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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "The Bells" (B), undated manuscript, about May 1848

The Bells
By Mrs. M. L. Shew.
[[and Edgar A. Poe]]

    The bells! — ah, the bells!
    The little silver bells!
How fairy-like a melody there floats
        From their throats. —
        From their merry little throats —
        From the silver, tinkling throats
    Of the bells, bells, bells —
        Of the bells!

    The bells! — ah, the bells!
    The heavy iron bells!
How horrible a monody there floats
        From their throats —
        From their deep-toned throats —
        From their melancholy throats!
        How I shudder at the notes
    Of the bells, bells, bells —
        Of the bells!


This manuscript is assigned as "by Mrs. M. L. Shew" because she suggested the idea to Poe. In the lost "first" manuscript, she apparently wrote the first line of each stanza, which Poe then finished. The entire manuscript is in Poe's hand. It was first printed by John H. Ingram, The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, London: Chandos Classics, 1888 and reprinted by Ingram in his article "Variations in Edgar Poe's Poetry," Bibliophile (London), III,  May 1909, pp. 128-136). J. H. Whitty (1911) and Floyd Stovall (1965) both reprint the poem, using Ingram as the source, though Stovall curiously drops the 7th line from the second stanza, making both stanzas 8 lines.

[S:1 - MS, 1848] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The Bells (B)