Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “Romance,” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 49-51


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[page 49:]

ROMANCE

Romance, who loves to nod and sing,

With drowsy head and folded wing,

Among the green leaves as they shake

Far down within some shadowy lake,

5

To me a painted paroquet

Hath been — a most familiar bird —

Taught me my alphabet to say —

To lisp my very earliest word

While in the wild wood I did lie,

10

A child — with a most knowing eye. [page 50:]

Of late, eternal Condor years

So shake the very Heaven on high

With tumult as they thunder by,

I have no time for idle cares

15

Through gazing on the unquiet sky.

And when an hour with calmer wings

Its down upon my spirit flings —

That little time with lyre and rhyme

To while away — forbidden things!

My heart would feel to be a crime

20

Unless it trembled with the strings.

(1829)

 


[[Variants]]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 49:]

Title Preface (1829), Introduction (1831).

10 After this line, 1831 inserts the following:

Succeeding years, too wild for song,

Then roll’d like tropic storms along,

Where, tho’ the garish lights that fly

Dying along the troubled sky.

Lay bare, thro’ vistas thunder-riven,

The blackness of the general Heaven,

That very blackness yet doth fling

Light on the lightning’s silver wing.

For, being an idle boy lang syne,

Who read Anacreon, and drank wine,

I early found Anacreon rhymes

Were almost passionate sometimes —

And by strange alchemy of brain

His pleasures always turn’d to pain —

His naivete to wild desire —

His wit to love — his wine to fire —

And so, being young and dipt in folly

I fell in love with melancholy,

And used to throw my earthly rest

And quiet all away in jest —

I could not love except where Death

Was mingling his with Beauty’s breath —

Or Hymen, Time, and Destiny

Were stalking between her and me.

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 50:]

11 Of late: O, then the (1831).

12 shake: shook (1831); Heaven: air (1829), Heavens (1831, B.J.).

13 thunder: thunder’d (1831).

14 1 hardly have had time for cares (1829), I scarcely have had time for cares (S. M.); have: had (1831).

16 And when: Or if (1831); wings: wing (1831).

17 upon: did on (1831); flings: fling (1831).

18 time: hour (1831).

19 things: thing (1831).

20 would feel: half fear’d (1831).

[The following variant appears at the bottom of page 50, running to the bottom of page 51:]

21 Unless it trembled: Did it not tremble (1829); strings: string (1831). After this line, 1831 adds the following:

But now my soul hath too much room —

Gone are the glory and the gloom —

The black hath mellow’d into grey,

And all the fires are fading away.

My draught of passion hath been deep —

I revell’d, and I now would sleep —

And after-drunkenness of soul

Succeeds the glories of the bowl —

An idle longing night and day

To dream my very life away.

But dreams — of those who dream as I,

Aspiringly, are damned, and die:

Yet should I swear I mean alone,

By notes so very shrilly blown, [page 51:]

To break upon Time’s monotone,

While yet my vapid joy and grief

Are tintless of the yellow leaf —

Why not an imp the greybeard hath,

Will shake his shadow in my path —

And even the greybeard will o’erlook

Connivingly my dreaming-book.

 


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Notes:

None.

 

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