percussion musical instrument

Bells are simple sound-making devices. The form of a bell is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck. The striking implement can be a tongue suspended within the bell, known as a clapper, a small, free sphere enclosed within the body of the bell or a separate mallet or hammer.

How sweet on the breeze of the evening swells
The vesper call of those soothing bells,
Borne softly and dying in echoes away,
Like a requiem sung to the parting day. ~ Letitia Elizabeth Landon


  • There she stood in the doorway, I heard the mission bell and I was thinking to myself: "This could be Heaven or this could be Hell."
  • How sweet on the breeze of the evening swells
    The vesper call of those soothing bells,
    Borne softly and dying in echoes away,
    Like a requiem sung to the parting day.
  • Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Angels do not accompany the travellers who have with them a dog and a bell.
  • Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The bell is the musical instrument of the Satan.
  • Narrated Umm Habibah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The angels do not go with a travelling company in which there is a bell.
    • Sunan Abu Dawud 14:2548
  • Narrated Umar ibn al-Khattab: Ibn az-Zubayr told that a woman client of theirs took az-Zubayr's daughter to Umar ibn al-Khattab wearing bells on her legs. Umar cut them off and said that he had heard the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) say: There is a devil along with each bell.
    • Sunan Abu Dawud 34:4218

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 67-69.
  • Hark! the bonny Christ-Church bells,
    One, two, three, four, five, six;
    They sound so woundy great,
    So wound'rous sweet,
    And they troul so merrily.
  • That all-softening, overpowering knell,
    The tocsin of the soul—the dinner bell.
  • How soft the music of those village bells,
    Falling at intervals upon the ear
    In cadence sweet; now dying all away,
    Now pealing loud again, and louder still,
    Clear and sonorous, as the gale comes on!
    With easy force it opens all the cells
    Where Memory slept.
  • The church-going bell.
  • The vesper bell from far
    That seems to mourn for the expiring day.
    • Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio (early 14th century), Canto 8, line 6. Cary's translation.
  • Your voices break and falter in the darkness,—
    Break, falter, and are still.
  • Bells call others, but themselves enter not into the Church.
  • Dear bells! how sweet the sound of village bells
    When on the undulating air they swim!
  • While the steeples are loud in their joy,
    To the tune of the bells' ring-a-ding,
    Let us chime in a peal, one and all,
    For we all should be able to sing Hullah baloo.
  • The old mayor climbed the belfry tower,
    The ringers ran by two, by three;
    "Pull, if ye never pulled before;
    Good ringers, pull your best," quoth he.
    "Play uppe, play uppe, O Boston bells!
    Ply all your changes, all your swells,
    Play uppe The Brides of Enderby."
  • I call the Living—I mourn the Dead—
    I break the Lightning.
    • Inscribed on the Great Bell of the Minster of Schaffhausen; also on that of the Church of Art, near Lucerne.
  • The cheerful Sabbath bells, wherever heard,
    Strike pleasant on the sense, most like the voice
    Of one, who from the far-off hills proclaims
    Tidings of good to Zion.
  • For bells are the voice of the church;
    They have tones that touch and search
    The hearts of young and old.
  • Seize the loud, vociferous bells, and
    Clashing, clanging to the pavement
    Hurl them from their windy tower!
  • These bells have been anointed,
    And baptized with holy water!
  • He heard the convent bell,
    Suddenly in the silence ringing
    For the service of noonday.
  • The bells themselves are the best of preachers,
    Their brazen lips are learned teachers,
    From their pulpits of stone, in the upper air,
    Sounding aloft, without crack or flaw,
    Shriller than trumpets under the Law,
    Now a sermon and now a prayer.
  • Bell, thou soundest merrily,
    When the bridal party
    To the church doth hie!
    Bell, thou soundest solemnly,
    When, on Sabbath morning,
    Fields deserted lie!
  • It cometh into court and pleads the cause
    Of creatures dumb and unknown to the laws;
    And this shall make, in every Christian clime,
    The bell of Atri famous for all time.

& Those evening bells! those evening bells!
How many a tale their music tells!

  • Nunquam ædepol temere tinniit tintinnabulum;
    Nisi quis illud tractat aut movet, mutum est, tacet.
    • The Bell never rings of itself; unless some one handles or moves it it is dumb.
    • Plautus, Trinummus, IV, 2, 162.
  • 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 tingling 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!
  • With deep affection
    And recollection
    I often think of
    Those Shandon bells,
    Whose sounds so wild would,
    In the days of childhood,
    Fling round my cradle
    Their magic spells.
  • And the Sabbath bell,
    That over wood and wild and mountain dell
    Wanders so far, chasing all thoughts unholy
    With sounds most musical, most melancholy.
  • And this be the vocation fit,
    For which the founder fashioned it:
    High, high above earth's life, earth's labor
    E'en to the heaven's blue vault to soar.
    To hover as the thunder's neighbor,
    The very firmament explore.
    To be a voice as from above
    Like yonder stars so bright and clear,
    That praise their Maker as they move,
    And usher in the circling year.
    Tun'd be its metal mouth alone
    To things eternal and sublime.
    And as the swift wing'd hours speed on
    May it record the flight of time!
  • Around, around,
    Companions all, take your ground,
    And name the bell with joy profound!
    CONCORDIA is the word we've found
    Most meet to express the harmonious sound,
    That calls to those in friendship bound.
  • Then get thee gone and dig my grave thyself,
    And bid the merry bells ring to thine ear
    That thou art crowned, not that I am dead.
  • Hark, how chimes the passing bell!
    There's no music to a knell;
    All the other sounds we hear,
    Flatter, and but cheat our ear.
    This doth put us still in mind
    That our flesh must be resigned,
    And, a general silence made,
    The world be muffled in a shade.
    [Orpheus' lute, as poets tell,
    Was but moral of this bell,
    And the captive soul was she,
    Which they called Eurydice,
    Rescued by our holy groan,
    A loud echo to this tone.]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Softly the loud peal dies,
    In passing winds it drowns,
    But breathes, like perfect joys,
    Tender tones.
  • How like the leper, with his own sad cry
    Enforcing his own solitude, it tolls!
    That lonely bell set in the rushing shoals,
    To warn us from the place of jeopardy!
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