Halaman utama Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Illustrated)

Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Illustrated)

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The Poetry



The Tales



The Novels



The Play


The Essays


The Literary Criticism





The Letters



The Criticism

EDGAR A. POE by James Russell Lowell.





The Biographies


THE DREAMER by Mary Newton Stanard

MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR by Rufus Wilmot Griswold

DEATH OF EDGAR A. POE. by N. P. Willis

Delphi Classics 2011



The Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe's Birthplace, Carver Street, Boston





TO ——

TO ——








































TO F——S S. O——D








TO F——






















































































TO ——

TO ——


TO F——


TO F——S S. O——D













This is the earliest surviving poem in Poe's hand. It is written on the same page as some financial records for John Allan's business. These notes were filed among the Ellis & Allan papers for November 1824. John Allan was the young Edgar's foster-father.

Last night, with many cares and toils oppress'd

Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest —

Poe as a child


For the argument in favor of accepting this poem as by Poe, refer to Jay B. Hubbell, "'O, Tempora! O, Mores!' A Juvenile Poem by Edgar Allan Poe," Elizabethan Studies and Other Essays in Honor of George F. Reynolds, University of Colorado Studies, series B, Studies in the Humanities, vol. 2, no. 4 pp. 314-321.

O, Times! O, Manners! It is my opinion

That you are changing sadly your dominion —

I mean the reign of manners hath long ceased,

For men have none at all, or bad at least;

And as for times, altho' 'tis said by many

The "good old times" were far the worst of any,

Of which sound doctrine l believe each tittle,

Yet still I think these worse than them a little.

I've been a thinking — isn't that the phrase? —

I like your Yankee words and Yankee ways —

I've been a thinking, whether it were best

To take things seriously, or all in jest;

Whether, with grim Heraclitus of yore,

To weep, as he did, till his eyes were sore,

Or rather laugh with him, that queer philosopher,

Democritus of Thrace, who used to toss over

The page of life and grin at the dog-ears,

As though he'd say, "Why, who the devil cares?"

This is a question which, oh heaven, withdraw

The luckless query from a member's claw!

Instead of two sides, Job [Bob] has nearly eight,

Each fit to furnish forth four hours debate.

What shall be done? I'll lay it on the table,

And take the matter up when I'm more able,

And, in the meantime, to prevent all bother,

I'll neither laugh with one, nor cry with t'other,

Nor deal in flatt'ry or aspersions foul,

But, taking one by each hand, merely growl.

Ah, growl, say you, my friend, and pray at what?

Why, really, sir, I almost had forgot —

But, damn it, sir, I deem it a disgrace

That things should stare us boldly in the face,

And daily strut the street with bows and scrapes,

Who would be men by imitating apes.

I beg your pardon, reader, for the oath

The monkeys make me swear, though something loth;

I'm apt to be discursive in my style,

But pray be patient; yet a little while

Will change me, and as politicians do,

I'll mend my manners and my measures too.

Of all the cities — and I've seen no few;

For I have travelled, friend, as well as you —

I don't remember one, upon my soul,

But take it generally upon the whole,

(As members say they like their logick [logic] taken,

Because divided, it may chance be shaken)

So pat, agreeable and vastly proper

As this for a neat, frisky counter-hopper;

Here he may revel to his heart's content,

Flounce like a fish in his own element,

Toss back his fine curls from their forehead fair,

And hop o'er counters with a Vester's air,

Complete at night what he began A.M.,

And having cheated ladies, dance with them;

For, at a ball, what fair one can escape

The pretty little hand that sold her tape,

Or who so cold, so callous to refuse

The youth who cut the ribbon for her shoes!

One of these fish, par excellence the beau —

God help me! — it has been my lot to know,

At least by sight, for I'm a timid man,

And always keep from laughing, if I can;

But speak to him, he'll make you such grimace,

Lord! to be grave exceeds the power of face.

The hearts of all the ladies are with him,

Their bright eyes on his Tom and Jerry brim

And dove-tailed coat, obtained at cost; while then

Those eyes won't turn on anything like men.

His very voice is musical delight,

His form, once seen, becomes a part of sight;

In short, his shirt collar, his look, his tone is

The "beau ideal" fancied for Adonis.

Philosophers have often held dispute

As to the seat of thought in man and brute;

For that the power of thought attends the latter

My friend, the beau, hath made a settled matter,

And spite of all dogmas, current in all ages,

One settled fact is better than ten sages.

For he does think, though I am oft in doubt

If I can tell exactly what about.

Ah, yes! his little foot and ankle trim,

'Tis there the seat of reason lies in him,

A wise philosopher would shake his head,

He then, of course, must shake his foot instead.

At me, in vengeance, shall that foot be shaken —

Another proof of thought, I'm not mistaken —

Because to his cat's eyes I hold a glass,

And let him see himself, a proper ass!

I think he'll take this likeness to himself,

But if he won't, he shall, a stupid elf,

And, lest the guessing throw the fool in fits,

I close the portrait with the name of PITTS.

Poe's mother


The very rare first edition cover of Poe’s first book of poetry


KIND solace in a dying hour!

Such, father, is not (now) my theme—

I will not madly deem that power

Of Earth may shrive me of the sin

Unearthly pride hath revell'd in—

I have no time to dote or dream:

You call it hope—that fire of fire!

It is but agony of desire:

If I can hope—Oh God! I can—

Its fount is holier—more divine—

I would not call thee fool, old man,

But such is not a gift of thine.

Know thou the secret of a spirit

Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.

O! yearning heart! I did inherit

Thy withering portion with the fame,

The searing glory which hath shone

Amid the jewels of my throne,

Halo of Hell! and with a pain

Not Hell shall make me fear again—

O! craving heart, for the lost flowers

And sunshine of my summer hours!

Th' undying voice of that dead time,

With its interminable chime,

Rings, in the spirit of a spell,

Upon thy emptiness—a knell.

I have not always been as now:

The fever'd diadem on my brow

I claim'd and won usurpingly—

Hath not the same fierce heirdom given

Rome to the Caesar—this to me?

The heritage of a kingly mind,

And a proud spirit which hath striven

Triumphantly with human kind.

On mountain soil I first drew life:

The mists of the Taglay have shed

Nightly their dews upon my head,

And, I believe, the winged strife

And tumult of the headlong air

Have nestled in my very hair.

So late from Heaven—that dew—it fell

(Mid dreams of an unholy night)

Upon me—with the touch of Hell,

While the red flashing of the light

From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er,

Appeared to my half-closing eye

The pageantry of monarchy,

And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar

Came hurriedly upon me, telling

Of human battle, where my voice,

My own voice, silly child!—was swelling

(O! how my spirit would rejoice,

And leap within me at the cry)

The battle-cry of Victory!

The rain came down upon my head

Unshelter'd—and the heavy wind

Was giantlike—so thou, my mind!—

It was but man, I thought, who shed

Laurels upon me: and the rush—

The torrent of the chilly air

Gurgled within my ear the crush

Of empires—with the captive's prayer—

The hum of suiters—and the tone

Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.

My passions, from that hapless hour,

Usurp'd a tyranny which men

Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power;

My innate nature—be it so:

But, father, there liv'd one who, then,

Then—in my boyhood—when their fire

Burn'd with a still intenser glow,

(For passion must, with youth, expire)

E'en then who knew this iron heart

In woman's weakness had a part.

I have no words—alas!—to tell

The loveliness of loving well!

Nor would I now attempt to trace

The more than beauty of a face

Whose lineaments, upon my mind,

Are—shadows on th' unstable wind:

Thus I remember having dwelt

Some page of early lore upon,

With loitering eye, till I have felt

The letters—with their meaning—melt

To fantasies—with none.

O, she was worthy of all love!

Love—as in infancy was mine—

'Twas such as angel minds above

Might envy; her young heart the shrine

On which my ev'ry hope and thought

Were incense—then a goodly gift,

For they were childish—and upright—

Pure—as her young example taught:

Why did I leave it, and, adrift,

Trust to the fire within, for light?

We grew in age—and love—together,

Roaming the forest, and the wild;

My breast her shield in wintry weather—

And, when the friendly sunshine smil'd,

And she would mark the opening skies,

I saw no Heaven—but in her eyes.

Young Love's first lesson is—the heart:

For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles,

When, from our little cares apart,

And laughing at her girlish wiles,

I'd throw me on her throbbing breast,

And pour my spirit out in tears—

There was no need to speak the rest—

No need to quiet any fears

Of her—who ask'd no reason why,

But turn'd on me her quiet eye!

Yet more than worthy of the love

My spirit struggled with, and strove,

When, on the mountain peak, alone,

Ambition lent it a new tone—

I had no being—but in thee:

The world, and all it did contain

In the earth—the air—the sea—

Its joy—its little lot of pain

That was new pleasure—the ideal,

Dim, vanities of dreams by night—

And dimmer nothings which were real—

(Shadows—and a more shadowy light!)

Parted upon their misty wings,

And, so, confusedly, became

Thine image, and—a name—a name!

Two separate—yet most intimate things.

I was ambitious—have you known

The passion, father? You have not:

A cottager, I mark'd a throne

Of half the world as all my own,

And murmur'd at such lowly lot—

But, just like any other dream,

Upon the vapour of the dew

My own had past, did not the beam

Of beauty which did while it thro'

The minute—the hour—the day—oppress

My mind with double loveliness.

We walk'd together on the crown

Of a high mountain which look'd down

Afar from its proud natural towers

Of rock and forest, on the hills—

The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers

And shouting with a thousand rills.

I spoke to her of power and pride,

But mystically—in such guise

That she might deem it nought beside

The moment's converse; in her eyes

I read, perhaps too carelessly—

A mingled feeling with my own—

The flush on her bright cheek, to me

Seem'd to become a queenly throne

Too well that I should let it be

Light in the wilderness alone.

I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then,

And donn'd a visionary crown—

Yet it was not that Fantasy

Had thrown her mantle over me—

But that, among the rabble—men,

Lion ambition is chain'd down—

And crouches to a keeper's hand—

Not so in deserts where the grand

The wild—the terrible conspire

With their own breath to fan his fire.

Look 'round thee now on Samarcand!—

Is not she queen of Earth? her pride

Above all cities? in her hand

Their destinies? in all beside

Of glory which the world hath known

Stands she not nobly and alone?

Falling—her veriest stepping-stone

Shall form the pedestal of a throne—

And who her sovereign? Timour—he

Whom the astonished people saw

Striding o'er empires haughtily

A diadem'd outlaw—

O! human love! thou spirit given,

On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!

Which fall'st into the soul like rain

Upon the Siroc wither'd plain,

And failing in thy power to bless

But leav'st the heart a wilderness!

Idea! which bindest life around

With music of so strange a sound

And beauty of so wild a birth—

Farewell! for I have won the Earth!

When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see

No cliff beyond him in the sky,

His pinions were bent droopingly—

And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.

'Twas sunset: when the sun will part

There comes a sullenness of heart

To him who still would look upon

The glory of the summer sun.

That soul will hate the ev'ning mist,

So often lovely, and will list

To the sound of the coming darkness (known

To those whose spirits hearken) as one

Who, in a dream of night, would fly

But cannot from a danger nigh.

What tho' the moon—the white moon

Shed all the splendour of her noon,

Her smile is chilly—and her beam,

In that time of dreariness, will seem

(So like you gather in your breath)

A portrait taken after death.

And boyhood is a summer sun

Whose waning is the dreariest one—

For all we live to know is known,

And all we seek to keep hath flown—

Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall

With the noon-day beauty—which is all.

I reach'd my home—my home no more—

For all had flown who made it so—

I pass'd from out its mossy door,

And, tho' my tread was soft and low,

A voice came from the threshold stone

Of one whom I had earlier known—

O! I defy thee, Hell, to show

On beds of fire that burn below,

A humbler heart—a deeper wo—

Father, I firmly do believe—

I know—for Death, who comes for me

From regions of the blest afar,

Where there is nothing to deceive,

Hath left his iron gate ajar,

And rays of truth you cannot see

Are flashing thro' Eternity—

I do believe that Eblis hath

A snare in ev'ry human path—

Else how, when in the holy grove

I wandered of the idol, Love,

Who daily scents his snowy wings

With incense of burnt offerings

From the most unpolluted things,

Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven

Above with trelliced rays from Heaven

No mote may shun—no tiniest fly

The light'ning of his eagle eye—

How was it that Ambition crept,

Unseen, amid the revels there,

Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt

In the tangles of Love's very hair?


TO ——


The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see

The wantonest singing birds

Are lips—and all thy melody

Of lip-begotten words—


Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrin'd

Then desolately fall,

O! God! on my funereal mind

Like starlight on a pall—


Thy heart—thy heart!—I wake and sigh,

And sleep to dream till day

Of truth that gold can never buy—

Of the trifles that it may.


TO ——

I HEED not that my earthly lot

Hath-little of Earth in it—

That years of love have been forgot

In the hatred of a minute:—

I mourn not that the desolate

Are happier, sweet, than I,

But that you sorrow for my fate

Who am a passer-by.



FAIR river! in thy bright, clear flow

Of crystal, wandering water,

Thou art an emblem of the glow

Of beauty—the unhidden heart—

The playful maziness of art

In old Alberto's daughter;

But when within thy wave she looks—

Which glistens then, and trembles—

Why, then, the prettiest of brooks

Her worshipper resembles;

For in my heart, as in thy stream,

Her image deeply lies—

His heart which trembles at the beam

Of her soul-searching eyes.



I SAW thee on thy bridal day—

When a burning blush came o'er thee,

Though happiness around thee lay,

The world all love before thee:

And in thine eye a kindling light

(Whatever it might be)

Was all on Earth my aching sight

Of Loveliness could see.

That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame—

As such it well may pass—

Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame

In the breast of him, alas!

Who saw thee on that bridal day,

When that deep blush would come o'er thee,

Though happiness around thee lay,

The world all love before thee.




Thy soul shall find itself alone

'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone—

Not one, of all the crowd, to pry

Into thine hour of secrecy:


Be silent in that solitude

Which is not loneliness—for then

The spirits of the dead who stood

In life before thee are again

In death around thee—and their will

Shall then overshadow thee: be still.


For the night—tho' clear—shall frown—

And the stars shall look not down,

From their high thrones in the Heaven,

With light like Hope to mortals given—

But their red orbs, without beam,

To thy weariness shall seem

As a burning and a fever

Which would cling to thee for ever:


Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish—

Now are visions ne'er to vanish—

From thy spirit shall they pass

No more—like dew-drop from the grass:


The breeze—the breath of God—is still—

And the mist upon the hill

Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,

Is a symbol and a token—

How it hangs upon the trees,

A mystery of mysteries!—



In visions of the dark night

I have dreamed of joy departed—

But a waking dreams of life and light

Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day

To him whose eyes are cast

On things around him with a ray

Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream—that holy dream,

While all the world were chiding,

Hath cheered me as a lovely beam

A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,

So trembled from afar-

What could there be more purely bright

In Truths day-star?



ROMANCE, who loves to nod and sing,

With drowsy head and folded wing,

Among the green leaves as they shake

Far down within some shadowy lake,

To me a painted paroquet

Hath been—a most familiar bird—

Taught me my alphabet to say—

To lisp my very earliest word

While in the wild wood I did lie,

A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal Condor years

So shake the very Heaven on high

With tumult as they thunder by,

I have no time for idle cares

Through gazing on the unquiet sky.

And when an hour with calmer wings

Its down upon thy spirit flings—

That little time with lyre and rhyme

To while away—forbidden things!

My heart would feel to be a crime

Unless it trembled with the strings.



DIM vales—and shadowy floods—

And cloudy-looking woods,

Whose forms we can't discover

For the tears that drip all over

Huge moons there wax and wane—


Every moment of the night—

Forever changing places—

And they put out the star-light

With the breath from their pale faces.

About twelve by the moon-dial

One, more filmy than the rest

(A kind which, upon trial,

They have found to be the best)

Comes down—still down—and down

With its centre on the crown

Of a mountain's eminence,

While its wide circumference

In easy drapery falls

Over hamlets, over halls,

Wherever they may be—

O'er the strange woods—o'er the sea—

Over spirits on the wing—

Over every drowsy thing—

And buries them up quite

In a labyrinth of light—

And then, how deep!—O, deep!

Is the passion of their sleep.

In the morning they arise,

And their moony covering

Is soaring in the skies,

With the tempests as they toss,

Like—almost any thing—

Or a yellow Albatross.

They use that moon no more

For the same end as before—

Videlicet a tent—

Which I think extravagant:

Its atomies, however,

Into a shower dissever,

Of which those butterflies,

Of Earth, who seek the skies,

And so come down again

(Never-contented things!)

Have brought a specimen

Upon their quivering wings.



IN spring of youth it was my lot

To haunt of the wide earth a spot

The which I could not love the less—

So lovely was the loneliness

Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,

And the tall pines that tower'd around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall

Upon that spot, as upon all,

And the mystic wind went by

Murmuring in melody—

Then—ah then I would awake

To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,

But a tremulous delight—

A feeling not the jewelled mine

Could teach or bribe me to define—

Nor Love—although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,

And in its gulf a fitting grave

For him who thence could solace bring

To his lone imagining—

Whose solitary soul could make

An Eden of that dim lake.



'TWAS noontide of summer,

And midtime of night,

And stars, in their orbits,

Shone pale, through the light

Of the brighter, cold moon.

'Mid planets her slaves,

Herself in the Heavens,

Her beam on the waves.

I gazed awhile

On her cold smile;

Too cold-too cold for me—

There passed, as a shroud,

A fleecy cloud,

And I turned away to thee,

Proud Evening Star,

In thy glory afar

And dearer thy beam shall be;

For joy to my heart

Is the proud part

Thou bearest in Heaven at night.,

And more I admire

Thy distant fire,

Than that colder, lowly light.




THE happiest day-the happiest hour

My seared and blighted heart hath known,

The highest hope of pride and power,

I feel hath flown.

Of power! said I? Yes! such I ween

But they have vanished long, alas!

The visions of my youth have been

But let them pass.


And pride, what have I now with thee?

Another brow may ev'n inherit

The venom thou hast poured on me

Be still my spirit!


The happiest day-the happiest hour

Mine eyes shall see-have ever seen

The brightest glance of pride and power

I feet have been:


But were that hope of pride and power

Now offered with the pain

Ev'n then I felt-that brightest hour

I would not live again:


For on its wing was dark alloy

And as it fluttered-fell

An essence-powerful to destroy

A soul that knew it well.



A dark unfathom'd tide

Of interminable pride—

A mystery, and a dream,

Should my early life seem;

I say that dream was fraught

With a wild, and waking thought

Of beings that have been,

Which my spirit hath not seen,

Had I let them pass me by,

With a dreaming eye!

Let none of earth inherit

That vision on my spirit;

Those thoughts I would control

As a spell upon his soul:

For that bright hope at last

And that light time have past,

And my worldly rest hath gone

With a sigh as it pass'd on

I care not tho' it perish

With a thought I then did cherish.



Translation from the Greek


WREATHED in myrtle, my sword I'll conceal

Like those champions devoted and brave,

When they plunged in the tyrant their steel,

And to Athens deliverance gave.


Beloved heroes! your deathless souls roam

In the joy breathing isles of the blest;

Where the mighty of old have their home

Where Achilles and Diomed rest


In fresh myrtle my blade I'll entwine,

Like Harmodius, the gallant and good,

When he made at the tutelar shrine

A libation of Tyranny's blood.


Ye deliverers of Athens from shame!

Ye avengers of Liberty's wrongs!

Endless ages shall cherish your fame,

Embalmed in their echoing songs!



Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!

My spirit not awak'ning, till the beam

Of an Eternity should bring the morrow:

Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,

'Twere better than the dull reality

Of waking life to him whose heart shall be,

And hath been ever, on the chilly earth,

A chaos of deep passion from his birth!

But should it be—that dream eternally

Continuing—as dreams have been to me

In my young boyhood—should it thus be given,

'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven!

For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright

In the summer sky; in dreamy fields of light,

And left unheedingly my very heart

In climes of mine imagining—apart

From mine own home, with beings that have been

Of mine own thought—what more could I have seen?

'Twas once & only once & the wild hour

From my rememberance shall not pass—some power

Or spell had bound me—'twas the chilly wind

Came o'er me in the night & left behind

Its image on my spirit, or the moon

Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon

Too coldly—or the stars—howe'er it was

That dream was as that night wind—let it pass.

I have been happy—tho' but in a dream

I have been happy—& I love the theme—

Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life—

As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife

Of semblance with reality which brings

To the delirious eye more lovely things

Of Paradise & Love—& all our own!

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

{From an earlier MS. Than in the book—ED.}




How often we forget all time, when lone

Admiring Nature's universal throne;

Her woods—her wilds—her mountains-the intense

Reply of Hers to Our intelligence!



IN youth I have known one with whom the Earth

In secret communing held-as he with it,

In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth:

Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit

From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth

A passionate light such for his spirit was fit

And yet that spirit knew-not in the hour

Of its own fervor-what had o'er it power.


Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought

To a fever* by the moonbeam that hangs o'er,

But I will half believe that wild light fraught

With more of sovereignty than ancient lore

Hath ever told-or is it of a thought

The unembodied essence, and no more

That with a quickening spell doth o'er us pass

As dew of the night-time, o'er the summer grass?


Doth o'er us pass, when, as th' expanding eye

To the loved object-so the tear to the lid

Will start, which lately slept in apathy?

And yet it need not be—(that object) hid

From us in life-but common-which doth lie

Each hour before us—but then only bid

With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken

T' awake us—'Tis a symbol and a token


Of what in other worlds shall be—and given

In beauty by our God, to those alone

Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven

Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone,

That high tone of the spirit which hath striven

Though not with Faith-with godliness—whose throne

With desperate energy 't hath beaten down;

Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.

* Query "fervor"?—ED.



How shall the burial rite be read?

The solemn song be sung?

The requiem for the loveliest dead,

That ever died so young?


Her friends are gazing on her,

And on her gaudy bier,

And weep!—oh! to dishonor

Dead beauty with a tear!


They loved her for her wealth—

And they hated her for her pride—

But she grew in feeble health,

And they love her—that she died.


They tell me (while they speak

Of her "costly broider'd pall")

That my voice is growing weak—

That I should not sing at all—


Or that my tone should be

Tun'd to such solemn song

So mournfully—so mournfully,

That the dead may feel no wrong.


But she is gone above,

With young Hope at her side,

And I am drunk with love

Of the dead, who is my bride.—


Of the dead—dead who lies

All perfum'd there,

With the death upon her eyes,

And the life upon her hair.


Thus on the coffin loud and long

I strike—the murmur sent

Through the grey chambers to my song,

Shall be the accompaniment.


Thou died'st in thy life's June—

But thou did'st not die too fair:

Thou did'st not die too soon,

Nor with too calm an air.


From more than fiends on earth,

Thy life and love are riven,

To join the untainted mirth

Of more than thrones in heaven—


Therefore, to thee this night

I will no requiem raise,

But waft thee on thy flight,

With a Pæan of old days.


This may be an unfinished poem, never published in Poe's lifetime. In the original manuscript, dated 1827, Poe makes references to classical works in each of his lines. The seven-line poem, according to Poe's notes, refers to John Milton's Paradise Lost, William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

Who hath seduced thee to this foul revolt

From the pure well of Beauty undefiled?

So banish from true wisdom to prefer

Such squalid wit to honourable rhyme?

To write? To scribble? Nonsense and no more?

I will not write upon this argument

To write is human -- not to write divine.


This 22-line poem was composed in 1829 and left untitled and unpublished during Poe’s lifetime. The original manuscript was signed "E. A. Poe" and dated March 17, 1829. In February of that year, Poe's foster mother Francis Allan had died. In September 1875, the poem, which had been in the possession of a family in Baltimore, was published with its title in Scribner's Monthly. The editor, E. L. Didier, also reproduced a facsimile of the manuscript, though he admitted he added the date himself. Alone is often interpreted as autobiographical, expressing the author's feelings of isolation and inner torment. Poet Daniel Hoffman believed Alone was evidence that "Poe really was a haunted man.” The poem, however, is an introspective about Poe's youth, written when he was only 20 years old.

From childhood's hour I have not been

As others were — I have not seen

As others saw — I could not bring

My passions from a common spring —

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow — I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone —

And all I lov'd — I lov'd alone —

Then — in my childhood — in the dawn

Of a most stormy life — was drawn

From ev'ry depth of good and ill

The mystery which binds me still —

From the torrent, or the fountain —

From the red cliff of the mountain —

From the sun that 'round me roll'd

In its autumn tint of gold —

From the lightning in the sky

As it pass'd me flying by —

From the thunder, and the storm —

And the cloud that took the form

(When the rest of Heaven was blue)

Of a demon in my view —


This unfinished poem is believed to have been written in May 1829. Only four lines are known to exist. It seems to come from a letter Poe wrote to Isaac Lea, noted as a publishing partner in Philadelphia who was interested in natural history, especially conchology. Poe attached his name to The Conchologist's First Book ten years later.

It was my choice or chance or curse

To adopt the cause for better or worse

And with my worldly goods & wit

And soul & body worship it ----


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?



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.

**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.


*** 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

What spirit shall reveal?

Tho' the beings whom thy Nesace,

Thy messenger hath known

Have dream'd for thy Infinity

*A model of their own—

Thy will is done, Oh, God!

The star hath ridden high

Thro' many a tempest, but she rode

Beneath thy burning eye;

And here, in thought, to thee—

In thought that can alone

Ascend thy empire and so be

A partner of thy throne—

* The Humanitarians held that God was to be understood as

having a really human form.—Vide Clarke's Sermons, vol.

1, page 26, fol. edit.

The drift of Milton's argument, leads him to employ language

which would appear, at first sight, to verge upon their

doctrine; but it will be seen immediately, that he guards

himself against the charge of having adopted one of the most

ignorant errors of the dark ages of the church.—Dr.

Sumner's Notes on Milton's Christian Doctrine.

This opinion, in spite of many testimonies to the contrary,

could never have been very general. Andeus, a Syrian of

Mesopotamia, was condemned for the opinion, as heretical. He

lived in the beginning of the fourth century. His disciples

were called Anthropmorphites.—Vide Du Pin.

Among Milton's poems are these lines:—

Dicite sacrorum præsides nemorum Deæ, &c.

Quis ille primus cujus ex imagine

Natura solers finxit humanum genus?

Eternus, incorruptus, æquævus polo,

Unusque et universus exemplar Dei.—And afterwards,

Non cui profundum Cæcitas lumen dedit

Dircæus augur vidit hunc alto sinu, &c.

*By winged Fantasy,

My embassy is given,

Till secrecy shall knowledge be

In the environs of Heaven."

She ceas'd—and buried then her burning cheek

Abash'd, amid the lilies there, to seek

A shelter from the fervour of His eye;

For the stars trembled at the Deity.

She stirr'd not—breath'd not—for a voice was there

How solemnly pervading the calm air!

A sound of silence on the startled ear

Which dreamy poets name "the music of the sphere."

Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call

"Silence"—which is the merest word of all.

All Nature speaks, and ev'n ideal things

Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings—

But ah! not so when, thus, in realms on high

The eternal voice of God is passing by,

And the red winds are withering in the sky!

**"What tho' in worlds which sightless cycles run,

Link'd to a little system, and one sun—

Where all my love is folly and the crowd

Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud,

The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath—

(Ah! will they cross me in my angrier path?)

What tho' in worlds which own a single sun

The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run,

* Seltsamen Tochter Jovis

Seinem Schosskinde

Der Phantasie.—Göethe.

** Sightless—too small to be seen—Legge.

Yet thine is my resplendency, so given

To bear my secrets thro' the upper Heaven.

Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly,

With all thy train, athwart the moony sky—

*Apart—like fire-flies in Sicilian night,

And wing to other worlds another light!

Divulge the secrets of thy embassy

To the proud orbs that twinkle—and so be

To ev'ry heart a barrier and a ban

Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man!"

Up rose the maiden in the yellow night,

The single-mooned eve!—on Earth we plight

Our faith to one love—and one moon adore—

The birth-place of young Beauty had no more.

As sprang that yellow star from downy hours

Up rose the maiden from her shrine of flowers,

And bent o'er sheeny mountain and dim plain

**Her way—but left not yet her Therasæan reign.

* I have often noticed a peculiar movement of the fire-flies;

—they will collect in a body and fly off, from a common

centre, into innumerable radii.

** Therasæa, or Therasea, the island mentioned by Seneca,

which, in a moment, arose from the sea to the eyes of

astonished mariners.

Part II.

HIGH on a mountain of enamell'd head—

Such as the drowsy shepherd on his bed

Of giant pasturage lying at his ease,

Raising his heavy eyelid, starts and sees

With many a mutter'd "hope to be forgiven"

What time the moon is quadrated in Heaven—

Of rosy head, that towering far away

Into the sunlit ether, caught the ray

Of sunken suns at eve—at noon of night,

While the moon danc'd with the fair stranger light—

Uprear'd upon such height arose a pile

Of gorgeous columns on th' unburthen'd air,

Flashing from Parian marble that twin smile

Far down upon the wave that sparkled there,

And nursled the young mountain in its lair.

*Of molten stars their pavement, such as fall

Thro' the ebon air, besilvering the pall

Of their own dissolution, while they die—

Adorning then the dwellings of the sky.

A dome, by linked light from Heaven let down,

Sat gently on these columns as a crown—

A window of one circular diamond, there,

Look'd out above into the purple air,

* Some star which, from the ruin'd roof Of shak'd Olympus,

by mischance, did fall.—Milton.

And rays from God shot down that meteor chain

And hallow'd all the beauty twice again,

Save when, between th' Empyrean and that ring,

Some eager spirit flapp'd his dusky wing.

But on the pillars Seraph eyes have seen

The dimness of this world: that greyish green

That Nature loves the best for Beauty's grave

Lurk'd in each cornice, round each architrave—

And every sculptur'd cherub thereabout

That from his marble dwelling peeréd out

Seem'd earthly in the shadow of his niche—

Achaian statues in a world so rich?

*Friezes from Tadmor and Persepolis—

From Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyss

**Of beautiful Gomorrah! O, the wave

Is now upon thee—but too late to save!

Sound loves to revel in a summer night:

Witness the murmur of the grey twilight

* Voltaire, in speaking of Persepolis, says, "Je connois

bien l'admiration qu'inspirent ces ruines—mais un palais

erigé au pied d'une chaine des rochers sterils—peut il

être un chef d'oevure des arts!" [Voila les arguments de M.


** "Oh! the wave"—Ula Degusi is the Turkish appellation;

but, on its own shores, it is called Bahar Loth, or

Almotanah. There were undoubtedly more than two cities

engluphed in the "dead sea." In the valley of Siddim were

five—Adrah, Zeboin, Zoar, Sodom and Gomorrah. Stephen of

Byzantium mentions eight, and Strabo thirteeen, (engulphed)

—but the last is out of all reason.

It is said, (Tacitus, Strabo, Josephus, Daniel of St. Saba, Nau,

Maundrell, Troilo, D'Arvieux) that after an excessive drought, the

vestiges of columns, walls, &c. are seen above the surface. At any

season, such remains may be discovered by looking down into the

transparent lake, and at such distances as would argue the existence of

many settlements in the space now usurped by the 'Asphaltites.'

*That stole upon the ear, in Eyraco,

Of many a wild star-gazer long ago—

That stealeth ever on the ear of him

Who, musing, gazeth on the distance dim.

And sees the darkness coming as a cloud—

***Is not its form—its voice—most palpable and loud?

But what is this?—it cometh—and it brings

A music with it—'tis the rush of wings—

A pause—and then a sweeping, falling strain

And Nesace is in her halls again.

From the wild energy of wanton haste

Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart;

And zone that clung around her gentle waist

Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart.

Within the centre of that hall to breathe

She paus'd and panted, Zanthe! all beneath,

The fairy light that kiss'd her golden hair

And long'd to rest, yet could but sparkle there!

***Young flowers were whispering in melody

To happy flowers that night—and tree to tree;

Fountains were gushing music as they fell

In many a star-lit grove, or moon-lit dell;

Yet silence came upon material things—

Fair flowers, bright waterfalls and angel wings—

And sound alone that from the spirit sprang

Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang:

* Eyraco—Chaldea.

** I have often thought I could distinctly hear the sound of

the darkness as it stole over the horizon.

*** Fairies use flowers for their charactery.—Merry Wives

of Windsor. [William Shakespeare]

"'Neath blue-bell or streamer—

Or tufted wild spray

That keeps, from the dreamer,

*The moonbeam away—

Bright beings! that ponder,

With half closing eyes,

On the stars which your wonder

Hath drawn from the skies,

Till they glance thro' the shade, and

Come down to your brow

Like—eyes of the maiden

Who calls on you now—

Arise! from your dreaming

In violet bowers,

To duty beseeming

These star-litten hours—

And shake from your tresses

Encumber'd with dew

The breath of those kisses

That cumber them too—

(O! how, without you, Love!

Could angels be blest?)

Those kisses of true love

That lull'd ye to rest!

Up!—shake from your wing

Each hindering thing:

The dew of the night—

It would weigh down your flight;

And true love caresses—

O! leave them apart!

* In Scripture is this passage—"The sun shall not harm

thee by day, nor the moon by night." It is perhaps not

generally known that the moon, in Egypt, has the effect of

producing blindness to those who sleep with the face exposed

to its rays, to which circumstance the passage evidently


They are light on the tresses,

But lead on the heart.

Ligeia! Ligeia!

My beautiful one!

Whose harshest idea

Will to melody run,

O! is it thy will

On the breezes to toss?

Or, capriciously still,

*Like the lone Albatross,

Incumbent on night

(As she on the air)

To keep watch with delight

On the harmony there?

Ligeia! whatever

Thy image may be,

No magic shall sever

Thy music from thee.

Thou hast bound many eyes

In a dreamy sleep—

But the strains still arise

Which thy vigilance keep—

The sound of the rain

Which leaps down to the flower,

And dances again

In the rhythm of the shower—

**The murmur that springs

From the growing of grass

* The Albatross is said to sleep on the wing.

** I met with this idea in an old English tale, which I am

now unable to obtain and quote from memory:—"The verie

essence and, as it were, springe-heade, and origine of all

musiche is the verie pleasaunte sounde which the trees of

the forest do make when they growe."

Are the music of things—

But are modell'd, alas!—

Away, then my dearest,

O! hie thee away

To springs that lie clearest

Beneath the moon-ray—

To lone lake that smiles,

In its dream of deep rest,

At the many star-isles

That enjewel its breast—

Where wild flowers, creeping,

Have mingled their shade,

On its margin is sleeping

Full many a maid—

Some have left the cool glade, and

* Have slept with the bee—

Arouse them my maiden,

On moorland and lea—

Go! breathe on their slumber,

All softly in ear,

The musical number

They slumber'd to hear—

For what can awaken

An angel so soon

* The wild bee will not sleep in the shade if there be

moonlight. The rhyme in this verse, as in one about sixty

lines before, has an appearance of affectation. It is,

however, imitated from Sir W. Scott, or rather from Claud

Halcro—in whose mouth I admired its effect:

O! were there an island,

Tho' ever so wild

Where woman might smile, and

No man be beguil'd, &c.

Whose sleep hath been taken

Beneath the cold moon,

As the spell which no slumber

Of witchery may test,

The rythmical number

Which lull'd him to rest?"

Spirits in wing, and angels to the view,

A thousand seraphs burst th' Empyrean thro',

Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight—

Seraphs in all but "Knowledge," the keen light

That fell, refracted, thro' thy bounds, afar

O Death! from eye of God upon that star:

Sweet was that error—sweeter still that death—

Sweet was that error—ev'n with us the breath

Of science dims the mirror of our joy—

To them 'twere the Simoom, and would destroy—

For what (to them) availeth it to know

That Truth is Falsehood—or that Bliss is Woe?

Sweet was their death—with them to die was rife

With the last ecstacy of satiate life—

Beyond that death no immortality—

But sleep that pondereth and is not "to be"—

And there—oh! may my weary spirit dwell—

*Apart from Heaven's Eternity—and yet how far from Hell!

* With the Arabians there is a medium between Heaven and

Hell, where men suffer no punishment, but yet do not attain

that tranquil and even happiness which they suppose to be

characteristic of heavenly enjoyment.

Un no rompido sueno—

Un dia puro—allegre—libre


Libre de amor—de zelo—

De odio—de esperanza—de rezelo.—-Luis Ponce de Leon.

Sorrow is not excluded from "Al Aaraaf," but it is that

sorrow which the living love to cherish for the dead, and

which, in some minds, resembles the delirium of opium. The

passionate excitement of Love and the buoyancy of spirit

attendant upon intoxication are its less holy pleasures—

the price of which, to those souls who make choice of "Al

Aaraaf" as their residence after life, is final death and


What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim,

Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn?

But two: they fell: for Heaven no grace imparts

To those who hear not for their beating hearts.

A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover—

O! where (and ye may seek the wide skies over)

Was Love, the blind, near sober Duty known?

*Unguided Love hath fallen—'mid "tears of perfect moan."

He was a goodly spirit—he who fell:

A wanderer by moss-y-mantled well—

A gazer on the lights that shine above—

A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love:

What wonder? For each star is eye-like there,

And looks so sweetly down on Beauty's hair—

And they, and ev'ry mossy spring were holy

To his love-haunted heart and melancholy.

The night had found (to him a night of wo)

Upon a mountain crag, young Angelo—

Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky,

And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath it lie.

Here sate he with his love—his dark eye bent

With eagle gaze along the firmament:

Now turn'd it upon her—but ever then

It trembled to the orb of EARTH again.

"Iante, dearest, see! how dim that ray!

How lovely 'tis to look so far away!

* There be tears of perfect moan

Wept for thee in Helicon.—Milton.

She seem'd not thus upon that autumn eve

I left her gorgeous halls—nor mourn'd to leave.

That eve—that eve—I should remember well—

The sun-ray dropp'd, in Lemnos, with a spell

On th'Arabesque carving of a gilded hall

Wherein I sate, and on the draperied wall—

And on my eye-lids—O the heavy light!

How drowsily it weigh'd them into night!

On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran

With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan:

But O that light!—I slumber'd—Death, the while,

Stole o'er my senses in that lovely isle

So softly that no single silken hair

Awoke that slept—or knew that it was there.

The last spot of Earth's orb I trod upon

*Was a proud temple call'd the Parthenon—

More beauty clung around her column'd wall

**Than ev'n thy glowing bosom beats withal,

And when old Time my wing did disenthral

Thence sprang I—as the eagle from his tower,

And years I left behind me in an hour.

What time upon her airy bounds I hung

One half the garden of her globe was flung

Unrolling as a chart unto my view—

Tenantless cities of the desert too!

Ianthe, beauty crowded on me then,

And half I wish'd to be again of men."

"My Angelo! and why of them to be?

A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee—

* It was entire in 1687—the most elevated spot in Athens.

** Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows

Than have the white breasts of the Queen of Love.—Marlowe.

And greener fields than in yon world above,

And women's loveliness—and passionate love."

"But, list, Ianthe! when the air so soft

*Fail'd, as my pennon'd spirit leapt aloft,

Perhaps my brain grew dizzy—but the world

I left so late was into chaos hurl'd—

Sprang from her station, on the winds apart,

And roll'd, a flame, the fiery Heaven athwart.

Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar

And fell—not swiftly as I rose before,

But with a downward, tremulous motion thro'

Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto!

Nor long the measure of my falling hours,

For nearest of all stars was thine to ours—

Dread star! that came, amid a night of mirth,

A red Dædalion on the timid Earth.

"We came—and to thy Earth—but not to us

Be given our lady's bidding to discuss:

We came, my love; around, above, below,

Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go,

Nor ask a reason save the angel-nod

She grants to us, as granted by her God—

But, Angelo, than thine grey Time unfurl'd

Never his fairy wing o'er fairier world!

Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes

Alone could see the phantom in the skies,

When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be

Headlong thitherward o'er the starry sea—

But when its glory swell'd upon the sky,

As glowing Beauty's bust beneath man's eye,

* Pennon—for pinion.—Milton.

We paus'd before the heritage of men,

And thy star trembled—as doth Beauty then!"

Thus, in discourse, the lovers whiled away

The night that waned and waned and brought no day.

They fell: for Heaven to them no hope imparts

Who hear not for the beating of their hearts.


This is an unpublished 9-line poem written in 1829 for Poe's cousin Elizabeth Rebecca Herring (the acrostic is her first name, spelled out by the first letter of each line). James H. Whitty discovered the poem and included it in his 1911 anthology of Poe's works under the title "From an Album." It was also published in Thomas Ollive Mabbott's definitive Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe in 1969 as "An Acrostic." The poem mentions "Endymion," referring to an 1818 poem by John Keats with that name. The "L. E. L." in the third line may be Letitia Elizabeth Landon, an English poet known for signing her work with those initials. "Zantippe" in line four is actually Xanthippe, wife of Socrates. The spelling of the name was changed to fit the acrostic.

Elizabeth it is in vain you say

"Love not"—thou sayest it in so sweet a way:

In vain those words from thee or L. E. L.

Zantippe's talents had enforced so well:

Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,

Breathe it less gently forth—and veil thine eyes.

Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried

To cure his love—was cured of all beside—

His folly—pride—and passion—for he died.


Believed to have been written in 1829, this poem was never published in Poe's lifetime. It was written for his Baltimore cousin, Elizabeth Rebecca Herring. Poe also wrote "An Acrostic" to her as well as the poem that would become "To F——s S. O——d."

Elizabeth, it surely is most fit

[Logic and common usage so commanding]

In thy own book that first thy name be writ,

Zeno and other sages notwithstanding;

And I have other reasons for so doing

Besides my innate love of contradiction;

Each poet - if a poet - in pursuing

The muses thro' their bowers of Truth or Fiction,

Has studied very little of his part,

Read nothing, written less - in short's a fool

Endued with neither soul, nor sense, nor art,

Being ignorant of one important rule,

Employed in even the theses of the school-

Called - I forget the heathenish Greek name

[Called anything, its meaning is the same]

"Always write first things uppermost in the heart."


Once it smiled a silent dell

Where the people did not dwell;

They had gone unto the wars,

Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,

Nightly, from their azure towers,

To keep watch above the flowers,

In the midst of which all day

The red sun-light lazily lay.

Now each visiter shall confess

The sad valley's restlessness.

Nothing there is motionless—

Nothing save the airs that brood

Over the magic solitude.

Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees

That palpitate like the chill seas

Around the misty Hebrides!

Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven

That rustle through the unquiet Heaven

Uneasily, from morn till even,

Over the violets there that lie

In myriad types of the human eye—

Over the lilies there that wave

And weep above a nameless grave!

They wave:—from out their fragrant tops

Eternal dews come down in drops.

They weep:—from off their delicate stems

Perennial tears descend in gems.



IN Heaven a spirit doth dwell

"Whose heart-strings are a lute;"

None sing so wildly well

As the angel Israfel,

And the giddy stars (so legends tell)

Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell

Of his voice, all mute.

Tottering above

In her highest noon

The enamoured moon

Blushes with love,

While, to listen, the red levin

(With the rapid Pleiads, even,

Which were seven,)

Pauses in Heaven

And they say (the starry choir

And all the listening things)

That Israfeli's fire

Is owing to that lyre

By which he sits and sings—

The trembling living wire

Of those unusual strings.

* And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lut, and

who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures.—KORAN.

But the skies that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty—

Where Love's a grown up God—

Where the Houri glances are

Imbued with all the beauty

Which we worship in a star.

Therefore, thou art not wrong,

Israfeli, who despisest

An unimpassion'd song:

To thee the laurels belong

Best bard, because the wisest!

Merrily live, and long!

The extacies above

With thy burning measures suit—

Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,

With the fervor of thy lute—

Well may the stars be mute!

Yes, Heaven is thine; but this

Is a world of sweets and sours;

Our flowers are merely—flowers,

And the shadow of thy perfect bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.

If I could dwell

Where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

He might not sing so wildly well

A mortal melody,

While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky.




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."


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!

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.



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.



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.



THOU wast all that to me, love,

For which my soul did pine—

A green isle in the sea, love,

A fountain and a shrine,

All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,

And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!

Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise

But to be overcast!

A voice from out the Future cries,

"On! on!"—but o'er the Past

(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies

Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me

The light of Life is o'er!

No more—no more—no more—

(Such language holds the solemn sea

To the sands upon the shore)

Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,

Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,

And all my nightly dreams

Are where thy dark eye glances,

And where thy footstep gleams—

In what ethereal dances,

By what eternal streams.



TYPE of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary

Of lofty contemplation left to Time

By buried centuries of pomp and power!

At length—at length—after so many days

Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst,

(Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,)

I kneel, an altered and an humble man,

Amid thy shadows, and so drink within

My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory!

Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld!

Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night!

I feel ye now—I feel ye in your strength—

O spells more sure than e'er Judæan king

Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane!

O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee

Ever drew down from out the quiet stars!

Here, where a hero fell, a column falls!

Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold,

A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat!

Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair

Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle!

Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled,

Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home,

Lit by the wanlight—wan light of the horned moon,

The swift and silent lizard of the stones!

But stay! these walls—these ivy-clad arcades—

These mouldering plinths—these sad and blackened shafts—

These vague entablatures—this crumbling frieze—

These shattered cornices—this wreck—this ruin—

These stones—alas! these gray stones—are they all—

All of the famed, and the colossal left

By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?

"Not all"—the Echoes answer me—"not all!

"Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever

"From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise,

"As melody from Memnon to the Sun.

"We rule the hearts of mightiest men—we rule

"With a despotic sway all giant minds.

"We are not impotent—we pallid stones.

"Not all our power is gone—not all our fame—

"Not all the magic of our high renown—

"Not all the wonder that encircles us—

"Not all the mysteries that in us lie—

"Not all the memories that hang upon

"And cling around about us as a garment,

"Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."



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.



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.



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!



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.



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!



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!"





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


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!

{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