Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64
The Bell's First Note - Jean Leon Gerome Ferris
Ringing Out Liberty, July 8, 1776 - N.C. Wyeth

Ring Out, Wild Bells

Alfred Lord Tennyson

 Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Sundays with Larry


Larry See

Bells were an important means of communication in rural communities before telephones were available.

Many communities had a church bell. It was rung as a call to worship on Sunday mornings. It was also used as a signal for fires and other emergencies. It was used to announce a death in the community. When announcing a death, it was rung slowly, one time for each year of the deceased’s age so everyone could identify him or her. I can only imagine the sense of foreboding or relief when counting its peals, eliminating persons, and finally identifying the person who had died. Edgar Allen Poe described that feeling extremely well in his poem “The Bells.”

Dinner Bell, 1944 - Stevan Dahanos
Each farm had a dinner bell which was used to call the field workers in to eat. It was also used to announce the arrival of visitors or an emergency. The way it was rung communicated the purpose. Dinner bells were cast iron, about 12 to 16 inches in diameter. They were hung on a pole and were hinged with a rope hanging down. Pulling the rope caused the bell to swing back and forth causing the clapper to strike it.

Cow Bells

Many farmers used cow bells on cattle or sheep. Many were made of brass with an iron clapper by local blacksmiths. They were attached to a leather collar around the animal’s neck. The bell made it easier to keep track of the location of the livestock. That was especially important before there were fences. Each bell had a unique tone so the farmers could identify their herd or flock. The bell also served as an alarm if dogs or a bear chased their sheep.

Wether with Bell
The term “bellwether” meaning an indicator of group action came from that practice. A wether is a castrated male sheep. One wether often was placed with a flock of ewes to help protect them from dogs. The bell was hung on the wether.

Sleigh Bells - Richard de Wolfe
Sleigh bells or harness bells were purely decorative. They were sphere shaped with a pellet inside. They were hung on horse harness or attached to a leather strap which was shaken to create the noise.

Bells were important. They communicated good news or tragedy. They helped keep track of livestock and served as an alarm when the livestock was in danger. But they were also beautiful. Bells added joy to their lives.

I do remember the bells at T.V.H.S., but not with great fondness!


The Bells
Edgar Allen Poe
The word "bell" is used 62 times in this poem.
(Merriam-Webster defines tintinnabulation as the tinkling sound of bells.) 

from The Bells by Edgar Allen Poe

 Hear the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that over sprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. 

 If I Were a Bell
Sister Sarah Brown becomes tipsy and realizes
 she is in love with Sky Masterson, and he with her. 
In this song, she sings about her feelings.
 If I Were a Bell - Guys and Dolls
Jean Simmons & Marlon Brando - 1955
Yes, I knew my moral would crack
From the wonderful way that you looked!
Boy, if I were a duck I'd quack!
Or if I were a goose I'd be cooked!
Ask me how do I feel, 
ask me now that we're fondly caressing
Well, if I were a salad I know 
I'd be splashing my dressing
Ask me how to describe 
this whole beautiful thing
Well, if I were a bell I'd go 
ding dong, ding dong ding!

The Angelus
Jean-Francois Millet
The painting reflects a religious custom
 in France at the time of the artist, 
Jean-Francois Millet.  
Three times a day - early morning, 
at noon, and late afternoon 
or early evening, 
people were called to prayer 
by bells in church towers.
(See the church tower 
in the distance in picture.)

The Plague in Ypres
Ferdinand Pauwels
The bell is rung to alert people 
the death cart is coming to 
pick up the dead who succumbed 
to the Black Death. 
Bubonic plague killed a 
third of the population of Europe 
in 1349.

Are You Sleeping (Frère Jacques)
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Ding ding dong, ding ding dong.

English Version:
Are you sleeping, are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding ding dong, ding ding dong.

Evening Bells
A popular Russian song written in 1828.
  The lyrics are adapted from a 
Russian-themed verse by Thomas Moore.
Evening Bells - Russian Folk Song - Shella Ryan

With the melody of the famous Russian song.

Those evening bells! those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells,
Of youth, and home, and that sweet time,
When last I heard their soothing chime!

Those joyous hours are past away!
And many a heart, that then was gay,
Within the tomb now darkly dwells,
And hears no more those evening bells!

And so 'twill be when I am gone;
That tuneful peal will still ring on,
While other bards shall walk these dells,
And sing your praise, sweet evening bells!
 For Whom The Bell Tolls
book by Ernest Hemingway
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." (Hemingway) 
For Whom the Bell Tolls
from the poem by John Donne
PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, 
as that he knows not it tolls for him; 
and perchance I may think myself so
much better than I am, 
as that they who are about me, 
and see my state,
 may have caused it to toll for me, 
and I know not that.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
1943 Film (Full Movie)
from the book by Hemingway
Gary Cooper & Ingrid Bergman


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