Text: George P. Morris (?), “[Review of Poems by Edgar A. Poe],” the New-York Mirror, May 7, 1831, pp. 349-350


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­ [page 349, col. 3:]

LITERARY NOTICES

Poems by Edgar A. Poe.  18mo.  pp. 124.  New-York.  E. Bliss. 1831

THE poetry of this little volume has a plausible air of imagination, inconsistent with the general indefinitiveness of the ideas. Every think in the language betokens poetic inspiration, but it rather resembles the leaves of the sybil when scattered by the wind. The annexed lines, which close a short poem, entitled the “Doomed City,” are less incomprehensible than most in the book, although the meaning is by no means perfectly clear:

“But lo! a stir is in the air!

The wave! there is a ripple there!

As if the towers had thrown aside,

In slightly sinking, the dull tide —

As if the turret-tops had given

A vacuum in the filmy heaven:

The waves have now a redder glow —

The very hours are breathing low —

And when, amid no earthly moans,

Down, down that town shall settle hence,

Hell rising from a thousand thrones

Shall do it reverence,

And Death to some more happy clime

Shall give his undivided time.”

It sometimes happens that poetry, at first sight unintelligible, is discovered, upon a repeated and more careful examination, to be fraught with the treasure of thought and fancy. The “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” belongs to this class; but we cannot flatter Mr. Poe with any similar hopes respecting his own composition, although it occasionally sparkles with a true poetic expression, and sometimes a conflict of ­[page 350, col. 1:] beauty and nonsense takes place, in which the latter seems to have the best of it. It is indeed encumbered by numerous obscurities, which we should be pleased to see either very much brightened or entirely expunged. What is the meaning of this?

“A heaven that God doth not contemn

With stars is like a diadem —

We liken our ladies’ eyes to them.”

Or these lines, (with which we close the article,) from ‘Fairy Land?”

“Huge moons — see! wax and wane

Again — again — again —

Every moment of the night —

Forever changing places!

How they put out the starlight

With the breath from their pale faces!

 

Lo! one is coming down

With its centre on the crown

Of a mountain’s eminence!

Down — still down — and down —

Now deep shall be — O deep!

The passion of our sleep!

For that wide circumference

In easy drapery falls

Drowsily over halls —

Over ruin’d walls —

Over waterfalls,

(Silent waterfalls!)

O’re the strange woods — o’er the sea —

Alas! over the sea!”

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - NYM, 1831] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of Poems by Edgar A. Poe (G. P. Morris, 1831)