Edgar Allan Poe.

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES

IN MEMORY OF
EDWIN CORLE

PRESENTED BY
JEAN CORLE



THE WORKS OF

EDGAR ALLAN
POE



VOLUME IV



TALES




HARPER fcf BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK AND LONDON



College
Xabrary

fS

3600
CONTENTS OF VOL. IV FOO



PAGB

PREFACE TO THE POEMS iii

THE POETIC PRINCIPLE . . . , x

THE RAVEN 28

LENORE 34

HYMN 36

A VALENTINE 36

THE COLISEUM 37

To HELEN 39

To 41

ULALUME 42

THE BELLS 45

AN ENIGMA 49

ANNABEL LEE 49

To MY MOTHER 51

THE HAUNTED PALACE 51

THE CONQUEROR WORM 53

To F s S. O. D 54

To ONE IN PARADISE 55

THE VALLEY OF REST 56

THE CITY IN THE SEA 57

THE SLEEPER 59

SILENCE 6 1

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM 61

DREAM-LAND 62

To ZANTE 64

EULALIE 65

ELDORADO 66

ISRAFEL 67

FOR ANNIE 69

To 72

BRIDAL BALLAD 73

To F 74

SCENES FROM " POLITIAN" 75

SONNET To SCIENCE 94

AL AARAAF 95



1163731



vi CONTENTS OF VOL. IV

To THE RIVER no

TAMERLANE in

To 119

A DREAM 119

ROMANCE 120

FAIRY-LAND 121

THE LAKE To 122

SONG 123

To M. L. S 124

DREAMS 125

SPIRITS OP THE DEAD 126

EVENING STAR 127

"!N YOUTH HAVE I KNOWN ONE WITH WHOM THE

EARTH" 128

"THE HAPPIEST DAY, THE HAPPIEST HOUR" 129

ALONE 130

EUREKA 131

THE RATIONALE OP VERSE 260

THE POWER or WORDS ....,,,,,,,,,..,..,,,.,,... 3x6



AUTHOR S PREFACE TO THE POEMS,
1849 EDITION



THESE trifles are collected and republished chiefly
with a view to their redemption from the many
improvements to which they have been subjected
while going at random "the rounds of the press."
I am naturally anxioi - that what I have written
should circulate as I wrote it, if it circulate at all.
In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is in
cumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in
this volume of much value to the public, or very
creditable to myself. Events not to be controlled
have prevented me from making, at any time, any
serious effort in what, under happier circumstances,
would have been the field of my choice. With me
poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion;
and the passions should be held in reverence; they
must not they cannot at will be excited, with an
eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry
commendations, of mankind.

E. A. P.



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE.



IN speaking of the Poetic Principle, I have no
design to be either thorough or profound.
While discussing, very much at random, the
essentiality of what we call Poetry, my principal
purpose will be to cite for consideration, some few
of those minor English or American poems which
best suit my own taste, or which, upon my own
fancy, have left the most definite impression. By
"minor poems" I mean, of course, poems of little
length. And here, in the beginning, permit me to
say a few words in regard to a somewhat peculiar
principle, which, whether rightfully or wrongfully,
has always had its influence in my own critical
estimate of the poem. I hold that a long poem does
not exist. I maintain that the phrase, "a long
poem," is simply a flat contradiction in terms.

I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves its
title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the
soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this
elevating the excitement. But all excitements
are, through a psychal necessity, transient. That
degree of excitement which would entitle a poem
to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout
a composition of any great length. After the lapse
of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags fails
a revulsion ensues and then the poem is, in effect,
and in fact, no longer such.

There are, no doubt, many who have found diffi
culty in reconciling the critical dictum that the
"Paradise Lost" is to be devoutly admired through-
VOL. IV i



2 EDGAR ALLAN POE

out, with the absolute impossibility of maintaining
for it, during perusal, the amount of enthusiasm
which that critical dictum would demand. This
great work, in fact, is to be regarded as poetical,
only when, losing sight of that vital requisite in all
works of Art, Unity, we view it merely as a series
of minor poems. If, to preserve its Unity its
totality of effect or impression we read it (as would
be necessary) at a single sitting, the result is but
a constant alternation of excitement and depression.
After a passage of what we feel to be true poetry,
there follows, inevitably, a passage of platitude
which no critical pre-judgment can force us to admire ;
but if, upon completing the work, we read it again;
omitting the first book that is to say, commencing
with the second we shall be surprised at now
finding that admirable which we before condemned
that damnable which we had previously so much
admired. It follows from all this that the ultimate,
aggregate, or absolute effect of even the best epic:
under the sun, is a nullity: and this is precisely the:
fact.

In regard to the Iliad, we have, if not positive:
proof, at least very good reason, for believing it.
intended as a series of lyrics; but, granting the epic
intention, I can say only that the work is based in
an imperfect sense of Art. The modern epic is, of:
the suppositious ancient model, but an inconsiderate
and blindfold imitation. But the day of these artistic
anomalies is over. If, at any time, any very long
poem were popular in reality which I doubt it
is at least clear that no very long poem will ever be
popular again.

"That the extent of a poetical work is, ceteris
paribus, the measure of its merit, seems undoubtedly
when we thus state it, a proposition sufficiently



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 3

absurd yet we are indebted for it to the quarterly
Reviews. Surely there can be nothing in mere size,
abstractly considered there can be nothing in
mere bulk, so far as a volume is concerned, which
has so continuously elicited admiration from these
saturnine pamphlets! A mountain, to be sure,
by the mere sentiment of physical magnitude which
it conveys, does impress us with a sense of the
sublime but no man is impressed after this fashion
by the material grandeur of even "The Columbiad."
Even the Quarterlies have not instructed us to be
so impressed by it. As yet, they have not insisted
on our estimating Lamartine by the cubic foot, or
Pollock by the pound but what else are we to
infer from their continual prating about "sustained
effort?" If, by "sustained effort," any little gentle
man has accomplished an epic, let us frankly
commend him for the effort if this indeed be a
thing commendable but let us forbear praising
the epic on the effort s account. It is to be hoped
that common sense, in the time to come, will prefer
deciding upon a work of Art, rather by the impression
it makes by the effect it produces than by the
time it took to impress the effect, or by the amount
of "sustained effort " which had been found necessary
in effecting the impression. The fact is, that per
severance is one thing and genius quite another nor
can all the Quarterlies in Christendom confound
them. By-and-by, this proposition, with many
which I have been just urging, will be received as
self-evident. In the meantime, by being generally
condemned as falsities, they will not be essentially
damaged as truths.

On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may be
improperly brief. Undue brevity degenerates into
mere epigrammatism. A very short poem, while



4 EDGAR ALLAN POE

now and then producing a brilliant or vivid, never
produces a profound or enduring effect. There
must be the steady pressing down of the stamp upon
the wax. De Beranger has wrought innumerable
things, pungent and spirit-stirring; but, in general,
they have been too imponderous to stamp themselves
deeply into the public attention; and thus, as so
many feathers of fancy, have been blown aloft only
to be whistled down the wind.

A remarkable instance of the effect of undue
brevity in depressing a poem in keeping it out of
the popular view is afforded by the following
exquisite little Serenade :

I arise from dreams of thee

In the first sweet sleep of night
When the winds are breathing low,

And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,

And a spirit in my feet
Has led me who knows how?

To thy chamber-window, sweet!

The wandering airs they faint

On the dark, the silent stream
The champak odors fail

Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale s complaint,

It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,

O, beloved as thou art!

O, lift me from the grass!

I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain

On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alasl

My heart beats loud and fast:
Oh! press it close to thine again,

Where it v/ill break at last!



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 5

Very few, perhaps, are familiar with these lines
yet no less a poet than Shelley is their author.
Their warm, yet delicate and ethereal imagination
will be appreciated by all but by none so thoroughly
as by him who has himself arisen from sweet dreams
of one beloved, to bathe in the aromatic air of a
southern midsummer night.

One of the finest poems by Willis the very best,
in my opinion, which he has ever written has, no
doubt, through this same defect of undue brevity,
been kept back from its proper position, not less
in the critical than in the popular view.

THE shadows lay along Broadway,

Twas near the twilight-tide
And slowly there a lady fair

Was walking in her pride.
Alone walk d she; but, viewlessly,

Walk d spirits at her side.

Peace charm d the street beneath her feet,

And Honor charm d the air;
And all astir looked kind on her,

And call d her good as fair
For all God ever gave to her

She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare

From lovers warm and true
For her heart was cold to all but gold,

And the rich came not to woo
But honor d well are charms to sell

If priests the selling do.

Now walking there was one more fair

A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company

To make the spirit quail
Twixt Want and Scorn she walk d forlorn,

And nothing could avail.



6 EDGAR ALLAN POE

No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world s peace to pray;

For, as love s wild prayer dissolved in air,
Her woman s heart gave way!

But the sin forgiven by Christ in Heaven
By man is cursed alway!

In this composition we find it difficult to recognize
the Willis who has written so many mere "verses of
society." The lines are not only richly ideal, but
full of energy; while they breathe an earnestness
an evident sincerity of sentiment for which we
look in vain throughout all the other works of this
author.

While the epic mania while the idea that, to
merit in poetry, prolixity is indispensable has,
for some years past, been gradually dying out of
the public mind, by mere dint of its own absurdity
we find it succeeded by a heresy too palpably false to
be long tolerated, but one which, in the brief period
it has already endured, may be said to have accom
plished more in the corruption of our Poetical
Literature than all its other enemies combined. I
allude to the heresy of The Didactic. It has been as
sumed, tacitly and avowedly, directly and indirectly,
that the ultimate object of all Poetry is Truth.
Every poem, it is said, should inculcate a moral;
and by this moral is the poetical merit of the work
to be adjudged. We Americans especially have
patronized this happy idea; and we Bostonians,
very especially, have developed it in full. We have
taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply
for the poem s sake, and to acknowledge such to
have been our design, would be to confess ourselves
radically wanting in the true Poetic dignity and force
but the simple fact is, that, would we but permit
ourselves to look into our own souls, we should



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 7

\

immediately there discover that under the sun there
neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly
dignified more supremely noble than this very
poem this poem per se this poem which is a poem
and nothing more this poem written solely for the
poem s sake.

With as deep a reverence for the True as ever
inspired the bosom of man, I would, nevertheless,
limit, in some measure, its modes of inculcation.
I would limit to enforce them. I would not enfeeble
them by dissipation. The demands of Truth are
severe. She has no sympathy with the myrtles.
All that which is so indispensable in Song, is precisely
all thai with which she has nothing whatever to do.
It is but making her a flaunting paradox, to wreathe
her in gems and flowers. In enforcing a truth, we
need severity rather than efflorescence of language.
We must be simple, precise, terse. We must be
cool, calm, unimpassioned. In a word, we must be in
that mood which, as nearly as possible, is the exact
converse of the poetical. He must be blind indeed
who does not perceive the radical and chasmal
differences between the truthful and the poetical
modes of inculcation. He must be theory-mad
beyond redemption who, in spite of these differences,
shall still persist in attempting to reconcile the obsti
nate oils and waters of Poetry and Truth.

Dividing the world of mind into its three most
immediately obvious distinctions, we have the Pure
Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I place
Taste in the middle, because it is just this position
which, in the mind, it occupies. It hold* intimate
relations with either extreme; but from the Moral
Sense is separated by so faint a difference that
Aristotle has not hesitated to place some of its
operations among the virtues themselves. Neverthe-



8 EDGAR ALLAN POE

less, we find the offices of the trio marked with a
sufficient distinction. Just as the Intellect concerns
itself with Truth, so Taste informs us of the Beautiful
while the Moral Sense is regardful of Duty. Of this
latter, while Conscience teaches the obligation,
and Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself
with displaying the charms: waging war upon
Vice solely on the ground of her deformity her
disproportion her animosity to the fitting, to the
appropriate, to the harmonious in a word, to
Beauty.

An immortal instinct, deep within the spirit of
man, is thus, plainly, a sense of the beautiful. This
it is which administers to his delight in the manifold
forms, and sounds, and odors, and sentiments
amid which he exists. And just as the lily is re
peated in the lake, or the eyes of Amaryllis in the
mirror, so is the mere oral or written repetition of
these forms, and sounds, and colors, and odors, and
sentiments, a duplicate source of delight. But
this mere repetition is not poetry. He who shall
simply sing, with however glowing enthusiasm, or
with however vivid a truth of description, of the
sights, and sounds, and odors, and colors, and
sentiments, which greet him in common with all
mankind he, I say, has yet failed to prove his divine
title. There is still a something in the distance which
he has been unable to attain. We have still a thirst
unquenchable, to allay which he has not shown us
the crystal springs. This thirst belongs to the
immortality of Man. It is at once a consequence
and an indication of his perennial existence. It is
the desire of the moth for the star. It is no mere
appreciation of the Beauty before us but a wild
effort to reach the Beauty above. Inspired by an
ecstatic prescience of the glories beyond the grave,



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 9

we struggle, by multiform combinations among the
things and thoughts of Time, to attain a portion of
that Loveliness whose very elements, perhaps,
appertain to eternity alone. And thus when by
Poetry or when by Music, the most entrancing of
the Poetic moods we find ourselves melted into
tears we weep then not as the Abbatd Gravina
supposes through excess of pleasure, but through
a certain, petulant, impatient sorrow at our inability
to grasp now, wholly, here on earth, at once and
forever, those divine and rapturous joys, of which
through the poem, or through the music, we attain to
but brief and indeterminate glimpses.

The struggle to apprehend the supernal Loveliness
this struggle, on the part of souls fittingly consti
tuted has given to the world all that which it (the
world) has ever been enabled at once to understand
and to feel as poetic.

The Poetic Sentiment, of course, may develop
itself in various modes in Painting, in Sculpture,
in Architecture, in the Dance very especially in
Music and very peculiarly, and with a wide field,
in the composition of the Landscape Garden. Our
present theme, however, has regard only to its
manifestation in words. And here let me speak
briefly on the topic of rhythm. Contenting myself
with the certainty that Music, in its various modes of
metre, rhythm, and rhyme, is of so vast a moment
in Poetry as never to be wisely rejected is so vitally
important an adjunct, that he is simply silly who
declines its assistance, I will not now pause to
maintain its absolute essentiality. It is in Music,
perhaps, that the soul most nearly attains the great
end for which, when inspired by the Poetic Senti
ment, it struggles the creation of supernal Beauty.
Ct may be, indeed, that here this sublime end is,



io EDGAR ALLAN POE

now and then, attained in fact. We are often made
to feel, with a shivering delight, that from an earthly
harp are stricken notes which cannot have been
unfamiliar to the angels. And thus there can be
little doubt that in the union of Poetry with Music
in its popular sense, we shall find the widest field for
the Poetic development. The old Bards and
Minnesingers had advantages which we do not
possess and Thomas Moore, singing his own songs,
was, in the most legitimate manner, perfecting
them as poems.

To recapitulate, then: I would define, in brief,
the Poetry of words as The Rhythmical Creation of
Beauty. Its sole arbiter is Taste. With the Intel
lect or with the Conscience, it has only collateral
relations. Unless incidentally, it has no concern
whatever either with Duty or with Truth.

A few words, however, in explanation. That
pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most
elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I maintain,
from the contemplation of the Beautiful. In the
contemplation of Beauty we alone find it possible
to attain that pleasurable elevation, or excitement,
of the soul, which we recognize as the Poetic Senti
ment, and which is so easily distinguished from
Truth, which is the satisfaction of the Reason, or
from Passion, which is the excitement of the heart.
I make Beauty, therefore using the word as inclu
sive of the sublime I make Beauty the province
of the poem, simply because it is an obvious rule of
Art that effects should be made to spring as directly
as possible from their causes : no one as yet having
been weak enough to deny that the peculiar elevation
in question is at least most readily attainable in the
poem. It by no means follows, however, that the
incitements of Passion, or the precepts of Duty, or



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE n

even the lessons of Truth, may not be introduced into
a poem, and with advantage ; for they may subserve,
incidentally, in various ways, the general purposes
of the work: but the true artist will always contrive
to tone them down in proper subjection to that
Beauty which is the atmosphere and the real essence
of the poem.

I cannot better introduce the few poems which
I shall present for your consideration, than by the
citation of the Proem to Mr. Longfellow s "Waif":

THE day is done, and the darkness

Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward

From an Eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village

Gleam through the rain and the mist,

And a feeling of sadness comes o er me,
That my soul cannot resist;

A feeling of sadness and longing,

That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only

As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,

Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,

And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,

Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo

Through the corridors of time.

For, like strains of martial music,

Iheir mighty thoughts suggest
Life s endless toil and endeavor;

And to-night I long for rest.



12 EDGAR ALLAN POE

Read from some humbler poet,

Whose songs gushed from his heart,

As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who through long days of labor,

And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music

Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet

The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction

That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume

The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet

The beauty of thy voice.

, And the night shall be filled with music,

And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs.
And as silently steal away.

With no great range of imagination, these lines
have been justly admired for their delicacy of
expression. Some of the images are very effective.
Nothing can be better than



The bards sublime,

Whose distant footsteps echo
Down the corridors of Time.

The idea of the last quartrain is also very effective.
The poem, on the whole, however, is chiefly to be
admired for the graceful insouciance of its metre,
so well in accordance with the character of the senti
ments, and especially for the ease of the general
manner. This "ease," or naturalness, in a literary
style, it has long been the fashion to regard as ease in



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 13

appearance alone as a point of really difficult
attainment. But not so: a natural manner is
difficult only to him who should never meddle with
it to the unnatural. It is but the result of writing
with the understanding, or with the instinct, that
the tone, in composition, should always be that which
the mass of mankind would adopt and must
perpetually vary, of course, with the occasion. The
author who, after the fashion of "The North Ameri
can Review," should be, upon all occasions, merely
"quiet," must necessarily upon many occasions, be
simply silly, or stupid; and has no more right to be
considered "easy," or "natural," than a Cockney
exquisite, or than the sleeping Beauty in the wax
works.

Among the minor poems of Bryant, none has so
much impressed me as the one which he entitles
"June." I quote only a portion of it :

There, through the long, long summer hours.

The golden light should lie,
And thick, young herbs and groups of flowers

Stand in their beauty by.
The oriole should build and tell
His love-tale, close beside my cell;

The idle butterfly

Should rest him there, and there be heard
The housewife-bee and humming bird.

And what, if cheerful shouts, at noon,

Come, from the village sent,
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon,

With fairy laughter blent?
And what if, in the evening light,
Betrothed lovers walk in sight

Of my low monument?
I would the lovely scene around
Might know no sadder sight nor sound.



t 4 EDGAR ALLAN POE

I know, I know I should not see

The season s glorious show,
Nor would its brightness shine for me

Nor its wild music flow;
But if, around my place of sleep,
The friends I love should come to weep,

They might not haste to go.
Soft airs and song, and light, and bloom
Should keep them lingering by my tomb.

These to their soften d hearts should bear
The thought of what has been,

And speak of one who cannot share
The gladness of the scene;

Whose part in all the pomp that fills

The circuit of the summer hills,
Is that his grave is green;

And deeply would their hearts rejoice

To hear again his living voice.

The rhythmical flow, here, is even voluptuous
nothing could be more melodious. The poem has
always affected me in a remarkable manner. The
intense melancholy which seems to well up, perforce,
to the surface of all the poet s cheerful sayings about
his grave, we find thrilling us to the soul while
there is the truest poetic elevation in the thrill.
The impression left is one of a pleasurable sadness.
And if, in the remaining compositions which I
shall introduce to you, there be more or less of a
similar tone always apparent, let me remind you
that (how or why we know not) this certain taint of
sadness is inseparably connected with all the
higher manifestations of true Beauty. It is, never
theless,

A feeling of sadness and longing

That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only

As the mist resembles the rain.



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 15

The taint of which I speak is clearly perceptible


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