Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “Israfel,” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 57-59


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[page 57:]

ISRAFEL   [[n]]   [[v]]

[[n]]

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell

[[n]]

“Whose heart-strings are a lute;”

[[v]]

[[n]]

None sing so wildly well

As the angel Israfel,

5

[[v]]

[[n]]

And the giddy stars, (so legends tell)

Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell

Of his voice, all mute.

[[n]]

Tottering above

[[n]]

In her highest noon,

10

The enamoured moon

[[n]]

Blushes with love,

While, to listen, the red levin

[[v]]

[[n]]

(With the rapid Pleiads, even,

Which were seven,)

15

[[v]]

Pauses in Heaven.

And they say, (the starry choir

[[v]]

And the other listening things)

That Israfeli’s fire [page 58:]

[[v]]

Is owing to that lyre

20

[[v]]

By which he sits and sings —

[[v]]

The trembling living wire

[[v]]

Of those unusual strings.

[[v]]

[[n]]

But the skies that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty —

25

[[v]]

[[n]]

Where Love’s a grown-up God,

[[v]]

[[n]]

Where the Houri glances are

Imbued with all the beauty

[[v]]

Which we worship in a star.

[[v]]

[[n]]

Therefore, thou art not wrong,

30

Israfeli, who despisest

An unimpassioned song;

[[n]]

To thee the laurels belong,

[[n]]

Best bard, because the wisest!

[[v]]

Merrily live, and long!

The ecstasies above

35

With thy burning measures suit — [page 59:]

[[v]]

Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,

[[n]]

With the fervor of thy lute —

Well may the stars be mute!

40

Yes, Heaven is thine; but this

Is a world of sweets and sours;

Our flowers are merely — flowers,

[[v]]

And the shadow of thy perfect bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.

45

[[v]]

[[n]]

If I could dwell

Where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

[[v]]

He might not sing so wildly well

[[v]]

A mortal melody,

50

[[v]]

While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky.

(1831)

 


[[Variants]]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 57:]

Motto “And the angel Israfel who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creature. — KORAN” (1831, S. L. M.); “And the angel Israfel, or Israfeli, whose heartstrings are a lute, and who is the most musical of all God’s creatures. — KORAN” (Graham’s). In B.J. the passage is credited to “Sale’s Koran.”

3 wildly: wild — so (1831, S. L. M.).

5-7 And the giddy stars are mute (1831, S.L.M.).

13, 14 Omitted in 1831 and S. L. M.

15 Transposed in Graham’s so as to follow line 12.

17 the other: all the (1831, S. L. M.).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 58:]

19 owing to: due unto (Graham’s).

20, 21 Omitted in 1831 and S. L. M.

21 The: That (Graham’s); wire: lyre (Graham’s).

22 Of: With (1831, S.L.M., Graham’s).

23 skies: Heavens (1831, S.L.M., Graham’s).

25 Where: And (S. M., B.J.); Love ‘s a grown-up: Love is a grown (1831, S.L.M., Graham’s).

26 Where: And (S. M., B.J.); the: omitted in 1831, S.L.M., and Graham’s. After this line, 1831 inserts the following line:

— Stay! turn thine eyes afar!

28 a: yon (1831), the (Graham’s). After this line, Graham’s inserts the line:

The more lovely, the more jar!

29 Thou art not, therefore, wrong (1831, S. L. M., Graham’s, S. M., B.J.)

34 Omitted in 1831 and S. L M.

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 59:]

37 Thy grief — if any — thy love (1831, S. L. M.).

43 perfect: Omitted in 1831, S. L. M., and Graham’s.

45 could: did (1831, S. L. M., Graham’s).

45, 46 Printed as one line in 1831 and S.L.M.

48 might: would (1831, S. L. M.); so wildly: one half as (1831, S.L. M.), one half so (Graham’s).

49 One half as passionately (1831, S. L. M.), One half so passionately (Graham’s).

50 And a stormier note than this would swell (1831); And a loftier note than this would swell (S. L. M.).

 


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Notes:

None.

 

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