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A Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe

Posted by truthoughts on May 31, 2008

I have not had much to write about lately, so today, I thought that I would share with you one of my favorite Edgar Allan Poe poems. Most people know him because of “The Raven” and some other short stories that he wrote, but this poem that I will share with you now is one of my favorite works from him. Please enjoy!

To Helen

I saw thee once – once only – years ago;
I must not say how many – but not many.
It was a July midnight; and from out
A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,
Upon the upturn’d faces of a thousand
Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe –
Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
That gave out, in return for the love-light,
Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death –
Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
I saw thee half reclining; while the moon
Fell on the upturn’d faces of the roses,
And on thine own, upturn’d – alas, in sorrow!

Was it not Fate that, on this July midnight –
Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow),
that bade me pause before that garden-gate,
To breathe the incense of thsoe slumbering roses?
No footsteps stirred; the hated world all slept,
Save only thee and me. I paused – I looked –
And in an instant all things disappeared.
(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)

The pearly lustre of the moon went out;
The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
The happy flowers and the repining trees,
Were seen no more: the very roses’ odors
Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
All – all expired save thee – save less than thou:
Save only the divine light in thine eyes –
Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
I saw but them – they were the world to me.
I saw buth them – saw only them for hours –
Saw only them until the moon went down.
What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten
Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!
How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!
How silently serene a sea of pride!
How daring an ambition! yet how deep –
How fathomless a capacity for love!

But now, at length, dear Dian snak from sight,
Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.
They would not go – they never yet have gone.
Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.

They follow me – they lead me through the years.
They are my ministers – yet I their slave.
Their office is to illumine and enkindle –
My duty, to be saved by their bright light,
And purified in their electric fire,
And sanctified in their Elysian fire.
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
And are far up in heaven – the stars I kneel to
In the sad, silent watches of my night;
While even in the meridian glare of day
I see them still – two sweetly scintillant
Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!

My favorite verse in this poem is, “How fathomless a capacity for love!”. I can just picture the scene and it is beautifully saddening, yet like a blissful dream. I always wanted to be admired like the lady in this poem was. To be so beautiful that an enchanted garden would pale in comparison. I use to sit on my balcony, reading this poem, in the summer evening and imagine how he must have felt. The longing he had brings the deep romantic in me to life.

Growing up with this and other images of love and admiration helped me to hold out for my one true love, which came to me when I was 26 and he was everything that I had hoped for. This poem captures a moment in time, but what I got, is a lifetime.

There are others that I love to read, but this one has always been my favorite. Let me know what you think and what your favorite Edgar Allan Poe writings are.

 

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2 Responses to “A Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe”

  1. leafless said

    Poe is my favorite author. I like all of his works, but I’m most attached to “The Raven”. It’s just an unbelievable piece of writing.

  2. truthoughts said

    Leafless,

    I agree with you that “The Raven” is a great piece of literature. For the longest time, “The Raven”, was all that I knew about his writing… I purchased a book about him with his stories and poems. Some stories I had heard but I never knew that he had written those.

    One story that really stood out to me was “The Pit and the Pendulum”. Have you read that one? It is kind of eerie but intriguing.

    He has a bit of an eerie side to him, but some of my writing ends up being that way too, maybe that is why I enjoy his writing so much… hmmm…???

    Thank you for your thoughts and I hope that you enjoyed reading his poem, again if you have already read it before.

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