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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!

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 měl'ancholy menace of their tōne!
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 ǎlōne,

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 :2

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 pean of the bells!

1 Mon' o dy, a species of poem of a mournful character, in which a single mourner is supposed to bewail himself.

was supposed to prey upon human bodies.


Pæ'an, among the ancients, a song of rejoicing in honor of Apollo; hence, a loud and joyous song; a song of triumph.

'Ghoul (gol), an imaginary evil being among Eastern nations, which

And he dances and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the pean 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.


EDGAR A. POE, born in Baltimore, in January, 1811, was left an orphan by the death of his parents at Richmond, in 1815. He was adopted by John Allen, a wealthy merchant of Virginia, who in the following year took him to England, and placed him at a school near London, from which, in 1822, he was removed to the University of Virginia, where he graduated with distinction in 1826. While at the Military Academy at West Point, in 1830, he published his first work, a small volume of poems. He secured prizes for a poem and a tale at Baltimore, in 1833; in 1835 he was employed to assist in editing "The Southern Literary Gazette," at Richmond; in 1838 he removed to Philadelphia, where he was connected as editor with Burton's Magazine one year, and with Graham's a year and a half; and subsequently, while in that city, published several volumes of tales, besides many of his finest criticisms, tales, and poems, in periodicals. He went to New York in 1844, where he wrote several months for the "Evening Mirror." In 1845 appeared his very popular poem of "The Raven," and the same year he aided in establishing the "Broadway Journal," of which he was afterward the sole editor. His wife, to whom he had been married about twelve years, died in the spring of 1849. In the summer of that year he returned to Virginia, where it was supposed he had mastered his previous habits of dissipation; but he died from his excesses, at Baltimore, on the seventh of October, at the age of thirty-eight years. In poetry, as in prose, he was eminently successful in the metaphysical treatment of the passions. He had a great deal of imag. ination and fancy, and his mind was highly analytical. His poems are constructed with wonderful ingenuity, and finished with consummate art.




HERE is no God,' the foolish saith,

But none, 'There is no sorrow ;'
And nature oft, the cry of faith,

In bitter need will borrow:

Eyes which the preacher could not school,

By wayside graves are raised;

And lips say, 'God be pitiful,'

Who ne'er said, 'God be praised.'

Be pitiful, O God!

2. The tempèst stretches from the steep
The shadow of its coming;

The beasts grow tame, and near us creep,
As help were in the human :

Yet, while the cloud-wheels roll and grind
We spirits tremble under!—

The hills have echoes; but we find

No answer for the thunder.

Be pitiful, O God!

3. The battle hurtles' on the plains-
Earth feels new scythes upon her :
We reap our brothers for the wains,

And call the harvest.. honor,
Draw face to face, front line to line,
One image all inherit,-

Then kill, curse on, by that same sign,
Clay, clay-and spirit, spirit.

Be pitiful, O God!

4. The plague runs festering through the town,

And never a bell is tölling;

And corpses, jostled 'neath the moon,

Nod to the dead-cart's rolling.

[blocks in formation]

1 Hurtle (her'tl), to make a clashing, terrifying, or threatening sound; to resound.

The mother from her babe looks up,
And shrieks away its sleeping.

5. The plague of gold strikes far and near,
And deep and strong it enters :
This purple simar' which we wear,

Makes madder than the centaur's.'

Be pitiful, O God!

Our thoughts grow blank, our words grow strange;
We cheer the pale gold-diggers-
Each soul is worth so much on 'Change,
And marked, like sheep, with figures.
Be pitiful, O God!

6. The curse of gold upon the land,
The lack of bread enforces-

The rail-cars snort from strand to strand,
Like more of Death's White Horses !
The rich preach 'rights' and future days,
And hear no angel scoffing:
The poor die mute-with starving gaze
On corn-ships in the offing.

Be pitiful, O God!

7. We meet together at the feast-
To private mirth betake us—
We stare down in the winecup, lest
Some vacant chair should shake us!
We name delight, and pledge it round-
'It shall be ours to-morrow!'
God's seraphs! do your voices sound
As sad in naming sorrow?

Be pitiful, O God!

8. We sit together, with the skies,
The steadfast skies, above us :
We look into each other's eyes,
'And how long will you love us


› Simar (så mår ́), a kind of long

gown or robe.

2 Centaur, a fabulous being, supposed to be half man and half horse, represented in ancient works of art

as man from the head to the loins, the remainder of the body being that of a horse with its four feet and tail; also, as here used, a bullkiller.

The eyes grow dim with prophecy,
The voices, low and breathless-
'Till death us part'-O words, to be
Our best for love the deathless!

Be pitiful, dear God!

9. We tremble by the harmlèss bed
Of one loved and departed—
Our tears drop on the lips that said
Last night, 'Be stronger hearted!'
O God,-to clasp those fingers close,
And yet to feel so lonely!-
To see a light upon such brows,
Which is the daylight only!

Be pitiful, O God!

10. The happy children come to us,
And look up in our faces:
They ask us-Was it thus, and thus,
When we were in their places?
We can not speak :-we see anew
The hills we used to live in ;
And feel our mother's smile press through
The kisses she is giving.

Be pitiful, O God!

11. We pray together at the kirk,
For mercy, mercy, solely—
Hands weary with the evil work,
We lift them to the Holy!
The corpse is calm below our knee—
Its spirit, bright before Thee-
Between them, worse than either, we—
Without the rest of glory!

Be pitiful, O God!

12. We leave the communing of men, The murmur of the passions;

And live alone, to live again

With endless generations.
Are we so brave?—The sea and sky
In silence lift their mirrors;

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