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themselves now scarcely awaken the sentiments
that they did formerly. We no longer ascribe the
invention of bells to Noah, as was done by a
scholar of the twelfth century, Dionysius Bar
Salhi, who has left us a learned disquisition on
them. Among the stories he tells is this:
That the patriarch was commanded to strike on
the bell with a piece of wood three times a day,
in order to summon the workmen to their
labour while building the ark.

Grave men have repeated this idle legend,
and referred to it as giving the origin, forsooth,
of church bells. The opinion is, in fact, common
to Oriental writers. Certain it is, that ancient
nations had bells in use for sacred as well as for
domestic purposes. The Romans, we know, had
them; for Strabo records that market-time was
announced by the ringing of them. The tomb
of Porsenna, king of Tuscany, was hung round
with bells. The hour of bathing was made
known at Rome by the sound of a bell; the
night-watchman also carried one, and it served
to call up servants in great houses. Sheep had
bells tied about their necks to frighten away
wolves, or perhaps as an amulet. A practice still
obtains in the country, even in England, of attaching
a bell to the neck of the ewe, by which to
guide the lambs. This practice is generally
regarded as the relic of an ancient superstition.

Bells were introduced info the Christian
church, about the year four hundred, by Paulinas,
bishop of Nola. More than two centuries later,
an extraordinary occurrence happened in relation
to them, during the siege of Sens by
Clothair the Second. Lupus, the bishop of
Orleans, ordered the bells of St. Stephen's
church to be rung. The deafening sound so
terrified the besiegers that they fled panic-
stricken, like a flock of sheep or a herd of bulls.

We learn from Bede that wooden rattles
(sacra ligna) were used before bells came into
fashion in the churches of Britain. The first
intimation of them occurs in 680. The first
regular peal of bells was put up in Croyland
Abbey, Lincolnshire, by the famous abbot,
Turketullus, who died circa 870. Subsequently to
that period they were in frequent use. The
arrival of kings and great personages was
usually greeted by the ringing of a joyous peal.
Henry the Eighth was so welcomed by the
churchwardens of Waltham Abbey church, for
which service they paid the ringers a penny.
The bells used in monasteries were sometimes
rung with ropes, having brass or silver rings at
the ends for the hands, and were originally rung
by the priests themselves. In course of time
the office was performed by the servants, and
sometimes by those incapable of other duties.
Thus "in the monasterye of Westminster there
was a fayre yong man which was blinde, whom
the monks had ordeyned to rynge the bellys."

We need scarcely refer to the superstitious
practice of baptising bells, intended to endow
them with the power of acting as preservatives
against thunder and lightning, hail, wind, and
all kinds of tempest, and also for the driving
away of evil spirits. Bells were named in
honour of particular saints, and the ceremony
was conducted with much pomp. The oldest
bell belonging to a church of St. James's was
consecrated to St. Nicholas, and its margin was
inscribed with a Latin prayer: "O presul pie
Nicolæ nobis miserere."

Of the uses to which bells were formerly
applied, the Church of England still retains a
few. Among these is the Passing-bell, now
tolled after death, anciently before: either to
bespeak the prayers of all good Christians for a
soul just departing, or to drive away the demons
who were ready to receive their prey. A high
price was demanded for this service by the
ringers. On the day appointed for the interment
of Queen Mary, the consort of William the
Third, the king commanded that the largest
bell in every cathedral and collegiate and
parochial church in England and Wales should be
tolled in the morning from two until three, and
from five until six.

Many persons yet believe that the good luck of
the rest of the year depends on their celebrating
the Feast of Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday; and
bells have yet touching or happy associations.
Who can forget Schiller's famous song of the
Bell, in which its founding, its baptism, and its
various uses are gloriously sung? Poe, too, has
given us a lyric on bells, in which they ring
audibly in every line, and leave an impression on the
mind not easily to be effaced. Prosaic church-
wardens, who have the custody of these musical
chattels, should regard themselves as especially
honoured by the office, though indeed it extends
a very small way; they are bound to supply the
church with a bell and rope, but not to furnish a
ring of bells. People are thus rung into their
church and into their grave. The palace of
Macbeth had a bell on which his lady was appointed
to strike "when his drink was ready," and which,
he did not wish his guest, King Duncan, to hear.
At the recent festive season, who disliked to
listen to Big Ben, or to the peal of St. Paul's,
when they "sounded on into the drowsy race of
night," welcoming in the merry Christmas, or
ringing the old year out, and the new year in!
The banquetingsand they are manywhich
bells announce, or to which they are accessory,
are benevolent, charitable, and friendly in their
purpose, frequently reconciling differences in the
past, and cementing Christian fellowship in the
future. At weddings and at christenings, too,
we hear their merry voices; and while such
things continue, they cannot cease to be rich in
poetical associations, and dear to feelings "that
spring eternal in the human heart."

Happily, however, their superstitious uses
have sunk into abeyance. Fuller long ago
disputed their claims to accomplish all that was
pretended in their favour. A legend was originally
inscribed on or near them, which he quotes:

        Men's death I tell by doleful knell;
        Lightning and thunder I break asunder;
        On Sabbath all to church I call;
        The sleepy head I raise from bed;
        The winds so fierce I do disperse;
        Men's cruel rage I do assuage.