I hear the sound of a tinkling bell:
'T is the teacher's signal sweet,
There's a drowsy hum from a score of lips,
There's a smothered laugh at some dullard's slips,
And a noise of restless feet.
Do they think as they tread the earthen floor,
Those children gathered there,
How near to Nature's true heart they stand,
Their tan-stained cheeks by her light breath fanned,
Their eyes on her features fair ?
Do they hear the notes forever new,
That the limitless prairies sing?
'T is a nobler strain than books have told,
Than Choirs have breathed or organs rolled,
Or silver chimes can ring.
They say: "Be pure as our morning dew,
Be firm as our leagues of earth,
Be kind as our breezes that gently blow,
Be bright as our hills in the sunset's glow,
Be gay as our song birds' mirth.
"Look up to the light like the spears that wave
O'er all our stretching miles;
Let the flowers that dimple our bosom cast
A spell of beauty that shall at last
Tinge manhood's years with smiles."