Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore” (Text-17), reconstructed text for proposed version, about May 1849





AH, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll! — a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;

And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear? — weep now or never more!

See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!

Come! let the burial rite be read — the funeral song be sung! —

An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young —

A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

“Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,

And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her — that she died!

How shall the ritual, then, be read? — the requiem how be sung

By you — by yours, the evil eye, — by yours, the slanderous tongue

That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?”

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!

The sweet Lenore hath “gone before,” with Hope, that flew beside,

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride —

For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,

The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes —

The life still there, upon her hair — the death upon her eyes.

“Avaunt! avaunt! to friends from fiends the indignant ghost is riven —

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven —

From grief and moan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven: —

Let no bell toll, then, lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damnèd Earth;

And I! — to-night my heart is light! — no dirge will I upraise

But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days.”




This version of the poem shows how it would have appeared in The Poets and Poetry of America if Griswold had adopted the change Poe requested by letter, and retained the long-line form. Instead, Griswold used a much earlier version, presumably because it had already been set in type, and the short-line form imposed by the columnar format of his book.

The present text uses that of RAOP and applies the final stanza from Poe's letter of about May 1849 to Griswold. One additional change that has been adopted in this text is the use of quotation marks for the second and final stanzas, matching how the poem appeared in the Richmond Daily Whig and Advertiser, which was presumably set in type under Poe's supervision. In addition, the wiggly line rule used in RAOP has been replaced by a short line rule, as was used in PPA.


[S:1 - 1849] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Lenore (Text-17)