Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Tamerlane” (Comparative Text - ATMP, ATMP-EH and RAOP)


Texts Represented:



Rule: {{1829-01; 1845-02: ———— // 1845-03: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }}

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 1 }}

Line-01-001: {{1829-01; 1845-02: Kind // 1845-03: KIND }} solace in a dying hour! {{1829-01; 1845-02:}}

Line-01-002: [[indented]] Such, father, is not (now) my theme —

Line-01-003: I will not madly deem that power

Line-01-004: [[indented]] Of Earth may shrive me of the sin

Line-01-005: [[indented]] Unearthly pride hath revell’d in —

Line-01-006: [[indented]] I have no time to dote or dream:

Line-01-007: You call it hope — that fire of fire!

Line-01-008: It is but agony of desire:

Line-01-009: If I can hope — Oh God! I can —

Line-01-010: [[indented]] Its fount is holier — more divine —

Line-01-011: I would not call thee fool, old man,

Line-01-012: [[indented]] But such is not a gift of thine.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 2 }}

Line-01-013: Know thou the secret of a spirit

Line-01-014: [[indented]] Bow’d from its wild pride into shame.

Line-01-015: O {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! }} yearning heart! I did inherit

Line-01-016: [[indented]] Thy withering portion with the fame,

Line-01-017: The searing glory which hath shone

Line-01-018: Amid the {{1829-01; 1845-02: jewels // 1845-03: Jewels }} of my throne,

Line-01-019: Halo of Hell! and with a pain

Line-01-020: Not Hell shall make me fear again —

Line-01-021: O {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! }} craving heart, for the lost flowers

Line-01-022: And sunshine of my summer hours!

Line-01-023: {{1829-01; 1845-02: Th’ // 1845-03: The }} undying voice of that dead time,

Line-01-024: With its interminable chime,

Line-01-025: Rings, in the spirit of a spell,

Line-01-026: Upon thy emptiness — a knell.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 3 }}

Line-01-027: I have not always been as now:

Line-01-028: The fever’d diadem on my brow

Line-01-029: [[indented]] I claim’d and won usurpingly ——

Line-01-030: Hath not the same fierce heirdom given

Line-01-031: [[indented]] Rome to the Caesar — this to me?

Line-01-032: [[indented]] The heritage of a kingly mind,

Line-01-033: And a proud spirit which hath striven

Line-01-034: [[indented]] Triumphantly with human kind.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 4 }}

Line-01-035: On mountain soil I first drew life:

Line-01-036: [[indented]] The mists of the Taglay have shed

Line-01-037: [[indented]] Nightly their dews upon my head,

Line-01-038: And, I believe, the winged strife

Line-01-039: And tumult of the headlong air

Line-01-040: Hath {{1829-01; 1845-02: nestl’d // 1845-03: nestled }} in my very hair.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 5 }}

Line-01-041: So late from Heaven — that dew — it fell

Line-01-042: [[indented]] (’Mid dreams of an unholy night)

Line-01-043: {{1829-01: Upon // 1845-02: on // 1845-02: Upon }} me {{1829-01; 1845-02:}} with the touch of Hell,

Line-01-044: [[indented]] While the red flashing of the light

Line-01-045: From clouds that hung, like banners, o’er,

Line-01-046: [[indented]] Appeared to my half-closing eye

Line-01-047: [[indented]] The pageantry of monarchy,

Line-01-048: And the deep trumpet-thunder’s roar

Line-01-049: [[indented]] Came hurriedly upon me, telling

Line-01-050: [[indented]] Of human battle, where my voice,

Line-01-051: [[indented]] My own voice, silly child! — was swelling

Line-01-052: [[indented]] (O! how my spirit would rejoice,

Line-01-053: And leap within me at the cry)

Line-01-054: The battle-cry of Victory!

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 6 }}

Line-01-055: The rain came down upon my head

Line-01-056: [[indented]] Unshelter’d — and the heavy wind

Line-01-057: [[indented]] {{1829-01; 1845-02: Was giantlike — so thou, my mind! — // 1845-03: Rendered me mad and deaf and blind. }}

Line-01-058: It was but man, I thought, who shed

Line-01-059: [[indented]] Laurels upon me: and the rush —

Line-01-060: The torrent of the chilly air

Line-01-061: Gurgled within my ear the crush

Line-01-062: [[indented]] Of empires — with the captive’s prayer —

Line-01-063: The hum of suiters — and the tone

Line-01-064: Of flattery ’round a sovereign’s throne.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 7 }}

Line-01-065: My passions, from that hapless hour,

Line-01-066: [[indented]] Usurp’d a tyranny which men

Line-01-067: Have deem’d, since I have reach’d to power {{1829-01; 1845-02: ; // 1845-03: , }}

Line-01-068: [[indented]] My innate nature — be it so:

Line-01-069: [[indented]] But, father, there liv’d one who, then,

Line-01-070: Then — in my {{1829-01; 1845-02: boy-hood // 1845-03: boyhood }} — when their fire

Line-01-071: [[indented]] Burn’d with a still intenser glow {{1829-01; 1845-02: , }}

Line-01-072: (For passion must, with youth, expire)

Line-01-073: [[indented]] E’en then who knew this iron heart

Line-01-074: [[indented]] In woman’s weakness had a part.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 8 }}

Line-01-075: I have no words — alas! — to tell

Line-01-076: The loveliness of loving well!

Line-01-077: Nor would I now attempt to trace

Line-01-078: The more than beauty of a face

Line-01-079: Whose lineaments, upon my mind,

Line-01-080: Are —— shadows on th’ unstable wind:

Line-01-081: Thus I remember having dwelt

Line-01-082: [[indented]] Some page of early lore upon,

Line-01-083: With loitering eye, till I have felt

Line-01-084: The letters — with their meaning — melt

Line-01-085: [[indented]] To fantasies — with none.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 9 }}

Line-01-086: O {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! // 1845-03: , }} she was worthy of all love!

Line-01-087: [[indented]] Love — as in infancy was mine —

Line-01-088: ’Twas such as angel minds above

Line-01-089: [[indented]] Might envy; her young heart the shrine

Line-01-090: On which my ev’ry hope and thought

Line-01-091: [[indented]] Were incense — then a goodly gift,

Line-01-092: [[indented]] For they were childish {{1829-01; 1845-02:}} and upright —

Line-01-093: Pure —— as her young example taught:

Line-01-094: [[indented]] Why did I leave it, and, adrift,

Line-01-095: [[indented]] Trust to the fire within, for light?

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 10 }}

Line-01-096: We grew in age — and love — together —

Line-01-097: [[indented]] Roaming the forest, and the wild;

Line-01-098: My breast her shield in wintry weather —

Line-01-099: [[indented]] And, when the friendly sunshine smil’d,

Line-01-100: And she would mark the opening skies,

Line-01-101: I saw no Heaven — but in her eyes.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 11 }}

Line-01-102: Young Love’s first lesson is —— the heart:

Line-01-103: [[indented]] For ’mid that sunshine, and those smiles,

Line-01-104: When, from our little cares apart,

Line-01-105: [[indented]] And laughing at her girlish wiles,

Line-01-106: I’d throw me on her throbbing breast,

Line-01-107: [[indented]] And pour my spirit out in tears —

Line-01-107: There was no need to speak the rest —

Line-01-109: [[indented]] No need to quiet any fears

Line-01-110: Of her — who ask’d no reason why,

Line-01-111: But turn’d on me her quiet eye!

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 12 }}

Line-01-112: Yet more than worthy of the love

Line-01-113: My spirit struggled with, and strove,

Line-01-114: When, on the mountain peak, alone,

Line-01-115: Ambition lent it a new tone —

Line-01-116: I had no being — but in thee:

Line-01-117: [[indented]] The world, and all it did contain

Line-01-118: In the earth — the air — the sea —

Line-01-119: [[indented]] Its joy — its little lot of pain

Line-01-120: That was new pleasure —— the ideal,

Line-01-121: [[indented]] Dim, vanities of dreams by night —

Line-01-122: And dimmer nothings which were real —

Line-01-123: [[indented]] (Shadows — and a more shadowy light!)

Line-01-124: Parted upon their misty wings,

Line-01-125: [[indented]] And, so, confusedly, became

Line-01-126: [[indented]] Thine image and — a name — a name!

Line-01-127: Two separate — yet most intimate things.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 13 }}

Line-01-128: I was ambitious — have you known

Line-01-129: [[indented]] The passion, father? You have not:

Line-01-130: A cottager, I mark’d a throne

Line-01-131: Of half the world as all my own,

Line-01-132: [[indented]] And murmur’d at such lowly lot —

Line-01-133: But, just like any other dream,

Line-01-134: [[indented]] Upon the vapor of the dew

Line-01-135: My own had past, did not the beam

Line-01-136: [[indented]] Of {{1829-01; 1845-02: Beauty // 1845-03: beauty }} which did while it thro’

Line-01-137: The minute — the hour — the day — oppress

Line-01-138: My mind with double loveliness.

Stanza: {{1829-01: 14 }}

Line-01-139: We walk’d together on the crown

Line-01-140: Of a high mountain which look’d down

Line-01-141: Afar from its proud natural towers

Line-01-142: [[indented]] Of rock and forest, on the hills —

Line-01-143: The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers

Line-01-144: [[indented]] And shouting with a thousand rills.

Stanza: {{1829-01: 15 }}

Line-01-145: I spoke to her of power and pride,

Line-01-146: [[indented]] But mystically — in such guise

Line-01-147: That she might deem it nought beside

Line-01-148: [[indented]] The moment’s converse; in her eyes

Line-01-149: I read, perhaps too carelessly —

Line-01-150: [[indented]] A mingled feeling with my own —

Line-01-151: The flush on her bright cheek, to me

Line-01-152: [[indented]] Seem’d to become a queenly throne

Line-01-153: Too well that I should let it be

Line-01-154: [[indented]] Light in the wilderness alone.

Stanza: {{1829-01: 16 }}

Line-01-155: I wrapp’d myself in grandeur then,

Line-01-156: [[indented]] And donn’d a visionary crown ——

Line-01-157: [[indented]] Yet it was not that Fantasy

Line-01-158: [[indented]] Had thrown her mantle over me —

Line-01-159: But that, among the rabble — men,

Line-01-160: [[indented]] Lion ambition is chain’d down —

Line-01-161: And crouches to a keeper’s hand —

Line-01-162: Not so in deserts where the grand {{1845-03:}}

Line-01-163: The wild — the terrible conspire

Line-01-164: With their own breath to fan his fire.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 17 }}

Line-01-165: Look ’round thee now on Samarcand! —

Line-01-166: [[indented]] Is she not queen of Earth? her pride

Line-01-167: Above all cities? in her hand

Line-01-158: [[indented]] Their destinies? in all beside

Line-01-169: Of glory which the world hath known

Line-01-170: Stands she not nobly and alone?

Line-01-171: Falling — her veriest stepping-stone

Line-01-172: Shall form the pedestal of a throne —

Line-01-173: And who her sovereign? Timour — he

Line-01-174: [[indented]] Whom the astonished people saw

Line-01-175: Striding o’er empires haughtily

Line-01-176: [[indented]] A diadem’d outlaw {{1829-01; 1845-02:// 1845-03: ! }}

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 18 }}

Line-01-177: O {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! // 1845-03: , }} human love! thou spirit given,

Line-01-178: On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!

Line-01-179: Which fall’st into the soul like rain

Line-01-180: Upon the Siroc wither’d plain,

Line-01-181: And failing in thy power to bless {{1845-03: , }}

Line-01-182: But leav’st the heart a wilderness!

Line-01-183: Idea! which bindest life around

Line-01-184: With music of so strange a sound

Line-01-185: And beauty of so wild a birth —

Line-01-186: Farewell! for I have won the Earth {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! // 1845-03: . }}

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 19 }}

Line-01-187: When Hope, the eagle that tower’d, could see

Line-01-188: [[indented]] No cliff beyond him in the sky,

Line-01-189: His pinions were bent droopingly —

Line-01-190: [[indented]] And homeward turn’d his soften’d eye.

Stanza: {{1829-01: 20 // 1845-02: [[marked for lines to be merged with previous stanza]] // 1845-03: [[lines merged, as indicated]] }}

Line-01-191: ’Twas sunset: when the sun will part

Line-01-192: There comes a sullenness of heart

Line-01-193: To him who still would look upon

Line-01-194: The glory of the summer sun.

Line-01-195: That soul will hate the ev’ning mist

Line-01-196: So often lovely, and will list

Line-01-197: To the sound of the coming darkness (known

Line-01-198: To those whose spirits harken) as one

Line-01-199: Who, in a dream of night, would fly

Line-01-200: But cannot from a danger nigh.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 21 }}

Line-01-201: What tho’ the moon — the white moon

Line-01-202: Shed all the splendor of her noon,

Line-01-203: Her smile is chilly — and her beam,

Line-01-204: In that time of dreariness, will seem

Line-01-205: (So like you gather in your breath)

Line-01-206: A portrait taken after death.

Line-01-207: And boyhood is a summer sun

Line-01-208: Whose waning is the dreariest one —

Line-01-209: For all we live to know is known

Line-01-210: And all we seek to keep hath flown —

Line-01-211: Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall

Line-01-212: With the noon-day beauty — which is all.

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 22 }}

Line-01-213: I reach’d my home — my home no more —

Line-01-214: [[indented]] For all had flown who made it so {{1829-01; 1845-02:// 1845-03: . }}

Line-01-215: I pass’d from out its mossy door,

Line-01-216: [[indented]] And, tho’ my tread was soft and low,

Line-01-217: A voice came from the threshold stone

Line-01-218: Of one whom I had earlier known —

Line-01-219: [[indented]] O {{1829-01; 1845-02: ! // 1845-03: , }} I defy thee, Hell, to show

Line-01-220: [[indented]] On beds of fire that burn below,

Line-01-221: [[indented]] A humbler heart — a deeper wo {{1829-01; 1845-02:// 1845-03: . }}

Stanza: {{1829-01; 1845-02: 23 }}

Line-01-222: Father, I firmly do believe —

Line-01-223: [[indented]] I know — for Death {{1829-01; 1845-02:}} who comes for me

Line-01-224: [[indented]] From regions of the blest afar,

Line-01-225: Where there is nothing to deceive,

Line-01-226: [[indented]] Hath left his iron gate ajar,

Line-01-227: [[indented]] And rays of truth you cannot see

Line-01-228: [[indented]] Are flashing thro’ Eternity ——

Line-01-229: I do believe that Eblis hath

Line-01-230: A snare in {{1829-01; 1845-02: ev’ry // 1845-03: every }} human path —

Line-01-231: Else how, when in the holy grove

Line-01-232: I wandered of the idol, Love,

Line-01-233: Who daily scents his snowy wings

Line-01-234: With incense of burnt offerings

Line-01-235: From the most unpolluted things,

Line-01-236: Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven

Line-01-237: Above with {{1829-01; 1845-02: trelliced // 1845-03: trellic’d }} rays from Heaven

Line-01-238: No mote may shun — no tiniest fly {{1845-03:}}

Line-01-239: The light’ning of his eagle eye —

Line-01-240: How was it that Ambition crept,

Line-01-241: [[indented]] Unseen, amid the revels there,

Line-01-242: Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt

Line-01-243: [[indented]] In the tangles of Love’s very hair?



For an explanation of the formatting used in this Comparative Text, see editorial policies and methods. This format is very much an experiment, particularly for poetry.

Because these changes reflect two different printed texts, pagination has been omitted in the present text.

In ATMP-EH, although only the numbers for stanzas 14-16, and 20 are marked through with a line, it is clear that Poe’s intention was to remove all stanza numbers, and all were removed in RAOP. For stanza 20, in addition to removing the stanza number, it was merged with stanza 19.


[S:0 - comparative] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Tamerlane (Comparative Text - ATMP, ATMP-EH and RAOPS)