Text: Rev. Thomas Lake Harris, “A Poem by the Spirit of Edgar A. Poe,” The Spiritual Telegraph, vol. VII, edited by S. B. Brittan, New York: Partridge & Brittan, publishers, 1855, pp. 162-164


[page 162:]



On Thursday, the 30th ult., while seated in our office at 300 Broadway, in company with Rev. THOMAS L. HARRIS and Mr. LEWIS L. PEET, we observed that the physical and mental conditions of Bro. H. were strongly influenced by some foreign agency, which seemed to abstract his mind from the sphere of his outward relations. At length he was profoundly entranced, and, while under the influence of an invisible intelligence, improvised two Poems, making in all about one hundred and fifty lines. The second poem, purporting to be from the immortal EDGAR A. POE, was spoken in some fifteen minutes, and is here published as originally dictated. It is a bold and graceful utterance, and the internal evidence in support of its peculiar claims is strong and convincing. — ED.

A lurid mantle wrapped my Spirit-form,

Cradled in lightnings and in whirlwinds born,

Torn from the body, terribly downcast,

Plunged headlong through red furnaces in b last;

Those seething torrents maddened me; I fell,.

But woke in Paradise instead of Hell;

Like song-waves circling in a golden bell.

Like fragrant odors in a woodbine dell,

Like glowing pistils in a rose unblown,

Like all sweet dreams to Saints in slumber shown,

Like Heaven itself, like joy incarnate given;

And as a ship through wintry whirlwinds driven

Finds land-locked port in Araby the blest,

So I, through terror, entered into rest. [page 163:]

Then there came my Fancy's Maiden

From her dim and mystic Aidenn,

And a light from her fall bosom shone her Angel-form before,

And she whispered as the roses

When the blushing bud uncloses,

And like dew from off a blossom fell her speech forevermore.

“I have waited, I have waited,

As the Evening Star belated,

When it lingers pale and lonely by the purple sunset door.

I have found thee, I have found thee,

And with heart-spells fast have bound thee.’‘

So from out her glowing halo sang the Angel Maid Lenore.

To my rapt, enamored seeming,

Framed amid the golden gleaming,

Like a star in its own brightness high above the ocean's floor,

Shone the lovely apparition,

And from Earth's accursed perdition

I was lifted by the Angel, and my death-in-life was o’er.

O the sorrow, the despairing,

The weird terror phrased with daring,

The wild wind-storms of remorses that my earth-bound Spirit bore!

Like the tempest-lashed Atlantic

With my anguish I was frantic,

And the serpent men name Hunger gnawed into my bosom's core

While on Earth the Poet hungered

For heart-bread, the gay world wondered,

And poor beggars spurned the rich man, heaping curses evermore.

Till I prostrate fell despairing,

In my anguished breast unsharing

All Earth's undivided sorrow, crushed as never man before.

I was mad with desolation,

Like a sun from out creation

Stricken rudely and its brightness turned to blood upon its shore.

I for years was broken-hearted;

Long before my youth departed

But a heart by Fate down-trodden into palpitating gore. [page 164:]

And I fled Life's outer portal,

Deeming anguish was immortal,

Crying, “Launch thy heavy thunders, tell me never to adore.

Hate for hate and curse for curses,

Through abysmal universes,

Plunge me down as lost Archangels fell despairingly of yore.”

So the whirlwind bore my Spirit,

But to lands that Saints inherit,

And it seems my heart forever like a ruby cup runs o’er.

I am blest beyond all blessing,

And an Angel's pure caressing,

Flows around my soul forever like a stream around its shore.



Note: The introductory comment suggests that the material is reprinted from the Spiritual Telegraph, a weekly newspaper issued by the same publishers. It also implies that some of the poems are added specifically to this collection, specifically singling out those of Rev. Thomas L. Harris. This poem has not been found among the issues of the newspaper, and is presumably one of those that first appeared in this collection. Rev. Thomas Lake Harris (1823-1906) was a Universalist minister and ardent defender of spiritualism. He formed the spiritual community of the Brotherhood of the New Life in Amenia, New York in 1861, and another, called Fountain Grove, in 1875, in Santa Rosa, CA.


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