THE BELLS by Edgar Allan Poe, 1849 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,
Hear the sledges with the bells- And the clanging,
Silver bells! How the danger ebbs and flows:
What a world of merriment their melody foretells! Yet the ear distinctly tells,
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, In the jangling,
In the icy air of night! And the wrangling,
While the stars that oversprinkle How the danger sinks and swells,
All the heavens, seem to twinkle By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells-
With a crystalline delight; Of the bells-
Keeping time, time, time, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
In a sort of Runic rhyme, Bells, bells, bells-
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. IV
Hear the tolling of the bells-
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
Hear the mellow wedding bells, In the silence of the night,
Golden bells! How we shiver with affright
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells! At the melancholy menace of their tone!
Through the balmy air of night For every sound that floats
How they ring out their delight! From the rust within their throats
From the molten-golden notes, Is a groan.
And an in tune, And the people–ah, the people-
What a liquid ditty floats They that dwell up in the steeple,
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats All Alone
On the moon! And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
Oh, from out the sounding cells, In that muffled monotone,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells! Feel a glory in so rolling
How it swells! On the human heart a stone-
How it dwells They are neither man nor woman-
On the Future! how it tells They are neither brute nor human-
Of the rapture that impels They are Ghouls:
To the swinging and the ringing And their king it is who tolls;
Of the bells, bells, bells, And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, Rolls
Bells, bells, bells- A paean from the bells!
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells! And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
III And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
Hear the loud alarum bells- To the paean of the bells-
Brazen bells! Of the bells:
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! Keeping time, time, time,
In the startled ear of night In a sort of Runic rhyme,
How they scream out their affright! To the throbbing of the bells-
Too much horrified to speak, Of the bells, bells, bells-
They can only shriek, shriek, To the sobbing of the bells;
Out of tune, Keeping time, time, time,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, As he knells, knells, knells,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire, In a happy Runic rhyme,
Leaping higher, higher, higher, To the rolling of the bells-
With a desperate desire, Of the bells, bells, bells:
And a resolute endeavor, To the tolling of the bells,
Now–now to sit or never, Of the bells, bells, bells, bells-
By the side of the pale-faced moon. Bells, bells, bells-
Oh, the bells, bells, bells! To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
What a tale their terror tells