Song of the Old Bell

In an old village, amid older hills,
That close around their verdant walls to guard
Its tottering age from wintry winds, I dwell
Lonely, and still, save when the clamorous rooks
Or my own fickle changes wound the ear
Of Silence in my tower!
For full five hundred years I've swung
In my old grey turret high,
And many a different theme I've sung
As the time went stealing by!
I've peal'd the chaunt of a wedding morn;
Ere night I have sadly toll'd,
To say that the bride was coming, love-lorn,
To sleep in the church-yard mould!
Ding-dong,
My careless song;
Merry and sad,
But neither long!
For full five hundred years I've swung
In my ancient turret high,
And many a different theme I've sung
As the time went stealing by!
I've swell'd the joy of a country's pride
For a victory far off won,
Then changed to grief for the brave that died
Ere my mirth had well begun!
Ding-dong,
My careless song;
Merry or sad,
But neither long!
For full five hundred years I've swung
In my breezy turret high,
And many a different theme I've sung
As the time went stealing by!
I have chimed the dirge of a nation's grief
On the death of a dear-loved king,
Then merrily rung for the next young chief;
As told, I can weep or sing!
Ding-dong,
My careless song;
Merry or sad,
But neither long!
For full five hundred years I've swung
In my crumbling turret high;
'Tis time my own death-song were sung,
And with truth before I die!
I never could love the themes they gave
My tyrannized tongue to tell:
One moment for cradle, the next for grave—
They've worn out the old church bell!
Ding-dong,
My changeful song;
Farewell now,
And farewell long!