Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Stanzas” (Text-02), Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), pp. 30-32


[page 30, continued:]



How often we forget all time, when lone

Admiring Nature's universal throne;

Her woods — her wilds — her mountains — the intense

Reply of HERS to OUR intelligence!


In youth have I known one with whom the Earth

In secret communing held — as he with it,

In day light, and in beauty from his birth:

Whose fervid, flick’ring torch of life was lit [page 31:]

From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth

A passionate light-such for his spirit was fit —

And yet that spirit knew — not [[knew not —]] in the hour

Of its own fervor — what had o’er it power.


Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought

To a ferver [[fever]] by the moon beam that hangs o’er,

But I will half believe that wild light fraught

With more of sov’reignty than ancient lore

Hath ever told — or is it of a thought

The unembodied essence, and no more

That with a quick’ning spell doth o’er us pass

As dew of the night-time, o’er the summer grass.


Doth o’er us pass, when, as th’ expanding eye

To the lov’d object — so the tear to the lid

Will start, which lately slept in apathy?

And yet it need not be — (that object) hid

From us in life — but common — which doth lie

Each hour before us — but then only bid

With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken

T’ awake us — ’Tis a symbol and a token. [[,]]


Of what in other worlds shall be — and giv’n

In beauty by our God, to those alone [page 32:]

Who otherwise would fall from life and Heav’n

Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone,

That high tone of the spirit which hath striv’n

Tho’ not with Faith — with godliness — whose throne

With desp’rate energy ’t hath beaten down;

Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.



The title “Stanzas” was assigned by E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry in 1894, and has generally been widely accepted.

This is one of the poems in this collection that Poe never reprinted

Poe's motto preceeding the poem is from Bryon's Island, 1823, Canto II, lines 382-285. (Mabbott, in his edition of Poe's poems, cites the reference as “Canto II, xvi, lines 13-16,” but different editions provide different numbering. In the 1823 edition, printed in London, the lines are numbered within the full canto. An 1824 edition, printed in Philadelphia, and an 1831 edition, also printed in London, give no line numbers. All editions divide the cantos into sections bearing Roman numerals.

In the second line of stanza 2, “ferver” may be “fervor” or more likely “fever.”


[S:2 - TAOP, 1827 (fac, 1941)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Stanzas (Text-02)