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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 183

there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of _thee_.

Although the rhythm here is one of the most difficult, the versification
could scarcely be improved. No nobler theme ever engaged the pen of
poet. It is the soul-elevating idea that no man can consider himself
entitled to complain of Fate while in his adversity he still retains the
unwavering love of woman.

From Alfred Tennyson, although in perfect sincerity I regard him as the
noblest poet that ever lived, I have left myself time to cite only a
very brief specimen. I call him, and _think_ him the noblest of poets,
_not_ because the impressions he produces are at _all_ times the most
profound--_not_ because the poetical excitement which he induces is at
_all_ times the most intense--but because it is at all times the most
ethereal--in other words, the most elevating and most pure. No poet is
so little of the earth, earthy. What I am about to read is from his last
long poem, "The Princess:"

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square;
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.

Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd
On lips that are for others; deep as love,
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret;
O Death in Life, the days that are no more.

Thus, although in a very cursory and imperfect manner, I have endeavored
to convey to you my conception of the Poetic Principle. It has been my
purpose to suggest that, while this Principle itself is strictly and
simply the Human Aspiration

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