Text: J. G. S., “A Lament for Edgar A. Poe,” the Independent (NY), January 5, 1860


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A LAMENT FOR EDGAR A. POE.

——

 

WOE for thine early doom,

Thou star of glory set in shades of night!

The wailing winds that haunt thy lonely tomb

Breathe, sadly breathe, thy tale of early blight;

Quenched is thy glorious eye’s resplendent light;

Hushed is the voice that swayed the listening crowd;

Cold is the kingly brow of marble white;

Low lies the martial form so nobly proud; ——

Wail on, ye storm-winds, wail, and chant his dirge aloud!

 

Woe for thy shattered lyre!

The soul that sorrowing earth bewailed, so young,

Glowed with a poet’s glad, ecstatic fire,

And, high and sweet, those numbers wildly sung

Fame’s clarion voice charmed not thy soul to rest,

The lofty songs that trembled on thy tongue

Soothed not thy worn and passion-haunted breast,

Nor won sweet, holy Peace for thy delightful guest.

 

Thy genius, wild and strange,

Strove to portray creation’s earliest years,

And loved through earth’s grim ghastly realms to range,

To trace the deepest woes and darkest fears,

And weave thy tales of anguish and of tears;

To tell of secret crime and dungeon gloom,

Of black despair, of horror’s awful spheres,

Of haunted hearts where gladness could not bloom,

And struggling life confined in death’s revolting tomb.

 

Woe for thy lonely life!

The clouds of sorrow dimmed thy sunless day —

Wan, spectral forms of want and care and strife

Haunted thy path, and quenched hope’s rising ray,

And clothed thy nightly dreams with dark dismay,

Thy soul sat down upon a desert shore

And listless saw thy pleasures drift away

To vanish like the “loved and lost Lenore,”

While madness cursed the waves that far thy treasure’s born.

 

Woe for thy mournful grave!

Would that thy spirit’s wild exulting fire

Had glowed a guiding star on life’s dark wave,

To rouse the voyager’s heart with pure desire —

That heavenly joy had waked thy wondrous lyre; —

Then hadst thou sat by sweet Siloam’s rill,

And soared on spirit-wings that could not tire,

And sung so sweet that Nature, listening still,

Might hear the strains resound from every joyous hill.

J. G. S.    

Groveland, Mass.


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Notes:

The identity of J. G. S. is not known. The poem is reproduced, from the original publication, by Kenneth Walter Cameron, The New England Writers and the Press, Hartford, CT: Transcendental Books, 1980, p. 41.


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[S:0 - xxxx, 1860] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Aritcles - A Lament for Edgar A. Poe (J. G. S., January 5, 1860)