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Hallo again to all.

Most mornings we wake to the peals of the morning bell in our small town, which tolls every hour, on the hour. The comforting and deep sound of the city bell, the church bells, the dinner bell, Christmas bells, the school bell. So much of our lives are tied to the presence of these multi-sized cast or molded instruments.

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 oversprinkle
       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.

Earlier this month we were in Philadelphia, a city that features a 900 kg bell of copper and tin originally cast in 1752. The bell, which cracked in 1835 while being rung to announce the death of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, has become a symbol because of its legendary ties to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Thousands of people were lined up to view this bell the day we walked by, studying the history of and viewing an object both familiar though special.

Hear the mellow wedding bells
             Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
       Through the balmy air of night
       How they ring out their delight!
           From the molten-golden notes,
               And all in tune,
           What a liquid ditty floats
    To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
               On the moon!
         Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
               How it swells!
               How it dwells
           On the Future! how it tells
           Of the rapture that impels
         To the swinging and the ringing
           Of the bells, bells, bells,
    Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
               Bells, bells, bells—
  To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!
The Dean of York Minster's sacking of the 30 volunteer bell ringers and suspension of a Carillon player this last Tuesday has brought concern to many across the Anglican and music worlds. The background features much 'he said, she said,' with even the mayor of the city calling the situation 'utterly bizarre.' The reality, however, has left the bells silent through Easter, when a new head bell ringer and a new team will begin. This silence is of great concern for manyweddings will not be followed with ringing, nor will they peal on Remembrance Sunday, ring Christmas morning, or usher in the New Year. A petition has been created with nearly 20,000 signatures to allow the bells to ring on certain festivals. We do not, nor do we think it is possible for us to have all of the information into the sacking, which York Minister says has to do with the safety of the ringers. Rather, we hope its peals will return to the life of the community.*

Hear the loud alarum bells—
                  Brazen bells!
What 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 endeavo
         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
                  Of Despair!
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 clamour and the clangour of the bells!

At various times we have held jobs in cities—the different bells and alarms adding to the city's soundscape. The thrice daily hymn concerts from the bells of a nearby cathedral, the quick clangs at the fire and EMS stations, the slow deep peal heard following morning funerals, the honks from cars, and even the occasional bicycle bell of warning, adding to the sounds of life.

Hear the tolling of the bells—
               Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
       In the silence of the night,
       How we shiver with affright
  At the melancholy meaning of their tone!
         For every sound that floats
         From the rust within their throats
              Is a groan.
         And the people—ah, the people—
         They that dwell up in the steeple,
              All alone,
         And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
            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,

Bells, reminding us that church is starting, that the Eucharist is being consecrated, that classes are over for the day, that dinner is being served, that a couple are now married, that someone has died, that someone is trying to be saved, that an hour has passed, that life and death are moving continuously.

            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 pæan 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,
      Of the bells, bells, bells, bells—
               Bells, bells, bells—
  To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.†

See you next week.

Our signature
All of us at Anglicans Online

16 October 2016

†Poe, Edgar Allan. The Bells. 1849.
From The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe, vol. II, 1850.

*For a cartoon with relevance to the issue, please see, The Bell Ringers from Deformation and Reformation. Designed by the Author of the Anglican Missal [Augustine David Crake]

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