Indeed, many are the sweet and musical strains that he has sung about the bells, and he often wished that “somebody would bring together all the best things that have been written upon them, both in prose and verse.”
Southey calls bells “the poetry of the steeples”; and the poets of all ages have had more or less to say upon this subject. Quaint old George Herbert told us to
“Think when the bells do chime
’Tis Angel’s music!”
It was a curious theory of Frater Johannes Drabicius, that the principal employment of the blessed in heaven will be the continual ringing of bells; and he occupied four hundred and twenty-five pages of a work printed at Mentz, in 1618, to prove the same.
Truly has it been said: “From youth to age the sound of the bell is sent forth through crowded streets, or floats with sweetest melody above the quiet fields. It gives a tongue to time, which would otherwise pass over our heads as silently as the clouds, and lends a warning to its perpetual flight. It is the voice of rejoicing at festivals, at christenings, at marriages, and of mourning at the departure of the soul. From every church-tower it summons the faithful of distant valleys to the house of God; and when life is ended they sleep within the bell’s deep sound. Its tone, therefore, comes to be fraught with memorial associations, and we know what a throng of mental images of the past can be aroused by the music of a peal of bells.
’O, what a preacher is the time-worn
Reading great sermons with its iron tongues.’”
* * * * *
By William E. McClintock, C.E.
[City Engineer of Chelsea.]
Sheltered from the winds of the Atlantic by the outlying towns of Revere and Winthrop, and that section of the metropolis known as East Boston, Chelsea occupies a peninsula, once called Winnisimmet, fronting on the Mystic River and its two tributaries, the Island End and Chelsea Rivers. Its area of fourteen hundred acres presents an undulating surface, rising from the level of the salt marshes to four considerable elevations, known as Hospital Hill, Mount Bellingham, Powderhom Hill, and Mount Washington.
[Illustration: OLD FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH. Corner of Broadway and Third Street.]
Originally it was included within the township of Boston, and was settled as early as 1630; and a few years later was connected with Boston by the Winnisimmet Ferry, whose charter, granted in 1639, makes it the oldest chartered ferry company in the United States.
In those early days the Winnisimmet Ferry connected the foot of Hanover Street, in Boston, with the old road leading to Salem and the eastward, which followed the course of Washington Avenue.