Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October 7, 1849

Thy soul shall find itself alone
’Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more—like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze—the breath of God—is still—
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token—
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!
- E.A. Poe, "Spirits of the Dead"


FreeThinke said...

_________ ANNABEL LEE _________

It was many and many a year ago,
__ In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
__By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
__ Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
__ In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love --
__ I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
__ Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
__ In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
__ My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
__ And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
__ In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
__ Went envying her and me --
Yes! -- that was the reason (as all men know,
__ In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
__ Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
__ Of those who were older than we --
__ Of many far wiser than we --
And neither the angels in heaven above,
__ Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
__ Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
__ Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
__ Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -- my darling -- my life and my bride,
__ In her sepulchre there by the sea,
__ In her tomb by the sounding sea.

~ Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

FreeThinke said...

Annabel Lee never fails to touch me deeply and give me goose bumps as it brings tears to my eyes. There's a hauntingly beautiful, evocative musical setting of the poem. It used to be a popular encore with opera and lieder singers in recital, but sadly in this harsh, brash, hubristic, militantly iconoclastic age it is either ignored or openly scorned as mawkishly sentimental.

Thank you for introducing another Poe's poems. I thought I had read them all, but apparently missed "Spirits of the Dead."

What was it about eighteenth and nineteenth-century romantics? Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf, –– and Poe all died young. Most of them never reached the age of forty. None got to sixty.

"In the midst of life we are in death."

Who said that?