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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 98

delicacy is the poet's own kingdom--his 'El
Dorado')--but they have the appearance of a better day recollected; and
glimpses, at best, are little evidence of present poetic fire; we know
that a few straggling flowers spring up daily in the crevices of the
glacier.

"He was to blame in wearing away his youth in contemplation with the end
of poetizing in his manhood. With the increase of his judgment the light
which should make it apparent has faded away. His judgment consequently
is too correct. This may not be understood,--but the old Goths of
Germany would have understood it, who used to debate matters of
importance to their State twice, once when drunk, and once when
sober--sober that they might not be deficient in formality--drunk lest
they should be destitute of vigor.

"The long wordy discussions by which he tries to reason us into
admiration of his poetry, speak very little in his favor: they are full
of such assertions as this (I have opened one of his volumes at
random)--'Of genius the only proof is the act of doing well what is
worthy to be done, and what was never done before;'--indeed? then it
follows that in doing what is 'un'worthy to be done, or what 'has' been
done before, no genius can be evinced; yet the picking of pockets is an
unworthy act, pockets have been picked time immemorial, and Barrington,
the pick-pocket, in point of genius, would have thought hard of a
comparison with William Wordsworth, the poet.

"Again, in estimating the merit of certain poems, whether they be
Ossian's or Macpherson's can surely be of little consequence, yet, in
order to prove their worthlessness, Mr. W. has expended many pages in
the controversy. 'Tantaene animis?' Can great minds descend to such
absurdity? But worse still: that he may bear down every argument in
favor of these poems, he triumphantly drags forward a passage, in his
abomination with which he expects the reader to sympathise. It is the
beginning of the epic poem 'Temora.' 'The blue waves of Ullin roll in
light; the green hills are covered with day; trees shake their dusty
heads in the breeze.' And this--this gorgeous, yet simple imagery, where
all is alive and panting with immortality--this, William Wordsworth, the
author of 'Peter Bell,' has 'selected' for his contempt. We shall see
what better he, in his own person, has to offer. Imprimis:

"'And now she's at the pony's tail,
And now she's at the pony's head,
On that side now, and now on this;
And, almost stifled with her bliss,
A few

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Text Comparison with The Bells, and Other Poems

Page 2
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
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Now doubt--now Pain Come never again, For her soul gives me sigh for sigh, And all day long Shines, bright and strong, Astarté within the sky, While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye-- While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.
Page 5
by the sea; But we loved with a love which was more than love-- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the wingèd seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me.
Page 7
" But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy 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 8
" "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! 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.
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[Illustration: To One in Paradise] _LENORE_ Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever! Let the bell toll!--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river; And, Guy de Vere, hast _thou_ no tear?--weep now or nevermore! See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore! Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!-- An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-- A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.
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(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!) The pearly lustre of the moon went out: The mossy banks and the meandering paths, The happy flowers and the repining trees, Were seen no more: the very roses' odours Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
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So.
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[Illustration: Ulalume] Our talk had been serious and sober, But our thoughts they were palsied and sere-- Our memories were treacherous and sere-- For we knew not the month was October, And we marked not the night of the year-- (Ah, night of all nights in the year!) We noted not the dim lake of Auber-- (Though once we had journeyed down here), Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
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_SONNET--TO SCIENCE_ Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.
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'Twas a sweet time for Nesace--for there Her world lay lolling on the golden air, Near four bright suns--a temporary rest-- An oasis in desert of the blest.
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" Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call "Silence"--which is the merest word of all.
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On the harmony there? Ligeia! wherever Thy image may be, No magic shall sever Thy music from thee.
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Stannard, whose death also inspired Lenore.
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Death was in that poisonous wave, And in its gulf a fitting grave For him who thence could solace bring To his lone imagining-- Whose solitary sole could make An Eden of that dim lake.
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fervid, flickering torch of life was lit From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth A passionate light--such for his spirit was fit-- And yet that spirit knew not, in the hour Of its own fervour--what had o'er it power.
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_TO ----_ The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see The wantonest singing.
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_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.
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while it thro' The minute--the hour--the day--oppress My mind with double loveliness.
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I reach'd my home--my home no more-- For all had flown who made it so.