the repetition of identical or similar vowel sounds. “A land laid waste with all its young men slain” repeats the same “a” sound in “laid,” “waste,” and “slain.”

The Bells
Edgar Allan Poe


Hear the sledges with the bells
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In their 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.


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 the1 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!


Hear the loud alarum bells—
Brazen 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
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 clamor and the clangor of the bells!


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 menace 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 toiling, toiling, toiling,
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,
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean 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.

In his poem “The Bells”, Edgar Allan Poe uses assonance to mimic the tolling of bells. Examples of the assonance used in this poem are: “bells…foretells…wells..”; “tinkle…oversprinkle…twinkle…”; “time…rhyme…” Poe creates a rhythm that parallels the rhythm that ringing bells create. The literary device is conveyed in a clever method by producing a pulse throughout the poem.

Just as assonance is the repitition of similar sounds, abstinence is repeatedly avoiding the S-bomb.

Odors have an altogether peculiar force, in affecting us through association; a force differing essentially from that of objects addressing the touch, the taste, the sight or the hearing

~Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), the father of the modern mystery, was born in Boston on January 19, 1809.
   He was educated in Virginia and England as a child. It was during his later years at West Point that he showed a remarkable propensity for writing prose. As early as the age of 15, he wrote these words in memory of a female acquaintance, "The requiem for the loveliest dead that ever died so young."
   Indeed, Edgar Allan Poe's first love was poetry, although he was unable to make a living at it early on, he was able to publish two small volumes during these early years.
   Only after becoming an assistant editor at the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond, Virginia, in 1835 did Poe's literary talents start to blossom. It was at this time in his life that Poe fell in love with his 13-year-old cousin Virginia. Their marriage forced him to find a source of income. When the editor of the Messenger offered employment, Poe eagerly accepted.
   During his tenure at the Messenger, Edgar Allan Poe was an editor as well as a contributor. In early 1836, Poe was credited with "between 80 and 90 reviews, six poems, four essays and three stories, not to mention editorials and commentaries." (Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance)
   Poe was to work for several publications as both editor and contributor. His career as an editor coincided with his growth as a writer. While working in Philadelphia for Burton's "Gentleman's Magazine" in 1839, Poe's work continued to flourish. At this time in his career he still was not secure financially, but his work was being recognized and praised, which helped greatly in furthering his reputation. During his tenure at Burton's he wrote such macabre tales as "The Fall of the House of Usher," and William Wilson. Tales like these psychological thrillers were to become Poe's trademark.
   In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe began working for a man named George Graham, who offered him $800 a year to work for him as an editor. While at Graham's, Poe was preparing his famous work, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," for publication.
   Published in April 1841, this story featured Auguste C. Dupin, the first-ever fictional detective. Poe's "tale of rationation," as he termed it, "inaugurated one of the most popular and entertaining forms of fiction ever conceived." (Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance)
   It was during these years in Philadelphia that Poe published such trademark horror tales as "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "The Pit and The Pendulum."
   It wasn't until the 1845 publication of Poe's famous poem "The Raven" that he achieved the true rise to fame that had been denied him until then. The public's reaction to the poem brought Poe to a new level of recognition and "could be compared to that of some uproariously successful hit song today."
   In February 1847, Poe's young wife died of consumption. Poe was devastated by her death and penned these words, "Deep in earth my love is lying and I must weep alone."
   During the years following Virginia's death, Poe's life was taking a steady turn downward. He suffered through a suicide attempt, several failed romances and engagements, and a largely unsuccessful attempt to resurrect his failing career after a long bout with alcoholism and depression.
   Poe died at the age of 40 in October 1849 in Baltimore. Although the exact circumstances of his death remain unknown, it seems clear that his death can be attributed to the effects of alcoholism. A contemporary of Poe's at the time remarked, "This death was almost a suicide, a suicide prepared for a long time." (Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-Ending Remembrance)
   Although he lived a short and tragic life, Edgar Allan Poe remains today one of the most-beloved mystery writers in history. His contributions to literature and the mystery genre cannot be underestimated.