the belfry tow'r I could dream alway
Has its secrets hid which it won't betray;
For a hundred years its bells have chim'd
While the mosses crept, and the ivy climb'd.
Merrily peal the jingling bells,
When of human joy their music tells!

2  When a babe was born to a high degree,
It was then they clatter'd out noisily:
And be sure they clamour'd with all their pow'r,
When vows were pledg'd in the bridal hour.
When a monarch was crown'd, or a battle won,
They waked the echoes till the set of sun.
With the deep bass note and the booming roar
Of the guns that answer'd from shore to shore.
Clatt'ring merrily, peal the bells,
When a nation's joy their music tells!

3  But the belfry tow'r has its work of woe,
When the passing bell tolls long and slow.
While the ivy climbs, and the mosses creep,
We must bow to sorrow, and sometimes weep;
And it makes us dream of the days gone by,
The old grey tow'r 'neath the twilight sky,
Though its summer suit is freshly green,
And the little birds build the leaves between.
Slow and solemnly toll the bells,
When of woe and death their music tells!

4  But there cometh a day of rest and peace,
When the stir and the clang of the workers cease;
And the church bells ringing on Sabbath morn,
And joy to the blest, and comfort the lorn.
For they waken the heart to faith and love,
While they lure our thoughts to a world above.
And it seems so meet that the little birds sing
Round the belfry tow'r while the church bells ring.
Tenderly peal the Sabbath bells,
For of joy and love their music tells!