Text: Edmund C. Stedman and George E. Woodberry, “Notes, Together with a Complete Variorum Text of the Poems,” The Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. X: Poems (1895), 10:139-237


[page 139:]



[page 141:]





THE sources of the text for Poe's poems are the four editions published by him, 1827, 1829, 1831, 1845, and the newspapers, journals, and magazines to which he contributed poems; viz., the Baltimore “Saturday Visiter,” “Southern Literary Messenger,” “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” Baltimore “American Museum,” Philadelphia “Saturday Evening Post,” “Graham's Magazine,” Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” “Broadway Journal,” “American Whig Review,” “Union Magazine,” “Sartain's Union Magazine,” “Flag of our Union.” In one or two instances in which the first issue of a poem is either unknown or not found, the text of Griswold, 1850, is the sole authority. The only MS. source, superior to these texts, is the Lorimer Graham copy of the 1845 edition, which contains marginal corrections in Poe's hand. The Wilmer MS. (see Preface) affords new early readings. The collation of the several editions is as follows:


TAMERLANE | AND | OTHER POEMS | By a Bostonian | Young heads are giddy and young hearts are warm | And make mistakes for manhood to reform. | [page 142:] COWPER | Boston | Calvin F. S. Thomas, Printer | 1827.

Collation [6 3/8 x 4 1/3 inches]. Title (with blank verso), pp. 1-2; Preface, pp. 3-4; Tamerlane, pp. 5-21; Blank verso, p. 22; Half-title, Fugitive Pieces (with blank verso), pp. 23-24; Fugitive Pieces, pp. 25-34; Half-title, Notes (with blank verso), pp. 35-36; Notes, pp. 37-40.

Issued as a pamphlet, in yellow covers. Three copies are known. The text follows the Reprint by R. H. Shepard, London, 1884, which corrects printer's errors, but gives them in a list by themselves in the Preface.


AL AARAAF | TAMERLANE | AND | MINOR POEMS | By Edgar A. Poe. | Baltimore: | Hatch & Dunning | 1829.

Collation: Octavo. Title (with copyright and imprint on verso), pp. 1-2; Motto: — Entiendes, etc. (with blank verso), pp. 3-4; Half-title, Al Aaraaf (with motto What has Night, etc. on verso), pp. 5-6; Dedication. | Who Drinks the deepest? — here's to him. | Cleveland (with blank verso), pp. 7-8; Motto, “A star was discovered,” etc. (with blank verso), pp. 9-10; Sonnet, “Science,” etc. (with blank verso), pp. 11-12; Al Aaraaf | Part 1, pp. 13-21; Blank verso, p. 22; Half-title, Al Aaraaf (with blank verso), pp. 23-24; Al Aaraaf | Part 2, pp. 25-38; Half-title, Tamerlane (with Advertisement | This poem was printed for publication in Boston, in the year | 1827, but suppressed through circumstances of a private nature, on verso), pp. 39-40; Dedication, To | John Neal | This Poem | is | respectfully dedicated (with blank verso), [page 143:] pp. 41-42: Tamerlane, pp. 43-54: Half-title, Miscellaneous Poems (with motto: My nothingness, etc., on verso), pp. 55-56; Poems (no title), pp. 57-71. Issued in blue boards.


POEMS | By | Edgar A. Poe | Tout le Monde a Raison. — Rochefoucault. | Second Edition | New York. | Published by Elam Bliss | 1831.

Collation: Duodecimo. Half-title, Poems (with blank verso), pp. 1-2; Title (with imprint on verso), pp. 3-4. Dedication, To | The U. S, Corps of Cadets | This Volume | is Respectfully Dedicated (with blank verso), pp. 5-6; Contents (with blank verso), pp. 7-8; Half-title, Letter (with blank verso), pp. 9-10; Motto, “Tell wit,” etc. (with blank verso), pp. 11-12; Letter to Mr. —— —— (with blank verso), pp. 13-30; Half-title, Introduction (with blank verso), pp. 31-32; Introduction, pp. 33-30: Half-title, Helen (with blank verso), pp. 37-38; To Helen (with blank verso), pp. 39-40; Half-title, Israfel (with blank verso), pp. 41-42; Israfel (with blank verso), pp. 43-46; Half-title, The Doomed City (with blank verso), pp. 47-48; The Doomed City (with blank verso), pp. 49-52; Half-title, Fairyland (with blank verso), pp. 53-54: Fairy Land, pp. 55-58; Half-title, Irene (with blank verso), 59-60; Irene, pp. 61-64; Half-title, A Pæan (with blank verso), pp. 65-66; A Pæan, pp. 67-70; Half-title, Valley Nis (with blank verso), pp. 71-72; The Valley Nis (with blank verso), pp. 73-76; Half-title, Al Aaraaf, p. 77; Motto, “What has Night to do with Sleep?” — Comus, p. 78; “A Star was discovered,” etc. (with blank verso), pp. 79-80; Sonnet, “Science” (with blank verso), pp. 81-82; Al Aaraaf | Part First | [page 144:] pp.’ 83-92; Half-title, Al Aaraaf (with blank verso), pp. 93-94: Al Aaraaf | Part Second, pp. 95-108; Half-title, Tamerlane (with blank verso), pp. 109-110; Tamerlane, pp. 111-124, Issued in green boards.

The prefatory “Letter to Mr. —— ——” was republished, slightly revised, in the “Southern Literary Messenger,” July, 1836, with the following note: “These detached passages form part of the preface to a small volume printed some years ago for private circulation. They have vigor and much originality — but of course we shall not be called upon to indorse all the writer's opinions.”

In the original form, 1831, the letter is as follows: —


WEST POINT, ——, 1831.


  · · · · · · · · · ·  

Believing only a portion of my former volume to be worthy a second edition, — that small portion I thought it as well to include in the present book as to republish by itself. I have therefore herein combined “Al Aaraaf” and “Tamerlane” with other Poems hitherto unprinted. Nor have I hesitated to insert from the “Minor Poems” now omitted whole lines, and even passages, to the end that, being placed in a fairer light and the trash shaken from them in which they were embedded, they may have some chance of being seen by posterity.

It has been said that a good critique on a poem may be written by one who is no poet himself. This, according to your idea and mine of poetry, I feel to be false — the less poetical the critic, the less just the [page 145:] critique, and the converse. On this account, and because there are but few B——'s in the world, I would be as much ashamed of the world's good opinion as proud of your own. Another than yourself might here observe, “Shakespeare is in possession of the world's good opinion, and yet Shakespeare is the greatest of poets. It appears then that the world judge correctly, why should you be ashamed of their favorable judgment?” The difficulty lies in the interpretation of the word “judgment” or “opinion.” The opinion is the world's, truly, but it may be called theirs as a man would call a book his, having bought it; he did not write the book, but it is his; they did not originate the opinion, but it is theirs. A fool, for example, thinks Shakespeare a great poet — yet the fool has never read Shakespeare. But the fool's neighbor, who is a step higher on the Andes of the mind, whose head (that is to say, his more exalted thought) is too far above the fool to be seen or understood, but whose feet (by which I mean his every-day actions) are sufficiently near to be discerned, and by means of which that superiority is ascertained, which but for them would never have been discovered, — this neighbor asserts that Shakespeare is a great poet, — the fool believes him, and it is henceforward his opinion. This neighbor's own opinion has, in like manner, been adopted from one above him, and so, ascendingly, to a few gifted individuals, who kneel around the summit, beholding, face to face, the master-spirit who stands upon the pinnacle.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

You are aware of the great barrier in the path of an American writer. He is read, if at all, in preference to the combined and established wit of the world. I [page 146:] say established; for it is with literature as with law or empire — an established name is an estate in tenure, or a throne in possession. Besides, one might suppose that books, like their authors, improve by travel — their having crossed the sea is, with us, so great a distinction. Our antiquaries abandon time for distance; our very fops glance from the binding to the bottom of the titlepage, where the mystic characters which spell London, Paris, or Genoa, are precisely so many letters of recommendation.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

I mentioned just now a vulgar error as regards criticism. I think the notion that no poet can form a correct estimate of his own writings is another. I remarked before, that in proportion to the poetical talent, would be the justice of a critique upon poetry. Therefore, a bad poet would, I grant, make a false critique, and his self-love would infallibly bias his little judgment in his favor; but a poet, who is indeed a poet, could not, I think, fail of making a just critique. Whatever should be deducted on the score of self-love, might be replaced on account of his intimate acquaintance with the subject; in short, we have more instances of false criticism than of just, where one's own writings are the test, simply because we have more bad poets than good. There are of course many objections to what I say: Milton is a great example of the contrary; but his opinion with respect to the “Paradise Regained” is by no means fairly ascertained. By what trivial circumstances men are often led to assert what they do not really believe! Perhaps an inadvertent word has descended to posterity. But, in fact, the “Paradise Regained” is little, if at all, inferior to the “Paradise Lost,” and is only supposed so to be, [page 147:] because men do not like epics, whatever they may say to the contrary, and reading those of Milton in their natural order, are too much wearied with the first to derive any pleasure from the second.

I dare say Milton preferred “Comus” to either — if so — justly.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

As I am speaking of poetry, it will not be amiss to touch slightly upon the most singular heresy in its modern history — the heresy of what is called, very foolishly, the Lake School. Some years ago I might have been induced, by an occasion like the present, to attempt a formal refutation of their doctrine; at present it would be a work of supererogation. The wise must bow to the wisdom of such men as Coleridge and Southey, but being wise, have laughed at poetical theories so prosaically exemplified.

Aristotle, with singular assurance, has declared poetry the most philosophical of all writings; but it required a Wordsworth to pronounce it the most metaphysical. He seems to think that the end of poetry is, or should be, instruction — yet it is a truism that the end of our existence is happiness; if so, the end of every separate part of our existence — everything connected with our existence should be still happiness. Therefore the end of instruction should be happiness; and happiness is another name for pleasure; — therefore the end of instruction should be pleasure: yet we see the above-mentioned opinion implies precisely the reverse.

To proceed: ceteris paribus, he who pleases is of more importance to his fellow-men than he who instructs, since utility is happiness, and pleasure is the [page 148:] end already obtained which instruction is merely the means of obtaining.

I see no reason, then, why our metaphysical poets should plume themselves so much on the utility of their works, unless indeed they refer to instruction with eternity in view: in which case, sincere respect for their piety would not allow me to express my contempt for their judgment; contempt which it would be difficult to conceal, since their writings are professedly to be understood by the few, and it is the many who stand in need of salvation. In such case I should no doubt be tempted to think of the devil in “Melmoth,” who labors indefatigably through three octavo volumes to accomplish the destruction of one or two souls, while any common devil would have demolished one or two thousand.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

Against the subtleties which would make poetry a study — not a passion — it becomes the metaphysician to reason — but the poet to protest. Yet Wordsworth and Coleridge are men in years; the one imbued in contemplation from his childhood, the other a giant in intellect and learning. The diffidence, then, with which I venture to dispute their authority, would be overwhelming, did I not feel, from the bottom of my heart, that learning has little to do with the imagination — intellect with the passions — or age with poetry.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

“Trifles, like straws, upon the surface flow,

He who would search for pearls must dive below,”

are lines which have done much mischief. As regards the greater truths, men oftener err by seeking them at the bottom than at the top; the depth lies in the huge [page 149:] abysses where wisdom is sought — not in the palpable palaces where she is found. The ancients were not always right in hiding the goddess in a well: witness the light which Bacon has thrown upon philosophy; witness the principles of our divine faith — that moral mechanism by which the simplicity of a child may overbalance the wisdom of a man. Poetry above all things is a beautiful painting whose tints to minute inspection are confusion worse confounded, but start boldly out to the cursory glance of the connoisseur.

We see an instance of Coleridge's liability to err, in his “Biographia Literaria” — professedly his literary life and opinions, but, in fact, a treatise de omni scibili et quibusdam aliis. He goes wrong by reason of his very profundity, and of his error we have a natural type in the contemplation of a star. He who regards it directly and intensely sees, it is true, the star, but it is the star without a ray — while he who surveys it less inquisitively is conscious of all for which the star is useful to us below — its brilliancy and its beauty.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

As to Wordsworth, I have no faith in him. That he had, in youth, the feelings of a poet I believe — for there are glimpses of extreme delicacy in his writings — (and delicacy is the poet's own kingdom — his El Dorado) — but they have the appearance of a better day recollected; and glimpses, at best, are little evidence of present poetic fire — we know that a few straggling flowers spring up daily in the crevices of the avalanche.

He was to blame in wearing away his youth in contemplation with the end of poetizing in his manhood. With the increase of his judgment the light which should make it apparent has faded away. His judgment [page 150:] consequently is too correct. This may not be understood, — but the old Goths of Germany would have understood it, who used to debate matters of importance to their State twice, once when drunk, and once when sober — sober that they might not be deficient in formality — drunk lest they should be destitute of vigor.

The long wordy discussions by which he tries to reason us into admiration of his poetry, speak very little in his favor: they are full of such assertions as this — (I have opened one of his volumes at random) “Of genius the only proof is the act of doing well what is worthy to be done, and what was never done before” — indeed! then it follows that in doing what is unworthy to be done, or what has been done before, no genius can be evinced; yet the picking of pockets is an unworthy act, pockets have been picked time immemorial, and Harrington, the pickpocket, in point of genius, would have thought hard of a comparison with William Wordsworth, the poet.

Again — in estimating the merit of certain poems, whether they be Ossian's or M’Pherson's, can surely be of little consequence, yet, in order to prove their worthlessness, Mr. W—— has expended many pages in the controversy. Tantæne animis? Can great minds descend to such absurdity? But worse still: that he may bear down every argument in favor of these poems, he triumphantly drags forward a passage, in his abomination of which he expects the reader to sympathize. It is the beginning of the epic poem “Temora.” the “blue waves of Ullin roll in light; the green hills are covered with day; trees shake their dusky heads in the breeze.” And this — this gorgeous, yet simple imagery, where all is alive and panting with [page 151:] immortality — this, William Wordsworth, the author of “Peter Bell,” has selected to dignify with his imperial contempt. We shall see what better he, in his own person, has to offer. Imprimis: —

“And now she's at the poney's head,

And now she's at the poney's tail,

On that side now, and now on this,

And almost stifled her with bliss —

A few sad tears does Betty shed,

She pats the poney where or when

She knows not: happy Betty Foy!

O, Johnny! never mind the Doctor!”

Secondly: —

“The dew was falling fast, the — stars began to blink,

I heard a voice; it said —— drink, pretty creature, drink;

And, looking o’re the hedge, be — fore me I espied

A snow-white mountain lamb, with a — maiden at its side.

No other sheep were near; the lamb was all alone,

And by a slender cord was — tether’d to a stone.”

Now, we have no doubt this is all true; we will believe it, indeed, we will, Mr. W——. Is it sympathy for the sheep you wish to excite? I love a sheep from the bottom of my heart.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

But there are occasions, dear B——, there are occasions when even Wordsworth is reasonable. Even Stamboul, it is said, shall have an end, and the most unlucky blunders must come to a conclusion. Here is an extract from his preface: —

“Those who have been accustomed to the phraseology of modern writers, if they persist in reading this book to a conclusion (impossible!), will, no doubt, have to struggle with feelings of awkwardness; (ha,! ha! ha!) they will look round for poetry (ha! ha! ha! ha!) and will be induced to inquire by what species of courtesy these attempts [page 152:] have been permitted to assume that title. Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!”

Yet, let not Mr. W—— despair; he has given immortality to a wagon, and the bee Sophocles has eternalized a sore toe, and dignified a tragedy with a chorus of turkeys.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

Of Coleridge, I cannot speak but with reverence. His towering intellect! his gigantic power! To use an author quoted by himself, “J’ai trouvé* souvent que la plupart des sectes ont raison dans une bonne partie de ce qu’elles avancent, mais non pas en ce qu’elles nient,” and to employ his own language, he has imprisoned his own conceptions by the barrier he has erected against those of others. It is lamentable to think that such a mind should be buried in metaphysics, and, like the Nyctanthes, waste its perfume upon the night alone. In reading that man's poetry, I tremble, like one who stands upon a volcano, conscious, from the very darkness bursting from the crater, of the fire and the light that are weltering below.

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

What is Poetry? — Poetry! that Proteus-like idea, with as many appellations as the nine-titled Corcyra! “Give me,” I demanded of a scholar some time ago, “give me a definition of poetry.” “Très-volontiers;” and he proceeded to his library, brought me a Dr. Johnson, and overwhelmed me with a definition. Shade of the immortal Shakespeare! I imagine to myself the scowl of your spiritual eye upon the profanity of that scurrilous Ursa Major. Think of poetry, dear B——, think of poetry, and then think of Dr. Samuel Johnson! Think of all that is airy and fairy-like, [page 153:] and then of all that is hideous and unwieldy; think of his huge bulk, the Elephant! and then — and then think of the “Tempest” — the “Midsummer Night's Dream” — Prospero — Oberon — and Titania!

A poem, in my opinion, is opposed to a work of science by having, for its immediate object, pleasure, not truth; to romance, by having, for its object, an indefinite instead of a definite pleasure, being a poem only so far as this object is attained; romance presenting perceptible images with definite, poetry with indefinite sensations, to which end music is an essential, since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception. Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.

What was meant by the invective against him who had no music in his soul?

  · · · · · · · · · ·  

To sum up this long rigmarole, I have, dear B——, what you, no doubt, perceive, for the metaphysical poets, as poets, the most sovereign contempt. That they have followers proves nothing —

No Indian prince has to his palace

More followers than a thief to the gallows.


THE RAVEN | AND | OTHER POEMS. | By | Edgar A. Poe, | New York: | Wiley and Putnam, 161 Broadway. | 1845.

Collation: Duodecimo. Fly-title, Wiley and Putnam's | Library of | American Books. | The Raven and Other Poems. — Title (with copyright and imprint [page 154:] on verso), pp. i-ii; Dedication (with blank verso), pp. iii-iv; Preface (with Contents on verso), pp. v-vi; The Raven and Other Poems, pp. 1-51; Blank verso, p. 52; Half-title, Poems Written in Youth (with blank verso), pp. 53-54: Poems Written in Youth, pp. 55-91. Issued in paper covers.


The Raven. The “Evening Mirror,” Jan. 29, 1845; The “American Whig Review,” February, 1845 (by “Quarles”); “Broadway Journal,” i. 6; 1845.

TEXT. 1845, Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings: [[—]]

II.   3   sought | tried Am. W. R.; B. J.
V.   3   stillness | darkness Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845.
VI.   1   Back | Then Am. W. R.; B. J.
    2   again I heard | I heard again; something | somewhat Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845.
VII.   3   minute | instant Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845; moment Poe's “Philosophy of Composition.”
IX.   3   living human | sublunary Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845.
X.   1   that | the Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845.
    6   Then the bird said | Quoth the raven Am. W. R.
XI.   1   Startled | Wondering Am. W. R.
    4-6   till ... nevermore.’ ” | so when Hope he would adjure
Stern Despair returned, instead of the sweet Hope he dared adjure,
That sad answer, ‘Nevermore.’ ” Am. W. R. [page 155:]
    5   that | the B. J.
    6   OfNevermore’ — ofNevermore.’ ” B.J.
XIV.   2   Seraphim whose | angels whose faint Am. W. R.; B. J.; 1845.
    5   Quaff, oh | Let me Am. W. R.
XVIII.   3   demons | demon Am. W. R.; B. J.

NOTES. “Evening Mirror,” Jan. 24, 1845: —

“We are permitted to copy, from the second number of ‘The American Review,’ the following remarkable poem by Edgar Poe. In our opinion it is the most effective single example of ‘fugitive poetry’ ever published in this country, and unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift and ‘pokerishness.’ It is one of those ‘dainties bred in a book,’ which we feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it.”

“American Whig Review,” February, 1845: —

“The following lines from a correspondent, besides the deep quaint strain of the sentiment, and the curious introduction of some ludicrous touches amidst the serious and impressive, as was doubtless intended by the author, — appear to us one of the most felicitous specimens of unique rhyming which has for some time met our eye. The resources of English rhythm for varieties of melody, measure, and sound, producing corresponding diversities of effect, have been thoroughly studied, much more perceived, by very few poets in the language. While the classic tongues, especially the Greek, possess, by power of accent, several advantages for versification over our own, [page 156:] chiefly through greater abundance of spondaic feet, we have other and very great advantages of sound by the modern usage of rhyme. Alliteration is nearly the only effect of that kind which the ancients had in common with us. It will be seen that much of the melody of ‘The Raven’ arises from alliteration, and the studious use of similar sounds in unusual places. In regard to its measure, it may be noted that, if all the verses were like the second, they might properly be placed merely in short lines, producing a not uncommon form; but the presence in all the others of one line — mostly the second in the verse — which flows continuously, with only an aspirate pause in the middle, like that before the short line in the Sapphic Adonic, while the fifth has at the middle pause no similarity of sound with any part beside, gives the versification an entirely different effect. We could wish the capacities of our noble language, in prosody, were better understood.”

Inspection of the above readings shows the poem in four states: first, as originally issued, Jan. 29, 1845; second, as revised in the “Broadway Journal,” i. 6, Feb. 8, 1845; third, as revised in the edition of 1845; fourth, as revised in the Lorimer Graham copy of that edition, in Poe's MS.

The earliest date assigned to the composition or draft of the poem is the summer of 1842. Dr. William Elliot Griffis, in the “Home Journal,” Nov. 5, 1884, says that Poe was, in the summer of 1842, at the Barhyte trout-ponds, Saratoga Springs, New York, and mentioned the poem “to be called ‘The Raven’ ” to Mrs. Barhyte, who was a contributor to the New York “Mirror.” The next summer Poe was again at the [page 157:] same resort; and a conversation between him and a lad about the bird in the poem is reported by Dr. Griftis, who adds that Mrs. Barhyte was shown the draft. This lady died in April, 1844. These statements seem to be derived from Mr. Barhyte's recollection of what his wife said. Dr. Griffis sent this account in manuscript to the present writer; but it was not embodied in the biography of Poe, then being prepared, because it was thought best to admit into that volume only such new facts as were supported by contemporary documents. The next earliest date for the poem is given by Mr. Rosenbach in the “American,” Feb. 26, 1887, “I read ‘The Raven’ long before it was published, and was in Mr. George R. Graham's office when the poem was offered to him. Poe said that his wife and Mrs. Clemm were starving, and that he was in very pressing need of the money. I carried him fifteen dollars contributed by Mr. Graham, Mr. Godey, Mr. McMichael, and others, who condemned the poem, but gave the money as a charity.” This was before Poe's removal to New York, and places the date of composition certainly as early as the winter of 1843-44. Other accounts of the poem, before publication, were given by F. G. Fairfield in the “Scribner's,” October, 1875, as follows: —

“Poe then occupied a cottage at Fordham, — a kind of poet's nook, just out of hearing of the busy hum of the city. He had walked all the way from New York that afternoon, and, having taken a cup of tea, went out in the evening and wandered about for an hour or more. His beloved Virginia was sick almost unto death; he was without money to procure the necessary medicines. He was out until about ten o’clock. When he went in he sat down at his writing-table and dashed off ‘The [page 158:] Raven.’ He submitted it to Mrs. Clemm for her consideration the same night, and it was printed substantially as it was written.

“This account of the origin of the poem was communicated to me in the fall of 1865, by a gentleman who professed to be indebted to Mrs. Clemm for the facts as he stated them; and in the course of a saunter in the South, in the summer of 1867, I took occasion to verity his story by an interview with that aged lady. Let me now drop Mrs. Clemm's version for a paragraph to consider another, resting upon the testimony of Colonel Du Solle, who was intimate with Poe at this period, and concurred in by other literary contemporaries who used to meet him of a midday for a budget of gossip and a glass of ale at Sandy Welsh's cellar in Ann Street.

“Du Solle says that the poem was produced stanza by stanza at small intervals, and submitted by Poe piecemeal to the criticism and emendation of his intimates, who suggested various alterations and substitutions. Poe adopted many of them. Du Solle quotes particular instances of phrases that were incorporated at his suggestion, and thus ‘The Raven’ was a kind of joint-stock affair in which many minds held small shares of intellectual capital. At length, when the last stone had been placed in position and passed upon, the structure was voted complete.”

Poe was in the habit of declaiming his compositions, when intoxicated, in liquor saloons.

An unimportant account of his offering the poem to Mr. Holley of the “American Whig Review” is given in the “South,” November, 1875, quoted in Ingram, the “Raven,” p. 24. Mr. Ingram also quotes from what is clearly a hoax, a letter signed J. Shaver, dated [page 159:] New Orleans, July 29, 1870, and quoting from an alleged letter. Poe to Daniels, Sept. 29, 1849, in which Poe is made to confess that the poem was written by Samuel Fenwick, and that he signed his own name to it and sent it for publication when intoxicated, Mr. Fenwick being then dead. The present writer would not have thought it necessary to include this story, if it had not already found its way into books. The letter, which was published in the “New Orleans Times,” and now lies before us, there is no occasion to reprint.

The commentary on the poem by Poe, in the “Philosophy of Composition” and passim, in the critical papers, need only be referred to. The obligation to Mrs. Browning's “Lady Geraldine's Courtship” is obvious, but does not affect the true originality of the poem; that to Pike's “Isadore” is wholly illusory, there being a dozen poems by contemporaneous minor authors in respect to which an equally good case can be made out. Indeed, some of them really thought that Poe had “plagiarized” fame from their verses. A monograph, the “Raven,” London, 1885, by Mr. J. H. Ingram, to which reference has been made above, contains several translations, parodies, etc., and gives an account of the genesis, history, and bibliography of the poem.


The Bridal Ballad. “Southern Literary Messenger,” January, 1837; Philadelphia “Saturday Evening Post,” July 31, 1841; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 4.

TEXT. 1845. Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings: — [page 160:]

I.   3   Insert after:
    and many a road of land S. L. M.
II.   1   He has loved me long and well S. L. M.
  2   But | And; first | omit S. L. M.
  4   as | like B. J.
rang as a knell | were his who fell S. L. M. rang like a knell B. J.
  5   omit S. L. M.
III.   1   But | And S. L. M.
  3   While | But S. L. M.
  6   omit S. L. M.

Insert after: —

And thus they said I plighted

An irrevocable vow —

And my friends are all delighted

That his love I have requited —

And my mind is much benighted

If I am not happy now.

Lo! the ring is on my hand,

And the wreath is on my brow —

Satins and jewels grand,

And many a rood of land,

Are all at my command,

And I must be happy now.

S. L. M.

IV.   1-2  

I have spoken, I have spoken

They have registered the vow.

S. L. M.

It was spoken — it was spoken —

Quick they registered the vow.

S. E. P.

  5   Here is a ring as | Behold the golden all other editions. [page 161:]
  6   I am | proves me all other editions.
V.   5   Lest | And S. L. M.

NOTES. In connection with this, and also the poem “Lenore,” the following, from the “Southern Literary Messenger,” August, 1835, is of interest: —

“Mr. White: —

the “subjoined copy of an old Scotch ballad contains so much of the beauty and genuine spirit of bygone poetry that I have determined to risk a frown from the fair lady by whom the copy was furnished, in submitting it for publication. The ladies sometimes violate their promises — may I not for once assume their privilege, in presenting to the readers of the ‘Messenger’ this ‘legend of the olden time,’ although I promised not? Relying on the kind heart of the lady for forgiveness for this breach of promise. I have anticipated the pardon in sending you the lines, which I have never as yet seen in print.


“THEY have giv’n her to another —

They have sever’d ev’vy vow;

They have giv’n her to another,

And my heart is lonely now;

They remember’d not our parting —

They remember’d not our tears,

They have sever’d in one fatal hour

The tenderness of years.

Oh! was it weel to leave me?

Thou couldst not so deceive me;

Lang and sairly shall I grieve thee,

Lost, lost Rosabel! [page 162:]

“They have giv’n thee to another —

Thou art now his gentle bride;

Had I lov’d thee as a brother,

I might see thee by his side;

But I know with gold they won thee

And thy trusting heart beguil’d;

Thy mother, too, did shun me,

For she knew I lov’d her child.

Oh! was it weel, etc.

“They have giv’n her to another —

She will love him, so they say;

If her mem’ry do not chide her,

Oh, perhaps, perhaps she may;

But I know that she hath spoken

What she never can forget;

And tho’ my poor heart be broken,

It will love her, love her yet.

Oh! was it weel, etc.”


The Sleeper. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” i, 18 | Irene. 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,” May, 1836.

TEXT. 1845. Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings: —

16   Insert after: —

Her casement open to the skies   S. M.; 1845; B.J.

19   window | lattice   S. M.

20-21   omit   S. M.

46 [[44]]   pale | dim   S. M.; 1845; B. J. [page 163:]

The first version is 1831, as follows, other early readings being noted below: —



”T is now (so sings the soaring moon)

Midnight in the sweet month of June,


When winded visions love to lie

Lazily upon beauty's eye,

Or worse — upon her brow to dance

In panoply of old romance,

Till thoughts and locks are left, alas!

A ne’er-to-be untangled mass.

An influence dewy, drowsy, dim,


Is dripping from that golden rim;

Grey towers are mouldering into rest,

Wrapping the fog around their breast:

Looking like Lethe, see! the lake

A conscious slumber seems to take

And would not for the world awake:

The rosemary sleeps upon the grave —

The lily lolls upon the wave —


And million bright pines to and fro

Are rocking lullabies as they go,


To the lone oak that reels with bliss,


Nodding above the dim abyss.

1-2   I stand beneath the soaring moon

At midnight in the month of June.

S. L. M.

3-8   omit   S. L. M.

10   that | yon   S. L. M.

18   bright pines | cedars   S. L. M.

20   reels with bliss | nodding hangs   S. L. M. [page 164:]

All beauty sleeps: and lo! where lies

With casement open to the skies,

Irene, with her destinies!


Thus hums the moon within her ear,

“O lady sweet! how earnest thou here?

“Strange are thine eyelids — strange thy dress!

“And strange thy glorious length of tress!

“Sure thou art come o’er far-off seas,

“A wonder to our desert trees!

“Some gentle wind hath thought it right

“To open thy window to the night,

“And wanton airs from the tree-top,

“Laughingly thro’ the lattice drop,

“And wave this crimson canopy,


“Like a banner o’er thy dreaming eye!


“Lady, awake! lady awake!

“For the holy Jesus’ sake!

“For strangely — fearfully in this hall


“My tinted shadows rise and fall!”

The lady sleeps: the dead all sleep —

At least as long as Love doth weep:

21   Above yon cataract of Serangs   S. L. M.

25   And hark the sounds so low yet clear

(Like music of another sphere)

Which steal within the slumberer's ear,

Or so appear — or so appear!

S. L. M.

36   like | as   S. L. M.

37-39   “That o’er the floor, and down the wall,

“Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall —

“Then for thine own all radiant sake,

“Lady, awake! awake! awake!”

S. L. M. [page 165:]

Entranc’d, the spirit loves to lie

As long as — tears on Memory's eye:

But when a week or two go by,

And the light laughter chokes the sigh,

Indignant from the tomb doth take

Its way to some remember’d lake,

Where oft — in life — with friends — it went

To bathe in the pure element,

And there from the untrodden grass,

Wreathing for its transparent brow

Those flowers that say (ah hear them now!)

To the night-winds as they pass,

“Ai! ai! alas! — alas!”

Pores for a moment, ere it go,

On the clear waters there that flow,

Then sinks within (weighed down by wo)

Th’ uncertain, shadowy heaven below.

· · · · · · · ·  

The lady sleeps: oh! may her sleep

As it is lasting so be deep —

No icy worms about her creep:

I pray to God that she may lie

Forever with as calm an eye,

That chamber chang’d for one more holy —

That bed for one more melancholy.

Far in the forest, dim and old,

For her may some tall vault unfold,

Against whose sounding door she hath thrown,

In childhood, many an idle stone —

Some tomb, which oft hath flung its black


And vampyre-winged pannels back,

40-58   omit   S. L. M.

71   winged | wing-like   S. L. M. [page 166:]

Flutt’ring triumphant o’er the palls

Of her old family funerals.


Lenore. The “Pioneer,” February, 1843; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 6 | A Pæan. 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,’ January, 1836.

TEXT 1845, Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings: —

IV.   [[1]]  

“Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,

“But waft the angel on her flight with a Pæan of old days!

“Let no bell toll! — lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

“Should catch the note, as it doth float — up from the damnéd Earth.

“To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven —

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


“From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven.”

1845: B. J. (except 7 grief | moan).

The Lorimer Graham text seems supported by Poe's letter to Griswold, no date, 1849: “As regards ‘Lenore’ I would prefer the concluding stanza to run as here written.” Poe enclosed copy for the new edition of Griswold's “Poets and Poetry of America,” and it might be inferred that the correction was of the 1845 text, but it may have been a copy of that text, which, in fact, Griswold followed. The Lorimer Graham text is later [page 167:] than that of 1845, and it will be observed that in one instance only did Poe return to an earlier version, when he had once struck out something new.

The first version is 1831, as follows, the readings of the “Southern Literary Messenger” being noted below: —


How shall the burial rite be read?

The solemn song be sung?

The requiem for the loveliest dead

That ever died so young?

Her friends are gazing on her,

And on her gaudy bier,

And weep! — oh! to dishonor


Dead beauty with a tear!

They loved her for her wealth —

And they hated her for her pride —

But she grew in feeble health,

And they love her — that she died.

They tell me (while they speak

Of her “costly broider’d pall”)

That my voice is growing weak —

That I should not sing at all —

Or that my tone should be

Tun’d to such solemn song

So mournfully — so mournfully,

That the dead may feel no wrong.

But she is gone above,

With young Hope at her side,

II.   4   Dead | Her   S. L. M. [page 168:]

And I am drunk with love

Of the dead, who is my bride. —


Of the dead dead who lies


All perfumes there,

With the death upon her eyes


And the life upon her hair.

Thus on the coffin loud and long

I strike the murmur sent

Through the gray chambers to my song,

Shall be the accompaniment.


Thou died'st in thy life's June —

But thou didst not die too fair:


Thou didst not die too soon,

Nor with too calm an air.

From more than fiends on earth


Thy life and love are riven,


To join the untainted mirth

Of more than thrones in heaven —

Therefore, to thee this night

I will no requiem raise,

VII.   1   dead who | dead who   S. L. M.
    2   perfumed there | motionless   S. L. M.
    4   her hair | each tress   S. L. M.
VIII.       omit   S.L.M.
IX.   1, 2  

In June she died in June

Of life beloved, and fair   S. L. M.

    3   Thou didst | But she did   S. L. M.
X.   2   Thy life and love are | Helen, thy soul is   S. L. M.
    3   untainted | all-hallowed   S. L. M. [page 169:]

But waft thee on thy flight,

With a Pæan of old days.

The “Pioneer” version, 1843, is as follows, the readings of the “Saturday Museum” being noted below:


AH, broken is the golden bowl!

The spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul


Glides down the Stygian river!

And let the burial rite be read

The funeral song be sung

A dirge for the most lovely dead

That ever died so young!

And, Guy De Vere,

Hast thou no tear?

Weep now or nevermore!

See, on yon drear

And rigid bier,

Low lies thy love Lenore!

“Yon heir, whose cheeks of pallid hue

With tears are streaming wet,

Sees only, through

Their crocodile dew,

A vacant coronet —

False friends! ye loved her for her wealth

And hated her for 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

I.   4   Glides down | Floats on   S. M. [page 170:]

For her most wronged of all the dead

That ever died so young?


But rave not thus!

And let the solemn song

Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong!

The sweet Lenore

Hath “gone before”

With young Hope at her side,

And thou art wild

For the dear child

That should have been thy bride

For her, the fair

And debonair,

That now so lowly lies

The life still there

Upon her hair,

The death upon her eyes.

“Avaunt! — to-night

My heart is light —

No dirge will I upraise,

But waft the angel on her flight

With a Pæan of old days!

Let no bell toll!

Lest her sweet soul,

Amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note

As it doth float

Up from the damnéd earth —

To friends above, from fiends below,

th’ indignant ghost is riven —

From grief and moan

To a gold throne

Beside the King of Heaven.” [page 171:]


Dreamland. “Graham's Magazine,” June, 1844; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” i. 26.

TEXT. 1845. Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings: —

12   tears | dews   G. M.; 1845; B. J.

20   Insert after:

1-6,   as above, except, 5, read my home for these lands, and, 6, this for an   G. M.

25   mountain   G. M.; B. J.

38   Earth | worms   G. M.; B. J.

Insert after;

1-6, as above, except, 5, read journeyed home for reached these lands, and, 6, this for an   G. M.

47   its | the   G. M.; B. J.


The Valley of Unrest. “American Whig Review,” April, 1845; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 9 | The Valley Nis. 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,” February, 1836.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

18   rustles   Am. W. R.

19   Unceasingly   Am. W. R.

27   Insert after:

They wave; they weep; and the tears as they well

From the depths of each pallid lily-bell,

Give a trickle and a tinkle and a knell

Am. W. R.

The first version is 1831, as follows, other early readings being noted below: [page 172:]


FAR away far away

Far away as far at least

Lies that valley as the day

Down within the golden east

All things lovely are not they


Far away far away?

It is called the valley Nis.

And a Syriac tale there is

Thereabout which Time hath said

Shall not be interpreted.

Something about Satan's dart

Something about angel wings

Much about a broken heart

All about unhappy things:

But “the valley Nis” at best

Means “the valley of unrest.”

Once it smiled a silent dell

Where the people did not dwell,

Having gone unto the wars

And the sly, mysterious stars,

With a visage full of meaning,

O’er the unguarded flowers were leaning:

Or the sun ray dripped all red


Thro’ the tulips overhead,

Then grew paler as it fell

On the quiet Asphodel.


Now the unhappy shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

6   Faraway | One and all, too S. L. M.

24   the | tall S. L. M. [page 173:]

Helen, like thy human eye

There th’ uneasy violets lie

There the reedy grass doth wave

Over the old forgotten grave

One by one from the tree top

There the eternal dews do drop

There the vague and dreamy trees

Do roll like seas in northern breeze

Around the stormy Hebrides

There the gorgeous clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastlingly,

Through the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling like a waterfall

O’er the horizon's fiery wall

There the moon doth shine by night

With a most unsteady light

There the sun doth reel by day

“Over the hills and far away.”

27-66   Now each visiter shall confess

Nothing there is motionless:

Nothing save the airs that brood

O’er the enchanted solitude,

Save the airs with pinions furled

That slumber o’er that valley-world.

No wind in Heaven, and lo! the trees

Do roll like seas, in Northern breeze,

Around the stormy Hebrides

No wind in Heaven, and clouds do fly,

Rustling everlastingly,

Through the terror-stricken sky,

Rolling, like a waterfall,

O’er th’ horizon's fiery wall

And Helen, like thy human eye, [bottom of page 174:]

Low crouched on Earth, some violets lie,

And, nearer Heaven, some lilies wave

All banner-like, above a grave.

And one by one, from out their tops

Eternal dews come down in drops,

Ah, one by one, from off their stems

Eternal dews come down in gems!

S. L. M.

[page 174:]


The City in the Sea. “American Whig Review” (subtitle, A Prophecy), April, 1845; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 8 | The Doomed City. 1831; The City of Sin. “Southern Literary Messenger,” August, 1836.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

3   Far off in a region unblest   Am. W. R.

25   Around the mournful waters lie   ″   [[Am. W. R.]]

28-35   omit   Am. W. R.

36   For no | No murmuring   Am. W. R.

39   Some | a   Am. W. R.

41   Seas less hideously | oceans not so sad   Am. W. R.

The first version is 1831, as follows, other early readings being noted below:


Lo! Death hath reared himself a throne

In a strange city, all alone,

Far down within the dim west


And the good, and the bad, and the worst, and the best,

Have gone to their eternal rest.

4   And | Where   S. L. M. [page 175:]

There shrines and palaces and towers

Are not like anything of ours —

O! no — O! no — ours never loom

To heaven with that ungodly gloom!

Time-eaten towers that tremble not!

Around, by lifting winds forgot,

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.


A heaven that God doth not contemn

With stars is like a diadem

We liken our ladies’ eyes to them —

But there! That everlasting pall!

It would be mockery to call

Such dreariness a heaven at all.


Yet tho’ no holy rays come down

On the long night-time of that town,


Light from the lurid, deep sea

Streams up the turrets silently —

Up thrones — up long-forgotten bowers

Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers

Up domes — up spires — up kingly halls —

Up fanes — up Babylon-like walls —

Up many a melancholy shrine

Whose entablatures intertwine

The mask — the viol — and the vine.

There open temples open graves

Are on a level with the waves

But not the riches there that lie

In each idol's diamond eye,

Not the gayly-jewelled dead

14-19   omit   S. L. M.

20   No holy rays from heaven come down   S. L. M.

22   But light from out the lurid sea.   S. L. M. [page 176:]

Tempt the waters from their bed:

For no ripples curl, alas!

Along that wilderness of glass

No swellings hint that winds may be

Upon a far-off happier sea:

So blend the turrets and shadows there

That all seem pendulous in air,

While from the high towers of the town

Death looks gigantically down.

But lo! a stir is in the air!

The wave! there is a ripple there!

As if the towers had thrown aside,

In slightly sinking, the dull tide

As if the turret-tops had given

A vacuum in the filmy Heaven:

The waves have now a redder glow

The very hours are breathing low

And when, amid no earthly moans,

Down, down that town shall settle hence,


Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,

Shall do it reverence,

And Death to some more happy clime

Shall give his undivided time.

53   Hell, rising | All Hades   S. L. M.


To Zante. “Southern Literary Messenger,” January, 1837; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845 “Broadway Journal,” 11. 2.

TEXT. “Southern Literary Messenger.”

NOTE. CHATEAUBRIAND. Itinéraire de Paris à Jerusalem, p. 15. Je souseris à ses noms d’ Isola [page 177:] d’oro, de Fior di Levante. Ce nom de fleur me rappelle que l’hyacinthe étoit originaire de Pile de Zante, et que cette He reçut son nom de la plante qu’elle avoit portée.


Silence. “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” April, 1840; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 3.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

2   which thus is | life aptly   B. M.; S. M.

3   A | The   B. M.; S. M.


The Coliseum. The Baltimore “Saturday Visiter,” 1833; “Southern Literary Messenger,” August, 1835; Philadelphia “Saturday Evening Post,” June 12, 1841; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. i.

TEXT. 1845. No copy of the first issue is known. Other readings: —

11   Insert after: —

Gaunt vestibules and phantom-peopled aisles   S. L. M.

20   gilded | yellow   S. L. M.

21   Insert after: —

Here where on ivory couch the Cæsar sate

On bed of moss lies gloating the foul adder

S. L. M.

26   But stay — these | these crumbling; ivy-clad | tottering   S. L. M.

28   crumbling | broken   S. L. M.

31   famed | great   S. L. M. [page 178:]

36   melody | in old days   S. L. M.

39   impotent | desolate   S. L. M.

NOTES. This was the poem offered for the Baltimore prize. See Memoir.


Hymn. “Southern Literary Magazine,” April, 1835 [Morella]; “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” November, 1839 [Morella]; “Tales of the Arabesque and Grotesque” 1840 [Morella]; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” i. 25 [Morella], ii. 6.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

1   Insert before: —

Sancta Maria! turn thine eyes

Upon the sinner's sacrifice

Of fervent prayer and humble love

From thy holy throne above.

S. L. M.; 1840; B. G. M. (except 2 the | a   B. G. M.; 1840).

5   the | my; brightly | gently   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

6   not a cloud obscured | no storms were in   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

8   grace | love   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

9   storms | clouds   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

10   Darkly | All   S. L. M.; B. G. M.


Israfel. 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,” August, 1836; “Graham's Magazine,” October, 1841; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 3. [page 179:]

TEXT. 1845. Other readings:

iv.   3   Where | And   S. M.; B. J.
iv.   4   Where | And   S. M.; B. J.
v.   1   Thou art not, therefore   S. M.; B. J.

The first version is 1831, as follows, other early readings being noted below: —



IN Heaven a spirit doth dwell

Whose heart-strings are a lute;

None sing so wild so well

As the angel Israfel

And the giddy stars are mute.


Tottering above

In her highest noon,

The enamoured moon

Blushes with love

While, to listen, the red levin

Pauses in Heaven.


And they say (the starry choir

And all the listening things)

That Israfeli's fire


Is owing to that lyre

With those unusual strings.

III.   4   owing to | due unto   G. M.

l And the angel Israfel, who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures. Koran. [page 180:]


But the Heavens that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty

Where Love is a grown god

Where Houri glances are


Stay! turn thine eyes afar!

Imbued with all the beauty

Which we worship in yon star.


Thou art not, therefore, wrong Israfeli, who despisest

An unimpassioned song:

To thee the laurels belong,

Best bard, because the wisest.


The extacies above

With thy burning measures suit

Thy grief if any thy love

With the fervor of thy lute

Well may the stars be mute!


Yes, Heaven is thine: but this

Is a world of sweets and sours:

Our flowers are merely flowers.

And the shadow of thy bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.


If I did dwell where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

IV.   5   omit   S. L. M.; G. M. [page 181:]

He would not sing one half as well


One half as passionately,

While a stormier note than this would swell


From my lyre within the sky.

NOTES. The motto of the poem was derived by Poe from Moore's “Lalla Rookh,” where it is correctly attributed to Sale (Preliminary Discourse, iv. 71). The phrase, “whose heart-strings are a lute,” was interpolated by Poe, as in the text.


The Haunted Palace. Baltimore “Museum,” April, 1839; “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine” [The Fall of the House of Usher]; September, 1839; Tales [the same] 1840; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; Tales, 1845 [The Fall of the House of Usher].

TEXT. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum.” Other readings: —

I.   4   radiant | snow-white   B. M.; 1840; B.G.M.
III.   1   all wanderers   B. M.
    8   ruler | sovereign   B. M.; B. G. M.
IV.   5   sweet | sole   B. G. M.
VI.   5   ghastly rapid | rapid ghastly;   B. M.; B. G. M.; 1840; Tales, 1845.

VIII.   4   as | so   G. M. [page 181:]
    6   While a stormier | And a loftier   S. L. M.; G. M. [page 182:]


The Conqueror Worm. “Graham's Magazine,” January, 1843; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” i. 21; il 12 [Ligeia].

TEXT. 1845. Lorimer Graham copy. Other readings:

I.   3   An angel | A mystic   G. M.; S. M.; B. J.
II.   5   formless | shadowy   G. M.
IV.   7   seraphs | the angels all other editions.
V.   2   quivering | dying   G. M.; B. J.
    5   While | And   all editions;   angels | seraphs  G. M,;   pallid | haggard   G. M.
    8   And omit   G. M.; S. M.; B. J.


Eldorado. Griswold, 1850.

TEXT. Griswold. No earlier publication is known,


Eulalie. “American Whig Review” (sub-title, A Song) July, 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 5.

TEXT. “Broadway Journal.” Other readings: —

II.   6   morn-tints   A. W. R.
III.   4   And | While   A. W. R.
  9 [[7]]   While | And   A. W. R.
  10 [[8]]   While | And   A. W. R.


The Bells. “Sartain's Union Magazine,” November, 1849.

TEXT. “Sartain's Union Magazine.” An account of a draft and a manuscript is given below. [page 183:]

NOTES. “Sartain's Union Magazine,” December, 1849.

the “singular poem of Mr. Poe's, called ‘The Bells,’ which we published in our last number, has been very extensively copied. There is a curious piece of literary history connected with this poem, which we may as well give now as at any other time. It illustrates the gradual development of an idea in the mind of a man of original genius. This poem came into our possession about a year since. It then consisted of eighteen lines! They were as follows:


“THE bells! hear the bells!

The merry wedding bells!

The little silver bells!

How fairy-like a melody there swells

From the silver tinkling cells

Of the bells, bells, bells!

Of the bells!

the “bells! ah, the bells!

The heavy iron bells!

Hear the tolling of the bells!

Hear the knells!

How horrible a monody there floats

From their throats

From their deep-toned throats!

How I shudder at the notes

From the melancholy throats

Of the bells, bells, bells!

Of the bells!

“About six months after this we received the poem enlarged and altered nearly to its present size and [page 184:] form; and about three months since, the author sent another alteration and enlargement, in which condition the poem was left at the time of his death.”

Gill, “Life of Poe,” p. 207:

the “original MS. of ‘The Bells,” in its enlarged form, from which the draft sent to “Sartain's” was made, is in our possession at this time.

“In the twelfth line of the first stanza of the original draft, the word ‘bells’ was repeated five times, instead of four, as Poe printed it, and but twice in the next line. In changing and obviously improving the effect, he has drawn his pen through the fifth repetition, and added another, underlined, to the two of the next line. The same change is made in the corresponding lines in the next stanza. In the sixth line of the third stanza, the word ‘much’ is placed before ‘too’ with the usual mark indicating the transposition which he made in printing it, and, as originally written, the word ‘anger,’ in the fifth line from the last in this stanza, was written ‘clamor,’ while ‘anger’ was placed in the last line. . . . In the sixth line of the fourth stanza, the word ‘meaning’ was first used in lieu of the more impressive ‘menace,’ to which it gave place. The eighth line of this stanza was first written, ‘From out their ghostly throats;’ and the eleventh line was changed twice, reading first, ‘Who live up in the steeple,’ then ‘They that sleep ‘ was substituted for ‘who live,’ and finally ‘dwell’ was printed instead of ‘sleep.’ After the eighteenth line, a line was added that was elided entirely in the poem as printed. It read, —

“ ‘But are pestilential carcasses departed from their souls.’ [page 185:]

“. . . In making the change, omitting this line, he simply substituted, ‘They are ghouls, 1 in the next line, in pencil.”

Ingram, “Life of Poe,” ii. 155-156: —

“It was shortly after this, during the summer, that Poe wrote the first rough draft of ‘The Bells,’ and at Mrs. Shew's residence. ‘One day he came in,’ she records [in her diary], ‘and said, “Marie Louise, I have to write a poem; I have no feeling, no sentiment, no inspiration.” ‘His hostess persuaded him to have some tea. It was served in the conservatory, the windows of which were open, and admitted the sound of neighboring church bells. Mrs. Shew said, playfully, ‘Here is paper;’ but the poet, declining it, declared, ‘I so dislike the noise of bells to-night, I cannot write. I have no subject — I am exhausted.’ The lady then took up the pen, and, pretending to mimic his style, wrote, ‘The Bells, by E. A. Poe;’ and then, in pure sportiveness, ‘The Bells, the little silver Bells,’ Poe finishing off the stanza. She then suggested for the next verse, ‘The heavy iron Bells;’ and this Poe also expanded into a stanza. He next copied out the complete poem, and headed it, ‘ By Mrs. M. L. Shew,’ remarking that it was her poem, as she had suggested and composed so much of it. Mrs. Shew continues, ‘My brother came in, and I sent him to Mrs. Clemm to tell her that “her boy would stay in town, and was well.” My brother took Mr. Poe to his own room, where he slept twelve hours, and could hardly recall the evening's work.’ ”

Chateaubriand. Génie du Christianisme, ii. 261.

“Il nous semble que si nous étions poëte, nous ne dédaignerions point cette cloche agitée par les fantômes [page 186:] dans la vieille chapelle de la fort, ni celle qu’une religieuse frayeur balangoit dans nos campagnes pour gcarter le tonnerre, ni celle qu’on sonnoit la nuit, dans certains ports de mer, pour diriger le pilote a travers les dcueils. Les carillons des cloches, au milieu de nos ftes, sembloient augmenter Fallgresse publique; dans des calamitds, au contraire, ces mmes bruits devenoient terribles. Les cheveux dressent encore sur la te”te au souvenir de ces jours de meurtre et de feu, retentissant des clameurs du tocsin. Qui de nous a perdu la me’moire de ces hurlements, de ces cris aigus, entrecoupe*s de silences, durant lesquels on distinguoit de rares coups de fusil, quelque voix lamentable et solitaire, et surtout le bourdonnement de la cloche d’alarme, ou le son de Phorologe qui frappoit tranquillement l’heure écoulée?”


Annabel Lee. New York “Tribune,” Oct. 9, 1849; “Southern Literary Messenger,” November, 1849; “Sartain's Union Magazine,” January, 1850.

TEXT. “Tribune.” Other readings: —

II.   1   I ... she | She ... I   S. L. M.; S. U. M.
III.   5.   kinsman   S. U. M.
VI.   8   sounding | side of the   S. L. M.


Ulalume. “American Whig Review” (sub-title, To ), December, 1847; “Home Journal,” Jan. 1, 1848; Griswold, 1850.

TEXT. Griswold, 1850. Other readings: —

III.   9   We remembered   Am. W. R.; H. J.
VIII.   5   But | And   Am. W. R.; H. J.
IX.   13   This | In the   Am. W. R.; H. J. [page 187:]

Insert after: —

Said we, then — the two, then — “Ah, can it

Have been that the woodlandish ghouls

The pitiful, the merciless ghouls —

To bar up our way and to ban it

From the secret that lies in these wolds —

From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds —

Had drawn up the spectre of a planet

From the limbo of lunary souls

This sinfully scintillant planet

From the Hell of the planetary souls.

Am. W. R.: [[;]] H. J.

NOTES. “Home Journal,” Jan. 1, 1848.

“We do not know how many readers we have who will enjoy, as we do, the following exquisitely piquant and skilful exercise of variety and niceness of language. It is a poem which we find in the ‘American Review,’ full of beauty and oddity in sentiment and versification, but a curiosity (and a delicious one we think) in philologic flavor. Who is the author?” Poe had requested Willis to ask the question (Poe to Willis. Dec. 8, 1847).


Scenes from Politian. “Southern Literary Messenger,” December, 1835, January, 1836; 1845.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings, S. L. M.:

II.   99   This sacred | A vow a
III.   6   Surely | I live
    57   Eloquent | voice that
    58   I surely
    63   it | that lattice
    101   Believe me | Baldazzar! Oh! [page 188:]
IV.   5   sob | weep
    6   mourn | weep
    9   turn here thine eyes | and listen to me
    30   to me | speak not
V.   7   Paradisal Hope | hopes — give me to live

Insert after: —

If that we meet at all it were as well

That I should meet him in the Vatican —

In the Vatican — within the holy walls

Of the Vatican.

    58   then at once | — have at thee then
    62   thy sacred | hold off thy
    63   indeed I dare not | I dare not, dare not.

Insert after: —

exceeding well! — thou darest not fight with me?


Insert after: —

Thou darest not!

    71   my lord | alas!
    73   the veriest | — I am — a
    92   Thou liest | By God; indeed | — now this


To Helen. 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,” March, 1836; “Graham's Magazine,” September, 1841; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845.

TEXT. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum.” Other readings: —

II.   4   glory that was | beauty of fair   1831; S. L. M.
    5   that was | of old   1831; S. L. M. [page 189:]
III.   1   yon brilliant | that little   1831; S. L. M.; shadowy   G. M.
    3   agate lamp | folded scroll   1831; S. L. M.; G. M.
    4   Ah | A   1831.

TO F——

To F——. 1845. “Broadway Journal,” i. 17 | To Mary, “Southern Literary Messenger,” July, 1835. To One Departed. “Graham's Magazine,” March, 1842; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

I.   1   Mary amid the cares the woes   S. L. M.   For 'mid the earnest cares and woes   G. M.; S. M.
    2   That crowd | crowding   S. L. M.
    3   Drear | Sad   S. L. M.; G. M.; S. M.
    7   bland | sweet   S. L. M.
II.   1   And thus | Seraph   G. M.; S. M.
    4   Some lake beset as lake can be   S. L. M.   throbbing far and free | vexed as it may be   G. M.; S. M.

G. M. and S. M. reverse the order of the stanzas.

NOTES. “F——” is, presumably, Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood. See Memoir.


To One in Paradise. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; | “[Godey's] Lady's Book” [The Visionary], January, 1834; “Southern Literary Messenger” [The Visionary], July, 1835; “Tales of the Arabesque and Grotesque” [page 190:] [The Visionary], 1840; “Broadway Journal,” i. 19, i. 23 [The Assignation]. | To lanthe in Heaven. “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” July, 1839

TEXT. 1845. Lorimer Graham copy.

I.   1   all that | that all all other editions.
    5   with fairy fruits and | round with wild   Go. around about with   S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840.
    6   all the flowers | the flowers they all   S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840.
II.   1   But the dream it could not last   Go.; S. L. M.; B. G. M; 1840.
    2   Young Hope! thou didst arise   Go.; And the star of Hope did rise.   S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840.
        Ah | Oh!   S. M.
    5   On! on” — but | “Onward”   Go.; S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840; B. J.; but | while Go.; S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840.
III.   2   Ambition — all — is o’er Go.; S. L. M.; B. G. M.; 1840.
IV.   1   days | hours   Go.; S.L. M.; B.G.M.; 1840;   And | Now   B.J.
    3   gray | dark all other editions.
    4   solemn | breaking   Go.
    6   eternal | Italian Go.; S. L. M.; 1840; B. J.; what | far   Go.
Insert after: —

Alas! for that accursed time

They bore thee o’er the billow,


From Love to titled age and crime

And an unholy pillow — [page 191:]


From me, and from our misty clime

Where weeps the silver willow.

S. L. M.; 1840; Go. except

3   Love | me

5   me | Love

A correspondent of the London “Spectator,” Jan. 1, 1853, contributed a version from a manuscript long in his possession. It was reprinted in the New York “Literary World,” Feb. 5, 1853. It is the same as that of the “Southern Literary Messenger,” except

I.   1   that   omit
II.   2   And the star of life did rise
    3   But | Only
III.   1-5  

Like the murmur of the solemn sea

To sands on the sea-shore

A voice is whispering unto me

“The day is past,” and nevermore

IV.   1   And all mine hours
    2   nightly | nights are
    3   Are | Of

In the maze of flashing dances

By the slow Italian streams.

The correspondent had supposed the lines to be by Tennyson, and charged Poe with plagiarism. Tennyson, under date of Jan. 20, 1853, wrote to the “Spectator” to correct the statement and cleared Poe of the charge. The incident led an American correspondent to send to the “Literary World” a copy of the first version from “Godey's Lady's Book,” and the text of Godey given above is here printed from that source. [page 192:]

TO F——S S. O——D

To F——s S. O——d [Frances S. Osgood]. 1845; | Lines written in an Album. “Southern Literary Messenger,” September, 1835. To ——. “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” August, 1839. To F——. “Broadway Journal,” ii. 10, lines 1-4.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

1   Eliza, let thy generous heart   S. L. M.   Fair maideng let thy generous heart   B. G. M.

6   grace, thy more than | unassuming   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

7   shall be an endless | And truth shall be a   S. L. M.; Thy truth shall be a   B. G. M.

8 Forever and love a duty   S. L. M.; B. G. M.

NOTES. “Eliza” was the young daughter of Mr. White, editor of the “Messenger.” For Mrs. Osgood, see Memoir.


A Valentine. “Sartain's Union Magazine,” March, 1849; “Flag of our Union,” 1849.

TEXT. “Sartain's Union Magazine.”

NOTES. To find the name, read the first letter in the first line, the second in the second, and so on.


An Enigma, | Sonnet. “Union Magazine.” March, 1848.

TEXT. “Union Magazine.”

NOTES. To find the name, read as in the preceding poem.

10   Tuckermanities | Petrarchmanities   U. M. [page 193:]


To Helen. | To —— —— —— “Union Magazine,” November, 1848.

TEXT. Griswold.

26-28   O Heaven ... me omit   S. U. M.

NOTES. “Helen” was Mrs. Whitman; see Memoir, and compare the “Raven” in her poems.

TO ——

To (I heed not that my earthly lot), 1845 | Alone, MS.; To M——, 1829.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings, 1829, the variations from it of the Wilmer MS. being noted.

1   I heed | O! I care   MS.

4   Hatred | fever   MS.

5   mourn | heed   MS.

7   sorrow for | meddle with   MS.

8   Insert after: —


It is not that my founts of bliss


Are gushing strange! with tears


Or that the thrill of a single kiss

Hath palsied many years —

’T is not that the flowers of twenty springs

Which have withered as they rose

Lie dead on my heart-strings

With the weight of an age of snows.

Nor that the grass O! may it thrive!

On my grave is growing or grown


But that, while I am dead yet alive


I cannot be, lady, alone.

The MS. gives the following variations from the above:

9   It is not | I heed not [page 194:]

10   Are gushing | Be gushing oh!

11   Or that the thrill of a single | That the tremor of one

19   yet | and

20   lady | love

TO M. L. S——

To M. L. S. “Home Journal,” March 13, 1847.

TEXT. “Home Journal.”

NOTES. Introduced in the “Home Journal” by the following editorial note: the “following seems said over a hand clasped in the speaker's two. It is by Edgar A. Poe, and is evidently the pouring out of a very deep feeling of gratitude.” “M. L. S.” was Mrs. Shew; see Memoir.

TO ——

To. “Columbian Magazine,” March, 1848.

TEXT. Griswold. Other readings: —

The original publication, which is identified by an index number of the maga2ine only, has not been found. The following manuscript variation exists in facsimile. The first seven lines show no variation. The poem then continues:


Two gentle sounds made only to be murmured

By angels dreaming in the moon-lit “dew

That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill”

“Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart

Unthought-like thoughts — scarcely the shades of thought —

Bewildering fantasies — far richer visions [page 195:]

Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,

Who “had the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,”

Would hope to utter. Ah, Marie Louise!

In deep humility I own that now

All pride — all thought of power — all hope of fame —

All wish for Heaven is merged forevermore

Beneath the palpitating tide of passion

Heaped o’er my soul by thee. Its spells are broken —

The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand —

With that dear name as text I cannot write —

I cannot speak — I cannot even think —

Alas! I cannot feel; for ’t is not feeling —

This standing motionless upon the golden

Threshold of the wide-open gate of Dreams,

Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,

And thrilling as I see upon the right

Upon the left — and all the way along,

Amid the clouds of glory: far away

To where the prospect terminates — thee only.

NOTES. “Marie Louise” was Mrs. Shew; see Memoir.


For Annie. “ Flag of our Union,” 1849; Griswold, 1850.

TEXT. Griswold. No file of the paper is known.

NOTES. “ Annie “ was a lady of Lowell, whose name has not been published; see Memoir.


To My Mother. “ Flag of our Union,” 1849.

TEXT. Griswold. No file of the paper is known.

NOTES. His mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm. [page 196:]


Tamerlane. 1827, 1829, 1831, 1845.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

The first version is 1827, as follows, the variations of the Wilmer MS. being noted below:



I HAVE sent for thee, holy friar;(1)

But ’t was not with the drunken, hope,

Which is but agony of desire

To shun the fate, with which to cope

Is more than crime may dare to dream,

That I have called thee at this hour:

Such, father, is not my theme

Nor am I mad, to deem that power

Of earth may shrive me of the sin

Unearthly pride hath revelled in

I would not call thee fool, old man,

But hope is not a gift of thine;

If I can hope (O God! I can)

It falls from an eternal shrine.


The gay wall of this gaudy tower

Grows dim around me death is near.

I had not thought, until this hour

When passing from the earth, that ear

Of any, were it not the shade

Of one whom in life I made

All mystery but a simple name,

Might know the secret of a spirit [page 197:]

Bowed down in sorrow, and

In shame. Shame, said'st thou?

Ay, I did inherit

That hated portion, with the fame,

The worldly glory, which has shown

A demon-light around my throne,

Scorching my seared heart with a pain

Not Hell shall make me fear again.


I have not always been as now

The fevered diadem on my brow

I claimed and won usurpingly

Ay — the same heritage hath given

Rome to the Caesar this to me;

The heirdom of a kingly mind

And a proud spirit, which hath striven

Triumphantly with human kind.

In mountain air I first drew life;

The mists of the Taglay have shed (2)

Nightly their dews on my young head;

And my brain drank their venom then,

When after day of perilous strife

With chamois, I would seize his den

And slumber, in my pride of power,

The infant monarch of the hour

For, with the mountain dew by night,

My soul imbibed unhallowed feeling;

And I would feel its essence stealing

In dreams upon me while the light

Flashing from cloud that hovered o’er,

Would seem to my half-closing eye

The pageantry of monarchy!

And the deep thunder's echoing roar [page 198:]

Came hurriedly upon me, telling

Of war, and tumult, where my voice,

My own voice, silly child! was swelling

(O how would my wild heart rejoice

And leap within me at the cry)

The battle-cry of victory!


The rain came down upon my head

But barely sheltered and the wind

Passed quickly o’er me but my mind

Was maddening for ’twas man that shed

Laurels upon me and the rush,

The torrent of the chilly air

Gurgled in my pleased ear the crush

Of empires, with the captive's prayer,

The hum of suitors, the mixed tone

Of flattery round a sovereign's throne.

The storm had ceased and I awoke

Its spirit cradled me to sleep,

And as it passed me by, there broke

Strange light upon me, tho’ it were

My soul in mystery to steep:

For I was not as I had been;

The child of Nature, without care,

Or thought, save of the passing scene.


My passions, from that hapless hour,

Usurped a tyranny, which men

Have deemed, since I have reached to power,

My innate nature be it so:

But, father, there lived one who, then

Then, in my boyhood, when their fire [page 199:]

Burned with a still intenser glow;

(For passion must with youth expire )

Even then, who deemed this iron heart

In woman's weakness had a part.

I have no words, alas! to tell

The loveliness of loving well!

Nor would I dare attempt to trace


The breathing beauty of a face,


Which even to my impassioned mind,

Leaves not its memory behind.

In spring of life have ye ne’er dwelt

Some object of delight upon,

With steadfast eye, till ye have felt

The earth reel and the vision gone?


And I have held to memory's eye

One object and but one until

Its very form hath passed me by,

But left its influence with me still.


’Tis not to thee that I should name

Thou canst not wouldst not dare to think

The magic empire of a flame

Which even upon this perilous brink

Hath fixed my soul, tho’ unforgiven,

By what it lost for passion Heaven.

I loved and O, how tenderly!

Yes! she [was] worthy of all love!

Such as in infancy was mine,

V.   14   breathing | more than   MS.
    15   my | this   MS.
    21   And I have | So have I   MS. [page 200:]

Tho’ then its passion could not be;

’T was such as angel minds above

Might envy her young heart the shrine

On which my every hope and thought

Were incense then a goodly gift

For they were childish, without sin,

Pure as her young example taught;

Why did I leave it and adrift,

Trust to the fickle star within?


We grew in age and love together,

Roaming the forest and the wild;

My breast her shield in wintry weather,

And when the friendly sunshine smiled

And she would mark the opening skies,

I saw no Heaven but in her eyes

Even childhood knows the human heart;

For when, in sunshine and in smiles,

From all our little cares apart,

Laughing at her half silly wiles,

I ’d throw me on her throbbing breast,

And pour my spirit out in tears,

Sheed look up in my wildered eye

There was no need to speak the rest

No need to quiet her kind fears

She did not ask the reason why.

The hallowed memory of those years

Comes o’er me in these lonely hours,

And, with sweet loveliness, appears

As perfume of strange summer flowers;

Of flowers which we have known before.

In infancy, which seen, recall [page 201:]

To mind not flowers alone but more,

Our earthly life, and love and all.


Yes! she was worthy of all love!


Even such as from the accursed time

My spirit with the tempest strove,

When on the mountain peak alone,

Ambition lent it a new tone,

And bade it first to dream of crime,


My frenzy to her bosom taught:

We still were young: no purer thought

Dwelt in a seraph's breast than thine; (3)

For passionate love is still divine:


I loved her as an angel might

With ray of the all living light

Which blazes upon Edis’ shrine. (4)

It is not surely sin to name,

With such as mine that mystic flame,

I had no being but in thee!

The world with all its train of bright

And happy beauty (for to me

All was an undefined delight),

The world its joy its share of pain


Which I felt not its bodied forms

Of varied being, which contain

The bodiless spirits of the storms,

The sunshine, and the calm the ideal

VIII.   1 [[2]]   Such as I taught her from the time   MS.
    7-10   There were no holier thoughts than thine   MS.
    11   her | thee   MS.
    21   Which I felt not | Unheeded then   MS. [page 202:]

And fleeting vanities of dreams,

Fearfully beautiful! the real

Nothings of mid day waking life

Of an enchanted life, which seems,

Now as I look back, the strife


Of some ill demon, with a power

Which left me in an evil hour,

All that I felt, or saw, or thought,


Crowding, confused became

(With thine unearthly beauty fraught)

Thou and the nothing of a name.


The passionate spirit which hath known,

And deeply felt the silent tone

Of its own self-supremacy,


(I speak thus openly to thee,

’T were folly now to veil a thought

With which this aching breast is fraught)

The soul which feels its innate right

The mystic empire and high power

Given by the energetic might

Of Genius, at its natal hour;


Which knows (believe me at this time,


When falsehood were a tenfold crime,

There is a power in the high spirit

To know the fate it will inherit)

    30   Some | an   MS.
    33   confused | confusedly   MS.
IX.   4-10   omit   MS.
    11   me at this time | for now on me   MS.
    12   Truth flashes thro’ eternity   MS. [page 203:]


The soul, which knows such power, will still

Find Pride the ruler of its will.

Yes! I was proud and ye who know

The magic of that meaning word,

So oft perverted, will bestow

Your scorn, perhaps, when ye have heard

That the proud spirit had been broken,

The proud heart burst in agony

At one upbraiding word or token

Of her that heart's idolatry

I was ambitious have ye known


Its fiery passion? ye have not

A cottager, I marked a throne

Of half the world, as all my own,

And murmured at such lowly lot!

But it had passed me as a dream

Which, of light step, flies with the dew,

That kindling thought did not the beam

Of Beauty, which did guide it through

The livelong summer day, oppress

My mind with double loveliness


We walked together on the crown

Of a high mountain, which looked down

Afar from its proud natural towers

Of rock and forest, on the hills

The dwindled hills, whence amid bowers


Her own fair hand had reared around,

    15   knows | feels   MS.
    26   Its | The   MS.
X.   6   own fair | magic   MS. [page 204:]

Gushed shoutingly a thousand rills,


Which as it were, in fairy bound

Embraced two hamlets those our own

Peacefully happy yet alone

I spoke to her of power and pride

But mystically, in such guise,

That she might deem it nought beside

The moment's converse; in her eyes

I read (perhaps too carelessly)

A mingled feeling with my own;

The flush on her bright cheek, to me,

Seemed to become a queenly throne

Too well, that I should let it be

A light in the dark wild, alone.


There in that hour a thought came o’er

My mind, it had not known before

To leave her while we both were young,

To follow my high fate among

The strife of nations, and redeem

The idle words, which, as a dream

Now sounded to her heedless ear

I held no doubt I knew no fear

Of peril in my wild career;

To gain an empire, and throw down

As nuptial dowry a queen's crown,


The only feeling which possest,


Of diamond sunshine and sweet spray

Two mossy huts of the Taglay

XI.   12-13  

The undying hope which now opprest

A spirit ne’er to be at rest MS. [page 205:]

With her own image, my fond breast


Who, that had known the secret thought

Of a young peasant's bosom then,

Had deemed him, in compassion, aught


But one, whom fantasy had led


Astray from reason Among men


Ambition is chained down nor fed


(As in the desert, where the grand,


The wild, the beautiful, conspire


With their own breath to fan its fire)

With thoughts such feeling can command;

Unchecked by sarcasm, and scorn

Of those, who hardly will conceive

That any should become “great,” born (5)

In their own sphere will not believe

That they shall stoop in life to one

Whom daily they are wont to see

Familiarly whom Fortune's sun

Hath ne’er shone dazzlingly upon.

Lowly and of their own degree


I pictured to my fancy's eye

Her silent, deep astonishment,

    14   secret | silent   MS.
    17   led | thrown   MS.
    18   Astray from reason | Her mantle over   MS.
    19   Ambition | Lion Ambition; nor fed | omit   MS.

Insert after: —

And crouches to a keeper's hand   MS.

    20   As in the desert | Not so in deserts   MS.
    21   beautifies | terrible   MS.
    22   its | his   MS. [page 206:]

When, a few fleeting years gone by

(For short the time my high hope lent

To its most desperate intent),

She might recall in him, whom Fame

Had gilded with a conqueror's name

(With glory such as might inspire

Perforce, a passing thought of one,

Whom she had deemed in his own fire

Withered and blasted; who had gone

A traitor, violate of the truth

So plighted in his early youth),

Her own Alexis, who should plight (6)

The love he plighted then, again,

And raise his infancy's delight,

The bride and queen of Tamerlane.


One noon of a bright summer's day

I passed from out the matted bower

Where in a deep, still slumber lay

My Ada. In that peaceful hour,

A silent gaze was my farewell.

I had no other solace then

To awake her, and a falsehood tell

Of a feigned journey, were again

To trust the weakness of my heart

To her soft thrilling voice:

To part Thus, haply, while in sleep she dreamed

Of long delight, nor yet had deemed

Awake, that I had held a thought

Of parting, were with madness fraught;

I knew not woman's heart, alas!

Tho’ loved, and loving let it pass. [page 207:]


I went from out the matted bower.

And hurried madly on my way:

And felt, with every flying hour,

That bore me from my home, more gay:

There is of earth an agony

Which, ideal, still may be

The worst ill of mortality.

’T is bliss, in its own reality,

Too real, to his breast who lives

Not within himself but gives

A portion of his willing soul

To God, and to the great whole

To him, whose loving spirit will dwell

With Nature, in her wild paths; tell

Of her wondrous ways, and telling bless

Her overpowering loveliness!

A more than agony to him

Whose failing sight will grow dim

With its own living gaze upon

That loveliness around: the sun

The blue sky the misty light

Of the pale cloud therein, whose hue

Is grace to its heavenly bed of blue;

Dim! tho’ looking on all bright!

O God! when the thoughts that may not pass

Will burst upon him, and alas!

For the flight on Earth to Fancy given,

There are no words unless of Heaven.


Look round thee now on Samarcand, (7)

Is she not queen of earth? her pride [page 208:]

Above all cities? in her hand

Their destinies? with all beside

Of glory, which the world hath known?


Stands she not proudly and alone?

And who her sovereign? Timur, he (8)


Whom the astonished earth hath seen,


With victory, on victory,

Redoubling age! and more,

I ween, The Zinghis’ yet re-echoing fame. (9)


And now what has he? what! a name.

The sound of revelry by night

Comes o’er me, with the mingled voice

Of many with a breast as light,


As if ‘t were not the dying hour


Of one, in whom they did rejoice

As in a leader, haply

Power Its venom secretly imparts;


Nothing have I with human hearts.


When Fortune marked me for her own,

And my proud hopes had reached a throne

(It boots me not, good friar, to tell

A tale the world but knows too well,

XV.   6   proudly | ’nobly   MS.
    8   earth hath seen, people saw   MS.

Striding o’er empires haughtily,

A diademed outlaw,

More than the Zinghis in his fame.   MS.

    12   what! | even   MS.
    16   the dying | their parting   MS.
    17   Of | From   MS.
    20   Nothing have I | And I have naught   M S. [page 209:]

How by what hidden deeds of might,

I clambered to the tottering height),

I still was young; and well I ween

My spirit what it e’er had been.

My eyes were still on pomp and power,

My wilder ‘d heart was far away

In valleys of the wild Taglay,

In mine own Ada's matted bower.

I dwelt not long in Samarcand

Ere, in a peasant's lowly guise,

I sought my long-abandoned land;

By sunset did its mountains rise

In dusky grandeur to my eyes:

But as I wandered on the way

My heart sunk with the sun's ray.

To him, who still would gaze upon

The glory of the summer sun,

There comes, when that sun will from him part,

A sullen hopelessness of heart.

That soul will hate the evening mist

So often lovely, and will list

To the sound of the coming darkness (known

To those whose spirits hearken) (10) as one

Who in a dream of night ‘would ‘fly,

But cannot, from a danger nigh.

What though the moon the silvery moon

Shine on his path, in her high noon;

Her smile is chilly, and her beam

In that time of dreariness will seem

As the portrait of one after death;

A likeness taken when the breath

Of young life, and the fire of the eye,

Had lately been, but had passed by.

’T is thus when the lovely summer sun [page 210:]

Of our boyhood, his course hath run:

For all we live to know is known;

And all we seek to keep hath flown;

With the noonday beauty, which is all.

Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall

The transient, passionate day-flower, (11)

Withering at the evening hour.


I reached my home my home no more

For all was flown that made it so

I passed from out its mossy door,

In vacant idleness of woe.

There met me on its threshold stone

A mountain hunter, I had known

In childhood, but he knew me not.

Something he spoke of the old cot:

It had seen better days, he said;

There rose a fountain once, and there

Full many a fair flower raised its head:

But she who reared them was long dead,

And in such follies had no part,

What was there left me now? despair

A kingdom for a broken heart.

Readings varying from 1845, in 1829, 1831:

3   deem | think 1831

26   Insert after;

Despair, the fabled vampire-bat,

Hath long upon my bosom sat,

And I would rave, but that he flings

A calm from his unearthly wings.   1831

30   fierce | omit   1831

40   Have | Hath   1831 [page 211:]

57   Was giant-like so thou my mind   1829, 1831

73   this iron heart | that as infinite   1831

74   My soul so was the weakness in it   1831

Insert after:

For in those days it was my lot

To haunt of the wide world a spot

The which I could not love the less.

So lovely was the loneliness

Of a wild lake with black rock bound,

And the sultan like pines that towered around!

But when the night had thrown her pall

Upon that spot as upon all,

And the black wind murmured by,

In a dirge of melody;

My infant spirit would awake

To the terror of that lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright —

But a tremulous delight —

A feeling not the jewelled mine

Could ever bribe me to define,

Nor love, Ada! tho’ it were thine.

How could I from that water bring

Solace to my imagining?

My solitary soul — how make

An Eden of that dim lake?

But then a gentler, calmer spell

Like moonlight on my spirit fell,

But O! I have no words to tell 1831

77   Nor would I | I will not   1831

81   Thus I | I well   1831

82   Some page | Pages   1831

83 [[86]]   Oh, she was | Was she not   1831 [page 212:]

106   throw me on her throbbing | lean upon her gentle   1831

110   her | her's   1831

112-115   omit   1831

119   Its joy its little lot | Of pleasure or   1831

120   That was new pleasure | The good, the bad   1831

128-138 omit   1831

151   on her bright | upon her   1831

152   to become | fitted for   1831

164   his | its   1831


· · · · · · · ·  

Say, holy father, breathes there yet

A rebel or a Bajazet?

How now! why tremble, man of gloom,

As if my words were the Simoom!

Why do the people bow the knee,

To the young Tamerlane — to me!   1831

202   splendor | beauty   1831


· · · · · · · ·  

I reached my home — what home? above

My home — my hope — my early love,

Lonely, like me, the desert rose,

Bowed down with its own glory grows.   1831

235 [[235]]   unpolluted | undefiled   1831

243   Insert after: —

If my peace hath flown away

In a night or in a day

In a vision or in none

Is it, therefore, the less gone?

I was standing ‘mid the roar

Of a wind-beaten shore, [page 213:]

And I held within my hand

Some particles of sand

How bright! and yet to creep

Thro’ my fingers to the deep!

My early hopes? no they

Went gloriously away,

Like lightning from the sky

Why in the battle did not I?   1831.


NOTE 1, page 196.

I have sent for thee, holy friar.

OF the history of Tamerlane little is known; and with that little I have taken the full liberty of a poet. That he was descended from the family of Zinghis Khan is more than probable but he is vulgarly supposed to have been the son of a shepherd, and to have raised himself to the throne by his own address. He died in the year 1405, in the time of Pope Innocent VII.

How I shall account for giving him “a friar” as a death-bed confessor I cannot exactly determine. He wanted some one to listen to his tale and why not a friar? It does not pass the bounds of possibility quite sufficient for my purpose and I have at least good authority on my side for such innovations.

NOTE 2, page 197.

The mists of the Taglay have shed, &c.

The mountains of Belur Taglay are a branch of the Imaus, in the southern part of Independent Tartary. They are celebrated for the singular wildness and beauty of their valleys. [page 214:]

NOTE NOTE 3, page 201.

No purer thought

Dwelt in a seraph's breast than thine.

I must beg the reader's pardon for making Tamerlane, a Tartar of the fourteenth century, speak in the same language as a Boston gentleman of the nineteenth; but of the Tartar mythology we have little information.

NOTE NOTE 4, page 201.

Which blazes upon Edis’ shrine.

A deity presiding over virtuous love, upon whose imaginary altar a sacred fire was continually blazing.

NOTE NOTE 5, page 205.

—— who hardly will conceive

That any should become “great” born

In their own sphere —

Although Tamerlane speaks this, it is not the less true. It is a matter of the greatest difficulty to make the generality of mankind believe that one with whom they are upon terms of intimacy shall be called, in the world, a “great man.” The reason is evident. There are few great men. Their actions are consequently viewed by the mass of the people through the medium of distance. The prominent parts of their characters are alone noted; and those properties, which are minute and common to every one, not being observed, seem to have no connection with a great character.

Who ever read the private memorials, correspondence, etc., which have become so common in our time, without wondering that “great men” should act and think “so abominably”? [page 215:]

NOTE 6, page 206.

Her own Alexis, who should plight, &c.

That Tamerlane acquired his renown under a feigned name is not entirely a fiction.

NOTE 7, page 207.

Look round thee now on Samarcand,

I believe it was after the battle of Angora that Tamerlane made Samarcand his residence. It became for a time the seat of learning and the arts.

NOTE 8, page 208.

And who her sovereign? Timur, &c.

He was called Timur Bek as well as Tamerlane.

NOTE 9, page 208.

The Zinghis’ yet re-echoing fame.

The conquests of Tamerlane far exceeded those of Zinghis Khan. He boasted to have two thirds of the world at his command.

NOTE 10, page 209.

The sound of the coming darkness (known

To those whose spirits hearken)

I have often fancied that I could distinctly hear the sound of the darkness, as it steals over the horizon a foolish fancy, perhaps, but not more unintelligible than to see music

the “mind the music oreathing from her face.”

NOTE 11, page 210.

Let life then, as the day-flower, fall.

There is a flower (I have never known its botanic name), vulgarly called the day-flower. It blooms [page 216:] beautifully in the daylight, but withers towards evening, and by night its leaves appear totally shrivelled and dead. I have forgotten, however, to mention in the text, that it lives again in the morning. If it will not nourish in Tartary, I must be forgiven for carrying it thither.

NOTES. The History of the poem is given in the Memoir. In the edition of 1845 it was accompanied with the following “Advertisement: This poem was printed for publication in Boston, in the year 1827, but suppressed through circumstances of a private nature.” The “Early Poems” in the same edition were excused by the following note: “Private reasons some of which have reference to the sin of plagiarism, and others to the date of Tennyson's first poems have induced me after some hesitation to republish those, the crude compositions of my earliest boyhood. They are printed verbatim — without alteration from the original edition — the date of which is too remote to be judiciously acknowledged.”


To Science. 1829; 1831; “Southern Literary Messenger,” May, 1836; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 4.

TEXT. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum.” Other readings: —

1   true | meet   1829; 1831; S. L. M.

8   soared | soar   S. L. M.

12   The gentle Naiad from her fountain flood   1829; S. L. M.

14   tamarind tree | shrubbery   1831; S. L. M. [page 217:]


Al Aaraaf. 1829, 1831, 1845; lines I. 66-67, 70-79, 82-101; 126-129; 11.20-21, 24-27, 52-59, 68-135; “Philadelphia Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

[[Part I.]]   1-15  

Mysterious star!

Thou wert my dream

All a long summer night

Be now my theme!

By this clear stream,

Of thee will I write;

Meantime from afar

Bathe me in light!

Thy world has not the dross of ours,

Yet all the beauty all the flowers

That list our love, or deck our bowers

In dreamy gardens, where do lie

Dreamy maidens all the day,

While the silver winds of Circassy

On violet couches faint away.

Little oh! little dwells in thee

Like unto what on, Earth we see.

Beauty's eye is here the bluest

In the falsest and untruest

On the sweetest air doth float

The most sad and solemn note

If with thee be broken hearts,

Joy so peacefully departs,

That its echo stiU doth dwell,

Like the murmur in the shell. [page 218:]

Thou! thy truest type of grief

Is the gently falling leaf

Thou I thy framing is so holy

Sorrow is not melancholy.   1831.

    11   Oh | With   1829
    19   An oasis | a garden-spot   1829, 1831
    43   rear   1831
    95   red   omit   1831
    128   All | Here   1829, 1831
Part II.   33   peeréd | ventured   1829
    99   lead | hang   1829, 1831
    197   the orb of Earth | one constant star   1829, 1831
    213   he | it   1829, 1831

The variations of the “Saturday Museum” show a later revision than the text represents; but it has not been thought desirable to embody them in the text, as Poe himself did not do so on his last publication of it. They are as follows:

I.   88   Which | That
    127   merest | veriest
    128   All | Here
II.   53   cheeks were | cheek was
    56   that | this
    58   fairy | brilliant
    91   wings
    92   Each ... thing | All ... things
    94   would | will
    117   a deep dreamy

Some lines also are transposed from one place to another in the passages from II. 20-59. [page 219:]


p. 107. Al Aaraaf. — A star was discovered by Tycho Brahe, which appeared suddenly in the heavens; attained, in a few days, a brilliancy surpassing that of Jupiter; then as suddenly disappeared, and has never been seen since.

p. 108. Capo Deucato. — On Santa Maria — olim Deucadia OF HER WHO loved. Sappho.

Flower of Trebizond. This flower is much noticed by Lewenhoeck and Tournefort. The bee feeding upon its blossom becomes intoxicated.

p. 109. Clytia. — Clytia, the Chrysanthemum Peruvianum, or, to employ a better-known term, the turnsol, which turns continually toward the sun, covers itself, like Peru, the country from which it comes, with dewy clouds which cool and refresh its flowers during the most violent heat of the day. B. DE ST. PIERRE.

And that aspiring flower. — There is cultivated, in the king's garden at Paris, a species of serpentine aloes without prickles, whose large and beautiful flower exhales a strong odor of the vanilla, during the time of its expansion, which is very short. It does not blow till toward the month of July you then perceive it gradually open its petals expand them — fade and die. — ST. PIERRE.

Valisnerian lotus. — There is found, in the Rhone, a beautiful lily of the Valisnerian kind. Its stem will stretch to the length of three or four feet, thus preserving its head above water in the swellings of the river.

And thy most lovely purple perfume. — The Hyacinth. [page 220:]

Indian Cupid. — It is a fiction of the Indians, that Cupid was first seen floating in one of these down the river Ganges, and that he still loves the cradle of his childhood.

Odors. And golden vials full of odors which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. St. John.

p. 110. A model. — The Humanitarians held that God was to be understood as having really a human form. — Vide CLARKES Sermons, vol. i, page 26, fol. edit.

The drift of Milton's argument leads him to employ language which would appear, at first sight, to verge upon their doctrine; but it will be seen immediately that he guards himself against the charge of having adopted one of the most ignorant errors of the dark ages of the Church. — DR. SUMNERS Notes on Milton's Christian Doctrine.

This opinion, in spite of many testimonies to the contrary, could never have been very general. Andeus, a Syrian of Mesopotamia, was condemned for the opinion as heretical. He lived in the beginning of the fourth-century. His disciples were called Anthropomorphites. — Vide DU PIN.

Among Milton's minor poems are these lines:

Dicite sacrorum presides nemorum Deæ, etc.

Quis ille primus cujus ex imagine

Natura solers finxit humanum genus?

Eternus, incorruptus, aequaevus polo,

Unusque et universus exemplar Dei.

And afterward: —

Non cui profundum Caecitas lumen dedit

Dircaeus augur vidit hunc alto sinu, etc. [page 221:]

Fantasy. Seltsamen Toch ter Jovis

Seinem Schosskinde

Der Phantasie. — GOETHE.

p. 111. Sightless. Too small to be seen. — LEGGE.

Fireflies. — I have often noticed a peculiar movement of the fire-flies, they will collect in a body and fly off, from a common centre, into innumerable radii.

p. 112. Therasaean. Therasaea, or Therasea, the island mentioned by Seneca, which, in a moment, arose from the sea to the eyes of astonished mariners.

Of molten stars.

Some star which, from the ruined roof

Of shak’d Olympus, by mischance did fall. MILTON.

p. 113. Persepolis. — Voltaire, in speaking of Persepolis, says: “Je connois bien Padmiration qu’inspirent ces mines mais un palais e’rigd au pied d’une chaine des rochers sterils peut il etre un chef-d’oeuvre des arts?”

Gomorrah. — “Oh! the wave” — Ula Deguisi is the Turkish appellation; but, on its own shores, it is called Bahar Loth, or Almotanah. There were undoubtedly more than two cities engulfed in the “dead sea.” In the valley of Siddim were five, Adrah, Zeboin, Zoar, Sodom, and Gomorrah. Stephen of Byzantium mentions eight, and Strabo thirteen (en, gulfed), but the last is out of all reason.

It is said [Tacitus, Strabo, Josephus, Daniel of St. Saba, Nau, Mundrell, Troilo, D’Arvieux], that after an excessive drought, the vestiges of columns, walls, etc., are seen above the surface. At any season, such remains may be discovered by looking down into the transparent lake, and at such distances as would argue the existence of many settlements in the space now usurped by the “Asphaltites.” [page 222:]

Eyraco. Chaldea.

Who sees the darkness. I have often thought I could distinctly hear the sound of the darkness as it stole over the horizon.

p. 114. Young flowers. Fairies use flowers for their charactery. — Merry Wives of Windsor.

The moonbeam. In Scripture is this passage “The sun shall not harm thee by day, nor the moon by night” It is perhaps not generally known that the moon, in Egypt, has the effect of producing blindness to those who sleep with the face exposed to its rays, to which circumstance the passage evidently alludes.

p. 115. Albatross. — The Albatross is said to sleep on the wing.

p. 116. The murmur that springs. — I met with this idea in an old English tale, which I am now unable to obtain, and quote from memory, the “verie essence and, as it were, springe-heade and origine of all musiche is the verie pleasaunte sounde which the trees of the forest do make when they growe.”

Have slept with the bee. — The wild bee will not sleep in the shade if there be moonlight.

The rhyme in this verse, as in one about sixty lines before, has an appearance of affectation. It is, however, imitated from Sir W. Scott, or rather from Claud Halcro in whose mouth I admired its effect:

Oh! were there an island,

Tho’ ever so wild

Where woman might smile, and

No man be beguiled, etc.

p. 117. Apart from Heaven's Eternity. — With the Arabians there is a medium between Heaven and Hell, where men suffer no punishment, but yet do not attain [page 223:]

that tranquil and even happiness which they suppose to be characteriztic of heavenly enjoyment.

Un no rompido sueno —

Un dia puro — allegre — libre —

Quiera —

Libre de amor — de zelo —

De odio — de esperanza — de rezelo.


Sorrow is not excluded from “Al Aaraaf,” but it is that sorrow which the living love to cherish for the dead, and which, in some minds, resembles the delirium of opium. The passionate excitement of Love and the buoyancy of spirit attendant upon intoxication are its less holy pleasures, the price of which, to those souls who make choice of “Al Aaraaf” as their residence after life, is final death and annihilation.

Tears, of perfect moan

There be tears of perfect moan.

Wept for thee in Helicon. — MILTON.

p. 119. Parthenon. It was entire in 1687 the most elevated spot in Athens.

Than even thy glowing bosom.

Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows

Than have the white breasts of the Queen of Love. — MARLOWE.

Pennoned. — Pennon — for pinion. — MILTON.

NOTES. The notes by Poe are partly from Moore's “Lalla Rookh,” Chateaubriand's “Itinéraire,” and other authorities easily traced. In the edition of 1829 the notes are worded, in a few instances, differently. [page 224:]


The Happiest Day — The Happiest Hour.” 1827.

TEXT. 1827.


In Youth Have I Known One With Whom the Earth.” 1827.

TEXT. 1827.


Evening Star. 1827.

TEXT. 1827.


Dreams. 1827.

TEXT. 1827. Other readings, from the Wilmer MS., in this instance contemporary, but not autographic.

5   cold | dull   MS.

6   must | shall   MS.

7   still upon the lovely | ever on the chilly   MS.

14   dreams of living | dreary fields of   MS.

15   loveliness have left my very | left unheedingly my   MS.


The Lake: To. 1827, 1829, 1831 (in Tamerlane), 1845.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

The first version is 1827, as follows, other early readings, including those of the Wilmer MS., being noted below: [page 225:]


IN youth's spring it was my lot

To haunt of the wide earth a spot

The which I could not love the less;

So lovely was the loneliness

Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,

And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the night had thrown her pall

Upon that spot — as upon all,


And the wind would pass me by


In its stilly melody,


My infant spirit would awake

To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright —

But a tremulous delight,


And a feeling undefined,

Springing from a darkened mind.

Death was in that poisoned wave

And in its gulf a fitting grave

For him who thence could solace bring


To his dark imagining;


Whose wildering thought could even make

An Eden of that dim lake.

Compare also “Tamerlane,” 1831, infra, pp. 210-211.

9   wind would pass me by | black wind murmured by   1829

10   In its stilly | in a stilly   MS.; in a dirge of   1829

11   infant | boyish   MS.

15-16   A feeling not the jewell’d mine

Should ever bribe me to define

Nor Love although the Love be thine   1829

20   dark | lone   MS. 1829

21   Whose solitary soul could make   MS.   1829 [page 226:]


Spirits of the Dead, 1829; “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” July, 1839; | Visit of the Dead, 1827.

TEXT. “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” except as noted. Other readings, including those of the Wilmer MS., in this instance a contemporary, but not autographic copy: —

10   Shall over | shall then o’er   MS.

18   Insert after: —

But ’t will leave thee as each star

With the dewdrop flies afar.   MS.

19   shalt | canst   MS.

21-22   transpose   MS.

22   dewdrops | dewdrop   MS.; 1829; B. G. M.

The first version is 1827, as follows: —


· · · · · · · ·  

THY soul shall find itself alone —

Alone of all on earth unknown

The cause but none are near to pry

Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,

Which is not loneliness — for then

The spirits of the dead, who stood

In life before thee, are again

In death around thee, and their will

Shall then o’ershadow thee — be still:

For the night, tho’ clear, shall frown;

And the stars shall look not down

From their thrones, in the dark heaven,

With light like Hope to mortals given,

But their red orbs, without beam, [page 227:]

To thy withering heart shall seem

As a burning, and a fever

Which would cling to thee forever.

But ’t will leave thee, as each star

In the morning light afar

Will fly thee — and vanish:

— But its thought thou canst not banish.

The breath of God will be still;

And the mist upon the hill

By that summer breeze unbroken

Shall charm thee — as a token,

And a symbol which shall be

Secrecy in thee.


A Dream within a Dream. Griswold, 1850. | Imitation 1827; To ——, 1829; Tamerlane, 1831.

TEXT. Griswold, 1850. Other readings: — The first version of these lines is 1827, as follows:


A DARK unfathomed tide

Of interminable pride —

A mystery, and a dream,

Should my early life seem;

I say that dream was fraught

With a wild, and waking thought

Of beings that have been,

Which my spirit hath not seen,

Had I let them pass me by,

With a dreaming eye!

Let none of earth inherit

That vision on my spirit; [page 228:]

Those thoughts I would control,

As a spell upon his soul;

For that bright hope at last

And that light time have past,

And my world arrest hath gone

With a sigh as it passed on:

I care not tho’ it perish

With a thought I then did cherish.

This poem was revised in 1829, as follows, the variations of the Wilmer MS. being noted below:

TO ——


SHOULD my early life seem [[,]]

[As well it might] a dream —

Yet I build no faith upon

The King Napoleon —

I look not up afar


To my destiny in a star:


In parting from you now

Thus much I will avow —

There are beings, and have been

Whom my spirit had not seen

Had I let them pass me by

With a dreaming eye —

If my peace hath fled away

In a night — or in a day —

In a vision — or in none —


Is it therefore the less gone? [[—]]

I.   6   To | For   MS.
II.   10   therefore | omit   MS. [page 229:]


I am standing 'mid the roar

Of a weather-beaten shore,

And I hold within my hand

Some particles of sand —

How few! and how they creep

Thro’ my fingers to the deep!

My early hopes? no — they

Went gloriously away,

Like lightning from the sky

At once — and so will I.


So young! ah! no — not now —

Thou hast not seen my brow,

But they tell thee I am proud

They lie — they lie aloud —

My bosom beats with shame

At the paltriness of name

With which they dare combine

A feeling such as mine —

Nor Stoic? I am not:

In the terror of my lot

I laugh to think how poor

That pleasure “to endure!”

What! shade of Zeus [[Zeno]] ! — I!

Endure! — no — no — defy.

The lines 13-27, reappear revised in “Tamerlane,” 1831, infra, p. 212.

[page 229, continued:]


Song (I saw thee on thy bridal day). 1827, 1829, 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. n. [page 230:]

TEXT. 1845. Other readings, including those of the Wilmer MS.:

I.   1   thy | the   1827
II.   2   Of young passion free   1827
    3   aching | chained   1827; fettered   1829
    4   could | might   1827
    1-4   omit,   MS.
III.   1   perhaps | I ween   1827


To the River ——. 1829; “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” August, 1839; Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 9.

TEXT. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum.” Other readings, including those of the Wilmer MS.: —

I.   2   crystal wandering | labyrinth-like   MS. 1829; B. G. M.
II.   4   Her worshipper | Thy pretty self   MS.
    5   His | my   MS. 1829; B. G. M.; B. J.
    7   His | The   MS. 1829; B.G.M.; B. J.;   deeply | lightly   MS.
    8   of her soul-searching | The scrutiny of her   MS. 1829; B. G. M.

TO ——

To —— (The bowers whereat in dreams I saw) 1829, 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 11.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings:

III.   3   The | omit   1829.
    4   baubles | trifles   1829. [page 231:]


A Dream. 1829, 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii.6 | no title, 1827.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

I.   [[1]]  

Insert before:

A wildred being from my birth,

My spirit spurned control,

But now, abroad on the wide earth,   1827.

Where wanderest thou, my soul?

II.   1   Ah | And   1827, 1829
IV.   1   Storm and | misty   1827
    2   Trembled from | dimly shone   1827


Romance. Philadelphia “Saturday Museum,” March 4, 1843; 1845; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 8 | Preface, 1829; Introduction, 1831.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

12   Heavens   B. J.

14   I scarcely have had time for cares   S. M.

The version of 1831 is as follows, earlier readings of 1829 being noted below: —


ROMANCE, who loves to nod and sing,

With drowsy head and folded wing,

Among the green leaves as they shake

Far down within some shadowy lake,

To me a painted paroquet

Hath been — a most familiar bird —

Taught me my alphabet to say, —

To lisp my very earliest word [page 232:]

While in the wild-wood I did lie

A child — with a most knowing eye.


Succeeding years, too wild for song,

Then rolled like tropic storms along,

Where, tho’ the garish lights that fly,

Dying along the troubled sky

Lay bare, thro’ vistas thunder-riven,

The blackness of the general Heaven,

That very blackness yet doth fling

Light on the lightning's silver wing.

For, being an idle boy lang syne,

Who read Anacreon, and drank wine,

I early found Anacreon rhymes

Were almost passionate sometimes —

And by strange alchemy of brain

His pleasures always turned to pain —

His naivete to wild desire —

His wit to love — his wine to fire

And so, being young and dipt in folly

1 fell in love with melancholy,

And used to throw my earthly rest

And quiet all away in jest —

I could not love except where Death

Was mingling his with Beauty's breath —

Or Hymen, Time, and Destiny

Were stalking between her and me.


O, then the eternal Condor years,


So shook the very Heavens on high,

11-34   omit   1829

35   O, then the | Of late   1829.

36   shook the very Heavens | shake the very air   1829 [page 233:]


With tumult as they thunder’d by;


I had no time for idle cares,

Thro’ gazing on the unquiet sky!


Or if an hour with calmer wing


Its down did on my spirit fling,

That little hour with lyre and rhyme


To while away — forbidden thing!


My heart half feared to be a crime


Unless it trembled with the string.


But now my soul hath too much room —

Gone are the glory and the gloom —

The black hath mellowed into grey,

And all the fires are fading away.

My draught of passion hath been deep —

I revelled, and I now would sleep —

And after-drunkenness of soul

Succeeds the glories of the bowl —

And idle longing night and day

To dream my very life away.

But dreams — of those who dream as I,

Aspiringly, are damned, and die:

Yet should I swear I mean alone,

By notes so very shrilly blown,

37   thundered | thunder   1829.

38   I hardly have had time for cares   1829.

40   Or if ... wing | And when ... wings   1829.

41   did on ... fling | upon ... flings   1829.

43   thing | things   1829.

44   half-feared | would feel   1829.

45   Unless it trembled ... string | Did it not tremble ... strings   1829.

46-66   omit — 1829. [page 234:]

To break upon Time's monotone,

While yet my vapid joy and grief

Are tintless of the yellow leaf

Why not an imp the graybeard hath

Will shake his shadow in my path

And even the graybeard will o’erlook

Connivingly my dreaming book.


Fairy-land. 1829, 1831, 1845; “Burton's Gentleman's Magazine,” August, 1839; “Broadway Journal,” ii. 13.

TEXT. 1845. Other readings: —

The version of 1831 is as follows, other early readings being noted below: —



Sit down beside me, Isabel,

Here, dearest, where the moonbeam fell

Just now so fairy-like and well.

Now thou art dressed 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 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,

1-40   omit   1829, B. G. M. 1845; B. J. ii. 13. [page 235:]

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.

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 tattered 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.

45   see | there   1829; B. G. M. [page 236:]

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 —

Over ruined walls —

(Over waterfalls!)

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

Alas! over the sea!

49 How | And   1829; B. G. M.

About twelve by the moon-dial

One, more filmy than the rest

[A sort which, upon trial,

They have found to be the best]

Comes down — still down — and down   1829; B. G. M.


While its wide circumference

In easy drapery falls

Over hamlets, and rich halls,

Wherever they may be —

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

Over spirits on the wing

Over every drowsy thing —

And buries them up quite

In a labyrinth of light — [page 237:]


Alone. “Scribner's Magazine,” September, 1875.

TEXT. “Scribner's Magazine.”

NOTES. This poem, on its publication, was dated, not in Poe's hand, “Baltimore, March 17, 1829.” The words appear to be unauthorized.

G. E. W.

And then, how deep! O! deep!

Is the passion of their sleep!

In the morning they arise,

And their moony covering

Is soaring in the skies,

With the tempests as they toss,

(1) Like — almost anything —

Or a yellow Albatross.

They use that moon no more

For the same end as before —

Videlicet a tent —

Which I think extravagant:

Its atomies, however,

Into a shower dissever,

Of which those butterflies,

Of Earth, who seek the skies,

And so come down again

[The unbelieving things!]

Have brought a specimen

Upon their quivering wings.

1829; B. G. M.

1 Plagiarism — see the works of Thomas Moore — passim — [Poe's note].




There area a number of minor inconsistencies in the structure and formatting of this section that are probably the result of the haste with which it was created. For several poems, the main variants are listed by line within stanza, even for poems for which the stanzas are not numbered in the main text. For most poems, however, the variants are simply listed by line number, even when the main poem is divided into stanzas. For poems where the variants are listed by stanza, the stanza is enumerated by captial Roman numerals, except for “Israfel,” which uses lower case Roman numerals. (The variants for “Israfel” also repeats the stanza number of “iv” which is not done for other lists. Futhermore, for “Israfel,” the variants to the alternate text of 1831 are given by line within stanza, which might partially explain the use of lower case Roman numerals for the main variants, to distinguish them from the other variants for the poem.) For poems where the variants are listed by stanza, the variants are arranged in a table, and where they are listed by line, they are not, except for the variants for “Fariy-land” listed on page 236, where the line based variants appear as a table. In the current presentation, every effort has been made to retain these anomalies, with this note as a general observation and explanation.



[S:0 - SW94, 1895] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Notes, Together with a Complete Variorum Text of the Poems (Stedman and Woodberry, 1895)