And show me your nest with the young ones in it;
I will not steal them away;
I am old! you may trust me, linnet, linnet—
I am seven times one to-day.
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 bird’s 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
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
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,
And hangeth her hoods of snow;
She was idle, and slept till the sunshiny weather:
O, 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
Not one, as he sits on the tree;
The bells cannot ring it, but long years, O bring it!
Such as I wish it to be.
I leaned out of window, I smelt the white clover,
Dark, dark was the garden, I saw not the gate;
“Now, if there be footsteps, he comes, my one lover—
Hush, nightingale, hush! O, sweet nightingale, wait
Till I listen and hear
If a step draweth near,
For my love he is late!
“The skies in the darkness stoop nearer and
A cluster of stars hangs like fruit in the tree,
The fall of the water comes sweeter, comes clearer:
To what art thou listening, and what dost thou see?
Let the star-clusters glow,
Let the sweet waters flow,
And cross quickly to me.
“You night-moths that hover where honey brims
From sycamore blossoms, or settle or sleep;
You glowworms, shine out, and the pathway discover
To him that comes darkling along the rough steep.
Ah, my sailor, make haste,
For the time runs to waste,
And my love lieth deep—
“Too deep for swift telling: and yet my
I’ve conned thee an answer, it waits thee to-night.”
By the sycamore passed he, and through the white clover,
Then all the sweet speech I had fashioned took flight:
But I’ll love him more, more
Than e’er wife loved before,
Be the days dark or bright.