To Isadore

Edgar Allan Poe - 1809-1849
             I

     Beneath the vine-clad eaves,
         Whose shadows fall before
         Thy lowly cottage door
     Under the lilac’s tremulous leaves—
     Within thy snowy claspeed hand
         The purple flowers it bore..
     Last eve in dreams, I saw thee stand,
     Like queenly nymphs from Fairy-land—
     Enchantress of the flowery wand,
         Most beauteous Isadore!

              II

     And when I bade the dream
         Upon thy spirit flee,
         Thy violet eyes to me
     Upturned, did overflowing seem
     With the deep, untold delight
         Of Love’s serenity;
     Thy classic brow, like lilies white
     And pale as the Imperial Night
     Upon her throne, with stars bedight,
         Enthralled my soul to thee!

                 III

     Ah I ever I behold
         Thy dreamy, passionate eyes,
         Blue as the languid skies

     Hung with the sunset’s fringe of gold;
     Now strangely clear thine image grows,
         And olden memories
     Are startled from their long repose
     Like shadows on the silent snows
     When suddenly the night-wind blows
         Where quiet moonlight ties.

              IV

     Like music heard in dreams,
         Like strains of harps unknown,
         Of birds forever flown
     Audible as the voice of streams
     That murmur in some leafy dell,
         I hear thy gentlest tone,
     And Silence cometh with her spell
     Like that which on my tongue doth dwell,
     When tremulous in dreams I tell
         My love to thee alone!

              V

     In every valley heard,
         Floating from tree to tree,
         Less beautiful to, me,
     The music of the radiant bird,
     Than artless accents such as thine
         Whose echoes never flee!
     Ah! how for thy sweet voice I pine:—
     For uttered in thy tones benign
     (Enchantress!) this rude name of mine

         Doth seem a melody!

More by Edgar Allan Poe

Lenore

Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear?--weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!--
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young--
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
"And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her--that she died!
"How shall the ritual, then, be read?--the requiem how be sung
"By you--by yours, the evil eye,--by yours, the slanderous tongue
"That did to death the innocent that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel so wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride--
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes--
The life still there, upon her hair--the death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt! 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."

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

El Dorado

   Gaily bedight,
   A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
   Had journeyed long,
   Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old,
   This knight so bold,
And o'er his heart a shadow
   Fell as he found
   No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength
   Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow;
   "Shadow," said he,
   "Where can it be,
This land of Eldorado?"

   "Over the mountains
   Of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
   Ride, boldly ride,"
   The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"