You bells in the steeple, ring, ring out your changes,
How many soever they be,
And let the brown meadow-lark’s note as he ranges,
Come over, come over to me.
Yet birds’ clearest carol by fall or by swelling
No magical sense conveys,
And bells have forgotten their old art of telling
The fortune of future days.
“Turn again, turn again,” once they rang cheerily.
While a boy listened alone;
Made his heart yearn again, musing so wearily
All by himself on a stone.
Poor bells! I forgive you; your good days are over,
And mine, they are yet to be;
No listening, no longing shall aught, aught discover:
You leave the story to me.
The foxglove shoots out of the green matted heather,
Preparing her hoods of snow:
She was idle, and slept till the sunshiny weather:
Oh, children take long to grow.
I wish and I wish that the spring would go faster,
Nor long summer bide so late;
And I could grow on like the foxglove and aster,
For some things are ill to wait.
I wait for the day when dear hearts shall discover,
While dear hands are laid on my head:
“The child is a woman, the book may close over,
For all the lessons are said.”
I wait for my story—the birds cannot sing it,
Not one, as he sits on the tree;
The bells cannot ring it, but long years, oh bring it!
Such as I wish it to be.