Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poe's Valentines: To —— (1829)

To —— (1829)

This title refers to two poems carrying the same name. One begins with the lines "The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see." The other begins "Should my early life seem." Both first appeared collected in the 1829 Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. The first, consisting of 12 lines, was reprinted in the September 20, 1845, issue of the Broadway Journal and deals with the speaker's loss which leaves him with "a funeral mind." The poem, despite is many reprintings, never had any significant revisions. The second "To ——" was republished in the December 1829 issue of the Yankee and Boston Literary Gazette after being cut from 40 lines to 13. The narrator of this poem equates breaking with his love as one of several failures.

To ——
Edgar Allan Poe

The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see
The wantonest singing birds,
Are lips — and all thy melody
Of lip-begotten words —

Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined
Then desolately fall,
O God! on my funereal mind
Like starlight on a pall —

Thy heart — thy heart! — I wake and sigh,
And sleep to dream till day
Of truth that gold can never buy —
Of the baubles that it may.

To — —
Edgar Allan Poe


Should my early life seem
[As well it might] a dream —
Yet I build no faith upon
The King Napoleon —
I look not up afar
To my destiny in a star:


In parting from you now
Thus much I will avow —
There are beings, and have been
Whom my spirit had not seen
Had I let them pass me by
With a dreaming eye —
If my peace hath fled away
In a night — or in a day —
In a vision — or in none —
Is it the less gone?


I am standing 'mid the roar
Of a weather-beaten shore,
And I hold within my hand
Some particles of sand —
How few! and how they creep
Thro' my fingers to the deep!
My early hopes? no — they
Went gloriously away,
Like lightning from the sky
At once — and so will I.


So young? ah! no — not now —
Thou hast not seen my brow,
But they tell thee I am proud —
They lie — they lie aloud —
My bosom beats with shame
At the paltriness of name
With which they dare combine
A feeling such as mine —
Nor Stoic? I am not:
In the terror of my lot
I laugh to think how poor
That pleasure "to endure!"
What! shade of Zeno! — I!
Endure! — no — no — defy.

No comments:

Post a Comment