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.

1831.

* * * * *

THE VALLEY OF UNREST.

Once it smiled a silent dell Where the people did not dwell; They had gone unto the wars, Trusting to the mild-eyed stars, Nightly, from their azure towers, To keep watch above the flowers, In the midst of which all day The red sun-light lazily lay, Now each visitor shall confess The sad valley’s restlessness.  Nothing there is motionless—­ Nothing save the airs that brood Over the magic solitude.  Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees That palpitate like the chill seas Around the misty Hebrides!  Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven That rustle through the unquiet Heaven Unceasingly, from morn till even, Over the violets there that lie In myriad types of the human eye—­ Over the lilies that wave And weep above a nameless grave!  They wave:—­from out their fragrant tops Eternal dews come down in drops.  They weep:—­from off their delicate stems Perennial tears descend in gems.

1831.

* * * * *

ISRAFEL. [1]

  In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
    “Whose heart-strings are a lute;”
  None sing so wildly well
  As the angel Israfel,
  And the giddy Stars (so legends tell),
  Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
    Of his voice, all mute.

  Tottering above
    In her highest noon,
    The enamoured Moon
  Blushes with love,
    While, to listen, the red levin
    (With the rapid Pleiads, even,
    Which were seven),
    Pauses in Heaven.

  And they say (the starry choir
    And the other listening things)
  That Israfeli’s fire
  Is owing to that lyre
    By which he sits and sings—­
  The trembling living wire
  Of those unusual strings.

  But the skies that angel trod,
    Where deep thoughts are a duty—­
  Where Love’s a grow-up God—­
    Where the Houri glances are
  Imbued with all the beauty
    Which we worship in a star.

  Therefore, thou art not wrong,
    Israfeli, who despisest
  An unimpassioned song;
  To thee the laurels belong,
    Best bard, because the wisest! 
  Merrily live and long!

  The ecstasies above
    With thy burning measures suit—­
  Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
    With the fervor of thy lute—­
    Well may the stars be mute!

  Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
    Is a world of sweets and sours;
    Our flowers are merely—­flowers,
  And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
    Is the sunshine of ours.

  If I could dwell
  Where Israfel
    Hath dwelt, and he where I,
  He might not sing so wildly well
    A mortal melody,
  While a bolder note than this might swell
    From my lyre within the sky.

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