Lenore - Edgar Allan Poe

'Lenore' was first published in 1831, then underwent extensive revision in the following years. It may also have been published under the title 'Helen' (not to be confused with the poem 'To Helen') as a tribute to Mrs Sarah Helen Whitman. The text used here dates from 1843. The 1845 revision joins lines of this version to produce a poem of improbable and irritating heptameter lines.

        Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
        Let the bell toll! - a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
        And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear? - weep now or nevermore!
        See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
        Come! let the burial rite be read - the funeral song be sung! -
        An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young -
        A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

        'Wretches! 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
        'By you - by yours, the evil eye, - by yours, the slanderous tongue
        'That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?'

        Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
        Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.
        The sweet Lenore hath 'gone before,' with Hope, that flew beside,
        Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride -
        For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
        The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes -
        The life still there, upon her hair - the death upon her eyes.

        'Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost	is riven -
        'From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven -
        'From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven.'
        Let no bell toll then! - lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
        Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damnéd Earth! -
        And I! - to-night my heart is light! - no dirge will I upraise,
        But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!

Edgar Allan Poe
(c) Keith Parkins 1999 -- April 1999 rev 0