Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore” (Text-11), Richmond Examiner proof sheets, about September 1849


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LENORE.

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll! — a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;

And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? — weep now or never more!

See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!

Come! let the burial rite be read — the funeral song be sung! —

An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young —

A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

 

“Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,

And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her — that she died!

How shall the ritual, then, be read? — the requiem how be sung

By you — by yours, the evil eye, — by yours, the slanderous tongue

That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?”

 

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!

The sweet Lenore hath “gone before,” with Hope, that flew beside,

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride —

For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,

The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes —

The life still there, upon her hair — the death upon her eyes.

 

“Avaunt! — avaunt! to friends from fiends the indignant ghost is riven —

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven —

From moan and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven! —

Let no bell toll, then! — lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damnéd Earth! —

And I! — to-night my heart is light! — No dirge will I upraise

But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!”


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Notes:

This version of the poem is highly problematic. Whitty prints his text from the Richmond Whig, the last version of the poem actually printed, and although he mentions the Richmond Examiner in his list of versions, he does not specifically give any variants for that text. Instead, the only comment that appears in his notes is that “The Richmond Examiner text follows the text with slight punctuation changes” (Poems, 1911, p. 213). Because the proof sheets themselves no longer exist, and neither F. W. Thomas’ transcript of the text nor Whitty’s own copy of that transcript survive (or at least have not been located), it has been necessary to make a few reasonable guesses in reconstructing the text. Based on the texts Whitty prints for the other items from the Richmond Examiner proof sheets, the poems closely resemble Poe’s changes as made in his own copy of The Raven and Other Poems. Therefore, that text, in which Poe substantially revised the final stanza, is used as the base text, with Poe’s changes applied as he gave them, with one exception. That version leaves “From grief and groan . . .” in the third line of the final stanza, but the Richmond Whig gives this as “From moan and groan. . . .” and as such is repeated here as Whitty’s note implies that there are no verbal differences between the Whig and the Examiner texts. In addition, the quotation marks given before each line in The Raven and Other Poems have been removed from all but the first line of each stanza here, following the format as printed in the Whig. In addition, the format for the heading and the use of normal characters rather than small caps for the first word of line one are based on the printing of “The Raven” in the Examiner for September 25, 1849. In the absence of more precise and reliable sources, the present text, while not entirely authoritative, will have to suffice.


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[S:1 - REPS, 1849 (Whitty, 1911)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Lenore (Text-11)