The Bell Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Bell

Rating: 3.2

I love thy music, mellow bell,
I love thine iron chime,
To life or death, to heaven or hell,
Which calls the sons of Time.

Thy voice upon the deep
The home-bound sea-boy hails,
It charms his cares to sleep,
It cheers him as he sails.

To house of God and heavenly joys
Thy summons called our sires,
And good men thought thy sacred voice
Disarmed the thunder's fires.

And soon thy music, sad death-bell,
Shall lift its notes once more,
And mix my requiem with the wind
That sweeps my native shore.

The Bell
Michael Pruchnicki 30 June 2011

OK, so there may be some religious symbolism, and avoiding mention of the poet's probable intent, as Olivarez does, only panders to the ravings of Straw who does go on about ANY poem with even a hint of a faith-based viewpoint. Run a really religious poem on this site by an ordained priest like Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ (Society of Jesus!) , and the village atheist in readers like Straw will erupt in volcanic rage! There is a point at which one must defer to a poet's beliefs and shun the politically correct view that holds ALL mention of GOD an outrage against good common sense. For Christ's sake, relax and read the poem or don't, but please spare us the wagging finger and the diatribe against the divine.

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Kevin Straw 30 June 2010

There is far too much religious poetry on this site. Emerson writes well, but what he writes about is not believed by everyone. Poetry like this is exclusive to people who believe its precepts. Poetry at its best is about the experience of the human race as a whole. If you believe this is wholly good poetry, then you must believe that poetry extolling the virtues of Nazism or rape is wholly good poetry provided that it is technically good.

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Mohammad Akmal Nazir 30 June 2011

This was an extremely one-sided poem based on a particular religious view. So far as the artistic skill of Emerson was concerned, it was at its peak in the poem. After all he was a great poet.

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John Collins 30 June 2011

This is a good poem, simple diction, easy to comprehend. It merits a supposing joy you experience after death, with words like 'charms his cares to sleep' 'heaven joys' but the end the poem, the poet introduces terror by the wind which will sweep him to his final destination, death

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Alek Lenth 30 June 2010

So under your criterion, if a poem uses imagery it is not 'poetry at its best' because the blind will not appreciate it? And poets who write about the black condition are not good poets because most people are not black? As a side note Emerson's religious views are in the extreme minority of Christianity and that has not stopped generations of Christians and many others from recognizing the fundamental human experiences of death and mourning in this poem.

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Edward Kofi Louis 31 August 2015

Thy voice upon the deep! ! Nice work.

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* Sunprincess * 30 June 2014

...........this poem reminds me of those famous lines in john donne's man is an island ....~ for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee ~

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Linda May Fox 30 June 2012

I Love the imagery in this poem!

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Allison Helman 30 June 2012

Maybe he just wanted the poem to ring out and resonate in two or more ways like it did for him. I think he accomplished that.

2 1 Reply
Juan Olivarez 30 June 2011

Strangely, I agree with Michael. But only a bit. It is good to have things back to normal. Thank you Lord.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boston / United States
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