The Bells

1.

      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 bell.


2.

      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!


3.

      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
   In the bosom of the palpitating air!
      Yet the ear, it fully knows,
         By the twanging
         And the clanging,
      How the danger ebbs and flows: -
   Yes, 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!


4.

      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 meaning of the 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,
      Fell 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.