Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works.

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 those slumbering roses? 
  No footstep stirred:  the hated world all slept,
  Save only thee and me—­(O Heaven!—­O God! 
  How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)—­
  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 but them—­saw only them for hours—­
  Saw only them until the moon went down. 
  What wild heart-histories seemed to lie unwritten
  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 sank 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,

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Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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