Behind the poem, ‘The Silent Tower of Bottreaux’, were real circumstances.
This post outlines them, and gives the background to the poem.
“A governor of a town had ordered some bells for his tower. The bells were large and heavy and a ship was called upon to bring them across the treacherous sea. Late one afternoon, the captain of the ship sighted land; but he could see a bank of clouds rolling in. It did not look like the storm would come until they were safely home.
“The helmsman knelt down and thanked God for bringing them safely through the voyage. The captain said to him that it would be better to thank God on land, but trust to him, the captain, on the sea. The man replied, “I will thank Him on the sea for the land, and on the shore for bringing us home.”
“All of a sudden, the storm came upon them, and the captain had all he could do to keep the on a straight course. But the waves were too much for the ship, and coming close to the shore, the valiant ship foundered and was sunk. The bells went down with her, and the helmsman was the only one who was saved – kneeling down on the beach he thanked God for his safe deliverance.
“But what of the bells? They were never recovered; and up to this day the people of that region say: Whenever there is a storm upon the coast, the tides rock the bells, and you can hear them tolling their sad remembrance of that time long, long ago.
“The poem was written by a pastor who had come to settle in that place, the story was told him by the people there, and he put it into a poem.”
That is the story of the the Bells of Bottreaux, I told it from my point of view, checking it against the original at all times; and found it a fascinating story and poem.