Sunday, February 19, 2012
"Lenore" Published 1843
"Lenore" is a poem by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. It began as a different poem, "A Paean," and was not published as "Lenore" until 1843.
by Edgar Allan Poe
How shall the burial rite be read?
The solemn song be sung?
The requiem for the loveliest dead,
That ever died so young?
Her friends are gazing on her,
And on her gaudy bier,
And weep ! - oh! to dishonor
Dead beauty with a tear!
They loved her for her wealth -
And they hated her for her pride -
But she grew in feeble health,
And they love her - that she died.
They tell me (while they speak
Of her "costly broider'd pall")
That my voice is growing weak -
That I should not sing at all -
Or that my tone should be
Tun'd to such solemn song
So mournfully - so mournfully,
That the dead may feel no wrong.
But she is gone above,
With young Hope at her side,
And I am drunk with love
Of the dead, who is my bride. -
Of the dead - dead who lies
All perfum'd there,
With the death upon her eyes,
And the life upon her hair.
Thus on the coffin loud and long
I strike - the murmur sent
Through the grey chambers to my song,
Shall be the accompaniment.
Thou died'st in thy life's June -
But thou did'st not die too fair:
Thou did'st not die too soon,
Nor with too calm an air.
From more than fiends on earth,
Thy life and love are riven,
To join the untainted mirth
Of more than thrones in heaven -
Therefore, to thee this night
I will no requiem raise,
But waft thee on thy flight,
With a Pæan of old days.
First authorised edition, Pioneer, February 1843, 1:60-61
by Edgar Allan Poe
Ah, broken is the golden bowl!
The spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!—A saintly soul
Glides down the Stygian river!
And let the burial rite be read—
The funeral song be sung—
A dirge for the most lovely dead
That ever died so young!
And, Guy De Vere,
Hast thou no tear?
Weep now or nevermore!
See, on yon drear
And rigid bier,
Low lies thy love Lenore!
"Yon heir, whose cheeks of pallid hue
With tears are streaming wet,
Sees only, through
Their crocodile dew,
A vacant coronet—
False friends! ye loved her for her wealth
And hated her for her pride,
And, when she fell in feeble health,
Ye blessed her—that she died.
How shall the ritual, then, be read?
The requiem how be sung
For her most wrong'd of all the dead
That ever died so young?"
But rave not thus!
And let the solemn song
Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore
Hath "gone before"
With young hope at her side,
And thou art wild
For the dear child
That should have been thy bride—
For her, the fair
That now so lowly lies—
The life still there
Upon her hair,
The death upon her eyes.
My heart is light—
No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight
With a Pæan of old days!
Let no bell toll!
Lest her sweet soul,
Amid its hallow'd mirth,
Should catch the note
As it doth float
Up from the damned earth—
To friends above, from fiends below, th' indignant ghost is riven—
From grief and moan
To a gold throne
Beside the King of Heaven?"
The poem discusses proper decorum in the wake of the death of a young woman, described as "the queenliest dead that ever died so young," The poem concludes: "No dirge shall I upraise,/ But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!" Lenore's Fiance, Guy de Vere, finds it inappropriate to "mourn" the dead; rather, one should celebrate their ascension to a new world. Unlike most of Poe's poems relating to dying women, "Lenore" implies the possibility of meeting in paradise.
The poem may have been Poe's way of dealing with the illness of his wife Virginia. The dead woman's name, however, may have been a reference to Poe's recently-dead brother, William Henry Leonard Poe. Poetically, the name Lenore emphasizes the letter "L" sound, a frequent device in Poe's female characters including "Annabel Lee," "Eulalie," and "Ulalume."
Death of a beautiful woman (see also "Annabel Lee," "Eulalie," "The Raven," "Ulalume." In Poe's short stories, see also "Berenice," "Eleonora," "Morella").
The poem was first published as part of an early collection in 1831 under the title "A Pæan." This early version was only 11 quatrains and the lines were spoken by a bereaved husband. The name "Lenore" was not included; it was not added until it was published as "Lenore" in February 1843 in The Pioneer, a periodical published by the poet and critic James Russell Lowell. Poe was paid $10 for this publication. The poem had many revisions in Poe's lifetime. Its final form was published in the August 16, 1845, issue of the Broadway Journal while Poe was its editor.
The original version of the poem is so dissimilar from "Lenore" that it is often considered an entirely different poem. Both are usually collected separately in anthologies.
Lenore in other works
The ballad Lenore, written by German poet Gottfried August Bürger and published in 1773, has a protagonist who is punished for blasphemy by a demon with the appearance of her dead lover.
A character by the name of Lenore, thought to be a deceased wife, is central to Poe's poem "The Raven" (1845).
Roman Dirge made a comic book inspired by the poem, involving the comedic misadventures of Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl.
Lenore is a French model.
Lenore is an overture of Beethoven. 
"My Lost Lenore" is a song by the gothic metal band Tristania, inspired by Poe's work and included in their 1998 album Widow's Weed.
1.^ Kennedy, J. Gerald. Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing. Yale University Press, 1987: 69. ISBN 0-300-03773-2
2.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 202–203. ISBN 0-06-092331-8
3.^ Kopley, Richard and Kevin J. Hayes "Two verse masterworks: 'The Raven' and 'Ulalume'," as collected in The Cambridge Companion to Edgar Allan Poe, edited by Kevin J. Hayes. Cambridge University Press, 2002: 200. ISBN 0-521-79727-6
4.^ Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. Harper Perennial, 1991: 201. ISBN 0-06-092331-8
5.^ Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. Checkmark Books, 2001: 130. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X
6.^ Hoffman, Daniel. Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe. Louisiana State University Press, 1972: 68. ISBN 0-8071-2321-8
Posted by Poe Forward at 3:00 PM
Labels: general, history, literature, poe, poetry
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Hmmm, I never noticed the "L" sounds recurring in Poe's ladies' names! Great post!ReplyDelete