Augustin S. Macdonald, comp. A Collection of Verse by California Poets. 1914.

By F. Bret Harte

The Angelus

Heard at the Mission Dolores, 1868

BELLS of the Past, whose long-forgotten music

Still fills the wide expanse,

Tingeing the sober twilight of the Present

With color of romance:

I hear your call, and see the sun descending

On rock and wave and sand,

As down the coast the Mission voices blending

Girdle the heathen land.

Within the circle of your incantation

No blight nor mildew falls;

Nor fierce unrest, nor lust, nor low ambition

Passes those airy walls.

Borne on the swell of your long waves receding,

I touch the farther Past,—

I see the dying glow of Spanish glory,

The sunset dream and last!

Before me rise the dome-shaped Mission towers,

The white Presidio;

The swart commander in his leathern jerkin,

The priest in stole of snow.

Once more I see Portola’s cross uplifting

Above the setting sun;

And past the headland, northward, slowly drifting

The freighted galleon.

O solemn bells! whose consecrated masses

Recall the faith of old,—

O tinkling bells! that lulled with twilight music

The spiritual fold!

Your voices break and falter in the darkness,—

Break, falter, and are still;

And veiled and mystic, like the Host descending,

The sun sinks from the hill!