SIMPLE MURMURATION OF THE BELLS (BELLS BELLS BELLS BELLS)

Bells. Bells. Bells. Bells. Bells. Bells.

Dong. Ding. Dong. Tinkle. The simple murmuration of the bells. Bells. Bells. Bells. Bells.

Poe wrote this during one of those times when it was obvious he’d had one hit of opium over the line. I remember when I found it in a book of Parody. It was listed as “Unintentional Self-Parody,” and to me, it is. I was sure I’d find murmuration in it. It’s the kind of word you’d expect from Poe in one of his darker, more self-absorbed moments.

THE BELLS by Edgar Allan Poe

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
(NOTE: You could as easily use murmuration here.
Although it’s a couple of beats short, you’d just need a simple
two syllable adjective to give it full weight.)
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 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 clamour and the clangour 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 meaning 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,
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.

The Daily Press | MURMURATION



Categories: Humor, poem

Tags: , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Haven’t heard bells since i used to work Downtown and the campanologists (there’s another great word) had their weekly practice in the Cathedral.

    These days i get my tintinnabulation from my wind chimes 🙂

    love

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if Poe had have got so poetical if he lived in Switzerland. They have a wonderful custom of ringing all the bells on Saturday evening for a quarter of an hour at 8.00 p.m.. I no longer hear it, you get used to it eventually. And of course Sunday morning is something else, but it seems they are selected bells that I hear in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tintinnabulation…I remember, so very well, reading this poem and absolutely loving that word. Tintinnabulation, murmuration…..sounds good to me. you hear that, Garry? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The bells have muted my hearing aids.

    They toll for me.

    Liked by 2 people

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