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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;



25 5

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.



This poem has been the delight of school children for many years. In reading it, we must use our ears even more than our eyes. We hear the bells ringing out their different messages. Always the words and the music of the poem imitate the joy or fright or horror of the bells, and just as bells repeat the same sound again and again, so the poem often repeats the same word moon? 10. In the fourth stanza all the bells are ringing to tell of some strange danger. Mention some danger that might threaten a whole city or countryside. 11. How do we know that the danger is now greater, now less? 12. What words seem to you to imitate horror or despair? What is despair? 13. What is the time in this stanza? 14. What kind of bells do we hear in the opening lines of the last stanza? 15. What is the time? 16. What do you associate with the tolling of bells ? 17. Who live in the steeple and ring these bells ? 18. Describe the King of the Ghouls. 19. Point out the words that indicate the sadness of the tolling bells. 20. Point out the words that indicate the delight of the King of the Ghouls.

many times.

1. In the first stanza select the words that imitate sleigh bells. 2. Is the time day or night? 3. How are wedding bells different from sleigh bells? 4. What words show that they are golden, not silver ? 5. Select the words and phrases that hint at the happiness that the bride and the bridegroom expect to enjoy. 6. What is the time? 7. The third ringing of bells at night is very different. The bells are neither silver nor golden; what are they? 8. Is the music of this stanza sweeter or harsher ? What makes it so? 9. Why is the fire said to wish to sit by the

21. Which stanza do you like best? 22. Which one do you remember most clearly? 23. Quote any lines that stick to your memory.

For Study with the Glossary: oversprinkle, crystalline, tintinnabulation, molten, turtle-dove, gloats, euphony, voluminously, wells, alarum, turbulency, clamorous, expostulation, palpitating, clangor, monody, monotone, Ghouls, pæan.

Phrases: Runic rhyme (mysterious, unusual rhyme), liquid ditty (a clear, sweet song).


Most of our American poets were brought up in the midst of family love and passed long lives in comfortable homes. Very different was it with Edgar Allan Poe, who was born in Boston in 1809. His father was a Southerner and his mother English. They were actors and very poor. Both died before Edgar was three years old. He was a beautiful clever child and was at once adopted by a rich Virginian family named Allan. They were good and kind, but they did not love him as if he had been their own child, and he grew up a lonely boy. Except for a few years in a boarding school in England, his youth was spent in the grand old state of Virginia among interesting and refined people. He studied at the University of Virginia and, later, at West Point.

By this time there had been quarrels with Mr. Allan, and Poe now set out to earn his living by his pen. He lived in Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York. He was always poor and always proud. When his beautiful young wife lay dying, a visitor found her without blankets on her bed and a huge tortoise-shell cat curled

up in her arms to keep her warm. Poe died at the age of forty, worn out by poverty, illness, and trouble. He did not live to see his work fully appreciated. His fame rests upon his short stories as well as upon his

poems. The best of both stories and poems are so original and put together with such exquisite art that they have won the highest admiration, abroad as well as at home, especially in France. His imagination delighted in beauty, and it often chose strange and gloomy subjects. More than any other poet, Poe made his poetry sound like music. We feel this in “The Bells,” in “The Raven," in "Annabel Lee," and in this lovely stanza from “Israfel” :

“If I could dwell
Where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well

A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky."



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