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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.





How many kinds of bells does the poem describe ?

Observe how the character of the words used changes to suit the different kinds of bells.

First stanza. How should this stanza be read, rapidly or slowly?

Could any other word be substituted for tinkle ?

Can you not see the meaning of tintinnabulation, from simply reading it aloud ?

Bells, repeated here, should be read rapidly, to represent jingling sleigh bells.

Second stanza. Observe in this stanza the slower movement, also the number of liquid letters, l, m, n, r, giving the flowing movement, for example, "molten golden notes.” Also the ending ells to so many lines requires a prolonging of the sound like that following a stroke of a large bell.

In this stanza, bells repeated should be read slowly, with the first and each alternate one accented.

Third stanza. What change in the kind of words used do you see here?

Describe as well as you can the various effects produced in this stanza by the sounds of the words used.

How should bells at the end be read ?

Fourth stanza. Describe the changes in the kinds of words used in this stanza and the effects produced.

How should bells at the end be read?
Does this poem appeal to you? Why?


This, Poe's greatest poem, is inexpressibly weird and creepy.” To appreciate it, analysis is of little help. It is to be felt. For that purpose it is best read aloud, because the feeling of the poem depends almost as much upon the sounds of the words as upon their meanings.

In particular, two characteristics intensify the feeling of ghostly unreality. One is the extension of rhymes into groups of three or more, as napping, rapping, tapping. Another is the repetition of words and phrases, as "rapping," "sorrow," "nothing more." A third is the frequent use of alliteration; that is, the repetition of the same sound; as, line 3, nodded, nearly, napping; line 10, surcease, sorrow; line 13, silken, sad, uncertain, rustling.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered,

weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten

lore — While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came

a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my cham

ber door. 5“'Tis some visitor," I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door

Only this and nothing more.” Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak Decem

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And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost

upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow – vainly I had sought

to borrow 10 From my books surcease of sorrow

sorrow for the lost Lenore -


1 Surcease, relief from.

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore

Nameless here forevermore,

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple

curtain Thrilled me

filled me with fantastici terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I

stood repeating, “'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my cham

ber door — Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door

This it is and nothing more.”



Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no

longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I

implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you

came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my

chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you," — here I opened wide the door — Darkness there and nothing more.

1 Fantastic, fanciful, unreal.

25 Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there

wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to

dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave

no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered

word, "Lenore !” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore !

Merely this and nothing more.


Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within

me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than

before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my

window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery

explore 35 Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery


'Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a

flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven' of the saintly

days of yore. 1 Raven. The raven has been held by the superstitious to be a bird of ill omen, and supernaturally wise.

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