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— and I can scarcely expect you to put more faith in it than did the merry fishermen of Lofoden."

EDGAR ALLAN POE.

QUESTIONS FOR STUDY

Does this story seem to you

real ? Can you point out any features that make it seem so?

Does the way the old man tells it help?

Is this more vivid than if the author had told it about the old man?

Does the introduction of the dizzy height from which the maelstrom was viewed, lines 18–35, help? Name other special realistic features.

Observe that the first sentence seems to assume that this story is a continuation of one already told. Is this good or not? What is the climax of the story? Is the "movement” of the tale swift or slow?

Describe the action of the maelstrom.
Describe the course of the boat.
How did the man escape ?

a

THE BELLS

a

The following poems of Poe illustrate, each in a different way, his ability to produce powerful effects through the sounds of the words he uses. Both should be read aloud to secure appreciation.

I

5

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.

1

10

II

15

Hear the mellow wedding bells,

Golden bells !
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells !

a

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

a 1 Runic, made of runes, an old Norse alphabet or system of symbols commonly supposed to deal with mysteries, because few could read it.

20

25

To the turtledove 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 !

30

35

III

40

Hear the loud alarum bells

Brazen bells !
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency? tells !

In the startled car 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 expostulations with the deaf and frantic

fire, 1 Euphony, musical sound. 2 Turbulency, confusion, discord.

3 Expostulation, prayerful protest.

45

1

50

55

1

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.

60

65

1

Falpitating, beating in pulses, like the heart.

IV

70

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

75

Is a groan.

80

85

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 !

90

1 Pæan, a war song of triumph.

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