Tackling Poe: The Complete Works, Part 12

I want this LEGO set! ⊙▃⊙

This is the twelfth installment of Tackling Poe: The Complete Works, which concludes the four-part review series of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems. The collection I am reading from conveniently divides the poems into four categories (Poems of Later Life, Poems of Manhood, Poems of Youth, and Doubtful Poems) so I will be keeping the same separation.

The poems in the Doubtful Poems category include:

  • Alone
  • To Isadore
  • The Village Street
  • The Forest Reverie

One of our last Poe Humor segments (so sad, I know):

poehumor5

Alone

tumblr_m38cxz2yXg1rsf81io1_r1_1280Audio Version: Lit2Go

Text Version:

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were–I have not seen
As others saw–I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov’d, I loved alone.
Then–in my childhood–in the dawn
Of a most stormy life–was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold–
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by–
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Review: Certainly this poem touches on what everyone has felt at some point in their life: the isolation of thought and feeling, the depth of how alone we are, how unique we are, and how, at times, it is a terrible and horrifying feeling. I enjoyed this poem, likely because it speaks to me right now in certain ways. There is a maturity to it that appeals.

To Isadore

Audio Version: Lit2Go

Text Version:

I

Beneath the vine-clad eaves,
Whose shadows fall before
Thy lowly cottage door
Under the lilac’s tremulous leaves—
Within thy snowy claspeèd 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!

Review: See the quote below to find out some fun facts about this poem. While looking for a picture to attach to this poem (and failing), I also came across an article that showed a woman, a Miss Miner Isadore, who was also a poet in Poe’s time. I have to wonder if they were written to her (couldn’t find anything online–if you know, enlighten me!) This was an interesting poem, at least, though I find romantic poems a little droll–probably because they are the most popular type, and thus imagery is reused fairly frequently.

Whilst Edgar Poe was editor of the ‘Broadway Journal’, some lines “To Isadore” appeared therein, and, like several of his known pieces, bore no signature. They were at once ascribed to Poe, and in order to satisfy questioners, an editorial paragraph subsequently appeared, saying they were by “A. Ide, junior.” Two previous poems had appeared in the ‘Broadway Journal’ over the signature of “A. M. Ide,” and whoever wrote them was also the author of the lines “To Isadore.” In order, doubtless, to give a show of variety, Poe was then publishing some of his known works in his journal over ‘noms de plume’, and as no other writings whatever can be traced to any person bearing the name of “A. M. Ide,” it is not impossible that the poems now republished in this collection may be by the author of “The Raven.” Having been published without his usual elaborate revision, Poe may have wished to hide his hasty work under an assumed name. The three pieces are included in the present collection, so the reader can judge for himself what pretensions they possess to be by the author of “The Raven.” – J. Ingram

The Village Street

Audio Version: Lit2Go

Text Version:

In these rapid, restless shadows,
Once I walked at eventide,
When a gentle, silent maiden,
Walked in beauty at my side
She alone there walked beside me
All in beauty, like a bride.

Pallidly the moon was shining
On the dewy meadows nigh;
On the silvery, silent rivers,
On the mountains far and high
On the ocean’s star-lit waters,
Where the winds a-weary die.

Slowly, silently we wandered
From the open cottage door,
Underneath the elm’s long branches
To the pavement bending o’er;
Underneath the mossy willow
And the dying sycamore.

With the myriad stars in beauty
All bedight, the heavens were seen,
Radiant hopes were bright around me,
Like the light of stars serene;
Like the mellow midnight splendor
Of the Night’s irradiate queen.

Audibly the elm-leaves whispered
Peaceful, pleasant melodies,
Like the distant murmured music
Of unquiet, lovely seas:
While the winds were hushed in slumber
In the fragrant flowers and trees.

Wondrous and unwonted beauty
Still adorning all did seem,
While I told my love in fables
‘Neath the willows by the stream;
Would the heart have kept unspoken
Love that was its rarest dream!

Instantly away we wandered
In the shadowy twilight tide,
She, the silent, scornful maiden,
Walking calmly at my side,
With a step serene and stately,
All in beauty, all in pride.

Vacantly I walked beside her.
On the earth mine eyes were cast;
Swift and keen there came unto me
Ritter memories of the past
On me, like the rain in Autumn
On the dead leaves, cold and fast.

Underneath the elms we parted,
By the lowly cottage door;
One brief word alone was uttered
Never on our lips before;
And away I walked forlornly,
Broken-hearted evermore.

Slowly, silently I loitered,
Homeward, in the night, alone;
Sudden anguish bound my spirit,
That my youth had never known;
Wild unrest, like that which cometh
When the Night’s first dream hath flown.

Now, to me the elm-leaves whisper
Mad, discordant melodies,
And keen melodies like shadows
Haunt the moaning willow trees,
And the sycamores with laughter
Mock me in the nightly breeze.

Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
Through the sighing foliage streams;
And each morning, midnight shadow,
Shadow of my sorrow seems;
Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
And, O soul, forget thy dreams!

Review: The imagery of this poem was very accessible to me, and I could easily imagine the beauty and the splendor of the world around “Poe” turn to ash and mockery at the unrequited chance at love. I couldn’t help feeling that this maiden, haughty and proud of her beauty, grew jealous of the poet’s affections for the splendor of the world, and denied him for that very reason.

The Forest Reverie

Audio Version: Lit2Go

Text Version:

‘Tis said that when
The hands of men
Tamed this primeval wood,
And hoary trees with groans of wo,
Like warriors by an unknown foe,
Were in their strength subdued,
The virgin Earth
Gave instant birth
To springs that ne’er did flow—
That in the sun
Did rivulets run,
And all around rare flowers did blow—
The wild rose pale
Perfumed the gale,
And the queenly lily adown the dale
(Whom the sun and the dew
And the winds did woo),
With the gourd and the grape luxuriant grew.

So when in tears
The love of years
Is wasted like the snow,
And the fine fibrils of its life
By the rude wrong of instant strife
Are broken at a blow—
Within the heart
Do springs upstart
Of which it doth now know,
And strange, sweet dreams,
Like silent streams
That from new fountains overflow,
With the earlier tide
Of rivers glide
Deep in the heart whose hope has died—
Quenching the fires its ashes hide,—
Its ashes, whence will spring and grow
Sweet flowers, ere long,—
The rare and radiant flowers of song!

Review: Redemption after disappointment and loss is a rare thing discussed in Poe’s work, so this was refreshing, and I think, a fitting closing to the poetry section of the collection (woah, too much rhyming in this sentence!)

And with that I am finished reading and reviewing all of Poe’s poems! Next time, for the last segment, I’ll be reviewing all of Poe’s essays.

If you’d like to read any of the other parts, feel free to check them out below:

5 thoughts on “Tackling Poe: The Complete Works, Part 12

  1. Miranda Stone says:

    I was always very moved by Poe’s poem “Alone.” And the cadence of “The Village Street” is sublime. I’ve greatly enjoyed reading your interpretations of Poe’s fiction and poetry. I’ll admit I’m not familiar with his essays, so I look forward to learning about them in your next post.

    Like

  2. lmjapan says:

    I’d love to get my hands on that Lego set as well! Poor Fortunato. I remember wondering for a long time what insult Montresor thought had been committed against him. A really haunting story.

    Like

    • Alex Hurst says:

      I think the beauty of the “thousand insults” is that what we imagine will always be better than what he could have written. ^_^ Thanks for the comment! Love your blog!

      Like

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