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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 184

for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of
the Principle is always found in _an elevating excitement of the soul_,
quite independent of that passion which is the intoxication of the
Heart, or of that truth which is the satisfaction of the Reason. For in
regard to passion, alas! its tendency is to degrade rather than to
elevate the Soul. Love, on the contrary--Love--the true, the divine
Eros--the Uranian as distinguished from the Dionasan Venus--is
unquestionably the purest and truest of all poetical themes. And in
regard to Truth, if, to be sure, through the attainment of a truth we
are led to perceive a harmony where none was apparent before, we
experience at once the true poetical effect; but this effect is
referable to the harmony alone, and not in the least degree to the truth
which merely served to render the harmony manifest.

We shall reach, however, more immediately a distinct conception of what
true Poetry is, by mere reference to a few of the simple elements which
induce in the Poet himself the true poetical effect. He recognizes the
ambrosia which nourishes his soul in the bright orbs that shine in
Heaven, in the volutes of the flower, in the clustering of low
shrubberies, in the waving of the grain-fields, in the slanting of tall
eastern trees, in the blue distance of mountains, in the grouping of
clouds, in the twinkling of half-hidden brooks, in the gleaming of
silver rivers, in the repose of sequestered lakes, in the star-mirroring
depths of lonely wells. He perceives it in the songs of birds, in the
harp of AEolus, in the sighing of the night-wind, in the repining voice
of the forest, in the surf that complains to the shore, in the fresh
breath of the woods, in the scent of the violet, in the voluptuous
perfume of the hyacinth, in the suggestive odor that comes to him at
eventide from far-distant undiscovered islands, over dim oceans,
illimitable and unexplored. He owns it in all noble thoughts, in all
unworldly motives, in all holy impulses, in all chivalrous, generous,
and self-sacrificing deeds. He feels it in the beauty of woman, in the
grace of her step, in the lustre of her eye, in the melody of her voice,
in her soft laughter, in her sigh, in the harmony of the rustling of her
robes. He deeply feels it in her winning endearments, in her burning
enthusiasms, in her gentle charities, in her meek and devotional
endurance, but above all, ah, far above all, he kneels to it, he
worships it in the faith, in the purity, in the

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

Page 0
Eagerly I wished the morrow;-- Vainly I had tried to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow-- Sorrow for the lost Lenore-- For the rare and radiant maiden Whom the angels name Lenore-- Nameless here for evermore.
Page 1
curtain Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic Terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating Of my heart, I stood repeating, "'Tis some visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.
Page 2
wide the door: Darkness there and nothing more.
Page 3
When, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven [Illustration: 8020] Of the saintly days of yore.
Page 4
" [Illustration: 0024] But the Raven, sitting lonely On that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in That one word he did outpour.
Page 5
" But the Raven still beguiling All my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in Front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking What this ominous bird of yore-- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, Gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking " Nevermore.
Page 6
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee By these angels he hath sent thee Respite--respite and Nepenthe From thy memories of Lenore! Let me quaff this kind Nepenthe, And forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 7
" [Illustration: 0033] Leave no black plume as a token Of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!-- Quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and Take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 8
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 Shall be lifted--nevermore! [Illustration: 0035].