To Marie Louise (Shew)

Edgar Allan Poe - 1809-1849
     NOT long ago, the writer of these lines,
     In the mad pride of intellectuality,
     Maintained “the power of words”—denied that ever
     A thought arose within the human brain
     Beyond the utterance of the human tongue:
     And now, as if in mockery of that boast,
     Two words-two foreign soft dissyllables—
     Italian tones, made only to be murmured
     By angels dreaming in the moonlit “dew
     That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,”—
     Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart,
     Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought,
     Richer, far wider, far diviner visions
     Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
     (Who has “the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures”)
     Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken.
     The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand.
     With thy dear name as text, though bidden by thee,
     I can not write-I can not speak or think—
     Alas, I can not feel; for ‘tis 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 empurpled vapors, far away
     To where the prospect terminates-thee only!

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!"