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  December 07, 2023
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Home > Holidays > Religious Christian Easter > Kids Poems, Rhymes and Recitals > Little Bell

Little Bell
by Thomas Westwood

Piped the blackbird on the beech-wood spray:
"Pretty maid, slow wandering this way,
What's your name?" quoth he -
"What's your name? Oh, stop, and straight unfold,
Pretty maid, with showery curls of gold!"
"Little Bell," said she.

Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,
Tossed aside her gleaming, golden locks.
"Bonny bird," quoth she,
"Sing me your best song before I go,"
"Here's the very finest song I know,
Little Bell," said he.

And the blackbird piped: you never heard
Half so gay a song from any bird -
Full of quips and wiles,
Now so round and rich, now soft and slow,
All for love of that sweet face below,
Dimpled o'er with smiles.

And the while the bonny bird did pour
His full heart out freely, o'er and o'er,
'Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow,
And shine forth in happy overflow
From the blue, bright eyes.

Down the dell she tripped; and through the glade
Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade,
And from out the tree
Swung, and leaped, and frolicked, void of fear,
While bold blackbird piped, that all might hear:
"Little Bell!" piped he.

Little Bell sat down amid the fern:
"Squirrel, squirrel, to your task return;
Bring me nuts," quoth she.
Up, away, the frisky squirrel hies -
Golden woodlights glancing in his eyes -
And adown the tree
Great ripe nuts, kissed brown by July sun,
In the little lap dropped, one by one.
Hark! how blackbird pipes to see the fun!
"Happy Bell!" pipes he.

Little Bell looked up and down the glade:
"Squirrel, squirrel, if you're not afraid,
Come and share with me!"
Down came squirrel, eager for his fare,
Down came bonny blackbird, I declare!
Little Bell gave each his honest share;
Ah! the merry three!

And the while these woodland playmates twain
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again,
'Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below
All the sweetness seemed to grow and grow,
And shine out in happy overflow
From her blue, bright eyes.

By her snow-white cot at close of day
Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms, to pray:
Very calm and clear
Rose the praying voice to where, unseen,
In blue heaven, an angel shape serene
Paused awhile to hear.

"What good child is this," the angel said,
"That, with happy heart, beside her bed
Prays so lovingly?"
Low and soft, oh! very low and soft,
Crooned the blackbird in the orchard croft,
"Bell, dear Bell!" crooned he.

"Whom God's creatures love," the angel fair
Whispered, "God doth bless with angels' care;
Child, thy bed shall be
Folded safe from harm. Love, deep and kind,
Shall watch around, and leave good gifts behind,
Little Bell, for thee."

Poetry Study


  • croft - a small inclosed field, near a house.
  • croon - to sing in a low tone.
  • quips - quick, smart turns.
  • piping - making a shrill sound like that of a pipe or flute.


  1. In the first stanza, what are the marks called that enclose Little Bell? Why are these marks used here?
  2. Name the words of the poem in which the apostrophe is used. Tell what it denotes in each case.
  3. Where does the poem first take us? What do we see there?
  4. In what words does the blackbird address the "pretty maid, slowly wandering" his way? Who is she?
  5. Seated beneath the rocks, what does Little Bell ask the blackbird to do?
  6. Read the lines that describe the blackbird's song. Why did the bird sing so sweetly? What were the effects of his song on "the little childish heart below?"
  7. Seated amid the fern, what did Little Bell ask the squirrel to do? Read the lines that tell what the squirrel did. What invitation did the squirrel receive from Little Bell?
  8. Where does the poem bring us "at the close of day?" Tell what you see there.
  9. Read the lines that tell what the angel asked.
  10. Read the angel's words in the first two lines of the last stanza. What is their meaning?
  11. What promises did the angel make to this good child? Why did he make such beautiful promises?


  1. Tell what the following words and expressions of the poem mean: quoth he; straight unfold; dell; glade; hies; showery curls of gold; bonny bird; hazel shade; void of fear; golden woodlights; adown the tree; playmates twain; with folded palms; an angel shape; with angels' care; the bird did pour his full heart out freely; the sweetness did shine forth in happy overflow.
  2. Select a stanza of the poem, and express in your own words the thought it contains.
  3. Describe some of the pictures the poem brings to mind.
  4. What is the lesson the poet wishes us to learn from this poem?
  5. Show how the couplet of the English poet, Coleridge,- "He prayeth best who loveth best,
    All things both great and small,"- is illustrated in the story of Little Bell.


Write a composition on the story from the following hints: Where did Little Bell go? In what season of the year? At what time of day? How old was she? How did she look? What companions did she meet? What did the three friends do? How did the little girl close the day?

In your composition, use as many words and phrases of the poem as you can.


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