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5

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 !

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15

Hear the tolling of the bells

Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody com-

pels !
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

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Is a groan.

And the people — ah, the people
They that dwell up in the steeple,

All alone,
And who tolling, tolling, tolling,

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5

10

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 !
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,

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20

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THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS

73

Of the bells, bells, bells, bells —

Bells, bells, bells -
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells !

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

AMERICA, 1809–1894

The Chambered Nautilus

5

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main,

The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare, Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

10 Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

Wrecked is the ship of pearl !

And every chambered cell
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,

Before thee lies revealed,
Its iris ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed !

15

Year after year beheld the silent toil

That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,

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He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step his shining archway through,
Built up his idle door,

, Stretched in his last found home, and knew the old

no more.

5 Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

Child of the wandering sea,

Cast from her lap, forlorn !
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn!

While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice

that sings :

10

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past ! 15 Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea !

The Last Leaf

20

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,

And again

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