Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to Romance,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), 7:163-165


[page 163, continued:]


Page 40.

PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY MUSEUM, MARCH 4, 1843; 1845; BROADWAY JOURNAL, II., 8. — Preface, 1829; Introduction, 1831.

Text, 1845.

Variations of 1829 from the text.

Line 1, who (o. c.) 2 wing, (o. c.) 4 lake, (o. c.) 9 lie, (o. c.) II. 2 Heaven (air) 4 I ... idle (I hardly have had time for) 5 Through (Thro’) 5 the (th’) 5 sky. (!) 6 And (And,) 11 Unless it trembled (Did it not tremble).

Variations of Broadway Journal from the text.

Line 9 lie, (o. c.) II. 3 as (, as) 11 strings. (!).

The 1831 version is as follows: —


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,

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

A child — with a most knowing eye [page 164:]

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.

O, then the eternal Condor years,

So shook the very Heavens on high,

With tumult as they thunder’d by;

I had no time for idle cares,

Thro’ gazing on the unquiet sky!

Or if an hour with calmer wing

Its down did on my spirit fling,

That little hour with lyre and rhyme

To while away — forbidden thing!

My heart half fear’d to be a crime

Unless it trembled with the string. [page 165:]

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,

To break upon Time's monotone,

While yet my vapid joy and grief

Are tintless of the yellow leaf —

Why not an imp the graybeard hath

Will shake his shadow in my path —

And even the graybeard will o’erlook

Connivingly my dreaming-book.


Romance taught the poet in his childhood his earliest moods, but now he is so occupied with cares that he cannot use his time in riming merely for poetry's sake, but only because his heart trembles with his music.

The earlier form of this poem seems the best.





[S:0 - JAH07, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to Romance)