Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Israfel” (Text-03), Southern Literary Messenger, August 1836, 2:539, cols.1- 2


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[page 539, column 1, continued:]

ISRAFEL.*

BY E. A. POE.

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.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[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.


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Notes:

Whitty prints the footnote mark as a numeric 1, but this appears to be a mere matter of form. An asterisk has been used here as a more typical indicator for a footnote.


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[S:1 - SLM, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Israfel [Text-03]