The Bells, and Other Poems

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 38

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.

[Illustration: Tamerlane]

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 chained down--
And crouches to a keeper's hand--
Not so in deserts where the grand--
The wild--the terrible conspire
With their own breath to fan his fire.

Look'round thee now on Samarcand!
Is 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

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