Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe... In Baltimore and Beyond

Maryland Public Television
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'The Bells'
Random Raven
"The Bells"
'The Bells'
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At its very basis, poetry is meant to be heard as well as read. Listening to the melodic sounds and the rhythm of the words often tells you a great deal about the poem that you might not have learned by simply reading it.

To unlock the special meaning that comes from hearing an exceptionally melodic poem, try this activity.

  • Select a stanza or section of the poem that you would like to hear by clicking on the box by the number of the stanza. This poem is divided into four stanzas.
  • Use the Sound Board to select voices, music, and other effects for the stanza. Click the circles below the words to turn options on or off. Then click the play button to hear your selection.
  • You can adjust the settings of the Sound Board before, during, and after playback to change your experience with the poem.
  • You can also adjust the speed of the scrolling text by using the buttons to the right of the poem.

The poem is Poe's "The Bells." This version appeared in Sartain's Union Magazine, Nov. 1849 (issued about Oct. 15, 1849), p. 304. Read the complete poem. Text is courtesy of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.

Note: The stanzas to the poem vary in size, and may be up to 1Mb in file size (which will take at least 2 minutes to prepare on a 56k connection). But it is worth the wait!

  • "The Bells".
    Note: This link will open a new browser window.