The Owl And The Bell by George MacDonald

Bing, Bim, Bang, Bome!
Sang the Bell to himself in his house at home,
High in the church-tower, lone and unseen,
In a twilight of ivy, cool and green;
With his Bing, Bing, Bim, Bing, Bang, Bome!
Singing bass to himself in his house at home.

Said the Owl, on a shadowy ledge below,
Like a glimmering ball of forgotten snow,
“Pest on that fellow sitting up there,
Always calling the people to prayer!
He shatters my nerves with his Bing, Bang, Bome!
Far too big in his house at home!

“I think I will move.–But it suits me well,
And one may get used to it, who can tell!”
So he slept again with all his might,
Then woke and snooved out in the hush of night
When the Bell was asleep in his house at home,
Dreaming over his Bing, Bang, Bome!

For the Owl was born so poor and genteel
What could he do but pick and steal?
He scorned to work for honest bread–
“Better have never been hatched!” he said.
So his day was the night, for he dared not roam
Till sleep had silenced the Bing, Bang, Bome!

When five greedy Owlets chipped the egg
He wanted two beaks and another leg,
And they ate the more that they did not sleep well:
“It’s their gizzards,” said Owless; said Owl, “It’s that Bell!”
For they quivered like leaves of a wind-blown tome
When the Bell bellowed out his Bing, Bang, Bome!

But the Bell began to throb with the fear
Of bringing his house about his one ear;
And his people came round it, quite a throng,
To buttress the walls and make them strong:
A full month he sat, and felt like a mome
Not daring to shout his Bing, Bang, Bome!

Said the Owl to himself, and hissed as he said,
“I trust in my heart the old fool is dead!
No more will he scare church-mice with his bounce,
And make them so thin they’re scarce worth a pounce!
Once I will see him ere he’s laid in the loam,
And shout in his ear Bing, Bim, Bang, Bome!”

“Hoo! hoo!” he cried, as he entered the steeple,
“They’ve hanged him at last, the righteous people!
His swollen tongue lolls out of his head!
Hoo! hoo! at last the old brute is dead!
There let him hang, the shapeless gnome,
Choked with a throatful of Bing, Bang, Bome!”

He fluttered about him, singing Too-whoo!
He flapped the poor Bell, and said, “Is that you?
You that never would matters mince,
Banging poor owls and making them wince?
A fig for you now, in your great hall-dome!
Too-whit is better than Bing, Bang, Bome!”

Still braver he grew, the downy, the dapper;
He flew in and perched on the knob of the clapper,
And shouted Too-whoo! An echo awoke
Like a far-off ghostly Bing-Bang stroke:
“Just so!” he cried; “I am quite at home!
I will take his place with my Bing, Bang, Bome!”

He hissed with the scorn of his grand self-wonder,
And thought the Bell’s tremble his own great thunder:
He sat the Jove of creation’s fowl.–
Bang! went the Bell–through the rope-hole the owl,
A fluffy avalanche, light as foam,
Loosed by the boom of the Bing, Bang, Bome!

He sat where he fell, as if he had meant it,
Ready for any remark anent it.
Said the eldest Owlet, “Pa, you were wrong;
He’s at it again with his vulgar song!”
“Child,” said the Owl, “of the mark you are wide:
I brought him to life by perching inside.”

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“Why did you, my dear?” said his startled wife;
“He has always been the plague of your life!”
“I have given him a lesson of good for evil:
Perhaps the old ruffian will now be civil!”
The Owl sat righteous, he raised his comb.
The Bell bawled on, Bing, Bim, Bang, Bome!

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