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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "Israfel" (C), Graham's Magazine, October 1841, 19:183

[page 183, full page, continued:]



[column 1:]

IN Heaven a spirit doth dwell,
    "Whose heart-strings are a lute;"
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell)
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
    Of his voice, all mute.

Tottering above
    In her highest noon
    The enamoured moon
Blushes with love,
    While, to listen, the red levin
    Pauses in Heaven,
    With the rapid Pleiads, even,
    Which were seven.

And they say (the starry choir
    And the other listening things)
That Israfeli's fire
Is due unto that lyre
    By which he sits and sings —
The trembling living lyre
    With those unusual strings.

But the Heavens that angel trod,
    Where deep thoughts are a duty —
Where Love is a grown God —
    Where Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty     [column 2:]
    Which we worship in the star —
    The more lovely, the more far!

Thou art not, therefore, wrong,
    Israfeli, who despisest
An unimpassioned song,
To thee the laurels belong,
    Best bard, because the wisest.
Merrily live, and long!

The ecstasies above
    With thy burning measures suit —
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, 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 might not sing one half so well
    One half so passionately,
While a bolder note than this might swell        
    From my lyre within the sky!


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 183:]

   * And the angel Israfel, or Israfeli, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who is the most musical of all God's creatures. — KORAN.



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