The Bells

43

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 tintinabulation 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 all 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 pæan from the bells!
⁠And his merry bosom swells
⁠With the pæan of the bells!
⁠And he dances, and he yells;
⁠Keeping time, time, time,
⁠In a sort of Runic rhyme,
⁠To the pæan 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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