Representative Poetry Online
  Poet Index   Poem Index   Random   Search  
  Introduction   Timeline   Calendar   Glossary   Criticism   Bibliography  
  RPO   Canadian Poetry   UTEL  
by Name
by Date
by Title
by First Line
by Last Line
Short poem

Susanna Moodie (1803-1885)

The Sleigh-Bells

              1'Tis merry to hear, at evening time,
              2By the blazing hearth the sleigh-bells chime;
              3To know the bounding steeds bring near
              4The loved one to our bosoms dear.
              5Ah, lightly we spring the fire to raise,
              6Till the rafters glow with the ruddy blaze;
              7Those merry sleigh-bells, our hearts keep time
              8Responsive to their fairy chime.
              9Ding-dong, ding-dong, o'er vale and hill,
            10Their welcome notes are trembling still.

            11'Tis he, and blithely the gay bells sound,
            12As his sleigh glides over the frozen ground;
            13Hark! He has pass'd the dark pine wood,
            14He crosses now the ice-bound flood,
            15And hails the light at the open door
            16That tells his toilsome journey's o'er.
            17The merry sleigh-bells! My fond heart swells
            18And trobs to hear the welcome bells;
            19Ding-dong, ding-dong, o'er ice and snow,
            20A voice of gladness, on they go.

            21Our hut is small, and rude our cheer,
            22But love has spread the banquet here;
            23And childhood springs to be caress'd
            24By our beloved and welcome guest.
            25With a smiling brow his tale he tells,
            26The urchins ring the merry sleigh-bells;
            27The merry sleigh-bells, with shout and song
            28They drag the noisy string along;
            29Ding-dong, ding-dong, the father's come
            30The gay bells ring his welcome home.

            31From the cedar swamp the gaunt wolves howl,
            32From the oak loud whoops the felon owl;
            33The snow-storm sweeps in thunder past,
            34The forest creaks beneath the blast;
            35No more I list, with boding fear,
            36The sleigh-bells distant chime to hear.
            37The merry sleigh-bells with soothing power
            38Shed gladness on the evening hour.
            39Ding-dong, ding-dong, what rapture swells
            40The music of those joyous bells!


1] Susanna Moodie notes: "Many versions have been given of this song, and it has been set to music in the States. I here give the original copy, written whilst leaning on the open door of my shanty, and watching for the return of my husband." In 1834 Moodie moved to a log cabin, a 36-foot-by-32-foot house with parlour, kitchen, and two small bedrooms, standing on the shore of Upper Katchawanook Lake near a black cedar swamp surrounded by forest (279-82).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Susanna Moodie, Roughing it in the Bush; or, Forest Life in Canada, rev. edn. (Toronto: Hunter, Rose, and Co., 1871): 172-73. B-11 6533 Fisher Rare Book Library.
First publication date: 2 March 1833
Publication date note: Albion (new York, March 2, 1833): 72.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1999.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/4

Composition date: 1834
Form: couplets

Other poems by Susanna Moodie