Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Israfel” (Text-10), The Poets and Poetry of America (10th edition), 1850, p. 421, col. 2


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[page 421, column 2, continued:]

ISRAFEL.*

——

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 enamour’d moon

Blushes with love,

While, to listen, the red levin

(With the rapid Pleiads, even,

Which were seven)

Pauses in heaven.

 

And they say (the starry choir

And the other listening things)

That ISRAFELIS fire

Is owing to that lyre

By which he sits and sings —

The trembling living wire

Of those unusual strings.

 

But the skies that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty —

Where Love’s a grown-up god —

Where the Houri glances are

Imbued with all the beauty

Which we worship in a star.

 

Therefore, thou art not wrong,

ISRAFELI, who despisest

An unimpassion’d 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 fervour 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 perfect bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.

 

If I could dwell

Where ISRAFEL

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

He might not sing so wildly well

A mortal melody,

While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 421, column 2:]

*  “And the angel ISRAFEL, whose heart-strings are a lute and who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures”

KORAN.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - PPA-10th, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Israfel [Text-10]