Rose Hartwick Thorpe Picture

Rose Hartwick Thorpe

July 18, 1850 - July 19, 1939


The Little Bells

by Rose Hartwick Thorpe

A legend of the fuchsia.

Clasping her close in his strong young arms,
As his blue eyes met her own,
He said: I have brought a lovely plant
From the far-off tropic zone,
With clusters of leaves like satin green,
And blossoms -- ah, who can tell? --
Some day you will see each bud will be
A wonderful little bell.

Though sorrow comes to your waiting heart
When my ship has sailed away,
Remember I said, 'These bells will ring
On your happy wedding-day.'
A fortune I've brought you, sister mine,
From the sun-crowned southern dells;
Go and set it where the sweet south air
Will open the little bells.

In the southern window, bright and warm,
'Neath the low-roofed cottage eaves,
She placed her treasure, and day by day
She watched its unfolding leaves;
There were tears in her sweet English eyes,
Tears gleamed on her lashes brown,
For a ship one day, far, far away
In a storm-tossed sea went down.

The young earl rode by the cot one day
When the plant was all in bloom;
He lingered long ere he rode away
In the dusk of twilight's gloom.
The loveliest flowers on earth, he said,
They bloom by a cottage wall;
They would grace a throne; they shall be my own,
And bloom in my palace hall.

He met the maid at the cottage door:
A fortune, he said, for these.
No, no, she cried, as a vision came
Of the stormy southern seas,
The hand that gave them lies cold and still
In one of the ocean dells;
It would break my heart to ever part
With my dainty little bells.

He turned his gaze on the maiden's face, --
A face that was shy and sweet;
She was wondrous fair, from her gold-kissed hair
To her pretty sandalled feet.
'Tis the fairest face on earth, he thought,
As pure as an angel's own;
She shall be my bride; 't is a shame to hide
Such grace in a cottage home!

O, the palace halls were wide and grand,
And the palace towers were high!
There were lawns and parks wide spreading 'neath
The dome of the English sky.
And still to the listening children
At twilight a grandsire tells
Of a lady bright who was wed one night
Mid the chime of little bells.


Ringing Ballads
Copyright 1887
D Lothrop Company,Franklin And Hawley Streets,Boston