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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 18

Poe relinquished his laborious and ill-paid work on
the 'Evening Mirror', his marvellous poem of "The Raven" was published.
The effect was magical. Never before, nor, indeed, ever since, has a
single short poem produced such a great and immediate enthusiasm. It did
more to render its author famous than all his other writings put
together. It made him the literary lion of the season; called into
existence innumerable parodies; was translated into various languages,
and, indeed, created quite a literature of its own. Poe was naturally
delighted with the success his poem had attained, and from time to time
read it in his musical manner in public halls or at literary receptions.
Nevertheless he affected to regard it as a work of art only, and wrote
his essay entitled the "Philosophy of Composition," to prove that it was
merely a mechanical production made in accordance with certain set
rules.

Although our poet's reputation was now well established, he found it
still a difficult matter to live by his pen. Even when in good health,
he wrote slowly and with fastidious care, and when his work was done had
great difficulty in getting publishers to accept it. Since his death it
has been proved that many months often elapsed before he could get
either his most admired poems or tales published.

Poe left the 'Evening Mirror' in order to take part in the 'Broadway
Journal', wherein he re-issued from time to time nearly the whole of his
prose and poetry. Ultimately he acquired possession of this periodical,
but, having no funds to carry it on, after a few months of heartbreaking
labor he had to relinquish it. Exhausted in body and mind, the
unfortunate man now retreated with his dying wife and her mother to a
quaint little cottage at Fordham, outside New York. Here after a time
the unfortunate household was reduced to the utmost need, not even
having wherewith to purchase the necessities of life. At this dire
moment, some friendly hand, much to the indignation and dismay of Poe
himself, made an appeal to the public on behalf of the hapless family.

The appeal had the desired effect. Old friends and new came to the
rescue, and, thanks to them, and especially to Mrs. Shew, the "Marie
Louise" of Poe's later poems, his wife's dying moments were soothed, and
the poet's own immediate wants provided for. In January, 1846, Virginia
Poe died; and for some time after her death the poet remained in an
apathetic stupor, and, indeed, it may be truly said that never again did
his mental faculties appear to regain their

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Text Comparison with The Bells, and Other Poems

Page 1
Hear the loud alarum bells-- Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they scream out their affright! Too much horrified to speak They can only shriek, shriek, Out of tune, In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire, Leaping higher, higher, higher, With a desperate desire, And a resolute endeavour.
Page 2
Hear the tolling of the bells-- Iron bells! What a world of solemn thought their monody compels! In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright At the melancholy menace of their tone! For every sound that floats From the rust within their throats .
Page 4
_EULALIE--A SONG_ I dwelt alone In a world of moan, And my soul was a stagnant tide, Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride-- Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.
Page 5
" 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! [Illustration: Silence] _THE RAVEN_ Once.
Page 7
" Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
Page 8
" 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 lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor .
Page 12
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand-- How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep--while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save _One_ from the pitiless wave? Is _all_ that we see or seem But a dream within a dream? _THE CITY IN THE SEA_ Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone Far down within the dim West, Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest.
Page 14
And.
Page 15
" Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, And tempted her out of her gloom-- And conquered her scruples and gloom; And we passed to the end of the vista, .
Page 16
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 thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, The Elfin from the green grass, and from me The summer dream beneath.
Page 18
[Illustration: The Conqueror Worm] _SONNET--TO ZANTE_ 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 Transforming all! Thy charms shall please _no more_-- Thy memory _no more!_ Accursèd ground Henceforth I hold thy flower-enamelled shore, O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante! "Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante!" _TO M.
Page 19
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.
Page 22
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.
Page 23
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: "'Neath the 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! They are light on the tresses, But lead on the heart.
Page 26
I left behind me in an hour.
Page 31
hill Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken, Is a symbol and a token.
Page 32
[Illustration: Fairy-land] _THE COLISEUM_ 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 Judaean 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 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.
Page 33
We are not impotent--we pallid stones.
Page 35
_ALONE_ 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.
Page 38
'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.