"The Bells of Notre Dame" is the opening song to the 1996 animated feature film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

History Edit

The song serves as the movie's prologue. In it, the Gypsy puppeteer Clopin tells the tale of a "man and a monster" to a group of children. He explains that three Gypsies attempted to enter Paris illegally while a baby cries with the mother trying to soothe him. However, as the quartet attempt to leave, they are ambushed by guards who work for the feared, Claude Frollo, who orders the guards to take them to the Palace of Justice.

However, one of the men attempt to steal the baby from his mother before the young woman escapes. Frollo pursues the mother and kills her but not before taking the baby (which he believes to be a bundle of stolen goods.

However, Frollo sees the baby's deformity and attempts to drown it down the well. However, the Archdeacon stops the Judge from killing an innocent baby and points out the blood he spilt on the steps of notre Dame, though Frollo remains indifferent and guiltless for killing an innocent woman.

Lyrics Edit

Chorus: Olim, olim, Deus accelere (Someday, someday, God speed)
Hoc sæculum splendium (This bright millenium)
Accelere fiat venire olim (Let it come someday)

Clopin: Morning in Paris, the city awakes
To the bells of Notre Dame
The fisherman fishes, the bakerman bakes
To the bells of Notre Dame
To the big bells as loud as the thunder
To the little bells soft as a psalm.
And some say the soul of the city's
The toll of the bells
The bells of Notre Dame

(song stops, speaking segment begins)

Listen, they're beautiful, no?
So many colors of sound, so many changing moods
Because you know, they don't ring all by themselves

Clopin puppet: They don't?
Clopin: No, silly boy.
Up there, high, high in the dark bell tower lives the mysterious bell ringer.
Who is this creature?
Clopin puppet: Who?
Clopin: What is he?
Clopin puppet: What?
Clopin: How did he come to be there?
Clopin puppet: How?
Clopin: Hush… (bonks puppet on the head)
Clopin puppet: Ow!
Clopin: and Clopin will tell you.
It is a tale, a tale of a man and a monster.

(song resumes, scene changes to flashback)

Clopin: Dark was the night when our tale was begun
On the docks near Notre Dame
Quasimodo's father: Shut it up, will you!
Male Gypsy: We'll be spotted!
Quasimodo's mother: Hush, little one.
Clopin: Four frightened gypsies slid silently under
The docks near Notre Dame
Barge Driver: Four guilders for safe passage into Paris
Clopin: But a trap had been laid for the gypsies
And they gazed up in fear and alarm
At a figure whose clutches
Were iron as much as the bells
Quasimodo's father: *in alarm* Judge Claude Frollo!
Clopin: The bells of Notre Dame

Chorus: Kyrie Eleison(Lord have mercy)

Clopin: Judge Claude Frollo longed to purge the world of vice and sin

Chorus: Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)

Clopin: And he saw corruption everywhere, except within
Frollo: (speaking) Bring these gypsy vermin to the palace of justice.
Guard: You there, what are you hiding?
Frollo: Stolen goods, no doubt. Take them from her
Clopin: (speaking) She ran.

Chorus: Dies iræ, dies illa (Day of wrath, that day)
Solvet sæclum in favilla (Shall consume the world in ashes)
Teste David cum sibylla (As prophesied by David and the sibyl)
Quantus tremor est futurus (What trembling is to be)
Quando Judex est venturus (When the Judge is come)

Quasimodo's mother: Sanctuary, please give us sanctuary!

Frollo: A baby? A monster!

Chorus: Solvet sæclum in favilla
Dies iræ, dies illa

Clopin: "Stop!" cried the Archdeacon.
Frollo: This is an unholy demon. I'm sending it back to Hell, where it belongs.

Archdeacon: (singing) See there the innocent blood you have spilt
On the steps of Notre Dame
Frollo: (speaking) I am guiltless. She ran, I pursued.
Archdeacon: Now you would add this child's blood to your guilt
On the steps of Notre Dame?
Frollo: (speaking) My conscience is clear
Archdeacon: You can lie to yourself and your minions
You can claim that you haven't a qualm
But you never can run from nor hide what you've done from the eyes
The very eyes of Notre Dame

Chorus: Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)

Clopin: And for one time in his life
Of power and control

Chorus: Kyrie Eleison (Lord have mercy)

Clopin: Frollo felt a twinge of fear
For his immortal soul.
Frollo: What must I do?
Archdeacon: (speaking) Care for the child, and raise it as your own
Frollo: What? I'm to be settled with this misshapen…?
Very well. Let him live with you, in your church.
Archdeacon: Live here? Where?
Frollo: Anywhere
(singing) Just so he's kept locked away where no one else can see
(speaking) The bell tower, perhaps. And who knows? Our Lord works in mysterious ways
(singing resumes) Even this foul creature may
Yet prove one day to be
Of use to me

(scene changes to puppet show)

Clopin: (speaking) And Frollo gave the child a cruel name
A name that means half-formed: Quasimodo
(singing) Now here is a riddle to guess if you can
Sing the bells of Notre Dame
Who is the monster and who is the man?

Clopin and Chorus: Sing the bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells, bells, bells, bells
Bells of Notre Dame!

Reprise Edit

Main article: The Bells of Notre Dame (Reprise)

Trivia Edit

  • The line "Who is the monster and who is the man?" is later answered in the reprise and at the very end of the film.

Videos Edit

"The Bells of Notre Dame" • "Out There" • "Topsy Turvy" • "God Help the Outcasts" • "Heaven's Light/Hellfire" • "A Guy Like You" • "The Court of Miracles" • "The Bells of Notre Dame (Reprise)"