Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to The Lake: To ——,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), pp. 155-156


[page 155, continued:]


Page 21.

1827, 1829, 1831 (TAMERLANE), 1845.

Text, 1845.

The earliest version (1827) runs as follows: —


In youth’s spring it was my lot

To haunt of the wide earth a spot

The which I could not love the less;

So lovely was the loneliness

Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,

And the tall pines that tower’d around.

But when the night had thrown her pall

Upon that spot — as upon all,

And the wind would pass me by

In its stilly melody,

My infant spirit would awake

To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright —

But a tremulous delight,

And a feeling undefined,

Springing from a darken’d mind.

Death was in that poison’d wave

And in its gulf a fitting grave

For him who thence could solace bring

To his dark imagining;

Whose wildering thought could even make

An Eden of that dim lake. [page 156:]

Variations of 1829 from the text.

I. 1 In ... youth (In youth’s spring) 3 less — (,) 5 lake, (o. c.) 6 towered (tower’d) 6 around (:) 6 does not end stanza II. 1 Night (s. 1.) 2 spot, (—) 4 Murmuring in (In a dirge of) 5 My infant spirit would awake III. 1 fright, (—) 3 jewelled (jewell’d) 5 although (altho’) 5 were (be) 5 thine. (:) IV. 1 poisonous (poison’d) 1 wave, (—) 2 And (And,).

For the Tamerlane form see note to Tamerlane above.

The following Note is found in 1845: —

This [The Lake. To —— ] (with very slight variations) “inserted “ in “Tamerlane,” in the ed. of N. Y., 1831. See p. 115 of that ed. “For in those days,” etc.


Enchanted in youth’s spring by the lovely loneliness of a wild lake the poet would awake to the tremulous delight of its terror, for in it was death and for the solitary soul an Eden.

This is the first hint of suicide as an end of misery and an introduction to happiness.





[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to The Lake: To ——)