Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to Al Aaraaf,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), pp. 157-163


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[page 157, continued:]

AL AARAAF.

Page 23.

1829, 1831, 1845; I. LINES 66-67, 70-79, 82-101, 126-129; II. 20-21, 24-27, 52-59, 68-135 appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843.

Text, 1845.

See Appendix, “Poe and John Neal,” for the earliest form of “Al Aaraaf,” antedating the Baltimore volume. — J. A. H.

Variations of 1829 from the text.

Al Aaraaf | What has night to do with sleep? Comus | Dedication; — Who drinks the deepest? — here’s to him. Cleveland. [page 158:]

Instead of the note to the title in the text the following is found in 1829:

“A star was discovered by Tycho Brahe which burst forth, in a moment, with a splendour surpassing that of Jupiter — then gradually faded away and became invisible to the naked eye.”

PART I.

Line 2 (. . .) [. . . .] 7 (. . . .) ([. . .]) 11 Oh, (With) 23 bowers - (o. d.) 15 star. (—) 19 An oasis (A garden-spot) 20 ‘mid (mid) 22 (. . .) ([. . .]) 28 incense (incense,) 32-34(. . .) ([. . .]) 41 color (colour) 43 rear’d (rear) 47 died. (—) 49 knees: (—) 50 misnam’d (misnamed) 53 (. . .) ([. . .]) 58 remaineth, (o. c.) 59 reverie: (—) 64 air, (o. c.) 65 fair: (-) 67 nigh: (—) . [Note to ll. 68 2 term, (—) ; 2 turnsol- (o. d.).] 69 run: (—) [Note to l. 70 It (-It).] 73 king: (—) . 75 Rhone: (—) 77 Levante! (! —) 81 odors (odours) 81 Heaven: (—) . [Note to ll. 81 odors (odours).] 95 (. . .) ([. . .]). [Note to l. 105 fourth (4th).] 106 Oh, (O!) 109 eye; (eye) 115 given, (o. c.) 120 fervour (fervor) 120 eye; (eye) 123 air! (air) 127 all. (—) 128 All (Here). 133 follows 132 without space in 1829. 133 cycles (cap.) 133 run, (o. c.) 134 sun — (o. d.) 136 cloud, (o. c.) 138 . . . . .]) 140 run, (o. c.) [Note to ll. 145. ; — they (— They) centre, (o. c.).] 146 light! (;) 150 man! (.) 152 eve! — (!).

AL AARAAF. PART II.

Line 7 , that (that,) 15 lair. (:) 19 sky. (:) 27 wing. (:) 33 peer’d (ventur’d) 33 out, (o. c.) [Note to ll. 36 connois (conmois) qu’ (qu) érigé (erige) d’une (du’ne) être (etre) d’oeuvre (doeuvre) arts!” (arts!” — Voilà les argument de M. Voltaire!)] 38 O, (O!) 39 save! (! —) [Note to ll. 38 that (that,) ‘Asphaltites’ (“Asphaltites”)] 40 in (near) 51 again. (:) 53 cheeks [page 159:] were (cheek was) 55 heart. (:) 57 beneath, (—) 67 sang: (.) [Note to ll. 71 perhaps (, perhaps,)] 87-88 (. . .) ([. . .]) 89 blest?) (]?) 91 rest! (:) 97 apart! (,) 99 lead (hang) 109 (. .) ([. .]) 113 be, (o. c.) 115 the. (:) [Note to 124 heade (heade,) pleasaunte (plesaunte)] 131 moon-ray (o. h.) [Note to 141 sixty (60) effect: (.)] 151 moon, (o. c.) 161 O (O!) 164 Science (s. 1.) 166 (. .) ([. .]) 169 ecstasy (extasy) 181 moan. (:) 183 moss-y-mantled (mossy-mantled) 197 the orb of Earth (one constant star). Line 198 follows 197 immediately in 1829. 201 leave. (:) 204 Arabesque (‘Arabesq’) 205 draperied (drapried) 206 O (O!) 210 O (O!) 213 he (it) 230 love.” (love.) 237 ceased (ceas’d). 245 follows 244 immediately in 1829. 261 follows 260 immediately in 1829. 262 day (day).

Variations of 1831 from text.

For lines 1-15 substitute:

AL AARAAF.

Other readings: —

1-15

Mysterious star!

Thou wert my dream

All a long summer night —

Be now my theme!

By this clear stream,

Of thee will I write;

Meantime from afar

Bathe me in light!

 

Thy world has not the dross of ours,

Yet all the beauty — all the flowers

That list our love, or deck our bowers

In dreamy gardens, where do lie

Dreamy maidens all the day,

While the silver winds of Circassy

On violet couches faint away. [page 160:]

Little — oh! little dwells in thee

Like unto what on earth we see:

Beauty’s eye is here the bluest

In the falsest and untruest -

On the sweetest air doth float

The most sad and solemn note -

If with thee be broken hearts,

Joy so peacefully departs,

That its echo still doth dwell,

Like the murmur in the shell.

Line 19 An oasis (A garden spot) 25 favour’d (favor’d) 28 incense (incense,) 30 Earth (s. 1.) 31 Idea (s. 1.) 32 thro’ (through) 35 Infinity (s. 1.) 36 curled (curl’d) 39 thro’ (through) 41 color (colour) 43 rear’d (rear) 47 mortal — (o. d.) 47 died (-) 49 knees: (—) 50 misnam’d (misnamed) 56 Trebizond — (,) 59 reverie: (—) 62 bead, (o. c.) 64 air, (o. c.) 65 chasten’d, (o. c.) 65 fair: (—) 67 night: (— ) 69 run: (—) 70 Earth (s. 1.) 73 king: (—) 75 Rhone: (—) 81 Goddess’ (s. 1.) 81 Heaven: (heaven —) 82 where (o. c.) 95 red (o.) 104 dream’d (dreamed) 104 Infinity (s. 1.) 106 Oh, (O!) 112 empire (empire,) 114 winged (wing’d) 115 given, (o. c.) 117 Heaven (s. 1.) 120 fervour (fervor) 120 His (s. 1.) 120 eye; (,) 127 all. (—) 128 All (Here). [133 follows 132 without space in 1831.] 133 tho’ (though) 133 cycles (cap.) 133 run, (o. c.) 134 sun — (o. d.) 139 the’ (though) rqz thro’ (through) 142 Heaven. (heaven:) 143 crystal (chrystal) 146 light! (;) 150 man! (.) 152 eve! (eve) 152 Earth (s. 1.) 157 and (, and).

PART II.

Line 6 Heaven (s. 1.) 7 , that (that,) 9 eve — (,) 15 lair. (:) 17 thro’ (through) 19 sky. (:) 20 Heaven (s. l.) 27 wing. (:) 28 pillars (i.) 32 every (ev’ry) 33 peeréd (peered) 33 out, (o. c.) 36 Persepolis — (o. d.) 38 O, (o. c.) 38 Of (Too) 39 save! (!-) 40 in (near) 50 strain (strain,) 51 again. (:) 52 cheeks were (cheek was) [page 161:] 55 heart. (:) 57 beneath, (—) 58 hair (hair,) 59 there! (.) 60 melody (melody,) 65 and (, and) 67 sang: (.) 73 half closing (half-closing) 85 dew (dew,) 91 rest! (:) 97 apart! (,) 99 lead (hang) [112 follows 111 without space in 1831] 115 thee. (:) 128 then (then,) 129 away (away,) 131 moon-ray (o. h.) 149 soon (soon,) 154 rhythmical (rythmical) 161 O (O!) 166 (. .) ([. .]) 173 Heaven’s Eternity (s. 1.) 173 Hell (s. 1.) 178 maiden-angel (o. h.) 178 seraph-lover (o. h.) 181 moan. (;) 183 moss-y-mantled (mossy-mantled) 187 Beauty’s (s. 1.) 189 love-haunted (o. h.) 197 the orb of Earth (one constant star) [198 follows 197 without space in 1831] 201 leave. (:) 203 sun-ray (o. h.) 204 Arabesque (‘ Arabesq’) 205 draperied (drapried) 206 eyelids (o. h.) 206 O (O!) 208 love (love,) 210 O (O!) 210 Death (s. 1.) 212 single (single,) 213 he (it) 214 Earth’s (s. 1.) 219 tower, (o. c.) 226 wish’d (wished) 227 “My (‘My) 228 dwelling-place (o. h.) 230 love.’” (love.) [231 follows 230 immediately] 237 soar (soar,) 242 ours — (,) 244 Earth (earth!) [245 follows 244 immediately] 245 Earth (s. 1.) 258 Beauty’s (s. 1.) 260 Beauty (s. 1.) [261 follows 260 immediately] 263 Heaven (s. 1.)

EDITORS NOTE.

OUTLINE OF AL AARAAF.

I.

1. This introductory division attributes to the star discovered by Tycho Brahe surpassing beauty and melody.

2. Nesace — personified Beauty — takes up her abode on earth, where surrounded (3) by beauty she reverently looks into the infinite.

4. Flowers are grouped around her to bear her song, in odors, up to Heaven.

The Song has to do with the thought that, though humans conceive God after a model of their own, He has revealed himself as a star. [page 162:]

5. Abashed Nesace hears the sound of silence as the eternal voice of God speaks to her, (6) bidding her tell man everywhere that he is guilty (because he believes God is only magnified man?). Let man behold Beauty as the revelation of God.

6. This maiden worshipping a vanishing star dwells on a vanishing island over which she now takes her way.

II.

Upon a mountain of enamelled top is a temple. (The description of this recalls the picture of the Pantheon suggested by Milton in Paradise Lost I.)

It is summer time, and Nesace in her halls flushed with her haste sings again amid flowers and starlight. Her song is an Apostrophe to bright being, especially love, and then there is an appeal to Ligeia, the essence of music, to wake all nature with her rhythmical numbers.

5. Dreams, visions, etc., collect, but there is death too, so the poet chooses Al Aaraaf, the place of blessed sorrow, with its luxury of grief. But there are two beings — a maiden angel and her seraph lover — who for the beating of their own hearts hear not the song.

6. The story of Angelo and Ianthe follows. Angelo sits with Ianthe but often looks at the Earth. He tells (7) of his death at Lemnos and his departure (8) from the Parthenon where beauty so crowds upon him that he wishes himself a man again.

9. Ianthe tells him that with her he has a brighter place where women and love are.

10. He tells how he came to Al Aaraaf with its increasing beauty (11).

12. The lovers fall because their own ‘beating hearts cannot hear Heaven’s hope.’ —

Part I. consists of Seven Divisions with one song and Part II. of Twelve Divisions with one song.

The meaning of this poem is not very clear, but perhaps Fruit is right in thinking Poe meant to teach that [page 163:] beauty is to be placed above love, as in Tamerlane he taught that love was above ambition.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to Al Aaraaf)