Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Scenes from Politian” (Text-03c), J. L. Graham copy of The Raven and Other Poems (1845), with Poe's manuscript changes, 1845-1849, pp. 31-51


[page 31:]





A Lady's apartment, with a window open and looking into a garden. Lalage, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and a hand mirror. In the back ground [[background]] Jacinta (a servant maid) leans carelessly upon a chair.

Lalage. Jacinta! is it thou?

Jacinta. (pertly.) Yes, Ma’am, I’m here.

Lal.   I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting.

Sit down! — let not my presence trouble you —

Sit down! — for I am humble, most humble.

Jac. (aside.) ’Tis time.

(Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the chair, resting her elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous look. Lalage continues to read.)

Lal.  “It in another climate, so he said,

“Bore a bright golden flower, but not i’ [[in]] this soil!”

(pauses — turns over some leaves, and resumes.)

“No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower —

“But Ocean ever to refresh mankind

“Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind.”

Oh, beautiful! — most beautiful! — how like

To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven!

O happy land! (pauses.) She died! — the maiden died!

O still more happy maiden who couldst die!


(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes.)

Again! — a similar tale

Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea! [page 35:]

Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play —

“She died full young” — one Bossola answers him —

“I think not so — her infelicity

“Seemed to have years too many” — Ah luckless lady!

Jacinta! (still no answer.)

Here's a far sterner story

But like — oh, very like in its despair —

Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily

A thousand hearts — losing at length her own.

She died. Thus endeth the history — and her maids

Lean over and weep — two gentle maids

With gentle names — Eiros and Charmion!

Rainbow and Dove! —— Jacinta!

Jac. (pettishly.) Madam, what is it?

Lal.  Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind

As go down in the library and bring me

The Holy Evangelists.

Jac. Pshaw!   (exit.)

Lal. If there be balm

For the wounded spirit in Gilead it is there!

Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble

Will there be found — “dew sweeter far than that

Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill.”

(re-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on the table.)

There, ma’am,'s the book. Indeed she is very troublesome.   (aside.)

Lal. (astonished.)  What didst thou say, Jacinta? Have I done aught

To grieve thee or to vex thee? — I am sorry.

For thou hast served me long and ever been

Trust-worthy and respectful.

(resumes her reading.)

Jac. I can’t believe

She has any more jewels — no — no — she gave me all.

(aside.) [page 36:]

Lal. What didst thou say, Jacinta? Now I bethink me

Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding.

How fares good Ugo? — and when is it to be?

Can I do aught? — is there no farther aid

Thou needest, Jacinta?

Jac. Is there no farther aid!

That's meant for me. (aside) I’m sure, Madam, you need not

Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth.

Lal. Jewels! Jacinta, — now indeed, Jacinta,

I thought not of the jewels.

Jac. Oh! perhaps not!

But then I might have sworn it. After all,

There's Ugo says the ring is only paste,

For he's sure the Count Castiglione never

Would have given a real diamond to such as you;

And at the best I’m certain, Madam, you cannot

Have use for jewels now. But I might have sworn it.


(Lalage bursts into tears and leans her head upon the table — after a short pause raises it.)

Lal.  Poor Lalage! — and is it come to this?

Thy servant maid! — but courage! — 'tis but a viper

Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul!

(taking up the mirror)

Ha! here at least's a friend — too much a friend

In earlier days — a friend will not deceive thee.

Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou canst)

A tale — a pretty tale — and heed thou not

Though it be rife with woe. It answers me.

It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks,

And Beauty long deceased — remembers me

Of Joy departed — Hope, the Seraph Hope,

Inurned and entombed! — now, in a tone

Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible, [page 37:]

Whispers of early grave untimely yawning

For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true! — thou liest not!

Thou hast no end to gain — no heart to break —

Castiglione lied who said he loved ——

Thou true — he false! — false! — false!

(while she speaks, a monk enters her apartment, and approaches unobserved.)

Monk.  Refuge thou hast,

Sweet daughter! in Heaven. Think of eternal things!

Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray!

Lal. (arising hurriedly.)  I cannot pray! — My soul is at war with God!

The frightful sounds of merriment below

Disturb my senses — go! I cannot pray —

The sweet airs from the garden worry me!

Thy presence grieves me — go! — thy priestly raiment

Fills me with dread — thy ebony crucifix

With horror and awe!

Monk.  Think of thy precious soul!

Lal.  Think of my early days! — think of my father

And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet home,

And the rivulet that ran before the door!

Think of my little sisters! — think of them!

And think of me! — think of my trusting love

And confidence — his vows — my ruin — think — think

Of my unspeakable misery! —— begone!

Yet stay! yet stay! — what was it thou saidst of prayer

And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith

And vows before the throne?

Monk.  I did.

Lal. ’Tis well.

There is a vow were fitting should be made — [page 38:]

A sacred vow, imperative, and urgent,

A solemn vow!

Monk.  Daughter, this zeal is well!

Lal.  Father, this zeal is anything but well!

Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing?

A crucifix whereon to register

This sacred vow?

(he hands her his own.)

Not that — Oh! no! — no! — no!


Not that! Not that! — I tell thee, holy man,

Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me!

Stand back! I have a crucifix myself, —

I have a crucifix! Methinks ’twere fitting

The deed — the vow — the symbol of the deed —

And the deed's register should tally, father!

(draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high.)

Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine

Is written in Heaven!

Monk.  Thy words are madness, daughter,

And speak a purpose unholy — thy lips are livid —

Thine eyes are wild — tempt not the wrath divine!

Pause ere too late! — oh be not — be not rash!

Swear not the oath — oh swear it not!

Lal.  ’Tis sworn! [page 39:]




Although all of the same scenes from RAOP are present in RAOP-JLG, there are changes only to the direction at the beinning of scene II. Thus, the other scenes have not been repeated here. As only the very beginning of the scene is altered in this copy, the indications of Poe's changes are limited to that small section.

For a detailed analysis of the changes made in this version, see the study text.


[S:1 - RAOP-JLG, 1846-1849 (fac, 1969)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Scenes from Politian (Text-03c)