Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “[Extracts of Al Aaraaf],” Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser, vol. 71, whole no. 11,895, May 18, 1829, p. 2, col. 3


[page 2, unnumbered, col. 3, middle:]


Al Aaraaf, among the Arabians, a medium between Heaven and Hell, is supposed to be located in the celebrated star discovered by Tycho Brahe, which burst forth in one night upon the eyes of the world, and disappeared as suddenly. — Michael Angelo is represented as transferred to this star, and speaking to the “lady of his unearthly love” of the regions he had left.

Here sate he with his love — his dark eye bent

With eagle gaze along the firmament —

Now turned it upon her — but ever then

It trembled to one constant star again.

“Ianthe, dearest, see! how dim that ray!

How lovely 'tis to look so far away!

She seem'd not thus upon that autumn eve

I left her gorgeous halls, nor mourn'd to leave!

The last spot of her orb I trod upon

(1) Was a fair temple called the Parthenon —

More beauty clung around her columned wall

(2) Than even thy glowing bosom beats withall;

And when old Time my wing did disenthral

Thence sprung I, as the eagle from his tower,

And years I left behind me in an hour.

* * * * * * * * * *  

* * * * * * * * * *  

Methought Ianthe, then I ceas'd to soar;

And fell — not swiftly — as I rose before —

But with a downward, tremulous motion throught;

Light brazen rays this golden star unto!

Nor long the measure of my falling hours:

For nearest of all stars was thine to ours —

Dread star! that came, amid their night of mirth

A red Dœdalion [[Dædalion]] on the timid Earth!

“We came, my Angelo! but not to us

Be given our lady's bidding to discuss:

We came, my love; around, above, below,

Gay fire-fly of the night, we come and go,

Nor ask a reason save the angel nod

She gives to us as given by her God:

But truly, Angelo! grey Time unfurl'd

Never his fairy wing o'er fairier world!

Dim was its little disk, and seraph eyes

Alone could see the phantom in the skies,

When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be

Headlong thitherward o'er the starry sea!

But when its glory swell'd upon the sky,

As glowing Beauty's bust beneath man's eye,

We paus'd before the heritage of men —

And thy star trembled — as doth Beauty then![[”]]



[The following footnotes appear immediately below the text of the poem:]

(1)  It was entire in 1687 — the most elevated building in Athens.

(2)  Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows

Than have the white breasts of the Queen of Love.




These excerpts, printed in the paper's advertising section, are taken from lines 194-201, 214-220 and 237-260 of part II of the full version of “Al Aaraaf” published late  in 1829 as Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems.

What here appears to be a signature, Marlow, is merely a badly placed attribution for note 2. In addition, it should be Marlowe.

The owner of the Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser was William Gwynn. One of his employees at this time was Edgar's cousin, Neilson Poe. When Neilson left this position in 1831, Edgar wrote to Gwynn: “I am almost ashamed to ask any favour at your hands after my foolish conduct upon a former occasion — but I trust to your good nature. . . . I write to request your influence in obtaining some situation or employment in this city [Baltimore]. Salary would be a minor consideration, but I do not wish to be idle. Perhaps (since I understand Neilson has left you) you might be so kind as to employ me in your office in some capacity. If so I will use every exertion to deserve your confidence” (Poe to William Gwynn, May 6, 1831, Ostrom, Letters, p. 45). It is not known whether or not Gwynn replied to this request.

This item was rediscovered by Kenneth Rede, who included it in his article “Poe Notes: From an Investigator's Notebook,” American Literature, V, no. 1, March 1933, pp. 49-54.


[S:1 - BGDA, 1829] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - extracts of Al Aaraaf