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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "Israfel" (B), Southern Literary Messenger, August 1836, 2:539, cols.1- 2

[page 539, column 1, continued:]



In Heaven a spirit both dwell
Whose heart-strings are a lute:
None sing so wild —  so well
As the angel Israfel —
And the giddy stars are mute.
Tottering above
In her highest noon,
The enamored moon
Blushes with love —
While, to listen, the red levin
Pauses in Heaven. 

And they say (the starry choir
And all the listening things)
That Israfeli's fire
Is owing to that lyre
With those unusual strings.

But the Heavens that angel trod
Where deep thoughts are a duty —
Where Love is a grown god —  [column 2:]
Where Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.

Thou art not, therefore, wrong
Israfeli, who despisest
An unimpassion'd song:
To thee the laurels belong
Best bard — because the wisest.

The extacies [[ecstasies]] above
With thy burning measures suit —
Thy grief — if any — thy love
With the fervor of thy lute —
Well may the stars be mute!
Yes, Heaven is thine: but this
Is a world of sweets and sours:
Our flowers are merely — flowers,
And the shadow of thy bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.

If I did dwell where Israfel
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He would not sing one half as well —
One half as passionately —
And a loftier note than this would swell
From my lyre within the sky.


[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 539, column 1:]

    * And the angel Israfel who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures. — Koran.



[S:1 - SLM, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Israfel (B)