Bells 3: An Expression Of Many Things

Anyone who follows my blogs will know that I have been doing a series of blogs on the theme of bells. I got a lovely comment on Goodreads after my first blog on the theme from Kelly Santana-Banks.

Kelly wrote: ‘

Hello Eileen,
This was an interesting blog post regarding bells, their history, and associated works that include bells and their significance. It is no surprise that “Jingle Bells” has nothing to do with the holiday most associate it with, but many classic songs derive from unexpected origins before society turns them into spectacles of celebration. I am surprised that you hadn’t mentioned Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells” and the author’s ability to vocally portray the resounding echo and chime that bells bring upon striking them. Bells are certainly entertaining or melancholy objects but that is the beauty of them. They’re versatile and prepared for that perfect or imperfect moment. I see why they mean so much to you.
Wonderful post!’

So, I looked up the poem she mentioned and was blown away by it. Thank you, Kelly. Here it is:


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.


        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 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 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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The Peace Bell

President Michael Higgins and his wife, Sabrina.

Then this week, I was watching RTE’s programme, It’s A Park’s Life about life in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. The President of Ireland, Michael Higgins, and his wife Sabrina live in Áras an Uachtaráin which is within the Phoenix Park. In the grounds of Áras an Uachtaráin is the Peace Bell.

On 21st May 2008, President Mary McAleese unveiled the Peace Bell at Áras an Uachtaráin to mark the tenth anniversary of the Belfast Agreement. Dating from the 19th Century, the bell is suspended from oak trunks which came from Co Antrim and Co Dublin. 

Click on the link below to see Sabrina Higgins talking about the Peace Bell.

She quotes lines from Leonard Cohen’s song, Anthem.

'Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in'

And here is the whole song:

It’s A Wonderful Life

Whilst watching another TV show this week, I heard a quote from that really Christmassy film, It’s A Wonderful Life. Patrick Kielty, ( was asked a question on, The Chase Celebrity Special and Patrick Kielty quoted: ‘Every Time a Bell Rings an Angel Gets His Wings

So, I will leave you with that famous clip from the movie. It expresses a beautiful sentiment, so believe and trust when you hear the sound of bells.

2 thoughts on “Bells 3: An Expression Of Many Things”

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