Friday, March 20, 2009

Poe Fridays: Lenore

This week's Poe entry is the poem, Lenore. I am going to simply post it here since it is fairly short.
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 never more!
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 debonnaire, 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! tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!
Let no bell toll! -lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
To friends above, 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."

This is such a beautiful memorial poem and yet a powerful accusation, again with the theme of a young woman taken before her time -- something Poe experienced in his own life with the loss of his young wife Virginia. There is a very interesting study guide that you should check out if you want a short analysis of this poem. This poem was first written and titled The Paean in Poe's youth and then adjusted and renamed later.

Next week's Poe Fridays selection will be the very short story, The Sphinx.

Musing on youth and loss,


  1. This is one of my favorites for obvious reasons. My middle name is Virginia.

  2. My post is up here.

    For some reason I didn't realize Poe wrote so many beautiful poems. This has been a great experience for me!