Edgar Allan Poe, The Complete Poetical Works, 1845

POEMS OF LATER LIFE




                                   TO

                        THE NOBLEST OF HER SEX--
                            TO THE AUTHOR OF
                         "THE DRAMA OF EXILE"--

                                   TO

                     MISS ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT,

                                OF ENGLAND,

                          I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME

                WITH THE MOST ENTHUSIASTIC ADMIRATION AND
                      WITH THE MOST SINCERE ESTEEM.

                1845                                E.A.P.





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PREFACE.


These trifles are collected and republished chiefly with a view to their
redemption from the many improvements to which they have been subjected
while going at random the "rounds of the press." I am naturally anxious
that what I have written should circulate as I wrote it, if it circulate
at all. In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon
me to say that I think nothing in this volume of much value to the
public, or very creditable to myself. Events not to be controlled have
prevented me from making, at any time, any serious effort in what, under
happier circumstances, would have been the field of my choice. With me
poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be
held in reverence: they must not--they cannot at will be excited, with
an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of
mankind.

1845. E.A.P.





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THE RAVEN.


  Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
  Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
  While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
  As of some one gently rapping--rapping at my chamber door.
  "'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
          Only this and nothing more."

  Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
  And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
  Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
  From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
  For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
          Nameless here for evermore.

  And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
  Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
  So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
  "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
  Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
      This it is and nothing more."

  Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
  "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
  But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
  And so faintly you came tapping--tapping at my chamber door,
  That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door:--
        Darkness there and nothing more.

  Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering,
    fearing,
  Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
  But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
  And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
  This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"
        Merely this and nothing more.

  Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
  Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat louder than before.
  "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
  Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
  Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore;--
      'Tis the wind and nothing more."

  Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
  In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
  Not the least obeisance made he: not an instant stopped or stayed he;
  But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
  Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
      Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

  Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
  By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
  "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no
    craven,
  Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
  Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
        Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

  Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
  Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
  For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
  Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
  Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
        With such name as "Nevermore."

  But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
  That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
  Nothing further then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
  Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before--
  On the morrow _he_ will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
        Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

  Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
  "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
  Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
  Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
  Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore
      Of 'Never--nevermore.'"

  But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
  Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and
    door;
  Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
  Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
  What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
      Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

  This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
  To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
  This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
  On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
  But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
        _She_ shall press, ah, nevermore!

  Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
  Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
  "Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath
    sent thee
  Respite--respite aad nepenthé from thy memories of Lenore!
  Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthé, and forget this lost Lenore!"
        Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

  "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
  Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
  Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
  On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
  Is there--_is_ there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
      Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

  "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!
  By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
  Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
  It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
  Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
        Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

  "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked,
    upstarting--
  "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
  Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
  Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
  Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
      Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

  And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
  On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
  And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
  And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
  And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
      Shall be lifted--nevermore!


Published, 1845.





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THE BELLS,


I.

  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.


II.

  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 the 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!


III.

  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!


IV.

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



1849.





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ULALUME.


  The skies they were ashen and sober;
    The leaves they were crisped and sere--
    The leaves they were withering and sere;
  It was night in the lonesome October
    Of my most immemorial year;
  It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
    In the misty mid region of Weir--
  It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
    In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

  Here once, through an alley Titanic.
    Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul--
    Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
  These were days when my heart was volcanic
    As the scoriac rivers that roll--
    As the lavas that restlessly roll
  Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
    In the ultimate climes of the pole--
  That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
    In the realms of the boreal pole.

  Our talk had been serious and sober,
    But our thoughts they were palsied and sere--
    Our memories were treacherous and sere--
  For we knew not the month was October,
  And we marked not the night of the year--
    (Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
  We noted not the dim lake of Auber--
    (Though once we had journeyed down here)--
  Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
    Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

  And now as the night was senescent
    And star-dials pointed to morn--
    As the sun-dials hinted of morn--
  At the end of our path a liquescent
    And nebulous lustre was born,
  Out of which a miraculous crescent
    Arose with a duplicate horn--
  Astarte's bediamonded crescent
    Distinct with its duplicate horn.

  And I said--"She is warmer than Dian:
    She rolls through an ether of sighs--
    She revels in a region of sighs:
  She has seen that the tears are not dry on
    These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
  And has come past the stars of the Lion
    To point us the path to the skies--
    To the Lethean peace of the skies--
  Come up, in despite of the Lion,
    To shine on us with her bright eyes--
  Come up through the lair of the Lion,
    With love in her luminous eyes."

  But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
    Said--"Sadly this star I mistrust--
    Her pallor I strangely mistrust:--
  Oh, hasten!--oh, let us not linger!
    Oh, fly!--let us fly!--for we must."
  In terror she spoke, letting sink her
    Wings till they trailed in the dust--
  In agony sobbed, letting sink her
    Plumes till they trailed in the dust--
    Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

  I replied--"This is nothing but dreaming:
    Let us on by this tremulous light!
    Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
  Its Sibyllic splendor is beaming
    With Hope and in Beauty to-night:--
    See!--it flickers up the sky through the night!
  Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
    And be sure it will lead us aright--
  We safely may trust to a gleaming
    That cannot but guide us aright,
    Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night."

  Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
    And tempted her out of her gloom--
    And conquered her scruples and gloom;
  And we passed to the end of a vista,
    But were stopped by the door of a tomb--
    By the door of a legended tomb;
  And I said--"What is written, sweet sister,
    On the door of this legended tomb?"
    She replied--"Ulalume--Ulalume--
    'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"

  Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
    As the leaves that were crisped and sere--
    As the leaves that were withering and sere;
  And I cried--"It was surely October
    On _this_ very night of last year
    That I journeyed--I journeyed down here--
    That I brought a dread burden down here!
    On this night of all nights in the year,
    Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
  Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber--
    This misty mid region of Weir--
  Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,--
    This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."


1847.





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TO HELEN.


  I saw thee once--once only--years ago:
  I must not say _how_ many--but _not_ many.
  It was a July midnight; and from out
  A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
  Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
  There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
  With quietude, and sultriness and slumber,
  Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand
  Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
  Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe--
  Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses
  That gave out, in return for the love-light,
  Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death--
  Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses
  That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
  By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

  Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
  I saw thee half-reclining; while the moon
  Fell on the upturn'd faces of the roses,
  And on thine own, upturn'd--alas, in sorrow!

  Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight--
  Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow),
  That bade me pause before that garden-gate,
  To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?
  No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,
  Save only thee and me--(O Heaven!--O God!
  How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)--
  Save only thee and me. I paused--I looked--
  And in an instant all things disappeared.
  (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)
  The pearly lustre of the moon went out:
  The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
  The happy flowers and the repining trees,
  Were seen no more: the very roses' odors
  Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
  All--all expired save thee--save less than thou:
  Save only the divine light in thine eyes--
  Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
  I saw but them--they were the world to me.
  I saw but them--saw only them for hours--
  Saw only them until the moon went down.
  What wild heart-histories seemed to lie unwritten
  Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!
  How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!
  How silently serene a sea of pride!
  How daring an ambition! yet how deep--
  How fathomless a capacity for love!

  But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,
  Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
  And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
  Didst glide away. _Only thine eyes remained._
  They _would not_ go--they never yet have gone.
  Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
  _They_ have not left me (as my hopes have) since.
  They follow me--they lead me through the years.

  They are my ministers--yet I their slave.
  Their office is to illumine and enkindle--
  My duty, _to be saved_ by their bright light,
  And purified in their electric fire,
  And sanctified in their elysian fire.
  They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
  And are far up in Heaven--the stars I kneel to
  In the sad, silent watches of my night;
  While even in the meridian glare of day
  I see them still--two sweetly scintillant
  Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!


1846.





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ANNABEL LEE.


  It was many and many a year ago,
    In a kingdom by the sea,
  That a maiden there lived whom you may know
    By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
  And this maiden she lived with no other thought
    Than to love and be loved by me.

  _I_ was a child and _she_ was a child,
    In this kingdom by the sea:
  But we loved with a love that was more than love--
    I and my ANNABEL LEE;
  With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
    Coveted her and me.

  And this was the reason that, long ago,
    In this kingdom by the sea,
  A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
    My beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  So that her highborn kinsmen came
    And bore her away from me,
  To shut her up in a sepulchre
    In this kingdom by the sea.

  The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
    Went envying her and me--
  Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
    In this kingdom by the sea)
  That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
    Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE.

  But our love it was stronger by far than the love
    Of those who were older than we--
    Of many far wiser than we--
  And neither the angels in heaven above,
    Nor the demons down under the sea,
  Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE.

  For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
    Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE;
  And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
  Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
    In her sepulchre there by the sea--
    In her tomb by the side of the sea.





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A VALENTINE.


  For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
    Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
  Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies
    Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
  Search narrowly the lines!--they hold a treasure
    Divine--a talisman--an amulet
  That must be worn _at heart_. Search well the measure--
    The words--the syllables! Do not forget
  The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!
    And yet there is in this no Gordian knot
  Which one might not undo without a sabre,
    If one could merely comprehend the plot.
  Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering
    Eyes scintillating soul, there lie _perdus_
  Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing
    Of poets by poets--as the name is a poet's, too.
  Its letters, although naturally lying
    Like the knight Pinto--Mendez Ferdinando--
  Still form a synonym for Truth--Cease trying!
    You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you _can_ do.


1846.

[To discover the names in this and the following poem, read the first
letter of the first line in connection with the second letter of the
second line, the third letter of the third line, the fourth, of the
fourth and so on, to the end.]





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AN ENIGMA.


  "Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
      "Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
    Through all the flimsy things we see at once
      As easily as through a Naples bonnet--
      Trash of all trash!--how _can_ a lady don it?
    Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff--
    Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
      Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it."
    And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
    The general tuckermanities are arrant
    Bubbles--ephemeral and _so_ transparent--
      But _this is_, now--you may depend upon it--
    Stable, opaque, immortal--all by dint
    Of the dear names that lie concealed within't.


[See note after previous poem.]

1847.





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TO MY MOTHER.


  Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
    The angels, whispering to one another,
  Can find, among their burning terms of love,
    None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
  Therefore by that dear name I long have called you--
    You who are more than mother unto me,
  And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,
    In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
  My mother--my own mother, who died early,
    Was but the mother of myself; but you
  Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
    And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
  By that infinity with which my wife
    Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.


1849.


[The above was addressed to the poet's mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm.--Ed.]





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FOR ANNIE.


  Thank Heaven! the crisis--
    The danger is past,
  And the lingering illness
    Is over at last--
  And the fever called "Living"
    Is conquered at last.

  Sadly, I know,
    I am shorn of my strength,
  And no muscle I move
    As I lie at full length--
  But no matter!--I feel
    I am better at length.

  And I rest so composedly,
    Now in my bed,
  That any beholder
    Might fancy me dead--
  Might start at beholding me
    Thinking me dead.

  The moaning and groaning,
    The sighing and sobbing,
  Are quieted now,
    With that horrible throbbing
  At heart:--ah, that horrible,
    Horrible throbbing!

  The sickness--the nausea--
    The pitiless pain--
  Have ceased, with the fever
    That maddened my brain--
  With the fever called "Living"
    That burned in my brain.

  And oh! of all tortures
    _That_ torture the worst
  Has abated--the terrible
    Torture of thirst,
  For the naphthaline river
    Of Passion accurst:--
  I have drank of a water
    That quenches all thirst:--

  Of a water that flows,
    With a lullaby sound,
  From a spring but a very few
    Feet under ground--
  From a cavern not very far
    Down under ground.

  And ah! let it never
    Be foolishly said
  That my room it is gloomy
    And narrow my bed--
  For man never slept
    In a different bed;
  And, to _sleep_, you must slumber
    In just such a bed.

  My tantalized spirit
    Here blandly reposes,
  Forgetting, or never
    Regretting its roses--
  Its old agitations
    Of myrtles and roses:

  For now, while so quietly
    Lying, it fancies
  A holier odor
    About it, of pansies--
  A rosemary odor,
    Commingled with pansies--
  With rue and the beautiful
    Puritan pansies.

  And so it lies happily,
    Bathing in many
  A dream of the truth
    And the beauty of Annie--
  Drowned in a bath
    Of the tresses of Annie.

  She tenderly kissed me,
    She fondly caressed,
  And then I fell gently
    To sleep on her breast--
  Deeply to sleep
    From the heaven of her breast.

  When the light was extinguished,
    She covered me warm,
  And she prayed to the angels
    To keep me from harm--
  To the queen of the angels
    To shield me from harm.

  And I lie so composedly,
    Now in my bed
  (Knowing her love)
    That you fancy me dead--
  And I rest so contentedly,
    Now in my bed,
  (With her love at my breast)
    That you fancy me dead--
  That you shudder to look at me.
    Thinking me dead.

  But my heart it is brighter
    Than all of the many
  Stars in the sky,
    For it sparkles with Annie--
  It glows with the light
    Of the love of my Annie--
  With the thought of the light
    Of the eyes of my Annie.


1849.





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TO F--


  Beloved! amid the earnest woes
    That crowd around my earthly path--
  (Drear path, alas! where grows
  Not even one lonely rose)--
    My soul at least a solace hath
  In dreams of thee, and therein knows
  An Eden of bland repose.

  And thus thy memory is to me
    Like some enchanted far-off isle
  In some tumultuous sea--
  Some ocean throbbing far and free
    With storm--but where meanwhile
  Serenest skies continually
    Just o'er that one bright inland smile.


1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO FRANCES S. OSGOOD.


  Thou wouldst be loved?--then let thy heart
    From its present pathway part not;
  Being everything which now thou art,
    Be nothing which thou art not.
  So with the world thy gentle ways,
    Thy grace, thy more than beauty,
  Shall be an endless theme of praise.
    And love a simple duty.


1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





ELDORADO.


    Gaily bedight,
    A gallant knight,
  In sunshine and in shadow,
    Had journeyed long,
    Singing a song,
  In search of Eldorado.
    But he grew old--
    This knight so bold--
  And o'er his heart a shadow
    Fell as he found
    No spot of ground
  That looked like Eldorado.

  And, as his strength
    Failed him at length,
  He met a pilgrim shadow--
    "Shadow," said he,
    "Where can it be--
  This land of Eldorado?"

    "Over the Mountains
    Of the Moon,
  Down the Valley of the Shadow,
    Ride, boldly ride,"
    The shade replied,
  "If you seek for Eldorado!"


1849.





       *       *       *       *       *





EULALIE.


               I dwelt alone
               In a world of moan,
           And my soul was a stagnant tide,
  Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride--
  Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.
               Ah, less--less bright
               The stars of the night
           Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
               And never a flake
               That the vapor can make
           With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
  Can vie with the modest Eulalie's most unregarded curl--
  Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie's most humble and careless
    curl.
               Now Doubt--now Pain
               Come never again,
           For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
               And all day long
               Shines, bright and strong,
           Astarté within the sky,
  While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye--
  While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM.


  Take this kiss upon the brow!
  And, in parting from you now,
  Thus much let me avow--
  You are not wrong, who deem
  That my days have been a dream:
  Yet if hope has flown away
  In a night, or in a day,
  In a vision or in none,
  Is it therefore the less _gone_?
  _All_ that we see or seem
  Is but a dream within a dream.

  I stand amid the roar
  Of a surf-tormented shore,
  And I hold within my hand
  Grains of the golden sand--
  How few! yet how they creep
  Through my fingers to the deep
  While I weep--while I weep!
  O God! can I not grasp
  Them with a tighter clasp?
  O God! can I not save
  _One_ from the pitiless wave?
  Is _all_ that we see or seem
  But a dream within a dream?


1849.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO MARIE LOUISE (SHEW).


  Of all who hail thy presence as the morning--
  Of all to whom thine absence is the night--
  The blotting utterly from out high heaven
  The sacred sun--of all who, weeping, bless thee
  Hourly for hope--for life--ah, above all,
  For the resurrection of deep buried faith
  In truth, in virtue, in humanity--
  Of all who, on despair's unhallowed bed
  Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen
  At thy soft-murmured words, "Let there be light!"
  At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
  In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes--
  Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
  Nearest resembles worship,--oh, remember
  The truest, the most fervently devoted,
  And think that these weak lines are written by him--
  By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
  His spirit is communing with an angel's.

1847.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO MARIE LOUISE (SHEW).


  Not long ago, the writer of these lines,
  In the mad pride of intellectuality,
  Maintained "the power of words"--denied that ever
  A thought arose within the human brain
  Beyond the utterance of the human tongue:
  And now, as if in mockery of that boast,
  Two words--two foreign soft dissyllables--
  Italian tones, made only to be murmured
  By angels dreaming in the moonlit "dew
  That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,"--
  Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart,
  Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought,
  Richer, far wilder, far diviner visions
  Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
  (Who has "the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,")
  Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken.
  The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand.
  With thy dear name as text, though hidden by thee,
  I cannot write--I cannot speak or think--
  Alas, I cannot feel; for 'tis not feeling,
  This standing motionless upon the golden
  Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams,
  Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,
  And thrilling as I see, upon the right,
  Upon the left, and all the way along,
  Amid empurpled vapors, far away
  To where the prospect terminates--_thee only_!





       *       *       *       *       *





THE CITY IN THE SEA.


  Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
  In a strange city lying alone
  Far down within the dim West,
  Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
  Have gone to their eternal rest.
  There shrines and palaces and towers
  (Time-eaten towers and tremble not!)
  Resemble nothing that is ours.
  Around, by lifting winds forgot,
  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.

  No rays from the holy Heaven come down
  On the long night-time of that town;
  But light from out the lurid sea
  Streams up the turrets silently--
  Gleams up the pinnacles far and free--
  Up domes--up spires--up kingly halls--
  Up fanes--up Babylon-like walls--
  Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
  Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers--
  Up many and many a marvellous shrine
  Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
  The viol, the violet, and the vine.

  Resignedly beneath the sky
  The melancholy waters lie.
  So blend the turrets and shadows there
  That all seem pendulous in air,
  While from a proud tower in the town
  Death looks gigantically down.

  There open fanes and gaping graves
  Yawn level with the luminous waves;
  But not the riches there that lie
  In each idol's diamond eye--
  Not the gaily-jewelled dead
  Tempt the waters from their bed;
  For no ripples curl, alas!
  Along that wilderness of glass--
  No swellings tell that winds may be
  Upon some far-off happier sea--
  No heavings hint that winds have been
  On seas less hideously serene.

  But lo, a stir is in the air!
  The wave--there is a movement there!
  As if the towers had thrust aside,
  In slightly sinking, the dull tide--
  As if their tops had feebly given
  A void within the filmy Heaven.
  The waves have now a redder glow--
  The hours are breathing faint and low--
  And when, amid no earthly moans,
  Down, down that town shall settle hence,
  Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
  Shall do it reverence.


1835?





       *       *       *       *       *





THE SLEEPER


  At midnight, in the month of June,
  I stand beneath the mystic moon.
  An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
  Exhales from out her golden rim,
  And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
  Upon the quiet mountain top,
  Steals drowsily and musically
  Into the universal valley.
  The rosemary nods upon the grave;
  The lily lolls upon the wave;
  Wrapping the fog about its breast,
  The ruin moulders into rest;
  Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
  A conscious slumber seems to take,
  And would not, for the world, awake.
  All Beauty sleeps!--and lo! where lies
  (Her casement open to the skies)
  Irene, with her Destinies!

  Oh, lady bright! can it be right--
  This window open to the night!
  The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
  Laughingly through the lattice-drop--
  The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
  Flit through thy chamber in and out,
  And wave the curtain canopy
  So fitfully--so fearfully--
  Above the closed and fringed lid
  'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
  That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
  Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
  Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
  Why and what art thou dreaming here?
  Sure thou art come o'er far-off seas,
  A wonder to these garden trees!
  Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
  Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
  And this all-solemn silentness!

  The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
  Which is enduring, so be deep!
  Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
  This chamber changed for one more holy,
  This bed for one more melancholy,
  I pray to God that she may lie
  For ever with unopened eye,
  While the dim sheeted ghosts go by!

  My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
  As it is lasting, so be deep;
  Soft may the worms about her creep!
  Far in the forest, dim and old,
  For her may some tall vault unfold--
  Some vault that oft hath flung its black
  And winged panels fluttering back,
  Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
  Of her grand family funerals--
  Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
  Against whose portal she hath thrown,
  In childhood many an idle stone--
  Some tomb from out whose sounding door
  She ne'er shall force an echo more,
  Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
  It was the dead who groaned within.


1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





BRIDAL BALLAD.


  The ring is on my hand,
    And the wreath is on my brow;
  Satins and jewels grand
  Are all at my command.
    And I am happy now.

  And my lord he loves me well;
    But, when first he breathed his vow,
  I felt my bosom swell--
  For the words rang as a knell,
  And the voice seemed _his_ who fell
  In the battle down the dell,
    And who is happy now.

  But he spoke to reassure me,
    And he kissed my pallid brow,
  While a reverie came o'er me,
  And to the churchyard bore me,
  And I sighed to him before me,
  Thinking him dead D'Elormie,
    "Oh, I am happy now!"

  And thus the words were spoken,
    And thus the plighted vow,
  And, though my faith be broken,
  And, though my heart be broken,
  Behold the golden keys
    That _proves_ me happy now!

  Would to God I could awaken
    For I dream I know not how,
  And my soul is sorely shaken
  Lest an evil step be taken,--
  Lest the dead who is forsaken
    May not be happy now.


1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





NOTES.


1.   THE RAVEN


"The Raven" was first published on the 29th January, 1845, in the New
York 'Evening Mirror'--a paper its author was then assistant editor of.
It was prefaced by the following words, understood to have been written
by N. P. Willis:

  "We are permitted to copy (in advance of publication) from the second
  number of the 'American Review', the following remarkable poem by
  Edgar Poe. In our opinion, it is the most effective single example of
  'fugitive poetry' ever published in this country, and unsurpassed in
  English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of
  versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift and
  'pokerishness.' It is one of those 'dainties bred in a book' which we
  feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it."

In the February number of the 'American Review' the poem was published
as by "Quarles," and it was introduced by the following note, evidently
suggested if not written by Poe himself.

  ["The following lines from a correspondent--besides the deep, quaint
  strain of the sentiment, and the curious introduction of some
  ludicrous touches amidst the serious and impressive, as was doubtless
  intended by the author--appears to us one of the most felicitous
  specimens of unique rhyming which has for some time met our eye. The
  resources of English rhythm for varieties of melody, measure, and
  sound, producing corresponding diversities of effect, have been
  thoroughly studied, much more perceived, by very few poets in the
  language. While the classic tongues, especially the Greek, possess, by
  power of accent, several advantages for versification over our own,
  chiefly through greater abundance of spondaic feet, we have other and
  very great advantages of sound by the modern usage of rhyme.
  Alliteration is nearly the only effect of that kind which the ancients
  had in common with us. It will be seen that much of the melody of 'The
  Raven' arises from alliteration and the studious use of similar sounds
  in unusual places. In regard to its measure, it may be noted that if
  all the verses were like the second, they might properly be placed
  merely in short lines, producing a not uncommon form: but the presence
  in all the others of one line--mostly the second in the verse"
  (stanza?)--"which flows continuously, with only an aspirate pause in
  the middle, like that before the short line in the Sapphio Adonic,
  while the fifth has at the middle pause no similarity of sound with
  any part beside, gives the versification an entirely different effect.
  We could wish the capacities of our noble language in prosody were
  better understood."

  ED. 'Am. Rev.']



       *       *       *       *       *



2.   THE BELLS


The bibliographical history of "The Bells" is curious. The subject, and
some lines of the original version, having been suggested by the poet's
friend, Mrs. Shew, Poe, when he wrote out the first draft of the poem,
headed it, "The Bells. By Mrs. M. A. Shew." This draft, now the editor's
property, consists of only seventeen lines, and reads thus:



I.

      The bells!--ah the bells!
      The little silver bells!
  How fairy-like a melody there floats
          From their throats--
          From their merry little throats--
          From the silver, tinkling throats
    Of the bells, bells, bells--
            Of the bells!

II.

      The bells!--ah, the bells!
      The heavy iron bells!
  How horrible a monody there floats
          From their throats--
          From their deep-toned throats--
          From their melancholy throats
          How I shudder at the notes
    Of the bells, bells, bells--
            Of the bells!



In the autumn of 1848 Poe added another line to this poem, and sent it
to the editor of the 'Union Magazine'. It was not published. So, in the
following February, the poet forwarded to the same periodical a much
enlarged and altered transcript. Three months having elapsed without
publication, another revision of the poem, similar to the current
version, was sent, and in the following October was published in the
'Union Magazine'.



       *       *       *       *       *



3.   ULALUME


This poem was first published in Colton's 'American Review' for December
1847, as "To----Ulalume: a Ballad." Being reprinted immediately in
the 'Home Journal', it was copied into various publications with the
name of the editor, N. P. Willis, appended, and was ascribed to him.
When first published, it contained the following additional stanza which
Poe subsequently, at the suggestion of Mrs. Whitman wisely suppressed:


  Said we then--the two, then--"Ah, can it
      Have been that the woodlandish ghouls--
      The pitiful, the merciful ghouls--
  To bar up our path and to ban it
      From the secret that lies in these wolds--
  Had drawn up the spectre of a planet
      From the limbo of lunary souls--
  This sinfully scintillant planet
      From the Hell of the planetary souls?"



       *       *       *       *       *



4.   TO HELEN


"To Helen" (Mrs. S. Helen Whitman) was not published Until November
1848, although written several months earlier. It first appeared in the
'Union Magazine' and with the omission, contrary to the knowledge or
desire of Poe, of the line, "Oh, God! oh, Heaven--how my heart beats in
coupling those two words".



       *       *       *       *       *



5.   ANNABEL LEE


"Annabel Lee" was written early in 1849, and is evidently an expression
of the poet's undying love for his deceased bride although at least one
of his lady admirers deemed it a response to her admiration. Poe sent a
copy of the ballad to the 'Union Magazine', in which publication it
appeared in January 1850, three months after the author's death. Whilst
suffering from "hope deferred" as to its fate, Poe presented a copy of
"Annabel Lee" to the editor of the 'Southern Literary Messenger', who
published it in the November number of his periodical, a month after
Poe's death. In the meantime the poet's own copy, left among his papers,
passed into the hands of the person engaged to edit his works, and he
quoted the poem in an obituary of Poe in the New York 'Tribune', before
any one else had an opportunity of publishing it.



       *       *       *       *       *



6.   A VALENTINE


"A Valentine," one of three poems addressed to Mrs. Osgood, appears to
have been written early in 1846.



       *       *       *       *       *



7.   AN ENIGMA


"An Enigma," addressed to Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewig ("Stella"), was sent to
that lady in a letter, in November 1847, and the following March
appeared in Sartain's 'Union Magazine'.



*       *       *       *       *



8.   TO MY MOTHER


The sonnet, "To My Mother" (Maria Clemm), was sent for publication to
the short-lived 'Flag of our Union', early in 1849, but does not appear
to have been issued until after its author's death, when it appeared in
the 'Leaflets of Memory' for 1850.



*       *       *       *       *



9.   FOR ANNIE


"For Annie" was first published in the 'Flag of our Union', in the
spring of 1849. Poe, annoyed at some misprints in this issue, shortly
afterwards caused a corrected copy to be inserted in the 'Home Journal'.



*       *       *       *       *



10.   TO F----


"To F----" (Frances Sargeant Osgood) appeared in the 'Broadway Journal'
for April 1845. These lines are but slightly varied from those inscribed
"To Mary," in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for July 1835, and
subsequently republished, with the two stanzas transposed, in 'Graham's
Magazine' for March 1842, as "To One Departed."



*       *       *       *       *



11.   TO FRANCES S. OSGOOD


"To F--s S. O--d," a portion of the poet's triune tribute to Mrs.
Osgood, was published in the 'Broadway Journal' for September 1845. The
earliest version of these lines appeared in the 'Southern Literary
Messenger' for September 1835, as "Lines written in an Album," and was
addressed to Eliza White, the proprietor's daughter. Slightly revised,
the poem reappeared in Burton's 'Gentleman's Magazine' for August, 1839,
as "To----."



*       *       *       *       *



12.   ELDORADO


Although "Eldorado" was published during Poe's lifetime, in 1849, in the
'Flag of our Union', it does not appear to have ever received the
author's finishing touches.



*       *       *       *       *



13.   EULALIE


"Eulalie--a Song" first appears in Colton's 'American Review' for July,
1845.



*       *       *       *       *



14.   A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM


"A Dream within a Dream" does not appear to have been published as a
separate poem during its author's lifetime. A portion of it was
contained, in 1829, in the piece beginning, "Should my early life seem,"
and in 1831 some few lines of it were used as a conclusion to
"Tamerlane." In 1849 the poet sent a friend all but the first nine lines
of the piece as a separate poem, headed "For Annie."



*       *       *       *       *



15   TO MARIE LOUISE (SHEW)


"To M----L----S----," addressed to Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, was written
in February 1847, and published shortly afterwards. In the first
posthumous collection of Poe's poems these lines were, for some reason,
included in the "Poems written in Youth," and amongst those poems they
have hitherto been included.



*       *       *       *       *



16.  (2)  TO MARIE LOUISE (SHEW)


"To----," a second piece addressed to Mrs. Shew, and written in 1848,
was also first published, but in a somewhat faulty form, in the above
named posthumous collection.



*       *       *       *       *



17.   THE CITY IN THE SEA


Under the title of "The Doomed City" the initial version of "The City in
the Sea" appeared in the 1831 volume of Poems by Poe: it reappeared as
"The City of Sin," in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for August 1835,
whilst the present draft of it first appeared in Colton's 'American
Review' for April, 1845.



*       *       *       *       *



18.   THE SLEEPER


As "Irene," the earliest known version of "The Sleeper," appeared in the
1831 volume. It reappeared in the 'Literary Messenger' for May 1836,
and, in its present form, in the 'Broadway Journal' for May 1845.



*       *       *       *       *



19.   THE BRIDAL BALLAD


"The Bridal Ballad" is first discoverable in the 'Southern Literary
Messenger' for January 1837, and, in its present compressed and revised
form, was reprinted in the 'Broadway Journal' for August, 1845.





       *       *       *       *       *





                         POEMS OF MANHOOD.





       *       *       *       *       *





LENORE.


  Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
  Let the bell toll!--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river.
  And, Guy de Vere, hast _thou_ no tear?--weep now or never more!
  See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
  Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!--
  An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young--
  A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.

  "Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
  And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her--that she died!
  How _shall_ the ritual, then, be read?--the requiem how be sung
  By you--by yours, the evil eye,--by yours, the slanderous tongue
  That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

  _Peccavimus;_ but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
  Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!
  The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
  Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride--
  For her, the fair and _débonnaire_, that now so lowly lies,
  The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes--
  The life still there, upon her hair--the death upon her eyes.

  "Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
  But waft the angel on her flight with a pæan of old days!
  Let _no_ bell toll!--lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
  Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
  To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven--
  From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven--
  From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven."


1844.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO ONE IN PARADISE,


  Thou wast that all to me, love,
    For which my soul did pine--
  A green isle in the sea, love,
    A fountain and a shrine,
  All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
  And all the flowers were mine.

  Ah, dream too bright to last!
    Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
  But to be overcast!
    A voice from out the Future cries,
  "On! on!"--but o'er the Past
    (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
  Mute, motionless, aghast!

  For, alas! alas! with me
    The light of Life is o'er!
  "No more--no more--no more"--
  (Such language holds the solemn sea
    To the sands upon the shore)
  Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
    Or the stricken eagle soar!

  And all my days are trances,
    And all my nightly dreams
  Are where thy dark eye glances,
    And where thy footstep gleams--
  In what ethereal dances,
    By what eternal streams!

  Alas! for that accursed time
    They bore thee o'er the billow,
  From love to titled age and crime,
    And an unholy pillow!
  From me, and from our misty clime,
    Where weeps the silver willow!


1835





       *       *       *       *       *





THE COLISEUM.


  Type of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary
  Of lofty contemplation left to Time
  By buried centuries of pomp and power!
  At length--at length--after so many days
  Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst,
  (Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,)
  I kneel, an altered and an humble man,
  Amid thy shadows, and so drink within
  My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory!

  Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld!
  Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night!
  I feel ye now--I feel ye in your strength--
  O spells more sure than e'er Judæan king
  Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane!
  O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee
  Ever drew down from out the quiet stars!

  Here, where a hero fell, a column falls!
  Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold,
  A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat!
  Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair
  Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle!
  Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled,
  Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home,
  Lit by the wan light of the horned moon,
  The swift and silent lizard of the stones!

  But stay! these walls--these ivy-clad arcades--
  These mouldering plinths--these sad and blackened shafts--
  These vague entablatures--this crumbling frieze--
  These shattered cornices--this wreck--this ruin--
  These stones--alas! these gray stones--are they all--
  All of the famed, and the colossal left
  By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?

  "Not all"--the Echoes answer me--"not all!
  Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever
  From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise,
  As melody from Memnon to the Sun.
  We rule the hearts of mightiest men--we rule
  With a despotic sway all giant minds.
  We are not impotent--we pallid stones.
  Not all our power is gone--not all our fame--
  Not all the magic of our high renown--
  Not all the wonder that encircles us--
  Not all the mysteries that in us lie--
  Not all the memories that hang upon
  And cling around about us as a garment,
  Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."


1838.





       *       *       *       *       *





THE HAUNTED PALACE.


  In the greenest of our valleys
    By good angels tenanted,
  Once a fair and stately palace--
    Radiant palace--reared its head.
  In the monarch Thought's dominion--
    It stood there!
  Never seraph spread a pinion
    Over fabric half so fair!

  Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
    On its roof did float and flow,
  (This--all this--was in the olden
    Time long ago),
  And every gentle air that dallied,
    In that sweet day,
  Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
    A winged odor went away.

  Wanderers in that happy valley,
    Through two luminous windows, saw
  Spirits moving musically,
    To a lute's well-tunëd law,
  Bound about a throne where, sitting
    (Porphyrogene!)
  In state his glory well befitting,
    The ruler of the realm was seen.

  And all with pearl and ruby glowing
    Was the fair palace door,
  Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
    And sparkling evermore,
  A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
    Was but to sing,
  In voices of surpassing beauty,
    The wit and wisdom of their king.

  But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
    Assailed the monarch's high estate.
  (Ah, let us mourn!--for never morrow
    Shall dawn upon him desolate !)
  And round about his home the glory
    That blushed and bloomed,
  Is but a dim-remembered story
    Of the old time entombed.

  And travellers, now, within that valley,
    Through the red-litten windows see
  Vast forms, that move fantastically
    To a discordant melody,
    While, like a ghastly rapid river,
    Through the pale door
  A hideous throng rush out forever
    And laugh--but smile no more.


1838.





       *       *       *       *       *





THE CONQUEROR WORM.


  Lo! 'tis a gala night
    Within the lonesome latter years!
  An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
    In veils, and drowned in tears,
  Sit in a theatre, to see
    A play of hopes and fears,
  While the orchestra breathes fitfully
    The music of the spheres.

  Mimes, in the form of God on high,
    Mutter and mumble low,
  And hither and thither fly--
    Mere puppets they, who come and go
  At bidding of vast formless things
    That shift the scenery to and fro,
  Flapping from out their Condor wings
    Invisible Wo!

  That motley drama--oh, be sure
    It shall not be forgot!
  With its Phantom chased for evermore,
    By a crowd that seize it not,
  Through a circle that ever returneth in
    To the self-same spot,
  And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
    And Horror the soul of the plot.

  But see, amid the mimic rout
    A crawling shape intrude!
  A blood-red thing that writhes from out
    The scenic solitude!
  It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal pangs
    The mimes become its food,
  And the angels sob at vermin fangs
    In human gore imbued.

  Out--out are the lights--out all!
    And, over each quivering form,
  The curtain, a funeral pall,
    Comes down with the rush of a storm,
  And the angels, all pallid and wan,
    Uprising, unveiling, affirm
  That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
    And its hero the Conqueror Worm.


1838





       *       *       *       *       *





SILENCE.


  There are some qualities--some incorporate things,
    That have a double life, which thus is made
  A type of that twin entity which springs
    From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
  There is a twofold _Silence_--sea and shore--
    Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
    Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,
  Some human memories and tearful lore,
  Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."
  He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
    No power hath he of evil in himself;
  But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
    Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
  That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
  No foot of man), commend thyself to God!


1840





       *       *       *       *       *





DREAMLAND.


  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only,
  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have reached these lands but newly
  From an ultimate dim Thule--
  From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,
    Out of SPACE--out of TIME.

  Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
  And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
  With forms that no man can discover
  For the dews that drip all over;
  Mountains toppling evermore
  Into seas without a shore;
  Seas that restlessly aspire,
  Surging, unto skies of fire;
  Lakes that endlessly outspread
  Their lone waters--lone and dead,
  Their still waters--still and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily.

  By the lakes that thus outspread
  Their lone waters, lone and dead,--
  Their sad waters, sad and chilly
  With the snows of the lolling lily,--

  By the mountains--near the river
  Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,--
  By the gray woods,--by the swamp
  Where the toad and the newt encamp,--
  By the dismal tarns and pools
    Where dwell the Ghouls,--
  By each spot the most unholy--
  In each nook most melancholy,--

  There the traveller meets aghast
  Sheeted Memories of the past--
  Shrouded forms that start and sigh
  As they pass the wanderer by--
  White-robed forms of friends long given,
  In agony, to the Earth--and Heaven.

  For the heart whose woes are legion
  'Tis a peaceful, soothing region--
  For the spirit that walks in shadow
  'Tis--oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
  But the traveller, travelling through it,
  May not--dare not openly view it;
  Never its mysteries are exposed
  To the weak human eye unclosed;
  So wills its King, who hath forbid
  The uplifting of the fringed lid;
  And thus the sad Soul that here passes
  Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

  By a route obscure and lonely,
  Haunted by ill angels only.

  Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
  On a black throne reigns upright,
  I have wandered home but newly
  From this ultimate dim Thule.


1844





       *       *       *       *       *





TO ZANTE.


  Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
    Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
  How many memories of what radiant hours
    At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
  How many scenes of what departed bliss!
    How many thoughts of what entombed hopes!
  How many visions of a maiden that is
    No more--no more upon thy verdant slopes!

  _No more!_ alas, that magical sad sound
    Transforming all! Thy charms shall please _no more_--
  Thy memory _no more!_ Accursed ground
    Henceforward I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
  O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
    "Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante!"


1887.





       *       *       *       *       *





HYMN.


  At morn--at noon--at twilight dim--
  Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
  In joy and wo--in good and ill--
  Mother of God, be with me still!
  When the Hours flew brightly by,
  And not a cloud obscured the sky,
  My soul, lest it should truant be,
  Thy grace did guide to thine and thee
  Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
  Darkly my Present and my Past,
  Let my future radiant shine
  With sweet hopes of thee and thine!


1885.
*       *       *       *       *





SONNET--TO SCIENCE.


  SCIENCE! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
    Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
  Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,
    Vulture, whose wings are dull realities
  How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,
    Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering
  To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,
    Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing!
  Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?
    And driven the Hamadryad from the wood
  To seek a shelter in some happier star?
    Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,
  The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
  The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





Private reasons--some of which have reference to the sin of plagiarism,
and others to the date of Tennyson's first poems [1]--have induced me,
after some hesitation, to republish these, the crude compositions of my
earliest boyhood. They are printed 'verbatim'--without alteration from
the original edition--the date of which is too remote to be judiciously
acknowledged.--E. A. P. (1845).



[Footnote 1: This refers to the accusation brought against Edgar Poe
that he was a copyist of Tennyson.--Ed.]





       *       *       *       *       *





AL AARAAF. [1]



PART I.


  O! nothing earthly save the ray
  (Thrown back from flowers) of Beauty's eye,
  As in those gardens where the day
  Springs from the gems of Circassy--
  O! nothing earthly save the thrill
  Of melody in woodland rill--
  Or (music of the passion-hearted)
  Joy's voice so peacefully departed
  That like the murmur in the shell,
  Its echo dwelleth and will dwell--
  O! nothing of the dross of ours--
  Yet all the beauty--all the flowers
  That list our Love, and deck our bowers--
  Adorn yon world afar, afar--
  The wandering star.

  'Twas a sweet time for Nesace--for there
  Her world lay lolling on the golden air,
  Near four bright suns--a temporary rest--
  An oasis in desert of the blest.
  Away away--'mid seas of rays that roll
  Empyrean splendor o'er th' unchained soul--
  The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense)
  Can struggle to its destin'd eminence--
  To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode,
  And late to ours, the favour'd one of God--
  But, now, the ruler of an anchor'd realm,
  She throws aside the sceptre--leaves the helm,
  And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns,
  Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs.

  Now happiest, loveliest in yon lovely Earth,
  Whence sprang the "Idea of Beauty" into birth,
  (Falling in wreaths thro' many a startled star,
  Like woman's hair 'mid pearls, until, afar,
  It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt),
  She look'd into Infinity--and knelt.
  Rich clouds, for canopies, about her curled--
  Fit emblems of the model of her world--
  Seen but in beauty--not impeding sight--
  Of other beauty glittering thro' the light--
  A wreath that twined each starry form around,
  And all the opal'd air in color bound.

  All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed
  Of flowers: of lilies such as rear'd the head
  On the fair Capo Deucato [2], and sprang
  So eagerly around about to hang
  Upon the flying footsteps of--deep pride--
  Of her who lov'd a mortal--and so died [3].
  The Sephalica, budding with young bees,
  Uprear'd its purple stem around her knees:
  And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam'd [4]--
  Inmate of highest stars, where erst it sham'd
  All other loveliness: its honied dew
  (The fabled nectar that the heathen knew)
  Deliriously sweet, was dropp'd from Heaven,
  And fell on gardens of the unforgiven
  In Trebizond--and on a sunny flower
  So like its own above that, to this hour,
  It still remaineth, torturing the bee
  With madness, and unwonted reverie:
  In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf
  And blossom of the fairy plant, in grief
  Disconsolate linger--grief that hangs her head,
  Repenting follies that full long have fled,
  Heaving her white breast to the balmy air,
  Like guilty beauty, chasten'd, and more fair:
  Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light
  She fears to perfume, perfuming the night:
  And Clytia [5] pondering between many a sun,
  While pettish tears adown her petals run:
  And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth [6]--
  And died, ere scarce exalted into birth,
  Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing
  Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king:
  And Valisnerian lotus thither flown [7]
  From struggling with the waters of the Rhone:
  And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante [8]!
  Isola d'oro!--Fior di Levante!
  And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever [9]
  With Indian Cupid down the holy river--
  Fair flowers, and fairy! to whose care is given
  To bear the Goddess' song, in odors, up to Heaven [10]:

    "Spirit! that dwellest where,
      In the deep sky,
    The terrible and fair,
      In beauty vie!
    Beyond the line of blue--
      The boundary of the star
    Which turneth at the view
      Of thy barrier and thy bar--
    Of the barrier overgone
      By the comets who were cast
    From their pride, and from their throne
      To be drudges till the last--
    To be carriers of fire
      (The red fire of their heart)
    With speed that may not tire
      And with pain that shall not part--
    Who livest--_that_ we know--
      In Eternity--we feel--
    But the shadow of whose brow
      What spirit shall reveal?
    Tho' the beings whom thy Nesace,
      Thy messenger hath known
    Have dream'd for thy Infinity
      A model of their own [11]--
    Thy will is done, O God!
      The star hath ridden high
    Thro' many a tempest, but she rode
      Beneath thy burning eye;
    And here, in thought, to thee--
      In thought that can alone
    Ascend thy empire and so be
      A partner of thy throne--
    By winged Fantasy [12],
       My embassy is given,
    Till secrecy shall knowledge be
      In the environs of Heaven."

  She ceas'd--and buried then her burning cheek
  Abash'd, amid the lilies there, to seek
  A shelter from the fervor of His eye;
  For the stars trembled at the Deity.
  She stirr'd not--breath'd not--for a voice was there
  How solemnly pervading the calm air!
  A sound of silence on the startled ear
  Which dreamy poets name "the music of the sphere."
  Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call
  "Silence"--which is the merest word of all.

  All Nature speaks, and ev'n ideal things
  Flap shadowy sounds from the visionary wings--
  But ah! not so when, thus, in realms on high
  The eternal voice of God is passing by,
  And the red winds are withering in the sky!
  "What tho' in worlds which sightless cycles run [13],
  Link'd to a little system, and one sun--
  Where all my love is folly, and the crowd
  Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud,
  The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath
  (Ah! will they cross me in my angrier path?)
  What tho' in worlds which own a single sun
  The sands of time grow dimmer as they run,
  Yet thine is my resplendency, so given
  To bear my secrets thro' the upper Heaven.
  Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly,
  With all thy train, athwart the moony sky--
  Apart--like fire-flies in Sicilian night [14],
  And wing to other worlds another light!
  Divulge the secrets of thy embassy
  To the proud orbs that twinkle--and so be
  To ev'ry heart a barrier and a ban
  Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man!"

   Up rose the maiden in the yellow night,
  The single-mooned eve!-on earth we plight
  Our faith to one love--and one moon adore--
  The birth-place of young Beauty had no more.
  As sprang that yellow star from downy hours,
  Up rose the maiden from her shrine of flowers,
  And bent o'er sheeny mountain and dim plain
  Her way--but left not yet her Therasæan reign [15].



PART II.


  High on a mountain of enamell'd head--
  Such as the drowsy shepherd on his bed
  Of giant pasturage lying at his ease,
  Raising his heavy eyelid, starts and sees
  With many a mutter'd "hope to be forgiven"
  What time the moon is quadrated in Heaven--
  Of rosy head, that towering far away
  Into the sunlit ether, caught the ray
  Of sunken suns at eve--at noon of night,
  While the moon danc'd with the fair stranger light--
  Uprear'd upon such height arose a pile
  Of gorgeous columns on th' uuburthen'd air,
  Flashing from Parian marble that twin smile
  Far down upon the wave that sparkled there,
  And nursled the young mountain in its lair.
  Of molten stars their pavement, such as fall [16]
  Thro' the ebon air, besilvering the pall
  Of their own dissolution, while they die--
  Adorning then the dwellings of the sky.
  A dome, by linked light from Heaven let down,
  Sat gently on these columns as a crown--
  A window of one circular diamond, there,
  Look'd out above into the purple air
  And rays from God shot down that meteor chain
  And hallow'd all the beauty twice again,
  Save when, between th' Empyrean and that ring,
  Some eager spirit flapp'd his dusky wing.
  But on the pillars Seraph eyes have seen
  The dimness of this world: that grayish green
  That Nature loves the best for Beauty's grave
  Lurk'd in each cornice, round each architrave--
  And every sculptured cherub thereabout
  That from his marble dwelling peered out,
  Seem'd earthly in the shadow of his niche--
  Achaian statues in a world so rich?
  Friezes from Tadmor and Persepolis [17]--
  From Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyss
  Of beautiful Gomorrah! Oh, the wave [18]
  Is now upon thee--but too late to save!
  Sound loves to revel in a summer night:
  Witness the murmur of the gray twilight
  That stole upon the ear, in Eyraco [19],
  Of many a wild star-gazer long ago--
  That stealeth ever on the ear of him
  Who, musing, gazeth on the distance dim,
  And sees the darkness coming as a cloud--
  Is not its form--its voice--most palpable and loud?  [20]
   But what is this?--it cometh--and it brings
  A music with it--'tis the rush of wings--
  A pause--and then a sweeping, falling strain,
  And Nesace is in her halls again.
  From the wild energy of wanton haste
  Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart;
  The zone that clung around her gentle waist
  Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart.
  Within the centre of that hall to breathe
  She paus'd and panted, Zanthe! all beneath,
  The fairy light that kiss'd her golden hair
  And long'd to rest, yet could but sparkle there!

  Young flowers were whispering in melody [21]
  To happy flowers that night--and tree to tree;
  Fountains were gushing music as they fell
  In many a star-lit grove, or moon-light dell;
  Yet silence came upon material things--
  Fair flowers, bright waterfalls and angel wings--
  And sound alone that from the spirit sprang
  Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang:

    "Neath blue-bell or streamer--
      Or tufted wild spray
    That keeps, from the dreamer,
      The moonbeam away--[22]
    Bright beings! that ponder,
      With half-closing eyes,
    On the stars which your wonder
      Hath drawn from the skies,
    Till they glance thro' the shade, and
      Come down to your brow
    Like--eyes of the maiden
      Who calls on you now--
    Arise! from your dreaming
      In violet bowers,
    To duty beseeming
      These star-litten hours--
    And shake from your tresses
      Encumber'd with dew

    The breath of those kisses
      That cumber them too--
    (O! how, without you, Love!
      Could angels be blest?)
    Those kisses of true love
      That lull'd ye to rest!
    Up! shake from your wing
      Each hindering thing:
    The dew of the night--
      It would weigh down your flight;
    And true love caresses--
      O! leave them apart!
    They are light on the tresses,
      But lead on the heart.

    Ligeia! Ligeia!
      My beautiful one!
    Whose harshest idea
      Will to melody run,
    O! is it thy will
      On the breezes to toss?
    Or, capriciously still,
      Like the lone Albatross, [23]
    Incumbent on night
      (As she on the air)
    To keep watch with delight
      On the harmony there?

    Ligeia! wherever
      Thy image may be,
    No magic shall sever
      Thy music from thee.
    Thou hast bound many eyes
      In a dreamy sleep--
    But the strains still arise
      Which _thy_ vigilance keep--

    The sound of the rain
      Which leaps down to the flower,
    And dances again
      In the rhythm of the shower--
    The murmur that springs [24]
      From the growing of grass
    Are the music of things--
      But are modell'd, alas!
    Away, then, my dearest,
      O! hie thee away
    To springs that lie clearest
      Beneath the moon-ray--
    To lone lake that smiles,
      In its dream of deep rest,
    At the many star-isles
    That enjewel its breast--
    Where wild flowers, creeping,
      Have mingled their shade,
    On its margin is sleeping
      Full many a maid--
    Some have left the cool glade, and
      Have slept with the bee--[25]
    Arouse them, my maiden,
      On moorland and lea--

    Go! breathe on their slumber,
      All softly in ear,
    The musical number
      They slumber'd to hear--
    For what can awaken
      An angel so soon
    Whose sleep hath been taken
      Beneath the cold moon,
    As the spell which no slumber
      Of witchery may test,
    The rhythmical number
      Which lull'd him to rest?"

  Spirits in wing, and angels to the view,
  A thousand seraphs burst th' Empyrean thro',
  Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight--
  Seraphs in all but "Knowledge," the keen light
  That fell, refracted, thro' thy bounds afar,
  O death! from eye of God upon that star;
  Sweet was that error--sweeter still that death--
  Sweet was that error--ev'n with _us_ the breath
  Of Science dims the mirror of our joy--
  To them 'twere the Simoom, and would destroy--
  For what (to them) availeth it to know
  That Truth is Falsehood--or that Bliss is Woe?
  Sweet was their death--with them to die was rife
  With the last ecstasy of satiate life--
  Beyond that death no immortality--
  But sleep that pondereth and is not "to be"--
  And there--oh! may my weary spirit dwell--
  Apart from Heaven's Eternity--and yet how far from Hell! [26]

  What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim
  Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn?
  But two: they fell: for heaven no grace imparts
  To those who hear not for their beating hearts.
  A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover--
  O! where (and ye may seek the wide skies over)
  Was Love, the blind, near sober Duty known?
  Unguided Love hath fallen--'mid "tears of perfect moan." [27]

  He was a goodly spirit--he who fell:
  A wanderer by mossy-mantled well--
  A gazer on the lights that shine above--
  A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love:
  What wonder? for each star is eye-like there,
  And looks so sweetly down on Beauty's hair--
  And they, and ev'ry mossy spring were holy
  To his love-haunted heart and melancholy.
  The night had found (to him a night of wo)
  Upon a mountain crag, young Angelo--
  Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky,
  And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath it lie.
  Here sate he with his love--his dark eye bent
  With eagle gaze along the firmament:
  Now turn'd it upon her--but ever then
  It trembled to the orb of EARTH again.

  "Ianthe, dearest, see! how dim that ray!
  How lovely 'tis to look so far away!
  She seemed not thus upon that autumn eve
  I left her gorgeous halls--nor mourned to leave,
  That eve--that eve--I should remember well--
  The sun-ray dropped, in Lemnos with a spell
  On th' Arabesque carving of a gilded hall
  Wherein I sate, and on the draperied wall--
  And on my eyelids--O, the heavy light!
  How drowsily it weighed them into night!
  On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran
  With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan:
  But O, that light!--I slumbered--Death, the while,
  Stole o'er my senses in that lovely isle
  So softly that no single silken hair
  Awoke that slept--or knew that he was there.

  "The last spot of Earth's orb I trod upon
  Was a proud temple called the Parthenon; [28]
  More beauty clung around her columned wall
  Then even thy glowing bosom beats withal, [29]
  And when old Time my wing did disenthral
  Thence sprang I--as the eagle from his tower,
  And years I left behind me in an hour.
  What time upon her airy bounds I hung,
  One half the garden of her globe was flung
  Unrolling as a chart unto my view--
  Tenantless cities of the desert too!
  Ianthe, beauty crowded on me then,
  And half I wished to be again of men."

  "My Angelo! and why of them to be?
  A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee--
  And greener fields than in yon world above,
  And woman's loveliness--and passionate love."
  "But list, Ianthe! when the air so soft
  Failed, as my pennoned spirit leapt aloft, [30]
  Perhaps my brain grew dizzy--but the world
  I left so late was into chaos hurled,
  Sprang from her station, on the winds apart,
  And rolled a flame, the fiery Heaven athwart.
  Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar,
  And fell--not swiftly as I rose before,
  But with a downward, tremulous motion thro'
  Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto!
  Nor long the measure of my falling hours,
  For nearest of all stars was thine to ours--
  Dread star! that came, amid a night of mirth,
  A red Daedalion on the timid Earth."

  "We came--and to thy Earth--but not to us
  Be given our lady's bidding to discuss:
  We came, my love; around, above, below,
  Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go,
  Nor ask a reason save the angel-nod
  _She_ grants to us as granted by her God--
  But, Angelo, than thine gray Time unfurled
  Never his fairy wing o'er fairer world!
  Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes
  Alone could see the phantom in the skies,
  When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be
  Headlong thitherward o'er the starry sea--
  But when its glory swelled upon the sky,
  As glowing Beauty's bust beneath man's eye,
  We paused before the heritage of men,
  And thy star trembled--as doth Beauty then!"

  Thus in discourse, the lovers whiled away
  The night that waned and waned and brought no day.
  They fell: for Heaven to them no hope imparts
  Who hear not for the beating of their hearts.


1839.
*       *       *       *       *





TAMERLANE.


  Kind solace in a dying hour!
  Such, father, is not (now) my theme--
  I will not madly deem that power
  Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
  Unearthly pride hath revelled in--
  I have no time to dote or dream:
  You call it hope--that fire of fire!
  It is but agony of desire:
  If I _can_ hope--O God! I can--
  Its fount is holier--more divine--
  I would not call thee fool, old man,
  But such is not a gift of thine.

  Know thou the secret of a spirit
  Bowed from its wild pride into shame
  O yearning heart! I did inherit
  Thy withering portion with the fame,
  The searing glory which hath shone
  Amid the Jewels of my throne,
  Halo of Hell! and with a pain
  Not Hell shall make me fear again--
  O craving heart, for the lost flowers
  And sunshine of my summer hours!
  The undying voice of that dead time,
  With its interminable chime,
  Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
  Upon thy emptiness--a knell.

  I have not always been as now:
  The fevered diadem on my brow
  I claimed and won usurpingly--
  Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
  Rome to the Cæsar--this to me?
  The heritage of a kingly mind,
  And a proud spirit which hath striven
  Triumphantly with human kind.
  On mountain soil I first drew life:
  The mists of the Taglay have shed
  Nightly their dews upon my head,
  And, I believe, the winged strife
  And tumult of the headlong air
  Have nestled in my very hair.

  So late from Heaven--that dew--it fell
  ('Mid dreams of an unholy night)
  Upon me with the touch of Hell,
  While the red flashing of the light
  From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er,
  Appeared to my half-closing eye
  The pageantry of monarchy;
  And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar
  Came hurriedly upon me, telling
  Of human battle, where my voice,
  My own voice, silly child!--was swelling
  (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
  And leap within me at the cry)
  The battle-cry of Victory!

  The rain came down upon my head
  Unsheltered--and the heavy wind
  Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
  It was but man, I thought, who shed
  Laurels upon me: and the rush--
  The torrent of the chilly air
  Gurgled within my ear the crush
  Of empires--with the captive's prayer--
  The hum of suitors--and the tone
  Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.

  My passions, from that hapless hour,
  Usurped a tyranny which men
  Have deemed since I have reached to power,
  My innate nature--be it so:
  But, father, there lived one who, then,
  Then--in my boyhood--when their fire
  Burned with a still intenser glow
  (For passion must, with youth, expire)
  E'en _then_ who knew this iron heart
  In woman's weakness had a part.

  I have no words--alas!--to tell
  The loveliness of loving well!
  Nor would I now attempt to trace
  The more than beauty of a face
  Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
  Are--shadows on th' unstable wind:
  Thus I remember having dwelt
  Some page of early lore upon,
  With loitering eye, till I have felt
  The letters--with their meaning--melt
  To fantasies--with none.

  O, she was worthy of all love!
  Love as in infancy was mine--
  'Twas such as angel minds above
  Might envy; her young heart the shrine
  On which my every hope and thought
  Were incense--then a goodly gift,
  For they were childish and upright--
  Pure--as her young example taught:
  Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
  Trust to the fire within, for light?

  We grew in age--and love--together--
  Roaming the forest, and the wild;
  My breast her shield in wintry weather--
  And, when the friendly sunshine smiled.
  And she would mark the opening skies,
  _I_ saw no Heaven--but in her eyes.
  Young Love's first lesson is----the heart:
  For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
  When, from our little cares apart,
  And laughing at her girlish wiles,
  I'd throw me on her throbbing breast,
  And pour my spirit out in tears--
  There was no need to speak the rest--
  No need to quiet any fears
  Of her--who asked no reason why,
  But turned on me her quiet eye!

  Yet _more_ than worthy of the love
  My spirit struggled with, and strove
  When, on the mountain peak, alone,
  Ambition lent it a new tone--
  I had no being--but in thee:
  The world, and all it did contain
  In the earth--the air--the sea--
  Its joy--its little lot of pain
  That was new pleasure--the ideal,
  Dim, vanities of dreams by night--
  And dimmer nothings which were real--
  (Shadows--and a more shadowy light!)
  Parted upon their misty wings,
  And, so, confusedly, became
  Thine image and--a name--a name!
  Two separate--yet most intimate things.

  I was ambitious--have you known
  The passion, father? You have not:
  A cottager, I marked a throne
  Of half the world as all my own,
  And murmured at such lowly lot--
  But, just like any other dream,
  Upon the vapor of the dew
  My own had past, did not the beam
  Of beauty which did while it thro'
  The minute--the hour--the day--oppress
  My mind with double loveliness.

  We walked together on the crown
  Of a high mountain which looked down
  Afar from its proud natural towers
  Of rock and forest, on the hills--
  The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers
  And shouting with a thousand rills.

  I spoke to her of power and pride,
  But mystically--in such guise
  That she might deem it nought beside
  The moment's converse; in her eyes
  I read, perhaps too carelessly--
  A mingled feeling with my own--
  The flush on her bright cheek, to me
  Seemed to become a queenly throne
  Too well that I should let it be
  Light in the wilderness alone.

  I wrapped myself in grandeur then,
  And donned a visionary crown--
  Yet it was not that Fantasy
  Had thrown her mantle over me--
  But that, among the rabble--men,
  Lion ambition is chained down--
  And crouches to a keeper's hand--
  Not so in deserts where the grand--
  The wild--the terrible conspire
  With their own breath to fan his fire.

  Look 'round thee now on Samarcand!--
  Is she not queen of Earth? her pride
  Above all cities? in her hand
  Their destinies? in all beside
  Of glory which the world hath known
  Stands she not nobly and alone?
  Falling--her veriest stepping-stone
  Shall form the pedestal of a throne--
  And who her sovereign? Timour--he
  Whom the astonished people saw
  Striding o'er empires haughtily
  A diademed outlaw!

  O, human love! thou spirit given,
  On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
  Which fall'st into the soul like rain
  Upon the Siroc-withered plain,
  And, failing in thy power to bless,
  But leav'st the heart a wilderness!
  Idea! which bindest life around
  With music of so strange a sound
  And beauty of so wild a birth--
  Farewell! for I have won the Earth.

  When Hope, the eagle that towered, could see
  No cliff beyond him in the sky,
  His pinions were bent droopingly--
  And homeward turned his softened eye.
  'Twas sunset: When the sun will part
  There comes a sullenness of heart
  To him who still would look upon
  The glory of the summer sun.
  That soul will hate the ev'ning mist
  So often lovely, and will list
  To the sound of the coming darkness (known
  To those whose spirits hearken) as one
  Who, in a dream of night, _would_ fly,
  But _cannot_, from a danger nigh.

  What tho' the moon--tho' the white moon
  Shed all the splendor of her noon,
  _Her_ smile is chilly--and _her_ beam,
  In that time of dreariness, will seem
  (So like you gather in your breath)
  A portrait taken after death.
  And boyhood is a summer sun
  Whose waning is the dreariest one--
  For all we live to know is known,
  And all we seek to keep hath flown--
  Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
  With the noon-day beauty--which is all.
  I reached my home--my home no more--
  For all had flown who made it so.
  I passed from out its mossy door,
  And, tho' my tread was soft and low,
  A voice came from the threshold stone
  Of one whom I had earlier known--
  O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
  On beds of fire that burn below,
  An humbler heart--a deeper woe.

  Father, I firmly do believe--
  I _know_--for Death who comes for me
  From regions of the blest afar,
  Where there is nothing to deceive,
  Hath left his iron gate ajar.
  And rays of truth you cannot see
  Are flashing thro' Eternity----
  I do believe that Eblis hath
  A snare in every human path--
  Else how, when in the holy grove
  I wandered of the idol, Love,--
  Who daily scents his snowy wings
  With incense of burnt-offerings
  From the most unpolluted things,
  Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
  Above with trellised rays from Heaven
  No mote may shun--no tiniest fly--
  The light'ning of his eagle eye--
  How was it that Ambition crept,
  Unseen, amid the revels there,
  Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
  In the tangles of Love's very hair!



1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO HELEN.


  Helen, thy beauty is to me
    Like those Nicean barks of yore,
  That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
    The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
    To his own native shore.

  On desperate seas long wont to roam,
    Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
  Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
    To the glory that was Greece,
  To the grandeur that was Rome.

  Lo! in yon brilliant window niche,
    How statue-like I see thee stand,
    The agate lamp within thy hand!
  Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
    Are Holy Land!

1831.





       *       *       *       *       *





THE VALLEY OF UNREST.


  _Once_ it smiled a silent dell
  Where the people did not dwell;
  They had gone unto the wars,
  Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
  Nightly, from their azure towers,
  To keep watch above the flowers,
  In the midst of which all day
  The red sun-light lazily lay,
  _Now_ each visitor shall confess
  The sad valley's restlessness.
  Nothing there is motionless--
  Nothing save the airs that brood
  Over the magic solitude.
  Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
  That palpitate like the chill seas
  Around the misty Hebrides!
  Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
  That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
  Unceasingly, from morn till even,
  Over the violets there that lie
  In myriad types of the human eye--
  Over the lilies that wave
  And weep above a nameless grave!
  They wave:--from out their fragrant tops
  Eternal dews come down in drops.
  They weep:--from off their delicate stems
  Perennial tears descend in gems.


1831.





       *       *       *       *       *





ISRAFEL. [1]


  In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
    "Whose heart-strings are a lute;"
  None sing so wildly well
  As the angel Israfel,
  And the giddy Stars (so legends tell),
  Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
    Of his voice, all mute.

  Tottering above
    In her highest noon,
    The enamoured Moon
  Blushes with love,
    While, to listen, the red levin
    (With the rapid Pleiads, even,
    Which were seven),
    Pauses in Heaven.

  And they say (the starry choir
    And the other listening things)
  That Israfeli's fire
  Is owing to that lyre
    By which he sits and sings--
  The trembling living wire
  Of those unusual strings.

  But the skies that angel trod,
    Where deep thoughts are a duty--
  Where Love's a grow-up God--
    Where the Houri glances are
  Imbued with all the beauty
    Which we worship in a star.

  Therefore, thou art not wrong,
    Israfeli, who despisest
  An unimpassioned song;
  To thee the laurels belong,
    Best bard, because the wisest!
  Merrily live and long!

  The ecstasies above
    With thy burning measures suit--
  Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
    With the fervor of thy lute--
    Well may the stars be mute!

  Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
    Is a world of sweets and sours;
    Our flowers are merely--flowers,
  And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
    Is the sunshine of ours.

  If I could dwell
  Where Israfel
    Hath dwelt, and he where I,
  He might not sing so wildly well
    A mortal melody,
  While a bolder note than this might swell
    From my lyre within the sky.


1836.



[Footnote 1:

  And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who has the
  sweetest voice of all God's creatures.

'Koran'.]





       *       *       *       *       *





TO----


  I heed not that my earthly lot
    Hath--little of Earth in it--
  That years of love have been forgot
    In the hatred of a minute:--
  I mourn not that the desolate
    Are happier, sweet, than I,
  But that _you_ sorrow for _my_ fate
    Who am a passer-by.


1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO----


  The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see
    The wantonest singing birds,

  Are lips--and all thy melody
    Of lip-begotten words--

  Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined
    Then desolately fall,
  O God! on my funereal mind
    Like starlight on a pall--

  Thy heart--_thy_ heart!--I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
  Of the truth that gold can never buy--
    Of the baubles that it may.


1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO THE RIVER


  Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow
    Of crystal, wandering water,
  Thou art an emblem of the glow
        Of beauty--the unhidden heart--
        The playful maziness of art
    In old Alberto's daughter;

  But when within thy wave she looks--
    Which glistens then, and trembles--
  Why, then, the prettiest of brooks
    Her worshipper resembles;
  For in his heart, as in thy stream,
    Her image deeply lies--
  His heart which trembles at the beam
    Of her soul-searching eyes.


1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





SONG.


  I saw thee on thy bridal day--
    When a burning blush came o'er thee,
  Though happiness around thee lay,
    The world all love before thee:

  And in thine eye a kindling light
    (Whatever it might be)
  Was all on Earth my aching sight
    Of Loveliness could see.

  That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame--
    As such it well may pass--
  Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame
    In the breast of him, alas!

  Who saw thee on that bridal day,
    When that deep blush _would_ come o'er thee,
  Though happiness around thee lay,
    The world all love before thee.


1827.





       *       *       *       *       *





SPIRITS OF THE DEAD.


  Thy soul shall find itself alone
  'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone
  Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
  Into thine hour of secrecy.
  Be silent in that solitude
    Which is not loneliness--for then
  The spirits of the dead who stood
    In life before thee are again
  In death around thee--and their will
  Shall overshadow thee: be still.
  The night--tho' clear--shall frown--
  And the stars shall not look down
  From their high thrones in the Heaven,
  With light like Hope to mortals given--
  But their red orbs, without beam,
  To thy weariness shall seem
  As a burning and a fever
  Which would cling to thee forever.
  Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish--
  Now are visions ne'er to vanish--
  From thy spirit shall they pass
  No more--like dew-drops from the grass.
  The breeze--the breath of God--is still--
  And the mist upon the hill
  Shadowy--shadowy--yet unbroken,
    Is a symbol and a token--
    How it hangs upon the trees,
    A mystery of mysteries!


1837.





       *       *       *       *       *





A DREAM.


  In visions of the dark night
    I have dreamed of joy departed--
  But a waking dream of life and light
    Hath left me broken-hearted.

  Ah! what is not a dream by day
    To him whose eyes are cast
  On things around him with a ray
    Turned back upon the past?

  That holy dream--that holy dream,
    While all the world were chiding,
  Hath cheered me as a lovely beam,
    A lonely spirit guiding.

  What though that light, thro' storm and night,
    So trembled from afar--
  What could there be more purely bright
    In Truth's day star?


1837.





       *       *       *       *       *





ROMANCE.


  Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
  With drowsy head and folded wing,
  Among the green leaves as they shake
  Far down within some shadowy lake,
  To me a painted paroquet
  Hath been--a most familiar bird--
  Taught me my alphabet to say--
  To lisp my very earliest word
  While in the wild wood I did lie,
  A child--with a most knowing eye.

  Of late, eternal Condor years
  So shake the very Heaven on high
  With tumult as they thunder by,
  I have no time for idle cares
  Though gazing on the unquiet sky.
  And when an hour with calmer wings
  Its down upon my spirit flings--
  That little time with lyre and rhyme
  To while away--forbidden things!
  My heart would feel to be a crime
  Unless it trembled with the strings.


1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





FAIRYLAND.


  Dim vales--and shadowy floods--
  And cloudy-looking woods,
  Whose forms we can't discover
  For the tears that drip all over
  Huge moons there wax and wane--
  Again--again--again--
  Every moment of the night--
  Forever changing places--
  And they put out the star-light
  With the breath from their pale faces.
  About twelve by the moon-dial
  One more filmy than the rest
  (A kind which, upon trial,
  They have found to be the best)
  Comes down--still down--and down
  With its centre on the crown
  Of a mountain's eminence,
  While its wide circumference
  In easy drapery falls
  Over hamlets, over halls,
  Wherever they may be--
  O'er the strange woods--o'er the sea--
  Over spirits on the wing--
  Over every drowsy thing--
  And buries them up quite
  In a labyrinth of light--
  And then, how deep!--O, deep!
  Is the passion of their sleep.
  In the morning they arise,
  And their moony covering
  Is soaring in the skies,
  With the tempests as they toss,
  Like--almost any thing--
  Or a yellow Albatross.
  They use that moon no more
  For the same end as before--
  Videlicet a tent--
  Which I think extravagant:
  Its atomies, however,
  Into a shower dissever,
  Of which those butterflies,
  Of Earth, who seek the skies,
  And so come down again
  (Never-contented thing!)
  Have brought a specimen
  Upon their quivering wings.


1831





       *       *       *       *       *





THE LAKE.


  In spring of youth it was my lot
  To haunt of the wide world a spot
  The which I could not love the less--
  So lovely was the loneliness
  Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
  And the tall pines that towered around.

  But when the Night had thrown her pall
  Upon the spot, as upon all,
  And the mystic wind went by
  Murmuring in melody--
  Then--ah, then, I would awake
  To the terror of the lone lake.

  Yet that terror was not fright,
  But a tremulous delight--
  A feeling not the jewelled mine
  Could teach or bribe me to define--
  Nor Love--although the Love were thine.

  Death was in that poisonous wave,
  And in its gulf a fitting grave
  For him who thence could solace bring
  To his lone imagining--
  Whose solitary soul could make
  An Eden of that dim lake.


1827.





       *       *       *       *       *





EVENING STAR.


  'Twas noontide of summer,
    And midtime of night,
  And stars, in their orbits,
    Shone pale, through the light
  Of the brighter, cold moon.
    'Mid planets her slaves,
  Herself in the Heavens,
    Her beam on the waves.

    I gazed awhile
    On her cold smile;
  Too cold--too cold for me--
    There passed, as a shroud,
    A fleecy cloud,
  And I turned away to thee,
    Proud Evening Star,
    In thy glory afar
  And dearer thy beam shall be;
    For joy to my heart
    Is the proud part
  Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
    And more I admire
    Thy distant fire,
  Than that colder, lowly light.


1827.





       *       *       *       *       *





IMITATION.


  A dark unfathomed tide
  Of interminable pride--
  A mystery, and a dream,
  Should my early life seem;
  I say that dream was fraught
  With a wild and waking thought
  Of beings that have been,
  Which my spirit hath not seen,
  Had I let them pass me by,
  With a dreaming eye!
  Let none of earth inherit
  That vision on my spirit;
  Those thoughts I would control,
  As a spell upon his soul:
  For that bright hope at last
  And that light time have past,
  And my wordly rest hath gone
  With a sigh as it passed on:
  I care not though it perish
  With a thought I then did cherish.


1827.





       *       *       *       *       *





"THE HAPPIEST DAY."


     I.       The happiest day--the happiest hour
                My seared and blighted heart hath known,
              The highest hope of pride and power,
                I feel hath flown.


     II.      Of power! said I? Yes! such I ween
                But they have vanished long, alas!
              The visions of my youth have been--
                But let them pass.


     III.     And pride, what have I now with thee?
                Another brow may ev'n inherit
              The venom thou hast poured on me--
                Be still my spirit!


     IV.      The happiest day--the happiest hour
                Mine eyes shall see--have ever seen
              The brightest glance of pride and power
                I feel have been:


     V.       But were that hope of pride and power
                Now offered with the pain
              Ev'n _then_ I felt--that brightest hour
                I would not live again:

     VI.      For on its wing was dark alloy
                And as it fluttered--fell
              An essence--powerful to destroy
                A soul that knew it well.


1827.





       *       *       *       *       *





Translation from the Greek.


HYMN TO ARISTOGEITON AND HARMODIUS.


  I.      Wreathed in myrtle, my sword I'll conceal,
            Like those champions devoted and brave,
          When they plunged in the tyrant their steel,
            And to Athens deliverance gave.

  II.     Beloved heroes! your deathless souls roam
            In the joy breathing isles of the blest;
          Where the mighty of old have their home--
            Where Achilles and Diomed rest.

  III.    In fresh myrtle my blade I'll entwine,
            Like Harmodius, the gallant and good,
          When he made at the tutelar shrine
            A libation of Tyranny's blood.

  IV.     Ye deliverers of Athens from shame!
            Ye avengers of Liberty's wrongs!
          Endless ages shall cherish your fame,
            Embalmed in their echoing songs!

1827





       *       *       *       *       *





DREAMS.


  Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
  My spirit not awakening, till the beam
  Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
  Yes! though that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
  'Twere better than the cold reality
  Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
  And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
  A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
  But should it be--that dream eternally
  Continuing--as dreams have been to me
  In my young boyhood--should it thus be given,
  'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
  For I have revelled when the sun was bright
  I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light
  And loveliness,--have left my very heart
  Inclines of my imaginary apart [1]
  From mine own home, with beings that have been
  Of mine own thought--what more could I have seen?
  'Twas once--and only once--and the wild hour
  From my remembrance shall not pass--some power
  Or spell had bound me--'twas the chilly wind
  Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
  Its image on my spirit--or the moon
  Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
  Too coldly--or the stars--howe'er it was
  That dream was that that night-wind--let it pass.
  _I have been_ happy, though in a dream.
  I have been happy--and I love the theme:
  Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life
  As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
  Of semblance with reality which brings
  To the delirious eye, more lovely things
  Of Paradise and Love--and all my own!--
  Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.



[Footnote 1: In climes of mine imagining apart?--Ed.]





       *       *       *       *       *





"IN YOUTH I HAVE KNOWN ONE."


          _How often we forget all time, when lone
          Admiring Nature's universal throne;
          Her woods--her wilds--her mountains--the intense
          Reply of Hers to Our intelligence!_


I.        In youth I have known one with whom the Earth
            In secret communing held--as he with it,
          In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth:
            Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit
          From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
            A passionate light such for his spirit was fit--
          And yet that spirit knew--not in the hour
            Of its own fervor--what had o'er it power.


II.       Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
            To a ferver [1] by the moonbeam that hangs o'er,
          But I will half believe that wild light fraught
            With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
          Hath ever told--or is it of a thought
            The unembodied essence, and no more
          That with a quickening spell doth o'er us pass
            As dew of the night-time, o'er the summer grass?


III.      Doth o'er us pass, when, as th' expanding eye
            To the loved object--so the tear to the lid
          Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
            And yet it need not be--(that object) hid
          From us in life--but common--which doth lie
            Each hour before us--but then only bid
          With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken
            T' awake us--'Tis a symbol and a token--


IV.       Of what in other worlds shall be--and given
            In beauty by our God, to those alone
          Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
            Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone,
          That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
            Though not with Faith--with godliness--whose throne
          With desperate energy 't hath beaten down;
            Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.



[Footnote 1: Query "fervor"?--Ed.]





       *       *       *       *       *





A PÆAN.



I.        How shall the burial rite be read?
            The solemn song be sung?
          The requiem for the loveliest dead,
            That ever died so young?


II.       Her friends are gazing on her,
            And on her gaudy bier,
          And weep!--oh! to dishonor
            Dead beauty with a tear!


III.     They loved her for her wealth--
           And they hated her for her pride--
          But she grew in feeble health,
            And they _love_ her--that she died.


IV.      They tell me (while they speak
           Of her "costly broider'd pall")
         That my voice is growing weak--
           That I should not sing at all--


V.       Or that my tone should be
           Tun'd to such solemn song
         So mournfully--so mournfully,
           That the dead may feel no wrong.


VI.      But she is gone above,
           With young Hope at her side,
         And I am drunk with love
           Of the dead, who is my bride.--

VII.     Of the dead--dead who lies
           All perfum'd there,
         With the death upon her eyes.
           And the life upon her hair.


VIII.    Thus on the coffin loud and long
           I strike--the murmur sent
         Through the gray chambers to my song,
           Shall be the accompaniment.


IX.      Thou diedst in thy life's June--
           But thou didst not die too fair:
         Thou didst not die too soon,
           Nor with too calm an air.


X.       From more than friends on earth,
           Thy life and love are riven,
         To join the untainted mirth
           Of more than thrones in heaven.--


XI.      Therefore, to thee this night
           I will no requiem raise,
         But waft thee on thy flight,
           With a Pæan of old days.





       *       *       *       *       *
 *       *       *       *       *





                                 DOUBTFUL POEMS.





       *       *       *       *       *





ALONE.


  From childhood's hour I have not been
  As others were--I have not seen
  As others saw--I could not bring
  My passions from a common spring--
  From the same source I have not taken
  My sorrow--I could not awaken
  My heart to joy at the same tone--
  And all I loved--_I_ loved alone--
  _Thou_--in my childhood--in the dawn
  Of a most stormy life--was drawn
  From every depth of good and ill
  The mystery which binds me still--
  From the torrent, or the fountain--
  From the red cliff of the mountain--
  From the sun that round me roll'd
  In its autumn tint of gold--
  From the lightning in the sky
  As it passed me flying by--
  From the thunder and the storm--
  And the cloud that took the form
  (When the rest of Heaven was blue)
  Of a demon in my view.


March 17, 1829.





       *       *       *       *       *





TO ISADORE.


I.       Beneath the vine-clad eaves,
             Whose shadows fall before
             Thy lowly cottage door--
         Under the lilac's tremulous leaves--
         Within thy snowy clasped hand
             The purple flowers it bore.
         Last eve in dreams, I saw thee stand,
         Like queenly nymph from Fairy-land--
         Enchantress of the flowery wand,
             Most beauteous Isadore!


II.      And when I bade the dream
             Upon thy spirit flee,
             Thy violet eyes to me
         Upturned, did overflowing seem
         With the deep, untold delight
             Of Love's serenity;
         Thy classic brow, like lilies white
         And pale as the Imperial Night
         Upon her throne, with stars bedight,
             Enthralled my soul to thee!


III.     Ah! ever I behold
             Thy dreamy, passionate eyes,
             Blue as the languid skies
         Hung with the sunset's fringe of gold;
         Now strangely clear thine image grows,
             And olden memories
         Are startled from their long repose
         Like shadows on the silent snows
         When suddenly the night-wind blows
             Where quiet moonlight lies.


IV.      Like music heard in dreams,
             Like strains of harps unknown,
             Of birds for ever flown,--
         Audible as the voice of streams
         That murmur in some leafy dell,
             I hear thy gentlest tone,
         And Silence cometh with her spell
         Like that which on my tongue doth dwell,
         When tremulous in dreams I tell
             My love to thee alone!

V.       In every valley heard,
             Floating from tree to tree,
             Less beautiful to me,
         The music of the radiant bird,
         Than artless accents such as thine
             Whose echoes never flee!
         Ah! how for thy sweet voice I pine:--
         For uttered in thy tones benign
         (Enchantress!) this rude name of mine
             Doth seem a melody!





       *       *       *       *       *





THE VILLAGE STREET.


  In these rapid, restless shadows,
    Once I walked at eventide,
  When a gentle, silent maiden,
    Walked in beauty at my side.
  She alone there walked beside me
  All in beauty, like a bride.

  Pallidly the moon was shining
    On the dewy meadows nigh;
  On the silvery, silent rivers,
    On the mountains far and high,--
  On the ocean's star-lit waters,
    Where the winds a-weary die.

  Slowly, silently we wandered
    From the open cottage door,
  Underneath the elm's long branches
    To the pavement bending o'er;
  Underneath the mossy willow
    And the dying sycamore.

  With the myriad stars in beauty
    All bedight, the heavens were seen,
  Radiant hopes were bright around me,
    Like the light of stars serene;
  Like the mellow midnight splendor
    Of the Night's irradiate queen.

  Audibly the elm-leaves whispered
    Peaceful, pleasant melodies,
  Like the distant murmured music
    Of unquiet, lovely seas;
  While the winds were hushed in slumber
    In the fragrant flowers and trees.

  Wondrous and unwonted beauty
    Still adorning all did seem,
  While I told my love in fables
    'Neath the willows by the stream;
  Would the heart have kept unspoken
    Love that was its rarest dream!

  Instantly away we wandered
    In the shadowy twilight tide,
  She, the silent, scornful maiden,
    Walking calmly at my side,
  With a step serene and stately,
    All in beauty, all in pride.

  Vacantly I walked beside her.
    On the earth mine eyes were cast;
  Swift and keen there came unto me
    Bitter memories of the past--
  On me, like the rain in Autumn
    On the dead leaves, cold and fast.

  Underneath the elms we parted,
    By the lowly cottage door;
  One brief word alone was uttered--
    Never on our lips before;
  And away I walked forlornly,
  Broken-hearted evermore.

  Slowly, silently I loitered,
    Homeward, in the night, alone;
  Sudden anguish bound my spirit,
    That my youth had never known;
  Wild unrest, like that which cometh
    When the Night's first dream hath flown.

  Now, to me the elm-leaves whisper
    Mad, discordant melodies,
  And keen melodies like shadows
    Haunt the moaning willow trees,
  And the sycamores with laughter
    Mock me in the nightly breeze.

  Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
    Through the sighing foliage streams;
  And each morning, midnight shadow,
    Shadow of my sorrow seems;
  Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
    And, O soul, forget thy dreams!





       *       *       *       *       *





THE FOREST REVERIE.


      'Tis said that when
      The hands of men
    Tamed this primeval wood,
  And hoary trees with groans of wo,
  Like warriors by an unknown foe,
    Were in their strength subdued,
      The virgin Earth
      Gave instant birth
    To springs that ne'er did flow--
      That in the sun
      Did rivulets run,
  And all around rare flowers did blow--
      The wild rose pale
      Perfumed the gale,
  And the queenly lily adown the dale
      (Whom the sun and the dew
      And the winds did woo),
  With the gourd and the grape luxuriant grew.

      So when in tears
      The love of years
    Is wasted like the snow,
  And the fine fibrils of its life
  By the rude wrong of instant strife
    Are broken at a blow--
      Within the heart
      Do springs upstart
    Of which it doth now know,
      And strange, sweet dreams,
      Like silent streams
  That from new fountains overflow,
      With the earlier tide
      Of rivers glide
  Deep in the heart whose hope has died--
  Quenching the fires its ashes hide,--
    Its ashes, whence will spring and grow
      Sweet flowers, ere long,--
    The rare and radiant flowers of song!





       *       *       *       *       *





NOTES.


Of the many verses from time to time ascribed to the pen of Edgar Poe,
and not included among his known writings, the lines entitled "Alone"
have the chief claim to our notice. 'Fac-simile' copies of this piece
had been in possession of the present editor some time previous to its
publication in 'Scribner's Magazine' for September 1875; but as proofs
of the authorship claimed for it were not forthcoming, he refrained from
publishing it as requested. The desired proofs have not yet been
adduced, and there is, at present, nothing but internal evidence to
guide us. "Alone" is stated to have been written by Poe in the album of
a Baltimore lady (Mrs. Balderstone?), on March 17th, 1829, and the
'fac-simile' given in 'Scribner's' is alleged to be of his handwriting.
If the caligraphy be Poe's, it is different in all essential respects
from all the many specimens known to us, and strongly resembles that of
the writer of the heading and dating of the manuscript, both of which
the contributor of the poem acknowledges to have been recently added.
The lines, however, if not by Poe, are the most successful imitation of
his early mannerisms yet made public, and, in the opinion of one well
qualified to speak, "are not unworthy on the whole of the parentage
claimed for them."

Whilst Edgar Poe was editor of the 'Broadway Journal', some lines "To
Isadore" appeared therein, and, like several of his known pieces, bore
no signature. They were at once ascribed to Poe, and in order to satisfy
questioners, an editorial paragraph subsequently appeared, saying they
were by "A. Ide, junior." Two previous poems had appeared in the
'Broadway Journal' over the signature of "A. M. Ide," and whoever wrote
them was also the author of the lines "To Isadore." In order, doubtless,
to give a show of variety, Poe was then publishing some of his known
works in his journal over 'noms de plume', and as no other writings
whatever can be traced to any person bearing the name of "A. M. Ide," it
is not impossible that the poems now republished in this collection may
be by the author of "The Raven." Having been published without his usual
elaborate revision, Poe may have wished to hide his hasty work under an
assumed name. The three pieces are included in the present collection,
so the reader can judge for himself what pretensions they possess to be
by the author of "The Raven."





       *       *       *       *       *





                              PROSE POEMS.





       *       *       *       *       *

THE ISLAND OF THE FAY.


    "Nullus enim locus sine genio est."

    _Servius_.


"_La musique_," says Marmontel, in those "Contes Moraux"[1] which in all
our translations we have insisted upon calling "Moral Tales," as if in
mockery of their spirit--"_la musique est le seul des talens qui jouisse
de lui-meme: tous les autres veulent des temoins_." He here confounds
the pleasure derivable from sweet sounds with the capacity for creating
them. No more than any other _talent_, is that for music susceptible of
complete enjoyment where there is no second party to appreciate its
exercise; and it is only in common with other talents that it produces
_effects_ which may be fully enjoyed in solitude. The idea which the
_raconteur_ has either failed to entertain clearly, or has sacrificed in
its expression to his national love of _point_, is doubtless the very
tenable one that the higher order of music is the most thoroughly
estimated when we are exclusively alone. The proposition in this form
will be admitted at once by those who love the lyre for its own sake and
for its spiritual uses. But there is one pleasure still within the reach
of fallen mortality, and perhaps only one, which owes even more than
does music to the accessory sentiment of seclusion. I mean the happiness
experienced in the contemplation of natural scenery. In truth, the man
who would behold aright the glory of God upon earth must in solitude
behold that glory. To me at least the presence, not of human life only,
but of life, in any other form than that of the green things which grow
upon the soil and are voiceless, is a stain upon the landscape, is at
war with the genius of the scene. I love, indeed, to regard the dark
valleys, and the gray rocks, and the waters that silently smile, and the
forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains
that look down upon all,--I love to regard these as themselves but the
colossal members of one vast animate and sentient whole--a whole whose
form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most inclusive of all;
whose path is among associate planets; whose meek handmaiden is the
moon; whose mediate sovereign is the sun; whose life is eternity; whose
thought is that of a god; whose enjoyment is knowledge; whose destinies
are lost in immensity; whose cognizance of ourselves is akin with our
own cognizance of the _animalculæ_ which infest the brain, a being which
we in consequence regard as purely inanimate and material, much in the
same manner as these _animalculæ_ must thus regard us.

Our telescopes and our mathematical investigations assure us on every
hand, notwithstanding the cant of the more ignorant of the priesthood,
that space, and therefore that bulk, is an important consideration in
the eyes of the Almighty. The cycles in which the stars move are those
best adapted for the evolution, without collision, of the greatest
possible number of bodies. The forms of those bodies are accurately such
as within a given surface to include the greatest possible amount of
matter; while the surfaces themselves are so disposed as to accommodate
a denser population than could be accommodated on the same surfaces
otherwise arranged. Nor is it any argument against bulk being an object
with God that space itself is infinite; for there may be an infinity of
matter to fill it; and since we see clearly that the endowment of matter
with vitality is a principle--indeed, as far as our judgments extend,
the _leading_ principle in the operations of Deity, it is scarcely
logical to imagine it confined to the regions of the minute, where we
daily trace it, and not extending to those of the august. As we find
cycle within cycle without end, yet all revolving around one far-distant
centre which is the Godhead, may we not analogically suppose, in the
same manner, life within life, the less within the greater, and all
within the Spirit Divine? In short, we are madly erring through
self-esteem in believing man, in either his temporal or future
destinies, to be of more moment in the universe than that vast "clod of
the valley" which he tills and contemns, and to which he denies a soul,
for no more profound reason than that he does not behold it in operation
[2].

These fancies, and such as these, have always given to my meditations
among the mountains and the forests, by the rivers and the ocean, a
tinge of what the every-day world would not fail to term the fantastic.
My wanderings amid such scenes have been many and far-searching, and
often solitary; and the interest with which I have strayed through many
a dim deep valley, or gazed into the reflected heaven of many a bright
lake, has been an interest greatly deepened by the thought that I have
strayed and gazed _alone._ What flippant Frenchman [3] was it who said,
in allusion to the well known work of Zimmermann, that _"la solitude est
une belle chose; mais il faut quelqu'un pour vous dire que la solitude
est une belle chose"_? The epigram cannot be gainsaid; but the necessity
is a thing that does not exist.

It was during one of my lonely journeyings, amid a far distant region of
mountain locked within mountain, and sad rivers and melancholy tarns
writhing or sleeping within all, that I chanced upon a certain rivulet
and island. I came upon them suddenly in the leafy June, and threw
myself upon the turf beneath the branches of an unknown odorous shrub,
that I might doze as I contemplated the scene. I felt that thus only
should I look upon it, such was the character of phantasm which it wore.

On all sides, save to the west where the sun was about sinking, arose
the verdant walls of the forest. The little river which turned sharply
in its course, and was thus immediately lost to sight, seemed to have no
exit from its prison, but to be absorbed by the deep green foliage of
the trees to the east; while in the opposite quarter (so it appeared to
me as I lay at length and glanced upward) there poured down noiselessly
and continuously into the valley a rich golden and crimson waterfall
from the sunset fountains of the sky.

About midway in the short vista which my dreamy vision took in, one
small circular island, profusely verdured, reposed upon the bosom of the
stream.

  So blended bank and shadow there,
  That each seemed pendulous in air--

so mirror-like was the glassy water, that it was scarcely possible to
say at what point upon the slope of the emerald turf its crystal
dominion began. My position enabled me to include in a single view both
the eastern and western extremities of the islet, and I observed a
singularly-marked difference in their aspects. The latter was all one
radiant harem of garden beauties. It glowed and blushed beneath the eye
of the slant sunlight, and fairly laughed with flowers. The grass was
short, springy, sweet-scented, and Asphodel-interspersed. The trees were
lithe, mirthful, erect, bright, slender, and graceful, of eastern figure
and foliage, with bark smooth, glossy, and parti-colored. There seemed a
deep sense of life and joy about all, and although no airs blew from out
the heavens, yet everything had motion through the gentle sweepings to
and fro of innumerable butterflies, that might have been mistaken for
tulips with wings [4].

The other or eastern end of the isle was whelmed in the blackest shade.
A sombre, yet beautiful and peaceful gloom, here pervaded all things.
The trees were dark in color and mournful in form and attitude--
wreathing themselves into sad, solemn, and spectral shapes, that
conveyed ideas of mortal sorrow and untimely death. The grass wore the
deep tint of the cypress, and the heads of its blades hung droopingly,
and hither and thither among it were many small unsightly hillocks, low
and narrow, and not very long, that had the aspect of graves, but were
not, although over and all about them the rue and the rosemary
clambered. The shades of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and
seemed to bury itself therein, impregnating the depths of the element
with darkness. I fancied that each shadow, as the sun descended lower
and lower, separated itself sullenly from the trunk that gave it birth,
and thus became absorbed by the stream, while other shadows issued
momently from the trees, taking the place of their predecessors thus
entombed.

This idea having once seized upon my fancy greatly excited it, and I
lost myself forthwith in reverie. "If ever island were enchanted," said
I to myself, "this is it. This is the haunt of the few gentle Fays who
remain from the wreck of the race. Are these green tombs theirs?--or do
they yield up their sweet lives as mankind yield up their own? In dying,
do they not rather waste away mournfully, rendering unto God little by
little their existence, as these trees render up shadow after shadow,
exhausting their substance unto dissolution? What the wasting tree is to
the water that imbibes its shade, growing thus blacker by what it preys
upon, may not the life of the Fay be to the death which engulfs it?"

As I thus mused, with half-shut eyes, while the sun sank rapidly to
rest, and eddying currents careered round and round the island, bearing
upon their bosom large dazzling white flakes of the bark of the
sycamore, flakes which, in their multiform positions upon the water, a
quick imagination might have converted into anything it pleased; while I
thus mused, it appeared to me that the form of one of those very Fays
about whom I had been pondering, made its way slowly into the darkness
from out the light at the western end of the island. She stood erect in
a singularly fragile canoe, and urged it with the mere phantom of an
oar. While within the influence of the lingering sunbeams, her attitude
seemed indicative of joy, but sorrow deformed it as she passed within
the shade. Slowly she glided along, and at length rounded the islet and
re-entered the region of light. "The revolution which has just been made
by the Fay," continued I musingly, "is the cycle of the brief year of
her life. She has floated through her winter and through her summer. She
is a year nearer unto death: for I did not fail to see that as she came
into the shade, her shadow fell from her, and was swallowed up in the
dark water, making its blackness more black."

And again the boat appeared and the Fay, but about the attitude of the
latter there was more of care and uncertainty and less of elastic joy.
She floated again from out the light and into the gloom (which deepened
momently), and again her shadow fell from her into the ebony water, and
became absorbed into its blackness. And again and again she made the
circuit of the island (while the sun rushed down to his slumbers), and
at each issuing into the light there was more sorrow about her person,
while it grew feebler and far fainter and more indistinct, and at each
passage into the gloom there fell from her a darker shade, which became
whelmed in a shadow more black. But at length, when the sun had utterly
departed, the Fay, now the mere ghost of her former self, went
disconsolately with her boat into the region of the ebony flood, and
that she issued thence at all I cannot say, for darkness fell over all
things, and I beheld her magical figure no more.