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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

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by this moral is the poetical merit of the work to be adjudged. We
Americans especially have patronized this happy idea, and we Bostonians
very especially have developed it in full. We have taken it into our heads
that to write a poem simply for the poem's sake, and to acknowledge such
to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting
in the true poetic dignity and force:--but the simple fact is that would
we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately
there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor _can _exist any
work more thoroughly dignified, more supremely noble, than this very poem,
this poem _per se, _this poem which is a poem and nothing more, this poem
written solely for the poem's sake.

With as deep a reverence for the True as ever inspired the bosom of
man, I would nevertheless limit, in some measure, its modes of
inculcation. I would limit to enforce them. I would not enfeeble them by
dissipation. The demands of Truth are severe. She has no sympathy with the
myrtles. All _that _which is so indispensable in Song is precisely all
_that _with which _she _has nothing whatever to do. It is but making her a
flaunting paradox to wreathe her in gems and flowers. In enforcing a truth
we need severity rather than efflorescence of language. We must be simple,
precise, terse. We must be cool, calm, unimpassioned. In a word, we must
be in that mood which, as nearly as possible, is the exact converse of the
poetical. _He _must be blind indeed who does not perceive the radical and
chasmal difference between the truthful and the poetical modes of
inculcation. He must be theory-mad beyond redemption who, in spite of
these differences, shall still persist in attempting to reconcile the
obstinate oils and waters of Poetry and Truth.

Dividing the world of mind into its three most immediately obvious
distinctions, we have the Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I
place Taste in the middle, because it is just this position which in the
mind it occupies. It holds intimate relations with either extreme; but
from the Moral Sense is separated by so faint a difference that Aristotle
has not hesitated to place some of its operations among the virtues
themselves. Nevertheless we find the _offices _of the trio marked with a
sufficient distinction. Just as the Intellect concerns itself with Truth,
so Taste informs us of the Beautiful, while the Moral Sense is regardful
of Duty. Of this latter, while Conscience teaches the obligation, and
Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself with displaying the charms:
-- waging war upon Vice solely on the ground of her deformity -- her
disproportion -- her animosity to the fitting, to the appropriate, to the
harmonious -- in a word, to Beauty.

An immortal instinct deep within the spirit of man is thus plainly a
sense of the Beautiful. This it is which administers to his delight in the
manifold forms, and sounds, and odors and sentiments amid which he exists.
And just as the lily is repeated in the lake, or the eyes of Amaryllis in
the mirror, so is the mere oral or written repetition of these forms, and
sounds, and colors, and odors, and sentiments a duplicate source of de"
light. But this mere repetition is not poetry. He who shall simply sing,
with however glowing enthusiasm, or with however vivid a truth of
description, of the sights, and sounds, and odors, and colors, and
sentiments which greet _him _in common with all mankind -- he, I say, has
yet failed to prove his divine title. There is still a something in the
distance which he has been unable to attain. We have still a thirst
unquenchable, to allay which he has not shown us the crystal springs. This
thirst belongs to the immortality of Man. It is at once a consequence and
an indication of his perennial existence. It is the desire of the moth for
the star. It is no mere appreciation of the Beauty before us, but a wild
effort to reach the Beauty above. Inspired by an ecstatic prescience of
the glories beyond the grave, we struggle by multiform combinations among
the things and thoughts of Time to attain a portion of that Loveliness
whose very elements perhaps appertain to eternity alone. And thus when by
Poetry, or when by Music, the most entrancing of the poetic moods, we find
ourselves melted into tears, we weep then, not as the Abbate Gravina
supposes, through excess of pleasure, but through a certain petulant,
impatient sorrow at our inability to grasp now, wholly, here on earth, at
once and for ever, those divine and rapturous joys of which _through' _the
poem, or _through _the music, we attain to but brief and indeterminate

The struggle to apprehend the supernal Loveliness -- this struggle, on
the part of souls fittingly constituted -- has given to the world all
_that _which it (the world) has ever been enabled at once to understand
and _to feel _as poetic.

The Poetic Sentiment, of course, may develop itself in various modes
--in Painting, in Sculpture, in Architecture, in the Dance -- very
especially in Music -- and very peculiarly, and with a wide field, in the
com position of the Landscape Garden. Our present theme, however, has
regard only to its manifestation in words. And here let me speak briefly
on the topic of rhythm. Contenting myself with the certainty that Music,
in its various modes of metre, rhythm, and rhyme, is of so vast a moment
in Poetry as never to be wisely rejected -- is so vitally important an
adjunct, that he is simply silly who declines its assistance, I will not
now pause to maintain its absolute essentiality. It is in Music perhaps
that the soul most nearly attains the great end for which, when inspired
by the Poetic Sentiment, it struggles -- the creation of supernal Beauty.
It _may _be, indeed, that here this sublime end is, now and then, attained
in _fact. _We are often made to feel, with a shivering delight, that from
an earthly harp are stricken notes which _cannot _have been unfamiliar to
the angels. And thus there can be little doubt that in the union of Poetry
with Music in its popular sense, we shall find the widest field for the
Poetic development. The old Bards and Minnesingers had advantages which we
do not possess -- and Thomas Moore, singing his own songs, was, in the
most legitimate manner, perfecting them as poems.

To recapitulate then: -- I would define, in brief, the Poetry of words
as _The Rhythmical Creation of Beauty. _Its sole arbiter is Taste. With
the Intellect or with the Conscience it has only collateral relations.
Unless incidentally, it has no concern whatever either with Duty or with

A few words, however, in explanation. _That _pleasure which is at once
the most pure, the most elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I
maintain, from the contemplation of the Beautiful. In the contemplation of
Beauty we alone find it possible to attain that pleasurable elevation, or
excitement _of the soul, _which we recognize as the Poetic Sentiment, and
which is so easily distinguished from Truth, which is the satisfaction of
the Reason, or from Passion, which is the excitement of the heart. I make
Beauty, therefore--using the word as inclusive of the sublime -- I make
Beauty the province of the poem, simply because it is an obvious rule of
Art that effects should be made to spring as directly as possible from
their causes: -- no one as yet having been weak enough to deny that the
peculiar elevation in question is at least _most readily _attainable in
the poem. It by no means follows, however, that the incitements of
Passion' or the precepts of Duty, or even the lessons of Truth, may not be
introduced into a poem, and with advantage; for they may subserve
incidentally, in various ways, the general purposes of the work: but the
true artist will always contrive to tone them down in proper subjection to
that _Beauty _which is the atmosphere and the real essence of the poem.

I cannot better introduce the few poems which I shall present for your
consideration, than by the citation of the Proem to Longfellow's "Waif":

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an Eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me,
That my soul cannot resist;

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

With no great range of imagination, these lines have been justly
admired for their delicacy of expression. Some of the images are very
effective. Nothing can be better than --

------------- the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Down the corridors of Time.

The idea of the last quatrain is also very effective. The poem on the
whole, however, is chiefly to be admired for the graceful _insouciance _of
its metre, so well in accordance with the character of the sentiments, and
especially for the _ease _of the general manner. This "ease" or
naturalness, in a literary style, it has long been the fashion to regard
as ease in appearance alone--as a point of really difficult attainment.
But not so:--a natural manner is difficult only to him who should never
meddle with it--to the unnatural. It is but the result of writing with the
understanding, or with the instinct, that _the tone, _in composition,
should always be that which the mass of mankind would adopt--and must
perpetually vary, of course, with the occasion. The author who, after the
fashion of "The North American Review," should be upon _all _occasions
merely "quiet," must necessarily upon _many _occasions be simply silly, or
stupid; and has no more right to be considered "easy" or "natural" than a
Cockney exquisite, or than the sleeping Beauty in the waxworks.

Among the minor poems of Bryant, none has so much impressed me as the one
which he entitles "June." I quote only a portion of it: --

There, through the long, long summer hours,
The golden light should lie,
And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell
His love-tale, close beside my cell;
The idle butterfly
Should rest him there, and there be heard
The housewife-bee and humming bird.

And what, if cheerful shouts at noon,
Come, from the village sent,
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon,
With fairy laughter blent?
And what if, in the evening light,
Betrothed lovers walk in sight
Of my low monument?
I would the lovely scene around
Might know no sadder sight nor sound.

I know, I know I should not see
The season's glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me;
Nor its wild music flow;
But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,
They might not haste to go.
Soft airs and song, and the light and bloom,
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.

These to their soften'd hearts should bear
The thoughts of what has been,
And speak of one who cannot share
The gladness of the scene;
Whose part in all the pomp that fills
The circuit of the summer hills,
Is -- that his grave is green;
And deeply would their hearts rejoice
To hear again his living voice.

The rhythmical flow here is even voluptuous--nothing could be more
melodious. The poem has always affected me in a remarkable manner. The
intense melancholy which seems to well up, perforce, to the surface of all
the poet's cheerful sayings about his grave, we find thrilling us to the
soul--while there is the truest poetic elevation in the thrill. The
impression left is one of a pleasurable sadness. And if, in the remaining
compositions which I shall introduce to you, there be more or less of a
similar tone always apparent, let me remind you that (how or why we know
not) this certain taint of sadness is inseparably connected with all the
higher manifestations of true Beauty. It is, nevertheless,

A feeling of sadness and longing
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

The taint of which I speak is clearly perceptible even in a poem so full
of brilliancy and spirit as "The Health" of Edward Coate Pinckney: --

I fill this cup to one made up
Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
The seeming paragon;
To whom the better elements
And kindly stars have given
A form so fair that, like the air,
'Tis less of earth than heaven.

Her every tone is music's own,
Like those of morning birds,
And something more than melody
Dwells ever in her words;
The coinage of her heart are they,
And from her lips each flows
As one may see the burden'd bee
Forth issue from the rose.

Affections are as thoughts to her,
The measures of her hours;
Her feelings have the flagrancy,
The freshness of young flowers;
And lovely passions, changing oft,
So fill her, she appears
The image of themselves by turns, --
The idol of past years!

Of her bright face one glance will trace
A picture on the brain,
And of her voice in echoing hearts
A sound must long remain;
But memory, such as mine of her,
So very much endears,
When death is nigh my latest sigh
Will not be life's, but hers.

I fill'd this cup to one made up
Of loveliness alone,
A woman, of her gentle sex
The seeming paragon --
Her health! and would on earth there stood,
Some more of such a frame,
That life might be all poetry,
And weariness a name.

It was the misfortune of Mr. Pinckney to have been born too far south.
Had he been a New Englander, it is probable that he would have been ranked
as the first of American lyrists by that magnanimous cabal which has so
long controlled the destinies of American Letters, in conducting the thing
called "The North American Review." The poem just cited is especially
beautiful; but the poetic elevation which it induces we must refer chiefly
to our sympathy in the poet's enthusiasm. We pardon his hyperboles for the
evident earnestness with which they are uttered.

It was by no means my design, however, to expatiate upon the _merits
_of what I should read you. These will necessarily speak for themselves.
Boccalini, in his "Advertisements from Parnassus," tells us that Zoilus
once presented Apollo a very caustic criticism upon a very admirable book:
-- whereupon the god asked him for the beauties of the work. He replied
that he only busied himself about the errors. On hearing this, Apollo,
handing him a sack of unwinnowed wheat, bade him pick out _all the chaff
_for his reward.

Now this fable answers very well as a hit at the critics--but I am by
no means sure that the god was in the right. I am by no means certain that
the true limits of the critical duty are not grossly misunderstood.
Excellence, in a poem especially, may be considered in the light of an
axiom, which need only be properly _put, _to become self-evident. It is
_not _excellence if it require to be demonstrated as such:--and thus to
point out too particularly the merits of a work of Art, is to admit that
they are _not _merits altogether.

Among the "Melodies" of Thomas Moore is one whose distinguished
character as a poem proper seems to have been singularly left out of view.
I allude to his lines beginning -- "Come, rest in this bosom." The intense
energy of their expression is not surpassed by anything in Byron. There
are two of the lines in which a sentiment is conveyed that embodies the
_all in all _of the divine passion of Love -- a sentiment which, perhaps,
has found its echo in more, and in more passionate, human hearts than any
other single sentiment ever embodied in words: --

Come, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer
Though the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still here;
Here still is the smile, that no cloud can o'ercast,
And a heart and a hand all thy own to the last.

Oh! what was love made for, if 'tis not the same
Through joy and through torment, through glory and shame?
I know not, I ask not, if guilt's in that heart,
I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art.

Thou hast call'd me thy Angel in moments of bliss,
And thy Angel I'll be, 'mid the horrors of this, --
Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy steps to pursue,
And shield thee, and save thee, --or perish there too!

It has been the fashion of late days to deny Moore Imagination, while
granting him Fancy--a distinction originating with Coleridge--than whom no
man more fully comprehended the great powers of Moore. The fact is, that
the fancy of this poet so far predominates over all his other faculties,
and over the fancy of all other men, as to have induced, very naturally,
the idea that he is fanciful _only. _But never was there a greater
mistake. Never was a grosser wrong done the fame of a true poet. In the
compass of the English language I can call to mind no poem more pro.
foundry--more weirdly _imaginative, _in the best sense, than the lines
commencing--"I would I were by that dim lake"--which are the com. position
of Thomas Moore. I regret that I am unable to remember them.

One of the noblest--and, speaking of Fancy--one of the most singularly
fanciful of modern poets, was Thomas Hood. His "Fair Ines" had always for
me an inexpressible charm: --

O saw ye not fair Ines?
She's gone into the West,
To dazzle when the sun is down,
And rob the world of rest;
She took our daylight with her,
The smiles that we love best,
With morning blushes on her cheek,
And pearls upon her breast.

O turn again, fair Ines,
Before the fall of night,
For fear the moon should shine alone,
And stars unrivalltd bright;
And blessed will the lover be
That walks beneath their light,
And breathes the love against thy cheek
I dare not even write!

Would I had been, fair Ines,
That gallant cavalier,
Who rode so gaily by thy side,
And whisper'd thee so near!
Were there no bonny dames at home
Or no true lovers here,
That he should cross the seas to win
The dearest of the dear?

I saw thee, lovely Ines,
Descend along the shore,
With bands of noble gentlemen,
And banners waved before;
And gentle youth and maidens gay,
And snowy plumes they wore;
It would have been a beauteous dream,
If it had been no more!

Alas, alas, fair Ines,
She went away with song,
With music waiting on her steps,
And shootings of the throng;
But some were sad and felt no mirth,
But only Music's wrong,
In sounds that sang Farewell, Farewell,
To her you've loved so long.

Farewell, farewell, fair Ines,
That vessel never bore
So fair a lady on its deck,
Nor danced so light before,--
Alas for pleasure on the sea,
And sorrow on the shorel
The smile that blest one lover's heart
Has broken many more!

"The Haunted House," by the same author, is one of the truest poems ever
written,--one of the truest, one of the most unexceptionable, one of the
most thoroughly artistic, both in its theme and in its execution. It is,
moreover, powerfully ideal--imaginative. I regret that its length renders
it unsuitable for the purposes of this lecture. In place of it permit me
to offer the universally appreciated "Bridge of Sighs":--

One more Unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Rashly importunate
Gone to her death!

Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care;--
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young and so fair!

Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving not loathing.

Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently and humanly;
Not of the stains of her,
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful;
Past all dishonor,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.

Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement
From garret to basement,
She stood, with amazement,
Houseless by night.

The bleak wind of March
Made her tremble and shiver,
But not the dark arch,
Or the black flowing river:
Mad from life's history,
Glad to death's mystery,
Swift to be hurl'd--
Anywhere, anywhere
Out of the world!

In she plunged boldly,
No matter how coldly
The rough river ran,--
Over the brink of it,
Picture it,--think of it,
Dissolute Man!
Lave in it, drink of it
Then, if you can!

Still, for all slips of hers,
One of Eve's family--
Wipe those poor lips of hers
Oozing so clammily,
Loop up her tresses
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses;
Whilst wonderment guesses
Where was her home?

Who was her father?
Who was her mother?
Had she a sister?
Had she a brother?
Or was there a dearer one
Still, and a nearer one
Yet, than all other?

Alas! for the rarity
Of Christian charity
Under the sun!
Oh! it was pitiful!
Near a whole city full,
Home she had none.

Sisterly, brotherly,
Fatherly, motherly,
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence
Seeming estranged.

Take her up tenderly;
Lift her with care;
Fashion'd so slenderly,
Young, and so fair!
Ere her limbs frigidly
Stiffen too rigidly,
Decently, -- kindly, --
Smooth and compose them;
And her eyes, close them,
Staring so blindly!

Dreadfully staring
Through muddy impurity,
As when with the daring
Last look of despairing
Fixed on futurity.

Perhishing gloomily,
Spurred by contumely,
Cold inhumanity,
Burning insanity,
Into her rest, --
Cross her hands humbly,
As if praying dumbly,
Over her breast!
Owning her weakness,
Her evil behavior,
And leaving, with meekness,
Her sins to her Saviour!

The vigor of this poem is no less remarkable than its pathos. The
versification although carrying the fanciful to the very verge of the
fantastic, is nevertheless admirably adapted to the wild insanity which is
the thesis of the poem.

Among the minor poems of Lord Byron is one which has never received
from the critics the praise which it undoubtedly deserves:--

Though the day of my destiny's over,
And the star of my fate bath declined
Thy soft heart refused to discover
The faults which so many could find;
Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
And the love which my spirit bath painted
It never bath found but in _thee._

Then when nature around me is smiling,
The last smile which answers to mine,
I do not believe it beguiling,
Because it reminds me of shine;
And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,
If their billows excite an emotion,
It is that they bear me from _thee._

Though the rock of my last hope is shivered,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
Though I feel that my soul is delivered
To pain--it shall not be its slave.
There is many a pang to pursue me:
They may crush, but they shall not contemn--
They may torture, but shall not subdue me--
'Tis of _thee _that I think--not of them.

Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,
Though slandered, thou never couldst shake, --
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me,
Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 'twas not to defame me,
Nor mute, that the world might belie.

Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it,
Nor the war of the many with one--
If my soul was not fitted to prize it,
'Twas folly not sooner to shun:
And if dearly that error bath cost me,
And more than I once could foresee,
I have found that whatever it lost me,
It could not deprive me of _thee._

From the wreck of the past, which bath perished,
Thus much I at least may recall,
It bath taught me that which I most cherished
Deserved to be dearest of all:
In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of _thee._

Although the rhythm here is one of the most difficult, the
versification could scarcely be improved. No nobler _theme _ever engaged
the pen of poet. It is the soul-elevating idea that no man can consider
himself entitled to complain of Fate while in his adversity he still
retains the unwavering love of woman.

From Alfred Tennyson, although in perfect sincerity I regard him as
the noblest poet that ever lived, I have left myself time to cite only a
very brief specimen. I call him, and _think _him the noblest of poets,
_not _because the impressions he produces are at _all _times the most
profound-- _not _because the poetical excitement which he induces is at
_all _times the most intense--but because it is at all times the most
ethereal--in other words, the most elevating and most pure. No poet is so
little of the earth, earthy. What I am about to read is from his last long
poem, "The Princess":--

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

Thus, although in a very cursory and imperfect manner, I have
endeavored to convey to you my conception of the Poetic Principle. It has
been my purpose to suggest that, while this principle itself is strictly
and simply the Human Aspiration for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of
the Principle is always found in _an elevating excitement of the soul,
_quite independent of that passion which is the intoxication of the Heart,
or of that truth which is the satisfaction of the Reason. For in regard to
passion, alas! its tendency is to degrade rather than to elevate the Soul.
Love, on the contrary--Love--the true, the divine Eros--the Uranian as
distinguished from the Diona~an Venus--is unquestionably the purest and
truest of all poetical themes. And in regard to Truth, if, to be sure,
through the attainment of a truth we are led to perceive a harmony where
none was apparent before, we experience at once the true poetical effect;
but this effect is referable to the harmony alone, and not in the least
degree to the truth which merely served to render the harmony manifest.

We shall reach, however, more immediately a distinct conception of
what the true Poetry is, by mere reference to a few of the simple elements
which induce in the Poet himself the poetical effect He recognizes the
ambrosia which nourishes his soul in the bright orbs that shine in
Heaven--in the volutes of the flower--in the clustering of low
shrubberies--in the waving of the grain-fields--in the slanting of tall
eastern trees -- in the blue distance of mountains -- in the grouping of
clouds-- in the twinkling of half-hidden brooks--in the gleaming of silver
rivers --in the repose of sequestered lakes--in the star-mirroring depths
of lonely wells. He perceives it in the songs of birds--in the harp of
Bolos --in the sighing of the night-wind--in the repining voice of the
forest-- in the surf that complains to the shore--in the fresh breath of
the woods --in the scent of the violet--in the voluptuous perfume of the
hyacinth--in the suggestive odour that comes to him at eventide from far
distant undiscovered islands, over dim oceans, illimitable and unexplored.
He owns it in all noble thoughts--in all unworldly motives--in all holy
impulses--in all chivalrous, generous, and self-sacrificing deeds. He
feels it in the beauty of woman--in the grace of her step--in the lustre
of her eye--in the melody of her voice--in her soft laughter, in her
sigh--in the harmony of the rustling of her robes. He deeply feels it in
her winning endearments--in her burning enthusiasms--in her gentle
charities--in her meek and devotional endurances--but above all--ah, far
above all, he kneels to it--he worships it in the faith, in the purity, in
the strength, in the altogether divine majesty--of her love.

Let me conclude by -- the recitation of yet another brief poem -- one
very different in character from any that I have before quoted. It is by
Motherwell, and is called "The Song of the Cavalier." With our modern and
altogether rational ideas of the absurdity and impiety of warfare, we are
not precisely in that frame of mind best adapted to sympathize with the
sentiments, and thus to appreciate the real excellence of the poem. To do
this fully we must identify ourselves in fancy with the soul of the old
cavalier: --

Then mounte! then mounte, brave gallants all,
And don your helmes amaine:
Deathe's couriers. Fame and Honor call
No shrewish teares shall fill your eye
When the sword-hilt's in our hand, --
Heart-whole we'll part, and no whit sighe
For the fayrest of the land;
Let piping swaine, and craven wight,
Thus weepe and poling crye,
Our business is like men to fight.

~~~ End of Text ~~~



IT should not be doubted that at least one-third of the affection with
which we regard the elder poets of Great Britain should be-attributed to
what is, in itself, a thing apart from poetry-we mean to the simple love
of the antique-and that, again, a third of even the proper _poetic
sentiment _inspired_ _by their writings should be ascribed to a fact
which, while it has strict connection with poetry in the abstract, and
with the old British poems themselves, should not be looked upon as a
merit appertaining to the authors of the poems. Almost every devout
admirer of the old bards, if demanded his opinion of their productions,
would mention vaguely, yet with perfect sincerity, a sense of dreamy,
wild, indefinite, and he would perhaps say, indefinable delight; on being
required to point out the source of this so shadowy pleasure, he would be
apt to speak of the quaint in phraseology and in general handling. This
quaintness is, in fact, a very powerful adjunct to ideality, but in the
case in question it arises independently of the author's will, and is
altogether apart from his intention. Words and their rhythm have varied.
Verses which affect us to-day with a vivid delight, and which delight, in
many instances, may be traced to the one source, quaintness, must have
worn in the days of their construction, a very commonplace air. This is,
of course, no argument against the poems now-we mean it only as against
the poets _thew. _There is a growing desire to overrate them. The old
English muse was frank, guileless, sincere, and although very learned,
still learned without art. No general error evinces a more thorough
confusion of ideas than the error of supposing Donne and Cowley
metaphysical in the sense wherein Wordsworth and Coleridge are so. With
the two former ethics were the end-with the two latter the means. The poet
of the "Creation" wished, by highly artificial verse, to inculcate what he
supposed to be moral truth-the poet of the "Ancient Mariner" to infuse the
Poetic Sentiment through channels suggested by analysis. The one finished
by complete failure what he commenced in the grossest misconception; the
other, by a path which could not possibly lead him astray, arrived at a
triumph which is not the less glorious because hidden from the profane
eyes of the multitude. But in this view even the "metaphysical verse" of
Cowley is but evidence of the simplicity and single-heartedness of the
man. And he was in this but a type of his school-for we may as well
designate in this way the entire class of writers whose poems are bound up
in the volume before us, and throughout all of whom there runs a very
perceptible general character. They used little art in composition. Their
writings sprang immediately from the soul-and partook intensely of that
soul's nature. Nor is it difficult to perceive the tendency of this
_abandon-to elevate _immeasurably all the energies of mind-but, again, so
to mingle the greatest possible fire, force, delicacy, and all good
things, with the lowest possible bathos, baldness, and imbecility, as to
render it not a matter of doubt that the average results of mind in such a
school will be found inferior to those results in one _(ceteris _paribus)
more artificial.

We can not bring ourselves to believe that the selections of the "Book of
Gems" are such as will impart to a poetical reader the clearest possible
idea of the beauty of the school-but if the intention had been merely to
show the school's character, the attempt might have been considered
successful in the highest degree. There are long passages now before us of
the most despicable trash, with no merit whatever beyond that of their
antiquity.. The criticisms of the editor do not particularly please us.
His enthusiasm is too general and too vivid not to be false. His opinion,
for example, of Sir Henry Wotton's "Verses on the Queen of Bohemia"-that
"there are few finer things in our language," is untenable and absurd.

In such lines we can perceive not one of those higher attributes of Poesy
which belong to her in all circumstances and throughout all time. Here
every thing is art, nakedly, or but awkwardly concealed. No prepossession
for the mere antique (and in this case we can imagine no other
prepossession) should induce us to dignify with the sacred name of poetry,
a series, such as this, of elaborate and threadbare compliments, stitched,
apparently, together, without fancy, without plausibility, and without
even an attempt at adaptation.

In common with all the world, we have been much delighted with "The
Shepherd's Hunting" by Withers--a poem partaking, in a remarkable degree,
of the peculiarities of "Il Penseroso." Speaking of Poesy the author says:

"By the murmur of a spring,
Or the least boughs rustleling,
By a daisy whose leaves spread,
Shut when Titan goes to bed,
Or a shady bush or tree,
She could more infuse in me
Than all Nature's beauties can
In some other wiser man.
By her help I also now
Make this churlish place allow
Something that may sweeten gladness
In the very gall of sadness--
The dull loneness, the black shade,
That these hanging vaults have made
The strange music of the waves
Beating on these hollow caves,
This black den which rocks emboss,
Overgrown with eldest moss,
The rude portals that give light
More to terror than delight,
This my chamber of neglect

Walled about with disrespect;
From all these and this dull air
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might
To draw comfort and delight."

But these lines, however good, do not bear with them much of the general
character of the English antique. Something more of this will be found in
Corbet's "Farewell to the Fairies!" We copy a portion of Marvell's "Maiden
lamenting for her Fawn," which we prefer-not only as a specimen of the
elder poets, but in itself as a beautiful poem, abounding in pathos,
exquisitely delicate imagination and truthfulness-to anything of its

"It is a wondrous thing how fleet
'Twas on those little silver feet,
With what a pretty skipping grace
It oft would challenge me the race,
And when't had left me far away
'Twould stay, and run again, and stay;
For it was nimbler much than hinds,
And trod as if on the four winds.
I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown,
And lilies, that you would it guess
To be a little wilderness;
And all the spring-time of the year
It only loved to be there.
Among the beds of lilies I
Have sought it oft where it should lie,
Yet could not, till itself would rise,
Find it, although before mine eyes.
For in the flaxen lilies' shade
It like a bank of lilies laid;
Upon the roses it would feed
Until its lips even seemed to bleed,
And then to me 'twould boldly trip,
And print those roses on my lip,
But all its chief delight was still
With roses thus itself to fill,
And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold.
Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without, roses within."

How truthful an air of lamentations hangs here upon every syllable! It
pervades all.. It comes over the sweet melody of the words-over the
gentleness and grace which we fancy in the little maiden herself-even over
the half-playful, half-petulant air with which she lingers on the beauties
and good qualities of her favorite-like the cool shadow of a summer cloud
over a bed of lilies and violets, "and all sweet flowers." The whole is
redolent with poetry of a very lofty order. Every line is an idea
conveying either the beauty and playfulness of the fawn, or the
artlessness of the maiden, or her love, or her admiration, or her grief,
or the fragrance and warmth and _appropriateness _of the little nest-like
bed of lilies and roses which the fawn devoured as it lay upon them, and
could scarcely be distinguished from them by the once happy little damsel
who went to seek her pet with an arch and rosy smile on her face. Consider
the great variety of truthful and delicate thought in the few lines we
have quotedthe _wonder _of the little maiden at the fleetness of her
favorite-the "little silver feet"--the fawn challenging his mistress to a
race with "a pretty skipping grace," running on before, and then, with
head turned back, awaiting her approach only to fly from it again-can we
not distinctly perceive all these things? How exceedingly vigorous, too,
is the line,

"And trod as if on the four winds!"

A vigor apparent only when we keep in mind the artless character of the
speaker and the four feet of the favorite, one for each wind. Then
consider the garden of "my own," so overgrown, entangled with roses and
lilies, as to be "a little wilderness"--the fawn loving to be there, and
there "only"--the maiden seeking it "where it _should _lie"--and not being
able to distinguish it from the flowers until "itself would rise"--the
lying among the lilies "like a bank of lilies"--the loving to "fill itself
with roses,"

"And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold,"

and these things being its "chief" delights-and then the pre-eminent
beauty and naturalness of the concluding lines, whose very hyperbole only
renders them more true to nature when we consider the innocence, the
artlessness, the enthusiasm, the passionate girl, and more passionate
admiration of the bereaved child--

"Had it lived long, it would have been Lilies without, roses within."

* "Book of Gems," Edited by S. C. Hall

~~~~~~ End of Texr ~~~~~~












1845 E.A.P.


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 can not at will be excited, with an eye to
the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of man-kind.

E. A. P.



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 visiter," 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 visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door --
Some late visiter 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 the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther 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 that 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 lamplght gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
_She_ shall press, ah, nevermore!

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

~~~ End of Text ~~~

Published 1845.




HEAR the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.


Hear the mellow wedding-bells
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight! -
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
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!


Hear the loud alarum bells -
Brazen bells!
What 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 clamour and the clangour of the bells!


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


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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.
There 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)
We 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 star-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 --
Ah, hasten! -- ah, let us not linger!
Ah, 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 Sybillic 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 the 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 --
'T is 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."


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 upturned 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 an slept,
Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven!- oh, 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 he enwritten

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!

~~~ End of Text ~~~



It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden 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 wingéd 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 by night
Chilling my ANNABEL LEE;
So that her high-born 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, 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda,
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.


[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.]

~~~ End of Text ~~~



"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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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.


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

~~~ End of Text ~~~



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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~


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 tumultuos sea --
Some ocean throbbing far and free
With storms -- but where meanwhile
Serenest skies continually
Just o're that one bright island smile.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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!'


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 vapour 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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?.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 the soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
In the 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 wider, 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 bidden by thee,
I can not write-I can not speak or think--
Alas, I can not 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!_


~~~ End of Text ~~~



Lo ! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Wherethe 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 that 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 scultured 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 thrown 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



At midnight in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapour, 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 univeral 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 easement open to the skies)
Irene, with her Destinies!

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