REH Word of the Week: clapper



1. the tongue of a bell or metal striker that hangs inside a bell and makes a sound by hitting the side.

[origin: late 13th century; agent noun from clap (v.) meaning “tongue of a bell.”]


There’s a bell that hangs in a hidden cave
Under the heathered hills
That knew the tramp of the Roman feet
And the clash of the Pictish bills.

It has not rung for a thousand years,
To waken the sleeping trolls,
But God defend the sons of men
When the bell of the Morni tolls.

For its rope is caught in the hinge of hell,
And its clapper is forged of doom,
And all the dead men under the sea
Await for its sullen boom.

And it waits the Hand that shall wake its voice,
When the hills shall break with fright,
To call the dead men into the day,
And the living into the Night.

[from “The Bell of Morni”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 193]