Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “The Valley of Unrest,” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 72-74


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[page 72, continued:]

THE VALLEY OF UNREST

Once it smiled a silent dell

Where the people did not dwell;

They had gone unto the wars,

Trusting to the mild-eyed stars, [page 73:]

5

Nightly, from their azure towers,

To keep watch above the flowers,

In the midst of which all day

The red sun-light lazily lay.

Now each visiter shall confess

10

The sad valley’s restlessness.

Nothing there is motionless —

Nothing save the airs that brood

Over the magic solitude. [page 74:]

Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees

15

That palpitate like the chill seas

Around the misty Hebrides!

Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven

That rustle through the unquiet Heaven

Uneasily, from morn till even,

20

Over the violets there that lie

In myriad types of the human eye —

Over the lilies there that wave

And weep above a nameless grave!

They wave: — from out their fragrant tops

25

Eternal dews come down in drops.

They weep: — from off their delicate stems

Perennial tears descend in gems.

(1831)

 


[[Text of 1831]]

[page 72, continued:]

THE VALLEY NIS

Far away — far away —

Far away — as far at least

Lies that valley as the day

Down within the golden east —

5

All things lovely — are not they

Far away — far away?

It is called the valley Nis.

And a Syriac tale there is

Thereabout which Time hath said

10

Shall not be interpreted.

Something about Satan’s dart —

Something about angel wings —

Much about a broken heart —

All about unhappy things:

15

But “the valley Nis” at best

Means “the valley of unrest.”

Once it smil’d a silent dell

Where the people did not dwell,

Having gone unto the wars —

20

And the sly, mysterious stars, [page 73:]

With a visage full of meaning,

O’er the unguarded flowers were leaning:

Or the sun ray dripp’d all red

Thro’ the tulips overhead,

25

Then grew paler as it fell

On the quiet Asphodel.

Now the unhappy shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

Helen, like thy human eye

30

There th’ uneasy violets lie —

There the reedy grass doth wave

Over the old forgotten grave — [page 74:]

One by one from the tree top

There the eternal dews do drop —

35

There the vague and dreamy trees

Do roll like seas in northern breeze

Around the stormy Hebrides —

There the gorgeous clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastingly,

40

Through the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling like a waterfall

O’er th’ horizon’s fiery wall —

There the moon doth shine by night

With a most unsteady light —

45

There the sun doth reel by day

Over the hills and far away.

 


[[Variants]]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 72:]

[6 Far away: One and all, too (S.L.M.).]

23 then: Omitted in Graham’s, B.J., 1845, P.P.A.; sweet is inserted before “soul” by Graham’s, B.J., 1845, and P.P.A.

25 And I: Avaunt (Graham’s, B.J., 1845, P. P. A.).

Title The Valley Nis (1831, S. L. M.).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 73:]

[24 the: tall (S. L .M.).

27-46 For these lines S. L. M. substitutes the following:

Now each visiter shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

Nothing save the airs that brood

O’er the enchanted solitude,

Save the airs with pinions furled

That slumber o’er that valley-world.

No wind in Heaven, and lo! the trees

Do roll like seas, in Northern breeze,

Around the stormy Hebrides —

No wind in Heaven, and clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastingly,

Thro’ the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling, like a waterfall,

O’er th’ horizon’s fiery wall —

And Helen, like thy human eye,

Low crouched on Earth, some violets lie,

And, nearer Heaven, some lilies wave

All banner-like, above a grave.

And one by one, from out their tops

Eternal dews come down in drops,

Ah, one by one, from off their stems

Eternal dews come down in gems!]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 74:]

18 rustle: rustles (A. W. R.).

19 Uneasily: Unceasingly (A. W. R., B.J.).

27 A. W. R. adds the following lines:

They wave; they weep; and the tears, as they well

From the depth of each pallid lily-bell,

Give a trickle and a tinkle and a knell.

 


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Notes:

None.

 

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