Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers
Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take,
How many mem'ries of what radiant hours
At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
How many scenes of what departed bliss!
How many thoughts of what entombéd hopes!
How many visions of a maiden that is
No more — no more upon thy verdant slopes!
No more! — alas, that magical sad sound
Transforming all! Thy charms shall please no more —
Thy memory no more! Accursed ground
Henceforth I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
O, hyacinthine isle! O, purple Zante !
Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante !
[Poe sent this manuscript in a letter to Richard Henry Stoddard on November 6, 1840. (The whole manuscript is in a rather neat script rather than Poe's more usual type-like printing. The "EAP" signature has a very nice little flourish under it.) Stoddard printed a facsimile of it as part of his article "A Box of Autographs," Scribner's Magazine, February 1891, p. 224. In this article, Stoddard makes the curious claim that the sonnet was given to him by R. W. Griswold, when it was Poe himself who sent it to Stoddard directly, in reply to Stoddard's request for an autograph. Ironically, Stoddard comments that he did not "value my Poe [autograph] as I should have done; for I wrote a sonnet on the back of his sonnet, and gave the pair to a friend, by whom they were probably as little cared for as by myself" (p. 213). In the last quarter of the 19th century, Stoddard wrote a number of biographical notes on Poe, nearly all in a very unsympathetic tone.]
["Isola d'oro!" (Italian for "island of gold") and "Fior di Levante" (Italian for Flower of the Levant") are also used in Poe's poem "Al Aaraaf."]