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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

The Bells

Rating: 3.8
I

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III

Hear the loud alarum bells-
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,
Now- now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows:
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells-
Of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

IV

Hear the tolling of the bells-
Iron Bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people- ah, the people-
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All Alone
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone-
They are neither man nor woman-
They are neither brute nor human-
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells-
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells:
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells-
Bells, bells, bells-
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
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COMMENTS
David McCaffrey 24 November 2017
This poem was put to music by one of America's greatest 20 th century song writers, Phil Ochs.
2 1 Reply
* Sunprincess * 10 August 2015
........fabulous write...in the 1800's, the use of bells was more common than today ?
5 6 Reply
Peyton Webb 06 October 2012
Favorite Word of All Time: Tintinnabulation
44 18 Reply
Morgan Carter 23 December 2014
Interesting then that he made the word up. No joke, he invented the word to fit with the poem.
2 1 Reply
Makayla Johnson 22 September 2012
Ah, one of my favourites. Poe had such an ear for rhythm, everything in this poem flows so easily with a beat and chime madder than the bells themselves. Beautiful.
36 18 Reply
David Vaughn 05 May 2012
@Jon P, Boring? Really? ! ? You do know that his repetition of the word bells is representative of the telling of the bells themselves, right? It's not meant to be read in time. It's supposed to be arhythmic. As cadencial as Poe tends to be, we often assume that everything will be cadencial. Try reading it again this time reading the repeated bells section slowly and out of time.
24 28 Reply
iruuka Blackheart 19 December 2011
When children were actual children they read shel silverstein....when i was a little child i was reading edgar allen poe
35 27 Reply
Ula Goss 02 May 2010
THis poem has such a ring to it. He manipulated the rythm to dance across your tongue and ears, it is definitly one of his best works. in short The Bells is a masterpiece.
38 13 Reply
This is such an awesome, musical poem.Someone should write music to this poem, if they haven't already. I agree with James Sides's comment.Poe had a natural sense of rhythm.Hie poems are so smooth, and flow so easily. He is (imo) the best classic poet of all-time. Lauren Marie Elizabeth Ryan
27 16 Reply
Dr.subhendu Kar 07 February 2009
simply wonderful, i am yet speechless to the cadence as eloquently flows, hats off to great work,
25 14 Reply
James Sides 07 August 2008
Is there a poet in history with such a natural sense of rhythm as Poe? He has such cadence
25 15 Reply

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