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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 176

"June." I quote only a portion of it:


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

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

I know, I know I should not see
The season's glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me;
Nor its wild music flow;

But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,
They might not haste to go.
Soft airs and song, and light and bloom,
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.

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


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


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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition [Illustration] [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
Page 1
It is felt that no other introduction could be more happily conceived or executed.
Page 2
Most writers—poets in especial—prefer having it understood that they compose by a species of fine phrenzy—an ecstatic intuition—and would positively shudder at letting the public take a.
Page 3
What we term a long poem is, in fact, merely a succession of brief ones—that is.
Page 4
It is needless to demonstrate that a poem is such, only inasmuch as it intensely excites, by elevating, the soul; and all intense excitements are, through a psychal necessity, brief.
Page 5
Now the object, Truth, or the satisfaction of the intellect, and the object, Passion, or the excitement of the heart, are, although attainable, to a certain extent, in poetry, far more readily attainable in prose.
Page 6
The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had predetermined as the tone of the poem.
Page 7
Perceiving the opportunity thus afforded me—or, more strictly, thus forced upon me in the progress of the construction—I first established in mind the climax, or concluding query—that query to which “Nevermore” should be in the last place an answer—that in reply to which this word “Nevermore” should involve.
Page 8
Here, then, the poem may be said to have its beginning—at the end, where all works of art should begin—for it was here, at this point of my pre-considerations, that I first put pen to paper in the composition of the stanza: “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.
Page 9
The effect of this originality of combination is aided by other unusual and some altogether novel effects, arising from an extension of the application of the principles of rhyme and alliteration.
Page 10
With the dénouement proper—with the Raven’s reply, “Nevermore,” to the lover’s final demand if he shall meet his mistress in another world—the poem, in its obvious phase, that of a simple narrative, may be said to have its completion.
Page 11
Two things are invariably required: first, some amount of complexity, or, more properly, adaptation; and, secondly, some amount of suggestiveness—some under-current, however indefinite, of meaning.
Page 12
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.
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” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
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” .
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” [Illustration] 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: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.