One—in the distance, when the star came out
Over the dark green woods upon the hill-
One bell's low tinkle, and the farmer's shout,
While in the pauses sang the whip-poor-will.
Two, three, and more. She's coming now; but wait!
She stops. There's clover in yon tufts of fern.
Lightfoot! Coo-coo! Come down; the milking's late.
Robert, run up beyond the lane's quick turn.
Two little arms stretch out to clasp a cup
Of gentle Lightfoot's milk. "Come down, Coo-coo!
The farmer, tired with haying, wants to sup."
Hark! on the silent air the bell peals out anew.
There's silence now. She's at the hillside spring,
Drinking with liquid, vacant eyes, her fill;
While upward flits on dreamy, bat-like wing
The somber, brooding, plaintive whip-poor-will.
Coo-coo! she's coming; hear her lulling bell!
Or does the farmer strike his empty glass
With pewter spoon. Perhaps in yonder dell
The bell is drowned amid the meadow's grass.
She's in her yard at last; the bell is still,
And she has done her peaceful work. Ah! me,
What if some higher spirits wait to fill
Their earthly longings from humanity!