31 October 2011

31 October - "The Bells" Poem and Parody

For Hallowe'en, we present the poem "The Bells" by Edgar Allen Poe -
and a parody by the editors of the Warren Gazette.

(My mother used to read this to me at bedtime - sometimes, bedtime stories were bedtime poems instead - and read it with all the emphasis and feeling that the words demanded, especially Part IV:
"They are neither man nor woman,
They are neither brute nor human,
They are GHOULS!"
I wonder if she was a frustrated actress.)


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
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


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!


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!


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

This parody was published in the Warren Gazette, February 16, 1872:

Hear that noisy lot of swells –
            Silly swells!
What a deal of trashy talk their company foretells
How they chatter, chatter, chatter
            In the ballroom of a night!
Making such a fearful clatter
As if something was the matter
            And had put them in a fright,
            Killing time, time, time
            (Never thinking it a crime),
with the foolish conversation to the little laughing belles;
Of the swells, swells, swells, swells, swells, swells, swells,
While a walking and a talking with the belles.

See those dissipated swells –
Drunken swells!
What a tale of temperance that tipsy tumble tells!
In the startled air of night
            Ringing bells with great delight,
And singing songs with all their might
Although the words they do not quite
            Distinctly utter.
Reeling, reeling, reeling
Standing, sitting, kneeling,
Rolling, rolling, rolling
On their homeward journey strolling
With a resolute endeavor,
Now, now to sit or never,
Side by side with their companions in the gutter.

See those horrid dandy swells –
            Scented swells!
What a world of vapid talk their company compels!
            How disgusting their flirtation
            And affected adoration
            Of every exclamation of the belles.
Oh, maidens, young and single
Lest your ears with pain should tingle
Never listen to the jingle
            Of the swells –
Of the swells, swells, swells, swells, swells, swells, swells,
To the jingling and the dingling of the swells.