Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
Poems of Home: II. For Children
Little Bell
Thomas Westwood (1814–1888)
PIPED the Blackbird, on the beechwood spray,
“Pretty maid, slow wandering this way,
    What ’s your name?” quoth he,—
“What ’s your name? O, stop and straight unfold,
Pretty maid with showery curls of gold.”—        5
    “Little Bell,” said she.
Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,
Tossed aside her gleaming golden locks,—
    “Bonny bird,” quoth she,
“Sing me your best song before I go.”        10
“Here ’s the very finest song I know,
    Little Bell,” said he.
And the Blackbird piped; you never heard
Half so gay a song from any bird,—
    Full of quips and wiles,        15
Now so round and rich, now soft and slow,
All for love of that sweet face below,
    Dimpled o’er with smiles.
And the while that bonny bird did pour
His full heart out, freely o’er and o’er        20
    ’Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow,
And shine forth in happy overflow
    From the brown, bright eyes.        25
Down the dell she tripped, and through the glade;
Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade,
    And from out the tree
Swung and leaped and frolicked, void of fear;
While bold Blackbird piped, that all might hear,—        30
    “Little Bell!” piped he.
Little Bell sat down amid the fern:
“Squirrel, Squirrel, to your task return;
    Bring me nuts,” quoth she.
Up, away! the frisky Squirrel hies,—        35
Golden wood-lights glancing in his eyes,—
    And down the tree
Great ripe nuts, kissed brown by July sun,
In the little lap drop one by one.
Hark, how Blackbird pipes to see the fun!        40
    “Happy Bell!” pipes he.
Little Bell looked up and down the glade:
“Squirrel, Squirrel, from the nut-tree shade,
Bonny Blackbird, if you ’re not afraid,
    Come and share with me!”        45
Down came Squirrel, eager for his fare,
Down came bonny Blackbird, I declare;
Little Bell gave each his honest share,—
    Ah! the merry three!
And the while those frolic playmates twain        50
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again,
    ’Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow,
And shine out in happy overflow        55
    From her brown, bright eyes.
By her snow-white cot, at close of day,
Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms, to pray;
    Very calm and clear
Rose the praying voice to where, unseen,        60
In blue heaven, an angel-shape serene
    Paused awhile to hear.
“What good child is this,” the angel said,
“That with happy heart beside her bed
    Prays so lovingly?”        65
Low and soft, O, very low and soft,
Crooned the Blackbird in the orchard croft,
    “Bell, dear Bell,” crooned he.
“Whom God’s creatures love,” the angel fair
Murmured, “God doth bless with angels’ care;        70
    Child, thy bed shall be
Folded safe from harm. Love, deep and kind,
Shall watch around and leave good gifts behind,
    Little Bell, for thee!”

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