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American Annals of the Deaf

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Sweet Bells Jangled

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This used to be a problem unto me :
     Can woman’s life hold Art and Love together?
And now I know it can! Not one heart only,
     But one soul and one mind are shared between us!


I stood at early dawn beside my window,
     So glad! so glad! His ring was on my hand,―
I could not sleep for the joy of feeling it,―
     I leant out to the dim and dewy day,
And heard the first faint sounds of waking birds;
     And saw the hills in shadow, and the deeps―
The blue, unsounded deeps― of restful skies
     Unsunned above me. Then to me a voice―
A timid voice afraid of its own self,
     A voice that snag the sorrow of a heart
That could not choose but suffer―floated up.
     I caught the song, but could not see the singer.



When I was a wee white maiden,
     I was my mother’s delight ;
She plaited my yellow tresses,
     And she cuddled me close at night.
But once I woke in her clasping,
     And felt that her arms were chill ;
And they took me away from my mother,
     Because she lay so still.
         The buttercups shine in the meadow,
             And her grave is wet with dew ;
         A sparrow is chirping near it,
             Alas! what should I do?

Love came, and sought me, and found me!
     He entreated me passing fair ;
It was for him that I braided
     The jessamine into my hair.
He pelted me once with a rosebud ;
     When I stooped to where it lay,
He departed, and only left me
     The flower that he flung away,
          The bloom is all over the orchard,
              While I sit here and sew ;
          So sorry for sweet Love’s going,
              Alas! what shall I do?

Pale Christ! I’ll put thy betrayal
     ‘Twixt me and my miseries twain ;
Thou wert forsaken,― and I am
     A motherless creature in pain!
Dear God! I will take thy pity,
     And wrap it about my life ;
O, let me be thy little one,
     Since I’ll be no man’s wife !

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