A Collection Of Dark Love Poems, By Edgar Allan Poe
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. In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful ANNABEL LEE; 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 see 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 side of the sea. And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow— You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream: Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision or in none, Is it therefore the less gone? All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream. I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, Grains of the golden sand— How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep While I weep—while I weep! O God! can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream? Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping—rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.” Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore. Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.” Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping—tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door:— Darkness there and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!” Merely this and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more.” Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he: not an instant stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.” But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered— Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends have flown before— On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said, “Nevermore.” Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, “Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore.’” Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er, She shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted— On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore— Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore— Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” upstarting— Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore! Alessandra. Thou art sad, Castiglione. Castiglione. Sad!—not I. A few days more, thou knowest, my Alessandra, Will make thee mine. Oh, I am very happy! Aless. Methinks thou hast a singular way of showing Thy happiness—what ails thee, cousin of mine? Why didst thou sigh so deeply? Cas. Did I sigh? A silly—a most silly fashion I have When I am very happy. Did I sigh? (sighing.) Aless. Thou didst. Thou art not well. Thou hast indulged Too much of late, and I am vexed to see it. Late hours and wine, Castiglione,—these Will ruin thee! thou art already altered— Thy looks are haggard—nothing so wears away The constitution as late hours and wine. Cas. (musing ). Nothing, fair cousin, nothing— Not even deep sorrow— I will amend. Thy riotous company, too—fellows low born Ill suit the like of old Di Broglio’s heir And Alessandra’s husband. Aless. Thou wilt—thou must. Attend thou also more To thy dress and equipage—they are over plain For thy lofty rank and fashion—much depends Upon appearances. Aless. Then see to it!—pay more attention, sir, To a becoming carriage—much thou wantest In dignity. In proper dignity. Di Brog. The same, my love. We’ll have him at the wedding. A man quite young In years, but gray in fame. I have not seen him, But Rumor speaks of him as of a prodigy Pre-eminent in arts, and arms, and wealth, And high descent. We’ll have him at the wedding. Aless. I have heard much of this Politian. Gay, volatile and giddy—is he not, And little given to thinking? Di Brog. Far from it, love. No branch, they say, of all philosophy So deep abstruse he has not mastered it. Learned as few are learned. Aless. ’Tis very strange! And sought his company. They speak of him As of one who entered madly into life, Drinking the cup of pleasure to the dregs. Cas. Ridiculous! Now I have seen Politian And know him well—nor learned nor mirthful he. He is a dreamer, and shut out From common passions. Let us go forth and taste the fragrant air Of the garden. Did I dream, or did I hear Politian was a melancholy man? (Exeunt.) LALAGE, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and a hand-mirror. In the background JACINTA (a servant maid) leans carelessly upon a chair. Jacinta Lal. I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting. Sit down!—let not my presence trouble you— Sit down!—for I am humble, most humble. Jac. (aside). ’Tis time. (Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the chair, resting her elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous look. Lalage continues to read.) Lal. “It in another climate, so he said, Bore a bright golden flower, but not i’ this soil!” (pauses—turns over some leaves and resumes.) “No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower— But Ocean ever to refresh mankind Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind” Oh, beautiful!—most beautiful!—how like To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven! O happy land! (pauses) She died!—the maiden died! O still more happy maiden who couldst die! Jacinta! Again!—a similar tale Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play— “She died full young”—one Bossola answers him— “I think not so—her infelicity Seemed to have years too many”—Ah, luckless lady! Jacinta! (still no answer.) But like—oh, very like in its despair— Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily A thousand hearts—losing at length her own. She died. Thus endeth the history—and her maids Lean over her and keep—two gentle maids With gentle names—Eiros and Charmion! Rainbow and Dove!—Jacinta! She has any more jewels—no—no—she gave me all. Lal. What didst thou say, Jacinta? Now I bethink me Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding. How fares good Ugo?—and when is it to be? Can I do aught?—is there no further aid Thou needest, Jacinta? That’s meant for me. I’m sure, madam, you need not Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth. Lal. Jewels! Jacinta,—now indeed, Jacinta, I thought not of the jewels. Jac. Oh, perhaps not! There’s Ugo says the ring is only paste, For he’s sure the Count Castiglione never Would have given a real diamond to such as you; And at the best I’m certain, madam, you cannot Have use for jewels now. But I might have sworn it. (Exit) short pause raises it.) Thy servant maid!—but courage!—’tis but a viper Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul! (taking up the mirror) In earlier days—a friend will not deceive thee. Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou canst) A tale—a pretty tale—and heed thou not Though it be rife with woe. It answers me. It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks, And beauty long deceased—remembers me, Of Joy departed—Hope, the Seraph Hope, Inurned and entombed!—now, in a tone Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible, Whispers of early grave untimely yawning For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true!—thou liest not! Thou hast no end to gain—no heart to break— Castiglione lied who said he loved—— Thou true—he false!—false!—false! (While she speaks, a monk enters her apartment and approaches unobserved) Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray! Lal. The frightful sounds of merriment below; Disturb my senses—go! I cannot pray— The sweet airs from the garden worry me! Thy presence grieves me—go!—thy priestly raiment Fills me with dread—thy ebony crucifix With horror and awe! Lal. Think of my early days!—think of my father And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet home, And the rivulet that ran before the door! Think of my little sisters!—think of them! And think of me!—think of my trusting love And confidence—his vows—my ruin—think—think Of my unspeakable misery!——begone! Yet stay! yet stay!—what was it thou saidst of prayer And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith And vows before the throne? Monk. I did. A sacred vow, imperative and urgent, A solemn vow! Lal. Father, this zeal is anything but well! Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing? A crucifix whereon to register This sacred vow? (he hands her his own.) Not that—Oh! no!—no!—no (shuddering.) Not that! Not that!—I tell thee, holy man, Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me! Stand back! I have a crucifix myself,— I have a crucifix! Methinks ’twere fitting The deed—the vow—the symbol of the deed— And the deed’s register should tally, father! (draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high.) Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine Is written in heaven! And speak a purpose unholy—thy lips are livid— Thine eyes are wild—tempt not the wrath divine! Pause ere too late!—oh, be not—be not rash! Swear not the oath—oh, swear it not! Lal. ’Tis sworn! To see thee thus! To give thee cause for grief, my honored friend. Command me, sir! what wouldst thou have me do? At thy behest I will shake off that nature Which from my forefathers I did inherit, Which with my mother’s milk I did imbibe, And be no more Politian, but some other. Command me, sir! To the senate or the field. Pol. Alas! alas! There is an imp hath followed me even there! There is—what voice was that? Bal. I heard it not. I heard not any voice except thine own, And the echo of thine own. Pol. Then I but dreamed. Bal. Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp—the court Befit thee—Fame awaits thee—Glory calls— And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear In hearkening to imaginary sounds And phantom voices. Didst thou not hear it then? Bal I heard it not. Pol. Thou heardst it not!—Baldazzar, speak no more To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts. Oh! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death, Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile We have been boys together—school-fellows— And now are friends—yet shall not be so long— For in the Eternal City thou shalt do me A kind and gentle office, and a Power— A Power august, benignant, and supreme— Shall then absolve thee of all further duties Unto thy friend. I will not understand. Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low, The sands of Time are changed to golden grains, And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas! alas! I cannot die, having within my heart So keen a relish for the beautiful As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air Is balmier now than it was wont to be— Rich melodies are floating in the winds— A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth— And with a holier lustre the quiet moon Sitteth in Heaven.—Hist! hist! thou canst not say Thou hearest not now, Baldazzar? Bal. Indeed I hear not. Pol. Not hear it!—listen—now—listen!—the faintest sound And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard! A lady’s voice!—and sorrow in the tone! Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell! Again!—again!—how solemnly it falls Into my heart of hearts! that eloquent voice Surely I never heard—yet it were well Had I but heard it with its thrilling tones In earlier days! Be still!—the voice, if I mistake not greatly, Proceeds from younder lattice—which you may see Very plainly through the window—it belongs, Does it not? unto this palace of the Duke. The singer is undoubtedly beneath The roof of his Excellency—and perhaps Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke As the betrothed of Castiglione, His son and heir. Voice As for to leave me thus, That have loved thee so long, In wealth and woe among? And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!” In merry England—never so plaintively— Hist! hist! it comes again! Voice As for to leave me thus, That have loved thee so long, In wealth and woe among? And is thy heart so strong As for to leave me thus? Say nay! say nay!” Pol. All is not still. Bal. Let us go down. Pol. Go down, Baldazzar, go! Bal. The hour is growing late—the Duke awaits us,— Thy presence is expected in the hall Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian? Voice In wealth and woe among, And is thy heart so strong? Say nay! say nay!” These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray, Your bearing lately savored much of rudeness Unto the Duke. Arouse thee! and remember! Pol. Remember? I do. Lead on! I do remember. (going). Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice— “To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear Once more that silent tongue.” Bal. Let me beg you, sir, Descend with me—the Duke may be offended. Let us go down, I pray you. Voice (loudly). Say nay!—say nay! Pol. (aside). ’Tis strange!—’tis very strange—methought the voice (Approaching the window) Now be this fancy, by heaven, or be it Fate, Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make Apology unto the Duke for me; I go not down to-night. Bal. Your lordship’s pleasure Shall be attended to. Good-night, Politian. Pol. Good-night, my friend, good-night. IV. Lalage. And dost thou speak of love To me, Politian?—dost thou speak of love To Lalage?—ah woe—ah woe is me! This mockery is most cruel—most cruel indeed! Politian. Weep not! oh, sob not thus!—thy bitter tears Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage— Be comforted! I know—I know it all, And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest, And beautiful Lalage!—turn here thine eyes! Thou askest me if I could speak of love, Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen Thou askest me that—and thus I answer thee— Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. (kneeling.) Sweet Lalage, I love thee—love thee—love thee; Thro’ good and ill—thro’ weal and woe, I love thee. Not mother, with her first-born on her knee, Thrills with intenser love than I for thee. Not on God’s altar, in any time or clime, Burned there a holier fire than burneth now Within my spirit for thee. And do I love? (arising.) Thy beauty and thy woes. Lal. Alas, proud Earl, How, in thy father’s halls, among the maidens Pure and reproachless of thy princely line, Could the dishonored Lalage abide? Thy wife, and with a tainted memory— My seared and blighted name, how would it tally With the ancestral honors of thy house, And with thy glory? I hate—I loathe the name; I do abhor The unsatisfactory and ideal thing. Art thou not Lalage, and I Politian? Do I not love—art thou not beautiful— What need we more? Ha! glory! now speak not of it: By all I hold most sacred and most solemn— By all my wishes now—my fears hereafter— By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven— There is no deed I would more glory in, Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory And trample it under foot. What matters it— What matters it, my fairest, and my best, That we go down unhonored and forgotten Into the dust—so we descend together? Descend together—and then—and then perchance— Lal. Why dost thou pause, Politian? Pol. And then perchance The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest, And still— Pol. And still together—together. Lal. Now, Earl of Leicester! Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts I feel thou lovest me truly. Pol. O Lalage! And lovest thou me? Of yonder trees methought a figure passed— A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless— Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless. (walks across and returns.) Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian! Pol. My Lalage—my love! why art thou moved? Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience self, Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it, Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night wind Is chilly—and these melancholy boughs Throw over all things a gloom. Lal. Politian! With which all tongues are busy—a land new found— Miraculously found by one of Genoa— A thousand leagues within the golden west? A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine,— And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests, And mountains, around whose towering summits the winds Of Heaven untrammelled flow—which air to breathe Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter In days that are to come? Pol. Oh, wilt thou—wilt thou Fly to that Paradise—my Lalage, wilt thou Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten, And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all. And life shall then be mine, for I will live For thee, and in thine eyes—and thou shalt be No more a mourner—but the radiant Joys Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope Attend thee ever; and I will kneel to thee And worship thee, and call thee my beloved, My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife, My all;—oh, wilt thou—wilt thou, Lalage, Fly thither with me? Castiglione lives! (Exit.) Castiglione die? Who spoke the words? Where am I?—what was it he said?—Politian! Thou art not gone—thou art not gone, Politian! I feel thou art not gone—yet dare not look, Lest I behold thee not—thou couldst not go With those words upon thy lips—oh, speak to me! And let me hear thy voice—one word—one word, To say thou art not gone,—one little sentence, To say how thou dost scorn—how thou dost hate My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou art not gone— Oh, speak to me! I knew thou wouldst not go! I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not go. Villain, thou art not gone—thou mockest me! And thus I clutch thee—thus!—He is gone, he is gone— Gone—gone. Where am I?—’tis well—’tis very well! So that the blade be keen—the blow be sure, ’Tis well, ’tis very well—alas! alas! V. And much I fear me ill—it will not do To die ere I have lived!—Stay—stay thy hand, O Azrael, yet awhile!—Prince of the Powers Of Darkness and the Tomb, oh, pity me! Oh, pity me! let me not perish now, In the budding of my Paradisal Hope! Give me to live yet—yet a little while: ’Tis I who pray for life—I who so late Demanded but to die!—What sayeth the Count? Enter Baldazzar. Between the Earl Politian and himself, He doth decline your cartel. Pol. What didst thou say? What answer was it you brought me, good Baldazzar? With what excessive fragrance the zephyr comes Laden from yonder bowers!—a fairer day, Or one more worthy Italy, methinks No mortal eyes have seen!—what said the Count? Bal. That he, Castiglione, not being aware Of any feud existing, or any cause Of quarrel between your lordship and himself, Cannot accept the challenge. All this is very true. When saw you, sir, When saw you now, Baldazzar, in the frigid Ungenial Britain which we left so lately, A heaven so calm as this—so utterly free From the evil taint of clouds?—and he did say? Bal. No more, my lord, than I have told you: The Count Castiglione will not fight. Having no cause for quarrel. Pol. Now this is true— All very true. Thou art my friend, Baldazzar, And I have not forgotten it—thou’lt do me A piece of service: wilt thou go back and say Unto this man, that I, the Earl of Leicester, Hold him a villain?—thus much, I pr’ythee, say Unto the Count—it is exceeding just He should have cause for quarrel. Bal. My lord!—my friend!— Pol. (aside). ’Tis he—he comes himself! (aloud.) Thou reasonest well. Well!—I will think of it—I will not send it. Now pr’ythee, leave me—hither doth come a person With whom affairs of a most private nature I would adjust. Do we not?—at the Vatican. Pol. At the Vatican. Avaunt—I will not fight thee—indeed I dare not. Pol. Thou wilt not fight with me didst say, Sir Count? Shall I be baffled thus?—now this is well; Didst say thou darest not? Ha! Cas. I dare not—dare not— Hold off thy hand—with that beloved name So fresh upon thy lips I will not fight thee— I cannot—dare not. I do believe thee!—coward, I do believe thee! Cas. Ha!—coward!—this may not be! (clutches his sword and staggers towards Politian, but his purpose is changed before reaching him, and he falls upon hia knee at the feet of the Earl.) I am the veriest coward. Oh, pity me! Pol. Cas. And Lalage— Cas. It needeth not be—thus—thus—Oh, let me die Thus on my bended knee. It were most fitting That in this deep humiliation I perish. For in the fight I will not raise a hand Against thee, Earl of Leicester. Strike thou home— (baring his bosom.) Strike home. I will not fight thee. Pol. Now’s Death and Hell! Am I not—am I not sorely—grievously tempted To take thee at thy word? But mark me, sir: Think not to fly me thus. Do thou prepare For public insult in the streets—before The eyes of the citizens. I’ll follow thee— Like an avenging spirit I’ll follow thee Even unto death. Before those whom thou lovest— Before all Rome I’ll taunt thee, villain,—I’ll taunt thee, Thou liest! thou shalt! As tell me, sir, at once what ’tis you mean. What are you talking of? Cas. Was it not so? We differed in opinion touching him. Duke. Him!—Whom? Duke. The Earl of Leicester! Yes!—is it he you mean? We differed, indeed. If I now recollect The words you used were that the Earl you knew Was neither learned nor mirthful. Cas. Ha! ha!—now did I? Duke. That did you, sir, and well I knew at the time You were wrong, it being not the character Of the Earl—whom all the world allows to be A most hilarious man. Be not, my son, Too positive again. So little time could so much alter one! To say the truth about an hour ago, As I was walking with the Count San Ozzo, All arm in arm, we met this very man The Earl—he, with his friend Baldazzar, Having just arrived in Rome. Ha! ha! he is altered! Such an account he gave me of his journey! ’Twould have made you die with laughter—such tales he told Along the road—such oddity—such humor— Such wit—such whim—such flashes of wild merriment Set off too in such full relief by the grave Demeanor of his friend—who, to speak the truth Was gravity itself— Cas. You did—and yet ’tis strange! but true, as strange, How much I was mistaken! I always thought The Earl a gloomy man. Duke. So, so, you see! Be not too positive. Whom have we here? It cannot be the Earl? Cas. The Earl! Oh no! Tis not the Earl—but yet it is—and leaning Upon his friend Baldazzar. Ah! welcome, sir! (Enter Politian and Baldazzar.) To Rome—his Grace the Duke of Broglio. Father! this is the Earl Politian, Earl Of Leicester in Great Britain. [Politian bows haughtily.] So please you, for Your Grace. Duke. Ha! ha! Most welcome To Rome and to our palace, Earl Politian! And you, most noble Duke! I am glad to see you! I knew your father well, my Lord Politian. Castiglione! call your cousin hither, And let me make the noble Earl acquainted With your betrothed. You come, sir, at a time Most seasonable. The wedding— Your son made mention of—your son, is he not?— Touching those letters, sir, I wot not of them. If such there be, my friend Baldazzar here— Baldazzar! ah!—my friend Baldazzar here Will hand them to Your Grace. I would retire. Duke. Retire!—so soon? His lordship’s chambers—show his lordship to them! His lordship is unwell. By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells— Of the bells— Bells, bells, bells— IV. Iron bells! In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright At the melancholy menace of their tone! For every sound that floats From the rust within their throats Is a groan. They that dwell up in the steeple. All alone, In that muffled monotone, On the human heart a stone— They are neither man nor woman— They are neither brute nor human— They are Ghouls: And he rolls, rolls, rolls, Rolls And his merry bosom swells With the paean of the bells! And he dances, and he yells; Keeping time, time, time, To the paean of the bells— Of the bells: the gaze down the multitudinous vistas of the stars, as we sweep slowly through them thus—and thus—and thus! Even the spiritual vision, is it not at all points arrested by the continuous golden walls of the universe?—the walls of the myriads of the shining bodies that mere number has appeared to blend into unity? ‘Oinos’. ‘Agathos’. that, of this infinity of matter, the sole purpose is to afford infinite springs at which the soul may allay the thirst to know which is forever unquenchable within it—since to quench it would be to extinguish the soul’s self. Question me then, my Oinos, freely and without fear. Come! we will leave to the left the loud harmony of the Pleiades, and swoop outward from the throne into the starry meadows beyond Orion, where, for pansies and violets, and heart’s-ease, are the beds of the triplicate and triple- tinted suns. burst hourly forth into the heavens—are not these stars, Agathos, the immediate handiwork of the King? ‘Agathos.’ conception I intend. You are well aware that, as no thought can perish, so no act is without infinite result. We moved our hands, for example, when we were dwellers on the earth, and in so doing we gave vibration to the atmosphere which engirdled it. This vibration was indefinitely extended till it gave impulse to every particle of the earth’s air, which thenceforward, and forever, was actuated by the one movement of the hand. This fact the mathematicians of our globe well knew. They made the special effects, indeed, wrought in the fluid by special impulses, the subject of exact calculation—so that it became easy to determine in what precise period an impulse of given extent would engirdle the orb, and impress (forever) every atom of the atmosphere circumambient. Retrograding, they found no difficulty; from a given effect, under given conditions, in determining the value of the original impulse. Now the mathematicians who saw that the results of any given impulse were absolutely endless—and who saw that a portion of these results were accurately traceable through the agency of algebraic analysis—who saw, too, the facility of the retrogradation—these men saw, at the same time, that this species of analysis itself had within itself a capacity for indefinite progress—that there were no bounds conceivable to its advancement and applicability, except within the intellect of him who advanced or applied it. But at this point our mathematicians paused. ‘Oinos.’ ‘Agathos.’ beyond. It was deducible from what they knew, that to a being of infinite understanding—one to whom the perfection of the algebraic analysis lay unfolded— there could be no difficulty in tracing every impulse given the air—and the ether through the air—to the remotest consequences at any even infinitely remote epoch of time. It is indeed demonstrable that every such impulse given the air, must in the end impress every individual thing that exists within the universe;—and the being of infinite understanding—the being whom we have imagined— might trace the remote undulations of the impulse— trace them upward and onward in their influences upon all particles of all matter—upward and onward forever in their modifications of old forms—or, in other words, in their creation of new—until he found them reflected—unimpressive at last—back from the throne of the Godhead. And not only could such a being do this, but at any epoch, should a given result be afforded him—should one of these numberless comets, for example, be presented to his inspection—he could have no difficulty in determining, by the analytic retrogradation, to what original impulse it was due. This power of retrogradation in its absolute fulness and perfection—this faculty of referring at all epochs, all effects to all causes—is of course the prerogative of the Deity alone—but in every variety of degree, short of the absolute perfection, is the power itself exercised by the whole host of the Angelic Intelligences. are silent. upon my head. “The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaeire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence. “The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow not onward to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles on either side of the river’s oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh one unto the other. “But there is a boundary to their realm—the boundary of the dark, horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits, one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots, strange poisonous flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever until they roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river Zaeire there is neither quiet nor silence. “It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lilies, and the rain fell upon my head— and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation. mist, and was crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray rock which stood by the shore of the river and was lighted by the light of the moon. And the rock was gray and ghastly, and tall,—and the rock was gray. Upon its front were characters engraven in the stones; and I walked through the morass of water-lilies, until I came close unto the shore, that I might read the characters upon the stone. But I could not decipher them. And I was going back into the morass when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock and upon the characters;—and the characters were DESOLATION. “And I looked upwards, and there stood a man upon the summit of the rock; and I hid myself among the water-lilies that I might discover the action of the man. And the man was tall and stately in form, and wrapped up from his shoulders to his feet in the toga of old Rome. And the outlines of his figure were indistinct—but his features were the features of a deity; for the mantle of the night, and of the mist, and of the moon, and of the dew, had left uncovered the features of his face. And his brow was lofty with thought, and his eye wild with care; and in the few furrows upon his cheek, I read the fables of sorrow, and weariness, and disgust with mankind, and a longing after solitude. “And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his hand, and looked out upon the desolation. He looked down into the low unquiet shrubbery, and up into the tall primeval trees, and up higher at the rustling heaven, and into the crimson moon. And I lay close within shelter of the lilies, and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock. looked out upon the dreary river Zaeire, and upon the yellow ghastly waters, and upon the pale legions of the water-lilies. And the man listened to the sighs of the water-lilies, and to the murmur that came up from among them. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock. “Then I went down into the recesses of the morass, and waded afar in among the wilderness of the lilies, and called unto the hippopotami which dwelt among the fens in the recesses of the morass. And the hippopotami heard my call, and came, with the behemoth, unto the foot of the rock, and roared loudly and fearfully beneath the moon. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock. “Then I cursed the elements with the curse of tumult; and a frightful tempest gathered in the heaven, where before there had been no wind. And the heaven became livid with the violence of the tempest—and the rain beat upon the head of the man—and the floods of the river came down—and the river was tormented into foam—and the water-lilies shrieked within their beds—and the forest crumbled before the wind—and the thunder rolled—and the lightning fell—and the rock rocked to its foundation. And I lay close within my covert and observed the actions of the man. And the man trembled in the solitude;—but the night waned, and he sat upon the rock. the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed, and were still. And the moon ceased to totter up its pathway to heaven—and the thunder died away—and the lightning did not flash—and the clouds hung motionless—and the waters sunk to their level and remained—and the trees ceased to rock—and the water-lilies sighed no more—and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert. And I looked upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed;—and the characters were SILENCE. countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock and listened. But there was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away, and fled afar off, in haste, so that I beheld him no more.” … the iron-bound, melancholy volumes of the Magi. Therein, I say, are glorious histories of the Heaven, and of the Earth, and of the mighty Sea—and of the Genii that overruled the sea, and the earth, and the lofty heaven. There was much lore, too, in the sayings which were said by the sybils; and holy, holy things were heard of old by the dim leaves that trembled around Dodona—but, as Allah liveth, that fable which the demon told me as he sat by my side in the shadow of the tomb, I hold to be the most wonderful of all! And as the Demon made an end of his story, he fell back within the cavity of the tomb and laughed. And I could not laugh with the Demon, and he cursed me because I could not laugh. And the lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out therefrom, and lay down at the feet of the Demon, and looked at him steadily in the face. ’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 not look 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 forever. Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish— Now are visions ne’er to vanish— From thy spirit shall they pass No more—like dew-drops from the grass. The breeze—the breath of God—is still— And the mist upon the hill Shadowy—shadowy—yet unbroken, How it hangs upon the trees, A mystery of mysteries! By good angels tenanted, Radiant palace—reared its head. In the monarch Thought’s dominion— It stood there! Over fabric half so fair! Banners yellow, glorious, golden, (This—all this—was in the olden Time long ago), In that sweet day, A winged odor went away. Wanderers in that happy valley, Through two luminous windows, saw Spirits moving musically, Bound about a throne where, sitting (Porphyrogene!) The ruler of the realm was seen. And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, And sparkling evermore, Was but to sing, The wit and wisdom of their king. But evil things, in robes of sorrow, Assailed the monarch’s high estate. (Ah, let us mourn!—for never morrow Shall dawn upon him desolate !) And round about his home the glory That blushed and bloomed, Of the old time entombed. And travellers, now, within that valley, Through the red-litten windows see Vast forms, that move fantastically To a discordant melody, Through the pale door And laugh—but smile no more. Within the lonesome latter years! An angel throng, bewinged, bedight In veils, and drowned in tears, Sit in a theatre, to see A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes fitfully The music of the spheres. Mimes, in the form of God on high, Mutter and mumble low, Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Wo! It shall not be forgot! With its Phantom chased for evermore, By a crowd that seize it not, Through a circle that ever returneth in To the self-same spot, And Horror the soul of the plot. But see, amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude! The scenic solitude! The mimes become its food, And the angels sob at vermin fangs In human gore imbued. And, over each quivering form, The curtain, a funeral pall, Comes down with the rush of a storm, And the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm And its hero the Conqueror Worm. With drowsy head and folded wing, Among the green leaves as they shake Far down within some shadowy lake, To me a painted paroquet Hath been—a most familiar bird— Taught me my alphabet to say— To lisp my very earliest word While in the wild wood I did lie, A child—with a most knowing eye. Of late, eternal Condor years So shake the very Heaven on high With tumult as they thunder by, I have no time for idle cares Though gazing on the unquiet sky. And when an hour with calmer wings Its down upon my spirit flings— That little time with lyre and rhyme To while away—forbidden things! My heart would feel to be a crime Unless it trembled with the strings. him when he came, but didn't seem to miss him if he stayed away. And cannot pleasures, while they last, Be actual unless, when past, They leave us shuddering and aghast, With anguish smarting? And yet bear parting? Calmly resign the little all (Trifling, I grant, it is and small) I have of gladness, Of gloom and sadness? And full DOLORUM OMNIUM, And share my dinner? And daily thinner? Who'd prove his friendship true and deep By day a lonely shadow creep, At night-time languish, The moan of anguish? His fair one be denied his gaze, Sinks not in grief and wild amaze, But, wiser wooer, And posts them to her. And if the verse flow free and fast, Till even the poet is aghast, A touching Valentine at last The post shall carry, Of February. In desert waste or crowded street, Perhaps before this week shall fleet, Perhaps to-morrow. Of wasting sorrow. That have a double life, which thus is made A type of that twin entity which springs From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade. There is a twofold Silence—sea and shore— Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places, Newly with grass o’ergrown; some solemn graces, Some human memories and tearful lore, Render him terrorless: his name’s “No More.” He is the corporate Silence: dread him not! No power hath he of evil in himself; But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!) Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf, That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod No foot of man), commend thyself to God!