We do not know how many readers we have who
enjoy, as we do, the following exquisitely piquant and skillful
of rarity and niceness of language. It is a poem which we find in the
Review, full of beauty and oddity in sentiment and versification, but a
curiosity (and a delicious one, we think,) in its philological flavor.
Who is the author?
In copying the paragraph above from Willis'
Journal," the "Saturday Courier," of Philadelphia, gave the usual
by appending the words, "Home Journal, N. P. Willis.[["]] A
paper mistook the words, however, as a reply to the query just
— "Who is the author?" and thus, in reprinting the ballad, assigned it
to the pen of Willis: — but, by way of rendering unto Cæsar the
that are Cæsar's, we now correct the mistake — which would have
natural enough but for the wide difference of style between
and anything written by Willis. "Ulalume," although published
in "The American Review," is known to be the composition of EDGAR
|ULALUME: — A BALLAD
The skies were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year ;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir —
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul[[-]]haunted woodland of
Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul —
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll —
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole —
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and
Our memories were treacherous and sere
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber —
(Though once we had journeyed down here)
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
And now, as the night was senescent
As star-dials pointed to morn —
And the star-dials hinted of morn —
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn —
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.
And I said — "She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies —
To the Lethean peace of the skies —
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With Love in her luminous eyes."
But Psyche, uplifted her finger,
Said — "Sadly this star I mistrust —
Her pallor I strangely mistrust: —
Oh, hasten! — oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly! — let us fly! — for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Wings till they trailed in the dust
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the
I replied — "This is nothing but dreaming :
Let us on by this tremulous light !
Let us bathe in this crystalline light
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night: —
See! — it flickers up the sky through
the night !
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright —
We safely may trust to a gleaming
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through
Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom —
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But we stopped by the door of a tomb
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said — "What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied — "Ulalume — Ulalume —
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"
Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and
As the leaves that were withering and
And I cried — "It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed — I journeyed down
That I brought a dread burden down here
On this night of all nights in the year,
Oh, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber —
This misty mid region of Weir —
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul[[-]]haunted woodland of Weir."