Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Wedding Bells

Twilight shade is calmly falling
     Round about the dew-robed flowers;
Philomel’s lone song is calling
     Lovers to their fairy bowers;

Echo, on the zephyrs gliding,
     Bears a voice that seems to say,
“Ears and hearts, come, list my tiding,
     This has been a wedding-day.”

Hark! the merry chimes are pealing,
     Soft and glad the music swells;
Gaily on the night-wind stealing,
     Sweetly sound the wedding bells.

Every simple breast rejoices;
     Laughter rides upon the gale;
Happy hearts and happy voices
     Dwell within the lowly vale.

Oh, how sweet, on zephyrs gliding,
     Sound the bells that seem to say,
“Ears and hearts, come, list my tiding,
     This has been a wedding-day.”

Hark! the merry chimes are pealing,
     Soft and glad the music swells;
Gaily on the night-wind stealing,
     Sweetly sound the wedding bells.

Credit


This poem appeared in Melaia and Other Poems (Charles Tilt, 1840). It is in the public domain.

Author


Eliza Cook

Eliza Cook was born on December 24, 1818, in London, England. Self-educated as a child, she began writing poems at the age of fifteen and published her first poetry collection, Lays of a Wild Harp: A Collection of Metrical Pieces (John Bennett, 1835), two years later. Cook also published poems in magazines such as Metropolitan Magazine, New Monthly Magazine, and Weekly Dispatch, which published her most popular poem, “The Old Arm-Chair.”

In 1838, Cook published her second collection, Melaia and Other Poems, which was well received in both England and America, where an edition was reissued in 1844, and followed by Poems, Second Series (Simpkin, Marshall, 1845) and New Echoes, and Other Poems (Routledge, Warne & Routledge, 1864). Known as a poet of the working class, Cook wrote poems that advocated for political freedom for women and addressed questions of class and social justice. Despite her popularity, she was criticized for the ways in which she bucked gender conventions in both her writing and her life; Cook wore male clothing and had a relationship with American actress Charlotte Cushman, to whom she addressed a number of her poems.

In 1849, Cook started a penny-biweekly called Eliza Cook’s Journal, which contained poems, reviews, and social essays written mostly by her for a female audience. She continued the publication until 1854. Plagued by bad health in the last years of her life, Cook published little; she died on September 23, 1889, in Wimbledon, England.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

New Echoes, and Other Poems (Routledge, Warne & Routledge, 1864)
Poems, Second Series (Simpkin, Marshall, 1845)
Melaia and Other Poems (J. and H. G. Langley, 1844)
Lays of a Wild Harp: A Collection of Metrical Pieces (John Bennett, 1835)

 

Date Published: 2017-12-07

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/wedding-bells