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 Altar, o'er whose tablet old
Sinai's law its thunders rolled!
Suddenly the sharp cry came:
‘Look! St. Michael's is aflame!’
Round the low tower wall the fire
Snake-like wound its coil of ire.
Sacred in its gray respect
From the jealousies of sect,
‘Save it,’ seemed the thought of all,
‘Save it, though our roof-trees fall!’
Up the tower the young men sprung;
One, the bravest, outward swung
By the rope, whose kindling strands
Smoked beneath the holder's hands,
Smiting down with strokes of power
Burning fragments from the tower.
Then the gazing crowd beneath
Broke the painful pause of breath;
Brave men cheered from street to street,
With home's ashes at their feet;
Houseless women kerchiefs waved:
‘Thank the Lord! St. Michael's saved!’
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