Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to The Valley of Unrest,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), p. 188-190


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[page 188:]

THE VALLEY OF UNREST.

Page 55.

AMERICAN WHIG REVIEW, APRIL, 1845; 1845; BROADWAY JOURNAL, II. 9. | THE VALLEY NIS, 1831; SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER, FEBRUARY, 1836.

Text, 1845.

The earliest version (1831) runs as follows: —

THE VALLEY NIS.

Far away — far away —

Far away — as far at least

Lies that valley as the day

Down within the golden east —

All things lovely — are not they

Far away — far away?

 

It is called the valley Nis.

And a Syriac tale there is

Thereabout which Time hath said

Shall not be interpreted.

Something about Satan’s dart —

Something about angel wings —

Much about a broken heart —

All about unhappy things:

But ‘’the valley Nis” at best

Means “the valley of unrest.”

Once it smil’d a silent dell

Where the people did not dwell,

Having gone unto the wars —

And the sly, mysterious stars,

With a visage full of meaning,

O’er the unguarded flowers were leaning: [page 189:]

Or the sun ray dripp’d all red

Thro’ the tulips overhead,

Then grew paler as it fell

On the quiet Asphodel.

 

Now the unhappy shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

Helen, like thy human eye

There th’ uneasy violets lie —

There the reedy grass doth wave

Over the old forgotten grave —

One by one from the tree top

There the eternal dews do drop —

There the vague and dreamy trees

Do roll like seas in northern breeze

Around the stormy Hebrides —

There the gorgeous clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastingly,

Through the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling like a waterfall

O’er the horizon’s fiery wall —

There the moon doth shine by night

With a most unsteady light —

There the sun doth reel by day

“Over the hills and far away.”

The following are the variations of the Southern Literary Messenger from the above:

Line 4 east (cap.) 6 Far away (One and all, too) 10 interpreted. (:) 11 dart — (o. d.) 22 the (th’) 22 leaning: (,) 23 sun ray (sun-ray) 24 the (tall)

27-46:

Now each visiter shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

Nothing save the airs that brood

O’er the enchanted solitude,

Save the airs with pinions furled

That slumber o’er the valley-world. [page 190:]

No wind in Heaven, and lo! the trees

Do roll like seas, in Northern breeze,

Around the stormy Hebrides —

No wind in Heaven, and clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastingly,

Through the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling, like a waterfall

O’er th’ horizon’s fiery wall —

And Helen, like thy human eye,

Low crouched on Earth, some violets lie,

And, nearer Heaven, some lilies wave

All banner-like, above a grave.

And, one by one, from out their tops

Eternal dews come down in drops,

Ah, one by one, from off their stems

Eternal dews come down in gems!

Variations of the American Whig Review from the text.

Line 6 flowers, (o. c.) 18 rustle (rustles) 19 Uneasily (Unceasingly).

After 27 insert:

They wave; they weep; and the tears as they well

From the depths of each pallid lily bell,

Give a trickle and a tinkle and a knell.

The Broadway Journal shows no variations from the text.

EDITORS NOTE.

A lonely grave in a valley of unrest where trees are eternally without wind and where clouds rustle through unquiet heavens. This fantastic lyric has been connected with the Ragged Mountains and has been used as the germ of a story located in that romantic region.

 


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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 The Valley of Unrest)