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   [[v]]

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.

[[n]]

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

[[n]]

That palpitate like the chill seas

Around the misty Hebrides!

Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven

[[v]]

[[n]]

That rustle through the unquiet Heaven

[[v]]

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

[[n]]

Eternal dews come down in drops.

They weep: — from off their delicate stems

[[v]]

[[n]]

Perennial tears descend in gems.

(1831)

 


[page 72, continued:]

[[Text of 1831]]

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

[[v]]

Far away — far away?

[[n]]

It is called the valley Nis.

[[n]]

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

[[v]]

Thro’ the tulips overhead,

25

Then grew paler as it fell

On the quiet Asphodel.

[[v]]

Now the unhappy shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

[[n]]

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

[[n]]

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.).]

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)