A poem by Edgar Allan Poe:

1
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.

2
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!

3
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 endeavour
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 --
In the clamour 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 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.

And also Lou Reed's 1979 record, named after the above poem and the musical piece "Lonely Woman" by Ornette Coleman:

Lou stepped up the microphone and recited the whole "Bells" lyric in one take, pouring the words into the wash of the music. To this day he still wonders at their meaning, but the experience was so sublime that "The Bells" remains one of Lou's favorite tracks.

From "Transformer: The Lou Reed Story", by Victor Bockris
The Bells (1848, two years before the 'works' version was released). This is the second 'version' of many.

    The bells! — ah, the bells! 
    The little silver bells! 
How fairy-like a melody there floats 
        From their throats. — 
        From their merry little throats — 
        From the silver, tinkling throats 
    Of the bells, bells, bells — 
        Of the bells! 

    The bells! — ah, the bells! 
    The heavy iron bells! 
How horrible a monody there floats 
        From their throats — 
        From their deep-toned throats — 
        From their melancholy throats! 
        How I shudder at the notes 
    Of the bells, bells, bells — 
        Of the bells!

This manuscript is assigned as "by Mrs. M. L. Shew" because she suggested the idea to Poe. In the lost "first" manuscript, she apparently wrote the first line of each stanza, which Poe then finished. The entire manuscript is in Poe's hand. It was first printed by John H. Ingram, The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, London: Chandos Classics, 1888 and reprinted by Ingram in his article "Variations in Edgar Poe's Poetry," Bibliophile (London), III, May 1909, pp. 128-136). J. H. Whitty (1911) and Floyd Stovall (1965) both reprint the poem, using Ingram as the source, though Stovall curiously drops the 7th line from the second stanza, making both stanzas 8 lines.

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