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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe

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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 sould lies hid,
That o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thous no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come p'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
Forever 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 pannels 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 fromout 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 re-asure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o're me,
And to the church-yard 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 this the plighted vow,
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Behold the golden token
That _proves_ me happy now!

Would 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



1. "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, having 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 Sapphic
Adonic, while the fifth has at the middle pause no similarity of sound
with any part besides, 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 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 read thus:


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!


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

3. 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-we two, tben-"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!' (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, Godl oh, Heaven-how my heart beats in
coupling those two words."

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

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

8. 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" 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-- --" (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 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

12. 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.


End of Poems of Later Life



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 innocent 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 so 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 _debonair_, 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 Paean 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."

~~ ~~~End of Text



THOU wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine --
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrime,
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 guld!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, mothionless, 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 thunder0blasted 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 Judćan 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 wanlight 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."


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 odour went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute's well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
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 sorrow
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, lie a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh -- but smile no more.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 two-fold _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!


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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 Titian 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 grey 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.


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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!


~~~ End of Text ~~~



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
Transfomring all! Thy charms shall please _no more_ -
Thy memory _no more! _Accursed ground
Henceforth I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
"Isoa d'oro! Fior di Levante!"


~~~ End of Text ~~~





ROME. -- A Hall in a Palace Alessandra and Castiglione..

_Alessandra._ Thou art sad, Castiglione.

_ Castiglione. _ Sad! -- not I.
Oh, I'm the happiest, happiest man in Rome!
A few days more, thou knowest, my Alessandra,
Will make thee mine. Oh, I am very happy!

_ Aless. _ Methinks thou hast a singular way of showing
Thy happiness! -- what ails thee, cousin of mine?
Why didst thou sigh so deeply?

_Cas. _Did I sign?
I was not conscious of it. It is a fashion,
A silly -- a most silly fashion I have
When I am _very_ happy. Did I sigh? (_sighing._)

_ Aless. _Thou didst. Thou art not well. Thou hast indulged
Too much of late, and I am vexed to see it.
Late hours and wine, Castiglione, -- these
Will ruin thee! thou art already altered --
Thy looks are haggard -- nothing so wears away
The constitution as late hours and wine.

_Cas. (musing.) _Nothing, fair cousin, nothing -- not even deep
sorrow --
Wears it away like evil hours and wine.
I will amend.

_ Aless. _Do it! I would have thee drop
Thy riotous company, too -- fellows low born --
Ill suit the like with old Di Broglio's heir
And Alessandra's husband.

_Cas. _I will drop them.

_ Aless. _ Thou wilt -- thou must. Attend thou also more
To thy dress and equipage -- they are over plain
For thy lofty rank and fashion -- much depends
Upon appearances.

_Cas. _I'll see to it.

_ Aless. _Then see to it! -- pay more attention, sir,
To a becoming carriage -- much thou wantest
In dignity.

_Cas. _Much, much, oh! much I want
In proper dignity.

_ Aless.(haughtily) _Thou mockest me, sir!

_Cas. (abstractedly.) _Sweet, gentle Lalage!

_ Aless. _Heard I aright?
I speak to him -- he speaks of Lalage!
Sir Count! (_places her hand on his shoulder_) what art thou dreaming?
he's not well!
What ails thee, sir?

_Cas. (startling.) _Cousin! fair cousin! -- madam!
I crave thy pardon -- indeed I am not well --
Your hand from off my shoulder, if you please.
This air is most oppressive! -- Madam -- the Duke!

_Enter Di Broglio._

_ Di Broglio._ My son, I've news for thee! -- hey? -- what's the
matter? (_observing Alessandra_)
I' the pouts? Kiss her, Castiglione! kiss her,
You dog! and make it up, I say, this minute!
I've news for you both. Politian is expected
Hourly in Rome -- Politian, Earl of Leicester!
We'll have him at the wedding. 'Tis his first visit
To the imperial city.

_ Aless. _What! Politian
Of Britain, Earl of Leicester?

_ Di Brog._ The same, my love.
We'll have him at the wedding. A man quite young
In years, but grey in fame. I have not seen him,
But Rumour speaks of him as of a prodigy
Pre-eminent in arts and arms, and wealth,
And high descent. We'll have him at the wedding.

_ Aless. _I have heard much of this Politian.
Gay, volatile and giddy -- is he not?
And little given to thinking.

_ Di Brog._ Far from it, love.
No branch, they say, of all philosophy
So deep abstruse he has not mastered it.
Learned as few are learned.

_ Aless. _'Tis very strange!
I have known men have seen Politian
And sought his company. They speak of him
As of one who entered madly into life,
Drinking the cup of pleasure to the dregs.

_Cas. _Ridiculous! Now I have seen Politian
And know him well -- nor learned nor mirthful he.
He is a dreamer and a man shut out
From common passions.

_ Di Brog._ Children, we disagree.
Let us go forth and taste the fragrant air
Of the garden. Did I dream, or did I hear
Politian was a _melancholy_ man? (_exeunt._)


ROME. A Lady's apartment, with a window open and looking into a garden.
Lalage, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and a
hand mirror. In the background Jacinta (a servant maid) leans carelessly
upon a chair.

_ Lal._ [_Lalage_] Jacinta! is it thou?

_ Jac._ [_Jacinta_] (_pertly_.) Yes, Ma'am, I'm here.

_ Lal._ I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting.
Sit down! -- Let not my presence trouble you --
Sit down! -- for I am humble, most humble.

_Jac._ (_aside_.) 'Tis time.
(_Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the chair, resting her
elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous look.
Lalage continues to read_. )

_Lal._ "It in another climate, so he said,
"Bore a bright golden flower, but not i' this soil!"
(_pauses -- turns over some leaves, and resumes_)
"No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower --
"But Ocean ever to refresh mankind
"Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind."
O, beautiful!- most beautiful -- how like
To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven!
O happy land (_pauses_) She died! -- the maiden died!
A still more happy maiden who couldst die!
(_Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes._)
Again! -- a similar tale
Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea!
Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play --
"She died full young" -- one Bossola answers him --
"I think not so -- her infelicity
"Seemed to have years too many" -- Ah luckless lady!
Jacinta! (_still no answer_)

Here 's a far sterner story,
But like -- oh, very like in its despair --
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily
A thousand hearts -- losing at length her own.
She died. Thus endeth the history -- and her maids
Lean over and weep -- two gentle maids
With gentle names -- Eiros and Charmion!
Rainbow and Dove! -- -- Jacinta!

_Jac._ (_pettishly_.) Madam, what _is_ it?

_Lal._ Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind
As go down in the library and bring me
The Holy Evangelists.

_Jac._ Pshaw! (_exit_.)

_Lal._ If there be balm
For the wounded spirit in Gilead it is there!
Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble
Will there be found -- "dew sweeter far than that
Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill."
(_re-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on the table._)
There, ma'am, 's the book. Indeed she is very troublesome. (_aside._)

_Lal. (astonished.) _ What didst thou say, Jacinta? Have I done aught
To grieve thee or to vex thee? -- I am sorry.
For thou hast served me long and ever been
Trust-worthy and respectful. (_resumes her reading._)

_Jac._ I can't believe
She has any more jewels -- no -- no -- she gave me all. (_aside._)

_Lal._ What didst thou say, Jacinta? Now I bethink me
Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding.
How fares good Ugo?- and when is it to be?
Can I do aught?- is there no farther aid
Thou needest, Jacinta?

_Jac_. Is there no _farther_ aid!
That's meant for me. (_aside_) I'm sure, madam, you need not
Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth.

_Lal._ Jewels! Jacinta, -- now indeed, Jacinta,
I thought not of the jewels.

_Jac._ Oh! perhaps not!
But then I might have sworn it. After all,
There 's Ugo says the ring is only paste,
For he 's sure the Count Castiglione never
Would have given a real diamond to such as you;
And at the best I'm certain, Madam, you cannot
Have use for jewels _now._ But I might have sworn it. (_exit._)
(_Lalage bursts into tears and leans her head upon the table -- after a
short pause raises it._)

_Lal._ Poor Lalage! -- and is it come to this?
Thy servant maid! -- but courage! -- 'tis but a viper
Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul!
(_taking up the mirror_)
Ha! here at least 's a friend -- too much a friend
In earlier days -- a friend will not deceive thee.
Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou canst)
A tale -- a pretty tale -- and heed thou not
Though it be rife with woe: It answers me.
It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks,
And Beauty long deceased -- remembers me
Of Joy departed -- Hope, the Seraph Hope,
Inurned and entombed: -- now, in a tone
Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible,
Whispers of early grave untimely yawning
For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true- thou liest not!
Thou hast no end to gain -- no heart to break --
Castiglione lied who said he loved --
Thou true -- he false! -- false! -- false!
(_While she speaks, a monk enters her apartment, and approaches

_Monk._ Refuge thou hast,
Sweet daughter, in Heaven. Think of eternal things!
Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray!

_Lal._ (arising hurriedly.) I _cannot_ pray! -- My soul is at war
with God!
The frightful sounds of merriment below
Disturb my senses -- go! I cannot pray --
The sweet airs from the garden worry me!
Thy presence grieves me -- go! -- thy priestly raiment
Fills me with dread- thy ebony crucifix
With horror and awe!

_Monk._ Think of thy precious soul!

_ Lal._ Think of my early days! -- think of my father
And mother in Heaven think of our quiet home,
And the rivulet that ran before the door!
Think of my little sisters! -- think of them!
And think of me! -- think of my trusting love
And confidence- his vows- my ruin -- think -- think
Of my unspeakable misery! -- begone!
Yet stay! yet stay! -- what was it thou saidst of prayer
And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith
And vows before the throne?

_Monk._ I did.

_ Lal._ Lal. 'Tis well.
There is a vow were fitting should be made --
A sacred vow, imperative, and urgent,
A solemn vow!

_Monk._ Daughter, this zeal is well !

_Lal._ Father, this zeal is anything but well !
Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing?
A crucifix whereon to register
This sacred vow? (_he hands her his own_)
Not that- Oh! no! -- no! -- no! (_shuddering_)
Not that! Not that! -- I tell thee, holy man,
Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me!
Stand back! I have a crucifix myself, --
I have a crucifix Methinks 'twere fitting
The deed -- the vow -- the symbol of the deed --
And the deed's register should tally, father!

(_draws a cross-handled dagger, and raises it on high_)
Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine
Is written in Heaven!

_Monk._ Thy words are madness, daughter,
And speak a purpose unholy- thy lips are livid --
Thine eyes are wild -- tempt not the wrath divine!
Pause ere too late! -- oh, be not -- be not rash!
Swear not the oath -- oh, swear it not!

_Lal. _'Tis sworn!


An apartment in a Palace. Politian and Baldazzar.

_Baldazzar_. -- -- -- Arouse thee now, Politian!
Thou must not -- nay indeed, indeed, shalt not
Give away unto these humors. Be thyself!
Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee,
And live, for now thou diest!

_Politian_. Not so, Baldazzar! _Surely_ I live.

_Bal_. Politian, it doth grieve me
To see thee thus.

_Pol_. Baldazzar, it doth grieve me
To give thee cause for grief, my honoured friend.
Command me, sir! what wouldst thou have me do?
At thy behest I will shake off that nature
Which from my, forefathers I did inherit,
Which with my mother's milk I did imbibe,
And be no more Politian, but some other.
Command me, sir!

_ Bal_. To the field, then -- to the field --
To the senate or the field.

_Pol_. Alas! Alas!
There is an imp would follow me even there!
There is an imp _hath_ followed me even there!
There is -- what voice was that?

_ Bal_. I heard it not.
I heard not any voice except thine own,
And the echo of thine own.

_ Pol_. Then I but dreamed.

_ Bal_. Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp -- the court,
Befit thee -- Fame awaits thee -- Glory calls --
And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear
In hearkening to imaginary sounds
And phantom voices.

_ Pol_. It _is_ a phantom voice!
Didst thou not hear it _then?_

_ Bal_. I heard it not.

_ Pol_. Thou heardst it not! -- Baldazaar, speak no more
To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts.
Oh! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death,
Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities
Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile!
We have been boys together -- schoolfellows --
And now are friends -- yet shall not be so long --
For in the eternal city thou shalt do me
A kind and gentle office, and a Power --
A Power august, benignant and supreme --
Shall then absolve thee of all further duties
Unto thy friend.

_ Bal_. Thou speakest a fearful riddle
I _will_ not understand.

_ Pol_. Yet now as Fate
Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low,
The sands of Time are changed to golden grains,
And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas! alas!
I _cannot_ die, having within my heart
So keen a relish for the beautiful
As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air
Is balmier now than it was wont to be --
Rich melodies are floating in the winds --
A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth --
And with a holier lustre the quiet moon
Sitteth in Heaven. -- Hist! hist! thou canst not say
Thou hearest not _now_, Baldazzar?

_ Bal_. Indeed I hear not.

_ Pol_. Not hear it! -- listen now! -- listen! -- the faintest sound
And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard!
A lady's voice! -- and sorrow in the tone!
Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell!
Again! -- again! -- how solemnly it falls
Into my heart of hearts! that eloquent voice
Surely I never heard -- yet it were well
Had I _but_ heard it with its thrilling tones
In earlier days!

_ Bal_. I myself hear it now.
Be still! -- the voice, if I mistake not greatly,
Proceeds from yonder lattice -- which you may see
Very plainly through the window -- it belongs,
Does it not? unto this palace of the Duke.
The singer is undoubtedly beneath
The roof of his Excellency -- and perhaps
Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke
As the betrothed of Castiglione,
His son and heir.

_ Pol_. Be still! -- it comes again!

_Voice_ "And is thy heart so strong
(_very faintly_) As for to leave me thus
Who hath loved thee so long

In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay -- say nay!"

_ Bal_. The song is English, and I oft have heard it
In merry England -- never so plaintively --
Hist! hist! it comes again!

_Voice_ "Is it so strong
(_more loudly_) As for to leave me thus
Who hath loved thee so long
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay -- say nay!"

_ Bal_. 'Tis hushed and all is still!

_ Pol_. All is _not_ still!

_ Bal_. Let us go down.

_ Pol_. Go down, Baldazzar, go!

_ Bal_. The hour is growing late -- the Duke awaits use --
Thy presence is expected in the hall
Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian?

_Voice_ "Who hath loved thee so long
(_distinctly_) In wealth and woe among,

And is thy heart so strong?

Say nay -- say nay!"

_ Bal_. Let us descend! -- 'tis time. Politian, give
These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray,
Your bearing lately savored much of rudeness
Unto the Duke. Arouse thee! and remember

_ Pol_. Remember? I do. Lead on! I _do_ remember.

Let us descend. Believe me I would give,
Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom
To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice --
"To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear
Once more that silent tongue."

_ Bal_. Let me beg you, sir,
Descend with me -- the Duke may be offended.
Let us go down, I pray you.

(_Voice loudly_) _Say nay! -- say nay!_

_ Pol. (aside)_ 'Tis strange! -- 'tis very strange -- methought the
Chimed in with my desires, and bade me stay!

(_approaching the window._)
Sweet voice! I heed thee, and will surely stay.
Now be this Fancy, by Heaven, or be it Fate,
Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make
Apology unto the Duke for me;
I go not down to-night.

_ Bal_. Your lordship's pleasure
Shall be attended to. Good-night, Politian.

_ Pol_. Good-night, my friend, good-night.


The gardens of a Palace -- Moonlight Lalage and Politian.

_Lalge_. And dost thou speak of love
To me, Politian? -- dost thou speak of love
To Lalage? -- ah, woe -- ah, woe is me!
This mockery is most cruel -- most cruel indeed!

_Politian_. Weep not! oh, sob not thus! -- thy bitter tears
Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage --
Be comforted! I know -- I know it all,
And _still_ I speak of love. Look at me, brightest
And beautiful Lalage! -- turn here thine eyes!
Thou askest me if I could speak of love,
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen.
Thou askest me that -- and thus I answer thee --
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. (_kneeling._)
Sweet Lalage, _I love thee_ -- _love thee_ -- _love thee_;
Thro' good and ill -- thro' weal and wo I _love thee_.
Not mother, with her first-born on her knee,
Thrills with intenser love than I for thee.
Not on God's altar, in any time or clime,
Burned there a holier fire than burneth now
Within my spirit for _thee_. And do I love? (_arising._)
Even for thy woes I love thee- even for thy woes-
Thy beauty and thy woes.

_ Lal_. Alas, proud Earl,
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me!
How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens
Pure and reproachless of thy princely line,
Could the dishonored Lalage abide?
Thy wife, and with a tainted memory-
MY seared and blighted name, how would it tally
With the ancestral honors of thy house,
And with thy glory?

_ Pol_. Speak not to me of glory!
I hate- I loathe the name; I do abhor
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing.
Art thou not Lalage and I Politian?
Do I not love- art thou not beautiful-
What need we more? Ha! glory!- now speak not of it.
By all I hold most sacred and most solemn-
By all my wishes now- my fears hereafter-
By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven-
There is no deed I would more glory in,
Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory
And trample it under foot. What matters it-
What matters it, my fairest, and my best,
That we go down unhonored and forgotten
Into the dust- so we descend together.
Descend together- and then- and then, perchance-

_ Lal_. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

_ Pol_. And then, perchance
Arise together, Lalage, and roam
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest,
And still-

_ Lal_. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

_ Pol_. And still together- together.

_ Lal_. Now Earl of Leicester!
Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts
I feel thou lovest me truly.

_ Pol_. Oh, Lalage!

(_throwing himself upon his knee._)
And lovest thou me?

_ Lal_. Hist! hush! within the gloom
Of yonder trees methought a figure passed-
A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless-
Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless.

(_walks across and returns._)
I was mistaken -- 'twas but a giant bough
Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian!

_ Pol_. My Lalage -- my love! why art thou moved?
Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience' self,
Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it,
Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night wind
Is chilly -- and these melancholy boughs
Throw over all things a gloom.

_ Lal_. Politian!
Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land
With which all tongues are busy -- a land new found --
Miraculously found by one of Genoa --
A thousand leagues within the golden west?
A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine,
And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests,
And mountains, around whose towering summits the winds
Of Heaven untrammelled flow -- which air to breathe
Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter
In days that are to come?

_ Pol_. O, wilt thou -- wilt thou
Fly to that Paradise -- my Lalage, wilt thou
Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten,
And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all.
And life shall then be mine, for I will live
For thee, and in thine eyes -- and thou shalt be
No more a mourner -- but the radiant Joys
Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope
Attend thee ever; and I will kneel to thee
And worship thee, and call thee my beloved,
My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife,
My all; -- oh, wilt thou -- wilt thou, Lalage,
Fly thither with me?

_ Lal_. A deed is to be done --
Castiglione lives!

_ Pol_. And he shall die! (_exit_)

_ Lal_. (_after a pause._) And- he- shall- die!- alas!
Castiglione die? Who spoke the words?
Where am I?- what was it he said?- Politian!
Thou art not gone- thou are not gone, Politian!
I feel thou art not gone- yet dare not look,
Lest I behold thee not; thou couldst not go
With those words upon thy lips- O, speak to me!
And let me hear thy voice- one word- one word,
To say thou art not gone,- one little sentence,
To say how thou dost scorn- how thou dost hate
My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou art not gone-
O speak to me! I knew thou wouldst not go!
I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go.
Villain, thou art not gone- thou mockest me!
And thus I clutch thee- thus!- He is gone, he is gone
Gone- gone. Where am I?- 'tis well- 'tis very well!
So that the blade be keen- the blow be sure,
'Tis well, 'tis very well- alas! alas!


The suburbs. Politian alone.

_Politian_. This weakness grows upon me. I am faint,
And much I fear me ill- it will not do
To die ere I have lived!- Stay, stay thy hand,
O Azrael, yet awhile!- Prince of the Powers
Of Darkness and the Tomb, O pity me!
O pity me! let me not perish now,
In the budding of my Paradisal Hope!
Give me to live yet- yet a little while:
'Tis I who pray for life- I who so late
Demanded but to die!- what sayeth the Count?

_Enter Baldazzar._

_ Baldazzar_. That knowing no cause of quarrel or of feud
Between the Earl Politian and himself.
He doth decline your cartel.

_ Pol_. What didst thou say?
What answer was it you brought me, good Baldazzar?
With what excessive fragrance the zephyr comes
Laden from yonder bowers!- a fairer day,
Or one more worthy Italy, methinks
No mortal eyes have seen!- what said the Count?

_ Bal_. That he, Castiglione' not being aware
Of any feud existing, or any cause
Of quarrel between your lordship and himself,
Cannot accept the challenge.

_ Pol_. It is most true --
All this is very true. When saw you, sir,
When saw you now, Baldazzar, in the frigid
Ungenial Britain which we left so lately,
A heaven so calm as this- so utterly free
From the evil taint of clouds?- and he did say?

_ Bal_. No more, my lord, than I have told you, sir:
The Count Castiglione will not fight,
Having no cause for quarrel.

_ Pol_. Now this is true-
All very true. Thou art my friend, Baldazzar,
And I have not forgotten it- thou'lt do me
A piece of service; wilt thou go back and say
Unto this man, that I, the Earl of Leicester,
Hold him a villain?- thus much, I prythee, say
Unto the Count- it is exceeding just
He should have cause for quarrel.

_ Bal_. My lord!- my friend!-

_ Pol_. (_aside._) 'Tis he!- he comes himself? (aloud) Thou reasonest
I know what thou wouldst say- not send the message-
Well!- I will think of it- I will not send it.
Now prythee, leave me- hither doth come a person
With whom affairs of a most private nature
I would adjust.

_ Bal_. I go- to-morrow we meet,
Do we not?- at the Vatican.

_ Pol_. At the Vatican. (_exit

_ Enter Castigilone._

_ Cas_. The Earl of Leicester here!

_ Pol_. I am the Earl of Leicester, and thou seest,
Dost thou not? that I am here.

_ Cas_. My lord, some strange,
Some singular mistake -- misunderstanding --
Hath without doubt arisen: thou hast been urged
Thereby, in heat of anger, to address
Some words most unaccountable, in writing,
To me, Castiglione; the bearer being
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. I am aware
Of nothing which might warrant thee in this thing,
Having given thee no offence. Ha!- am I right?
'Twas a mistake? -- undoubtedly -- we all
Do err at times.

_ Pol_. Draw, villain, and prate no more!

_Cas. _Ha! -- draw? -- and villain? have at thee then at once,
Proud Earl! (_draws._)

_ Pol_. (_drawing._) Thus to the expiatory tomb,
Untimely sepulchre, I do devote thee
In the name of Lalage!

_Cas. _(_letting fall his sword and recoiling to the extremity of the

Of Lalage!
Hold off -- thy sacred hand! -- avaunt, I say!
Avaunt -- I will not fight thee -- indeed I dare not.

_ Pol_. Thou wilt not fight with me didst say, Sir Count?
Shall I be baffled thus? -- now this is well;
Didst say thou darest not? Ha!

_Cas. _I dare not -- dare not --
Hold off thy hand -- with that beloved name
So fresh upon thy lips I will not fight thee --
I cannot -- dare not.

_ Pol_. Now by my halidom
I do believe thee! -- coward, I do believe thee!

_Cas. _Ha! -- coward! -- this may not be!

(_clutches his sword and staggers towards POLITIAN, but his purpose
is changed before reaching him, and he falls upon his knee at the feet of
the Earl_)

Alas! my lord,
It is -- it is -- most true. In such a cause
I am the veriest coward. O pity me!

_ Pol_. (_greatly softened._) Alas!- I do- indeed I pity thee.

_Cas. _And Lalage-

_ Pol_. Scoundrel!- arise and die!

_Cas. _It needeth not be -- thus -- thus -- O let me die
Thus on my bended knee. It were most fitting
That in this deep humiliation I perish.
For in the fight I will not raise a hand
Against thee, Earl of Leicester. Strike thou home --

(_baring his bosom._)
Here is no let or hindrance to thy weapon-
Strike home. I _will not_ fight thee.

_ Pol_. Now, s' Death and Hell!
Am I not- am I not sorely- grievously tempted
To take thee at thy word? But mark me, sir,
Think not to fly me thus. Do thou prepare
For public insult in the streets -- before
The eyes of the citizens. I'll follow thee
Like an avenging spirit I'll follow thee
Even unto death. Before those whom thou lovest-
Before all Rome I'll taunt thee, villain, -- I'll taunt thee,
Dost hear? with _cowardice_ -- thou _wilt not_ fight me?
Thou liest! thou _shalt!_ (_exit_.)

_Cas. _Now this indeed is just!
Most righteous, and most just, avenging Heaven!

~~~ End of Text ~~~


{In the book there is a gap in numbering the notes between 12 and 29.


29. Such portions of "Politian" as are known to the public first saw the
light of publicity in the "Southern Literary Messenger" for December,
1835, and January, 1836, being styled "Scenes from Politian: an
unpublished drama." These scenes were included, unaltered, in the 1845
collection of Poems, by Poe. The larger portion of the original draft
subsequently became the property of the present editor, but it is not
considered just to the poet's memory to publish it. The work is a hasty
and unrevised production of its author's earlier days of literary labor;
and, beyond the scenes already known, scarcely calculated to enhance his
reputation. As a specimen, however, of the parts unpublished, the
following fragment from the first scene of Act II. may be offered. The
Duke, it should be premised, is uncle to Alessandra, and father of
Castiglione her betrothed.

_Duke. _Why do you laugh?

_Castiglione. _Indeed

I hardly know myself. Stay! Was it not
On yesterday we were speaking of the Earl?
Of the Earl Politian? Yes! it was yesterday.
Alessandra, you and 1, you must remember!
We were walking in the garden.

_Duke, _Perfectly.
I do remember it-what of it-what then?

_Cas. 0 _nothing-nothing at all.

_Duke. _Nothing at all !
It is most singular that you should laugh
'At nothing at all!

_Cas._ Most singular-singular!

_Duke. Look you, _Castiglione, be so kind
As tell me, sir, at once what 'tis you mean.
What are you talking of?

_Cas. _Was it not so?
We differed in opinion touching him.

_Duke. _Him!--Whom?

_Cas. _Why, sir, the Earl Politian.

_Duke. _The Earl of Leicester! Yes!--is it he you mean?
We differed, indeed. If I now recollect
The words you used were that the Earl you knew
Was neither learned nor mirthful.

_Cas. _Ha! ha!--now did I?

_Duke. _That did you, sir, and well I knew at the time
You were wrong, it being not the character
Of the Earl-whom all the world allows to be
A most hilarious man. Be not, my son,
Too positive again.

_Cas. 'Tis _singular !
Most singular! I could not think it possible
So little time could so much alter one!
To say the truth about an hour ago,
As I was walking with the Count San Ozzo,
All arm in arm, we met this very man
The Earl-he, with his friend Baldazzar,
Having just arrived in Rome. Hal ha! he is altered!
Such an account he gave me of his journey!
'Twould have made you die with laughter-such tales he told
Of his caprices and his merry freaks
Along the road-such oddity-such humor--
Such wit-such whim-such flashes of wild merriment
Set off too in such full relief by the grave
Demeanor of his friend-who, to speak the truth,
Was gravity itself--

_Duke. _Did I not tell you?

_Cas. You _did-and yet 'tis strange! but true as strange,
How much I was mistaken ! I always thought
The Earl a gloomy man.

_Duke._ So, so,_ you _see! Be not too positive. Whom have we here?
It can not be the Earl?

_Cas._ The Earl! Oh, no! 'Tis not the Earl-but yet it is-and leaning
Upon his friend Baldazzar. AM welcome, sir!

(_Enter Politian and Baldazzar._)
My lord, a second welcome let me give you
To Rome-his Grace the Duke of Broglio.
Father! this is the Earl Politian, Earl
Of Leicester in Great Britain. _[Politian bows haughtily_.]
That, his friend
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. The Earl has letters,
So please you, for Your Grace.

_Duke. _Hal ha! Most welcome
To Rome and to our palace, Earl Politian!
And you, most noble Duke! I am glad to see you!
I knew your father well, my Lord Politian.
Castiglione! call your cousin hither,
And let me make the noble Earl acquainted
With your betrothed. You come, sir, at a time
Most seasonable. The wedding--

_Politian. _Touching those letters, sir,
Your son made mention of--your son, is he not?
Touching those letters, sir, I wot not of them.
If such there be, my friend Baldazzar here--
Baldazzar! ah!--my friend Baldazzar here
Will hand them to Your Grace. I would retire.

_Duke. _Retire!--So soon?

Came What ho ! Benito! Rupert!
His lordship's chambers-show his lordship to them!
His lordship is unwell. _(Enter Benito.)_

_Ben. _This way, my lord! _(Exit, followed by Politian_.)

_Duke. _Retire! Unwell!

_Bal_. So please you, sir. I fear me
'Tis as you say--his lordship is unwell.
The damp air of the evening-the fatigue
Of a long journey--the--indeed I had better
Follow his lordship. He must be unwell.
I will return anon.

_Duke. _Return anon!
Now this is very strange! Castiglione!
This way, my son, I wish to speak with thee.
You surely were mistaken in what you said
Of the Earl, mirthful, indeed!--which of us said
Politian was a melancholy man? _(Exeunt.)_


~~~ End of Notes ~~~

End of Poems of Manhood




"WEST POINT, 1831.

"DEAR B . . . . . . . . . Believing only a portion of my former volume to
be worthy a second edition-that small portion I thought it as well to
include in the present book as to republish by itself. I have therefore
herein combined 'Al Aaraaf' and 'Tamerlane' with other poems hitherto
unprinted. Nor have I hesitated to insert from the 'Minor Poems,' now
omitted, whole lines, and even passages, to the end that being placed in a
fairer light, and the trash shaken from them in which they were imbedded,
they may have some chance of being seen by posterity.

"It has been said that a good critique on a poem may be written by one who
is no poet himself. This, according to your idea and _mine _of poetry, I
feel to be false-the less poetical the critic, the less just the critique,
and the converse. On this account, and because there are but few B-'s in
the world, I would be as much ashamed of the world's good opinion as proud
of your own. Another than yourself might here observe, 'Shakespeare is in
possession of the world's good opinion, and yet Shakespeare is the
greatest of poets. It appears then that the world judge correctly, why
should you be ashamed of their favorable judgment?' The difficulty lies in
the interpretation of the word 'judgment' or 'opinion.' The opinion is the
world's, truly, but it may be called theirs as a man would call a book
his, having bought it; he did not write the book, but it is his; they did
not originate the opinion, but it is theirs. A fool, for example, thinks
Shakespeare a great poet-yet the fool has never read Shakespeare. But the
fool's neighbor, who is a step higher on the Andes of the mind, whose head
(that is to say, his more exalted thought) is too far above the fool to be
seen or understood, but whose feet (by which I mean his everyday actions)
are sufficiently near to be discerned, and by means of which that
superiority is ascertained, which but for them would never have been
discovered-this neighbor asserts that Shakespeare is a great poet--the
fool believes him, and it is henceforward his _opinion. _This neighbor's
own opinion has, in like manner, been adopted from one above him, and so,
ascendingly, to a few gifted individuals who kneel around the summit,
beholding, face to face, the master spirit who stands upon the pinnacle.

"You are aware of the great barrier in the path of an American writer. He
is read, if at all, in preference to the combined and established wit of
the world. I say established; for it is with literature as with law or
empire-an established name is an estate in tenure, or a throne in
possession. Besides, one might suppose that books, like their authors,
improve by travel-their having crossed the sea is, with us, so great a
distinction. Our antiquaries abandon time for distance; our very fops
glance from the binding to the bottom of the title-page, where the mystic
characters which spell London, Paris, or Genoa, are precisely so many
letters of recommendation.

"I mentioned just now a vulgar error as regards criticism. I think the
notion that no poet can form a correct estimate of his own writings is
another. I remarked before that in proportion to the poetical talent would
be the justice of a critique upon poetry. Therefore a bad poet would, I
grant, make a false critique, and his self-love would infallibly bias his
little judgment in his favor; but a poet, who is indeed a poet, could not,
I think, fail of making-a just critique; whatever should be deducted on
the score of self-love might be replaced on account of his intimate
acquaintance with the subject; in short, we have more instances of false
criticism than of just where one's own writings are the test, simply
because we have more bad poets than good. There are, of course, many
objections to what I say: Milton is a great example of the contrary; but
his opinion with respect to the 'Paradise Regained' is by no means fairly
ascertained. By what trivial circumstances men are often led to assert
what they do not really believe! Perhaps an inadvertent word has descended
to posterity. But, in fact, the 'Paradise Regained' is little, if at all,
inferior to the 'Paradise Lost,' and is only supposed so to be because men
do not like epics, whatever they may say to the contrary, and, reading
those of Milton in their natural order, are too much wearied with the
first to derive any pleasure from the second.

"I dare say Milton preferred 'Comus' to either-. if so-justly.

"As I am speaking of poetry, it will not be amiss to touch slightly upon
the most singular heresy in its modern history-the heresy of what is
called, very foolishly, the Lake School. Some years ago I might have been
induced, by an occasion like the present, to attempt a formal refutation
of their doctrine; at present it would be a work of supererogation. The
wise must bow to the wisdom of such men as Coleridge and Southey, but,
being wise, have laughed at poetical theories so prosaically exemplifled.

"Aristotle, with singular assurance, has declared poetry the most
philosophical of all writings*-but it required a Wordsworth to pronounce
it the most metaphysical. He seems to think that the end of poetry is, or
should be, instruction; yet it is a truism that the end of our existence
is happiness; if so, the end of every separate part of our existence,
everything connected with our existence, should be still happiness.
Therefore the end of instruction should be happiness; and happiness is
another name for pleasure;-therefore the end of instruction should be
pleasure: yet we see the above-mentioned opinion implies precisely the

"To proceed: _ceteris paribus, _be who pleases is of more importance to
his fellow-men than he who instructs, since utility is happiness, and
pleasure is the end already obtained which instruction is merely the means
of obtaining.

"I see no reason, then, why our metaphysical poets should plume themselves
so much on the utility of their works, unless indeed they refer to
instruction with eternity in view; in which case, sincere respect for
their piety would not allow me to express my contempt for their judgment;
contempt which it would be difficult to conceal, since their writings are
professedly to be understood by the few, and it is the many who stand in
need of salvation. In such case I should no doubt be tempted to think of
the devil in 'Melmoth.' who labors indefatigably, through three octavo
volumes, to accomplish the destruction of one or two souls, while any
common devil would have demolished one or two thousand.

"Against the subtleties which would make poetry a study-not a passion-it
becomes the metaphysician to reason-but the poet to protest. Yet
Wordsworth and Coleridge are men in years; the one imbued in contemplation
from his childhood; the other a giant in intellect and learning. The
diffidence, then, with which I venture to dispute their authority would be
overwhelming did I not feel, from the bottom of my heart, that learning
has little to do with the imagination-intellect with the passions-or age
with poetry.

"'Trifles, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below,'

are lines which have done much mischief. As regards the greater truths,
men oftener err by seeking them at the bottom than at the top; Truth lies
in the huge abysses where wisdom is sought-not in the palpable palaces
where she is found. The ancients were not always right in hiding -the
goddess in a well; witness the light which Bacon has thrown upon
philosophy; witness the principles of our divine faith -that moral
mechanism by which the simplicity of a child may overbalance the wisdom of
a man.

"We see an instance of Coleridge's liability to err, in his 'Biographia
Literaria'--professedly his literary life and opinions, but, in fact, a
treatise _de omni scibili et quibusdam aliis. _He goes wrong by reason of
his very profundity, and of his error we have a natural type in the
contemplation of a star. He who regards it directly and intensely sees, it
is true, the star, but it is the star without a ray-while he who surveys
it less inquisitively is conscious of all for which the star is useful to
us below-its brilliancy and its beauty.

"As to Wordsworth, I have no faith in him. That he had in youth the
feelings of a poet I believe-for there are glimpses of extreme delicacy in
his writings-(and delicacy is the poet's own kingdom-his _El Dorado)-but
they _have the appearance of a better day recollected; and glimpses, at
best, are little evidence of present poetic fire; we know that a few
straggling flowers spring up daily in the crevices of the glacier.

"He was to blame in wearing away his youth in contemplation with the end
of poetizing in his manhood. With the increase of his judgment the light
which should make it apparent has faded away. His judgment consequently is
too correct. This may not be understood-but the old Goths of Germany would
have understood it, who used to debate matters of importance to their
State twice, once when drunk, and once when sober-sober that they might
not be deficient in formality--drunk lest they should be destitute of

"The long wordy discussions by which he tries to reason us into admiration
of his poetry, speak very little in his favor: they are full of such
assertions as this (I have opened one of his volumes at random) -"Of
genius the only proof is the act of doing well what is worthy to be done,
and what was never done before;'-indeed? then it follows that in doing
what is unworthy to be done, or what _has _been done before, no genius can
be evinced; yet the picking of pockets is an unw orthy act, pockets have
been picked time immemorial, and Barrington, the pickpocket, in point of
genius, would have thought hard of a comparison with William Wordsworth,
the poet.

"Again, in estimating the merit of certain poems, whether they be Ossian's
or Macpherson's can surely be of little consequence, yet, in order to
prove their worthlessness, Mr. W. has expended many pages in the
controversy. _Tantaene animis? _Can great minds descend to such absurdity?
But worse still: that he may bear down every argument in favor of these
poems, he triumphantly drags forward a passage, in his abomination with
which he expects the reader to sympathize. It is the beginning of the epic
poem 'Temora.' 'The blue waves of Ullin roll in light; the green hills are
covered with day; trees shake their dusty heads in the breeze.' And this
this gorgeous, yet simple imagery, where all is alive and panting with
immortality-this, William Wordsworth, the author of 'Peter Bell,' has
_selected _for his contempt. We shall see what better he, in his own
person, has to offer. Imprimis:

"'And now she's at the pony's tail,
And now she's at the pony's head,
On that side now, and now on this;
And, almost stifled with her bliss,

A few sad tears does Betty shed. . . .
She pats the pony, where or when
She knows not . . . . happy Betty Foy!
Oh, Johnny, never mind the doctor!'


"'The dew was falling fast, the-stars began to blink;
I heard a voice: it said-"Drink, pretty creature, drink!"
And, looking o'er the hedge, be-fore me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a-maiden at its side.
No other sheep was near,--the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was-tether'd to a stone.'

"Now, we have no doubt this is all true: we will believe it, indeed we
will, Mr. W. Is it sympathy for the sheep you wish to excite? I love a
sheep from the bottom of my heart.

"But there are occasions, dear B-, there are occasions when even
Wordsworth is reasonable. Even Stamboul, it is said, shall have an end,
and the most unlucky blunders must come to a conclusion. Here is an
extract from his preface :-

"'Those who have been accustomed to the phraseology of modem writers, if
they persist in reading this book to a conclusion _(impossible!) will, _no
doubt, have to struggle with feelings of awkwardness; (ha! ha! ha!) they
will look round for poetry (ha! ha! ha! ha!), and will be induced to
inquire by what species of courtesy these attempts have been permitted to
assume that title.' Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

"Yet, let not Mr. W. despair; he has given immortality to a wagon, and the
bee Sophocles has transmitted to eternity a sore toe, and dignified a
tragedy with a chorus of turkeys.

"Of Coleridge, I can not speak but with reverence. His towering intellect!
his gigantic power! To use an author quoted by himself, _'Tai trouvé
souvent que la plupart des sectes ont raison dans une bonne partie de ce
qu'elles avancent, mais non pas en ce qu'elles nient , ' and _to employ
his own language, he has imprisoned his own conceptions by the barrier he
has erected against those of others. It is lamentable to think that such a
mind should be buried in metaphysics, and, like the Nyctanthes, waste its
perfume upon the night alone. In reading that man's poetry, I tremble like
one who stands upon a volcano, conscious from the very darkness bursting
from the crater, of the fire and the light that are weltering below.

"What is poetry?-Poetry! that Proteus-like idea, with as many appellations
as the nine-titled Corcyra! 'Give me,' I demanded of a scholar some time
ago, 'give me a definition of poetry.' _'Trčsvolontiers;' _and he
proceeded to his library, brought me a Dr. Johnson, and overwhelmed me
with a definition. Shade of the immortal Shakespeare! I imagine to myself
the scowl of your spiritual eye upon the profanity of that scurrilous Ursa
Major. Think of poetry, dear B-, think of poetry, and then think of Dr.
Samuel Johnson! Think of all that is airy and fairy-like, and then of all
that is hideous and unwieldy; think of his huge bulk, the Elephant! and
then-and then think of the 'Tempest' -the 'Midsummer-Night's Dream'-
Prospero Oberon-and Titania!

"A poem, in my opinion, is opposed to a work of science by having, for its
_immediate _object, pleasure, not truth; to romance, by having, for its
object, an _indefinite _instead of a _definite _pleasure, being a poem
only so far as this object is attained; romance presenting perceptible
images with definite, poetry with indefinite sensations, to which end
music is an _essential, since _the comprehension of sweet sound is our
most indefinite conception. Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea,
is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, wi thout
the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.

"What was meant by the invective against him who had no music in his soul?

"To sum up this long rigmarole, I have, dear B-, what you, no doubt,
perceive, for the metaphysical poets as poets, the most sovereign
contempt. That they have followers proves nothing-

"'No Indian prince has to his palace
More followers than a thief to the gallows.

* GJL*4@J"J@

~~~~~~ End of Introduction ~~~~~~



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 thous not torn the Naiad from her flood,
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?

~~~ End of Text ~~~




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 -
Oh, 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.

* A star was discovered by Tycho Brahe which appeared suddenly in the
heavens - attained, in a few days, a brilliancy surpassing that of Jupiter
- then as suddenly disappeared, and has never been seen since.

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, 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.
The Sephalica, budding with young bees,
Uprear'd its purple stem around her knees :

* On Santa Maura - olim Deucadia. † Sappho.

*And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam'd -
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 pondering between many a sun,
While pettish tears adown her petals run :
‡And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth -
And died, ere scarce exalted into birth,
Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing
Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king :

* This flower is much noticed by Lewenhoeck and Tournefort. The bee,
feeding upon its blossom, becomes intoxicated.

† Clytia - The Chrysanthemum Peruvianum, or, to employ a better-known
term, the turnsol - which continually turns towards the sun, covers
itself, like Peru, the country from which it comes, with dewy clouds which
cool and refresh its flowers during the most violent heat of the day. -
_B. de St. Pierre_.

‡ There is cultivated in the king's garden at Paris, a species of
serpentine aloes without prickles, whose large and beautiful flower
exhales a strong odour of the vanilla, during the time of its expansion,
which is very short. It does not blow till towards the month of July - you
then perceive it gradually open its petals - expand them - fade and die. -
_St. Pierre_.

*And Valisnerian lotus thither flown
From struggling with the waters of the Rhone :
†And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante !
Isola d'oro ! - Fior di Levante !
‡And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever
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 :

"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 -

* There is found, in the Rhone, a beautiful lily of the Valisnerian
kind. Its stem will stretch to the length of three or four feet - thus
preserving its head above water in the swellings of the river.

† The Hyacinth.

‡ It is a fiction of the Indians, that Cupid was first seen floating
in one of these down the river Ganges - and that he still loves the cradle
of his childhood.

§ And golden vials full of odors which are the prayers of the saints.
- _Rev. St. John_.

Who livest - _that_ we know -
In Eternity - we feel -
But the shadow of whose brow

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