Peter Shor having identified the connection between cymbals and bees, I found a couple of classical sources for this allusion. First, in Ovid’s Fasti:
liba deo fiunt, sucis quia dulcibus idem
gaudet, et a Baccho mella reperta ferunt.
ibat harenoso satyris comitatus ab Hebro
(non habet ingratos fabula nostra iocos),
iamque erat ad Rhodopen Pangaeaque florida ventum:
aeriferae comitum concrepuere manus,
ecce novae coeunt volucres tinnitibus actae,
quosque movent sonitus aera, sequuntur apes.
colligit errantes et in arbore claudit inani
Liber et inventi praemia mellis habet.
Sweet cakes are made for the god, because he too rejoices in
Sweetness, and they say that Bacchus discovered honey.
Accompanied by satyrs, he set off from sandy Hebrus
(Our story having a not unpleasant joke),
And soon he had come to Thrace and flowering Pangaea:
Bronze cymbals clashing in the company’s hands,
Behold! Driven by the ringing, new-found insects swarm,
All disturbed, bees follow the sound of bronze.
Liber† gathered the flying things and shut them in a hollow tree
And had discovered the prize of honey.
Ovid (8 CE). Fasti, book III, lines 735–744. My translation.
† A Latin deity who was syncretized with Bacchus/Dionysus.
Second, in Virgil’s Georgics:
Hinc ubi iam emissum caveis ad sidera caeli
nare per aestatem liquidam suspexeris agmen
obscuramque trahi vento mirabere nubem,
contemplator: aquas dulces et frondea semper
tecta petunt. Huc tu iussos adsperge sapores,
trita melisphylla et cerinthae ignobile gramen,
tinnitusque cie et Matris quate cymbala circum.
ipsae consident medicatis sedibus, ipsae
intima more suo sese in cunabula condent.
So when the cage-escaped hosts† you see
Float heavenward through the hot clear air, until
You marvel at yon dusky cloud that spreads
And lengthens on the wind, then mark them well;
For then ’tis ever the fresh springs they seek
And bowery shelter: hither must you bring
The savoury sweets I bid, and sprinkle them,
Bruised balsam and the wax-flower’s lowly weed,
And wake and shake the tinkling cymbals heard
By the great Mother:‡ on the anointed spots
Themselves will settle, and in wonted wise
Seek of themselves the cradle’s inmost depth.
Virgil (c. 29 BCE). Georgics, book IV, lines 58–66. Translated by J. B. Greenough (1900).
† That is, bees. Book IV opens “Of air-born honey, gift of heaven, I now take up the tale”. ‡ The goddess Cybele, who was worshipped with cymbals.
Shortly after this question was asked and answered, Jane Wright published an essay on bees in Aurora Leigh discussing these and other allusions:
Bees in Barrett Browning’s domestic epic, Aurora Leigh (1856), appear on seven occasions and never as merely naturalistic detail. They include previously unnoticed instances of Barrett Browning’s allusive sophistication and they help to figure the poet’s (and Aurora’s) claims to literary posterity.
Jane Wright (2020). ‘Barrett Browning’s Enduring Bees’, Essays In Criticism 70:2, p. 178.