The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe Including Essays on Poetry

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 114

leap within me at the cry)
The battle-cry of Victory!

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

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

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

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

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

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
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The Philosophy of Composition The Raven ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Foreword The initial intention of the publishers to present “The Raven” without preface, notes, or other extraneous matter that might detract from an undivided appreciation of the poem, has been somewhat modified by the introduction of Poe’s prose essay, “The Philosophy of Composition.
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I have often thought how interesting a magazine paper might be written by any author who would—that is to say who could—detail, step by step, the processes by which any one of his compositions attained its ultimate point of completion.
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I select “The Raven,” as most generally known.
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Holding in view these considerations, as well as that degree of excitement which I deemed not above the popular, while not below the critical, taste, I reached at once what I conceived the proper length for my intended poem—a length of about one hundred lines.
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The length, the province, and the tone, being thus determined, I betook myself to ordinary induction, with the view of obtaining some artistic piquancy which might serve me as a keynote in the construction of the poem—some pivot upon which the whole structure might turn.
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These points being settled, I next bethought me of the nature of my refrain.
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word, “Nevermore,” at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone, and in length about one hundred lines.
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The fact is, that originality (unless in minds of very unusual force) is by no means a matter, as some suppose, of impulse or intuition.
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It has an indisputable moral power in keeping concentrated the attention, and, of course, must not be confounded with mere unity of place.
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” Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to bear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.
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But in subjects so handled, however skilfully, or with however vivid an array of incident, there is always a certain hardness or nakedness which repels the artistical eye.
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The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical—but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza, that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen: And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore! [Illustration: _Fordham Cottage_] The Raven [Illustration] [Illustration] Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
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” [Illustration] But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
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” [Illustration] “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!— By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.
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