Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “Lenore,” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 68-72


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[page 68:]

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! [page 69:]

5

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!

10

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?” [page 70:]

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

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

15

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. [page 71:]

20

“Avaunt! — avaunt! from fiends below, 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: — [page 72:]

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! —

25

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!”

(1831)

[page 68, continued:]

The text of A Pæan, inasmuch as it differs markedly from later versions of Lenore, is presented here in its entirety, the text of 1831 being followed. The variations from the Southern Literary Messenger are given in the bracketed footnotes. Below it is given the Pioneer text, which is in verbal agreement, except in line 4, with the text of the Saturday Museum.

 


[[Text of 1831]]

[page 68, continued:]

A PÆAN (1831)

I.

How shall the burial rite be read?

The solemn song be sung?

The requiem for the loveliest dead,

That ever died so young?

II.

5

Her friends are gazing on her,

And on her gaudy bier,

And weep! — oh! to dishonor

Dead beauty with a tear! [page 69:]

III.

They loved her for her wealth —

10

And they hated her for her pride —

But she grew in feeble health,

And they love her — that she died.

IV.

They tell me (while they speak

Of her “costly broider’d pall”)

15

That my voice is growing weak —

That I should not sing at all — [page 70:]

V.

Or that my tone should be

Tun’d to such solemn song

So mournfully — so mournfully,

20

That the dead may feel no wrong.

VI.

But she is gone above,

With young Hope at her side,

And I am drunk with love

Of the dead, who is my bride. —

VII.

25

Of the dead — dead who lies

All perfum’d there,

With the death upon her eyes,

And the life upon her hair.

VIII.

Thus on the coffin loud and long

30

I strike — the murmur sent

Through the grey chambers to my song,

Shall be the accompaniment. [page 71:]

IX.

Thou dieds’t in thy life’s June —

But thou did’st not die too fair:

35

Thou did’st not die too soon,

Nor with too calm an air.

X.

From more than fiends on earth,

Thy life and love are riven,

To join the untainted mirth

40

Of more than thrones in heaven — [page 72:]

XI.

Therefore, to thee this night

I will no requiem raise,

But waft thee on thy flight,

With a Pæan of old days.

 


[[Text of 1843]]

[page 68, continued:]

LENORE (Pioneer)

AH, broken is the golden bowl!

The spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul

Glides down the Stygian river!

5

And let the burial rite be read —

The funeral song be sung —

A dirge for the most lovely dead

That ever died so young!

And, Guy De Vere,

10

Hast thou no tear?

Weep now or nevermore!

See, on yon drear

And rigid bier,

Low lies thy love Lenore! [page 69:]

15

Yon heir, whose cheeks of pallid hue

With tears are streaming wet,

Sees only, through

Their crocodile dew,

A vacant coronet —

20

False friends! 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?

25

The requiem how be sung

For her most wrong’d of all the dead

That ever died so young?” [page 70:]

Peccavimus!

But rave not thus!

30

And let the solemn song

Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong!

The sweet Lenore

Hath “gone before”

With young hope at her side,

35

And thou art wild

For the dear child

That should have been thy bride —

For her, the fair

And debonair,

40

That now so lowly lies —

The life still there

Upon her hair,

The death upon her eyes. [page 71:]

“Avaunt! — to-night

45

My heart is light —

No dirge will I upraise,

But waft the angel on her flight

With a Pæan of old days!

Let no bell toll!

50

Lest her sweet soul,

Amid its hallow’d mirth,

Should catch the note

As it doth float

Up from the damned earth —

55

To friends above, from fiends below,

th’ indignant ghost is riven —

From grief and moan

To a gold throne

Beside the King of Heaven!”

 


[[Variants]]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 68:]

[8 Dead: Her (S. L. M.)]

[4 Glides down: floats on (S.M.).]

Title A Pæan (1831, S. L. M.).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 69:]

5 Come: Ah (Graham’s).

7 A: Omitted in B.J.

8 ye hated: hated (all other versions).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 70:]

[26 perfum’d there: motionless (S. L. M.).

28 her hair: each tress (S.L.M.).

29-32 S. L. M. omits.]

13 yet: but (all other texts); but: and (all other texts).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 71:]

[33, 34 S. L. M. substitutes the following:

In June she died — in June

Of life — beloved, and fair.

35 Thou did’st: But she did (S. L. M.).

38 Helen, thy soul is riven (S. L. M.).

39 untainted: all-hallowed (S.L.M.).]

20 Avaunt! — avaunt to friends from fiends: To friends above, from fiends below (Graham’s, B.J., 1845, P. P. A.).

20-28 Graham’s, B.J., 1845, and P. P. A. transpose these lines so that the sequence becomes 25, 26, 23, 24, 20, 21, 22.

21 within the utmost: far up within the (all other texts).

22 moan: grief (all other texts except B.J. and Graham’s).

 


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Notes:

In the final line of “Leonore” as it appeared in the Pioneer, there is a question mark instead of an exclamation point. Campbell has presumably made the correction editorially, even though he is presenting a historical text for the sake of documenation variants.

In the original printing of the main text, Campbell inexplicably marked line 23 rather than line 25 of the poem, breaking the usual pattern of denoting lines that are divisible by 5.

 

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[S:0 - KCP, 1917] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Lenore (ed. K. Campbell, 1917)