The Song of Tyrrell's Bell

Hangs a bell in Tyrrell's shop
With some letters round the top—
Tap it with your walking cane
And its tones are clear and plain,
Telling of the distant reign
Of Wun Li (or maybe two):
'Tis Old China talks to you.

Here we have, in dusty nooks,
Old and long forgotten books,
Telling in a simple way
Things we learned the other day;
And upon the polished shelves,
In bright bindings in a row,
Books that let the people know
Things that we found out ourselves,
And we thought were very new,
And that China printed, too,
Some two thousand years ago.

Here in cabinets apart
Work of lifetimes and of art;
Carvings from the wood of trees
Dead for many centuries;
Fragile ware from China's shores
That outlasted Emperors;
Some were saved, for aught we know,
When Aladdin's lamp was new,
From old caravans attacked
And scattered where the four winds blow
Or the flames of cities sacked,
Bloody centuries ago.

Here's a knife that killed a king
(One who could not hold his own),
Here's a dart that saved a queen
When the queen fled from her throne—
Relics, maybe, from the reign
Of the Conqueror Charlemagne
Or the demon Tamerlane;
Bronzes from the dust and sand
Of forgotten Samarkand
Scattered over sea and land.

Here are carpets, spread them wide
By your winter fireside,
And they'll take you back again
From the darkness and the rain
To Damascus and Bagdad—
When the world was young and glad
And the good Haroun-al-Raschid
Hamstrung all the profiteers.

There's a bell in Tyrrell's shop
(Tyrrell's shop in Sydney Town)
With a legend round the top—
Bell of ancient bronze and brown.
Tap it with your walking cane
And its notes are clear and plain—
Plain as China and as true—
Telling of the ancient reign
Of Wun Li— an' of Li II—
'Tis old China speaks to you.
Best respects to Li the First
From a soul of his athirst
Li the Second speaks to you.
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