by EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849)
Hear this poem. Click arrow to start
Hear the loud alarum 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 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
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!
Several women poets had their eye on Edgar Allan Poe even before his wife Virginia passed away, according to Frances S. Osgood. In an 1850 letter, she told Rufus Griswold about these amorous ladies: “Mrs. Ellet asked an introduction to him and followed him everywhere, Miss (Anne Charlotte) Lynch begged me to bring him there and called upon him at his lodgings, Mrs. (Sarah Helen) Whitman besieged him with valentines and letters long before he wrote or took any notice of her, and all the others wrote poetry and letters to him.”
Edgar Allan Poe Contemporaries:
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Harriet Beecher Stowe