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Littell's Living Age/Volume 132/Issue 1699/Church Bells

CHURCH BELLS.

Ringing! ringing! ringing as they rang
Long, long ago!
With echoing peal and merry clang
They come and go!
The children have played and sung, and laughed and wept,
And then grown old, and laid them down and slept;
And still, as the hours onward flow,
The bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Singing! chiming! pealing! — such a song
Of joy and mirth!
Waking up echoes slumbering long
Within the earth, —
Telling their tale of love, and hope, and happy days, —
From hill to valley the glad song they raise.
And still, as the hours come and go,
The bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Swinging sadly, solemnly, a mournful tone,
Telling of death!
Of sorrowful hearts, that must wander alone
On this weary earth;
Of silent forms, and hands that lie at rest,
Of voices forever hushed in a passionless breast;
While the changing hours come and go,
And the bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Softly rising and falling, at eventide
Ring out the bells,
O'er the golden valleys far and wide
Their music swells.
And the children stop in their play, and stand to hear,
And the aged look up with a quiet smile and a tear,
As they think of the hours that come and go,
While the bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Ringing! ringing! ringing, in the still night,
A joyful chime!
While the land lies sleeping, robed in white,
At Christmas time, —
Telling, with fresh sweet tones, the glad old story,
Bringing a faint, soft echo from the land of glory!
While the changing hours come and go,
And the bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Ringing! ringing! ringing, o'er the city
With its mighty throng!
Soothing some hearts, all sad and weary,
With their happy song.
Rising above the sin and sorrow, want and care,
Above the sounds of strife that fill the air;
And still, as the hours come and go,
The bells are ringing for joy or woe!

Ringing! ringing! ringing! recalling fast
Old days gone by;
Unlocking the fair, green shadowy past
To memory's eye.
Telling of high resolve, — of longings noble, free,
Of golden moments gone by unheedingly!
Of the changing hours that come and go, —
Of their ever ringing for joy or woe!

Ringing! ringing! ringing! still ring on,
O old church bells!
With tender pathos to each living one.
Your music tells
That beauty, wealth, and joy must fade and die,
That man must spend his days as for eternity,
Where the changing hours will cease to flow,
Where 'tis never ringing for joy or woe!

Golden Hour. M.