Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Fairy Land [II],” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 161-163 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 161:]


Because the first forty lines and four of the last five are entirely new, this “Fairy Land” in Poems (1831) is virtually a new poem, with an effect of its own. Lines 41-50 repeat almost verbatim lines 1-10 of “Fairyland” (1829), and lines 51, 52-54, 55-56, 57-59, and 63 use lines 12, 15-17, 27-28, 18-20, and 22, respectively, of the earlier poem, with a few changes. Poe printed the new poem only once.



Sit down beside me, Isabel,

Here, dearest, where the moonbeam fell

Just now so fairy-like and well.

Now thou art dress’d for paradise!


I am star-stricken with thine eyes!

My soul is lolling on thy sighs!

Thy hair is lifted by the moon

Like flowers by the low breath of June!


Sit down, sit down — how came we here?


Or is it all but a dream, my dear?

You know that most enormous flower —


That rose — that what d’ye call it — that hung


Up like a dog-star in this bower —

To-day (the wind blew, and) it swung


So impudently in my face,

So like a thing alive you know,


I tore it from its pride of place

And shook it into pieces — so

Be all ingratitude requited.


The winds ran off with it delighted,

And, thro’ the opening left, as soon


As she threw off her cloak, yon moon

Has sent a ray down with a tune. [page 162:]

And this ray is a fairy ray —


Did you not say so, Isabel?

How fantastically it fell

With a spiral twist and a swell,

And over the wet grass rippled away


With a tinkling like a bell!


In my own country all the way

We can discover a moon ray

Which thro’ some tatter’d curtain pries


Into the darkness of a room,

Is by (the very source of gloom)


The motes, and dust, and flies,

On which it trembles and lies

Like joy upon sorrow!

O, when will come the morrow?


Isabel! do you not fear


The night and the wonders here?


Dim vales! and shadowy floods!

And cloudy-looking woods

Whose forms we can’t discover

For the tears that drip all over!


Huge moons — see! wax and wane

Again — again — again —

Every moment of the night —

Forever changing places!

How they put out the starlight


With the breath from their pale faces!

Lo! one is coming down

With its centre on the crown

Of a mountain's eminence!

Down — still down — and down —


Now deep shall be — O deep!

The passion of our sleep!

For that wide circumference

In easy drapery falls

Drowsily over halls — [page 163:]


Over ruin’d walls —

Over waterfalls,

(Silent waterfalls!)

O’er the strange woods — o’er the sea —

Alas! over the sea!


[page 163, continued:]


1  Isabel (Isabella) is a most appropriate name for a friend of a discoverer of an unknown land.

9-11  Compare “A Dream Within a Dream” (1849), lines 23-24, “Is all that we see or seem / But a dream within a dream?”

12  The phrase “what d’ye call it” and its several kindred forms are called colloquial by the lexicographers. Obviously Poe here merely means he is not quite sure the “enormous flower” is a rose.

13  “A dog-star” is here used to mean a cynosure, without direct reference to Sirius.

17  “Pride of place” is from Macbeth, II, iv, 12; Poe does not seem to have had in mind here the technical meaning: “at the highest point of a falcon's flight.”

22-23  Compare “Irenë” (1831), line 25: “Thus hums the moon within her ear.”

29  Compare the abortive ending of one version of “The Valley of Unrest,” printed in the American Review in April 1845:

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.

33  In a review in Burton's, September 1839, and in “Marginalia,” number 39, Poe praised a line, “I see the summer rooms, open and dark,” from page 13 of The Bride of Fort Edward, a book published anonymously by Delia Bacon.

39-40  Compare “The Sleeper,” lines 30-31: “Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear? / Why and what art thou dreaming here?”

(For annotation on lines 41-64, see pp. 138-142.)





[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Fairy Land [II])